I am with my eight year old self. We are sitting quietly on a beach in Hawaii – one of the smaller islands. This me is almost bloody thirsty in her egalitarianism. She believes fiercely in the sanctity and potential of every human life. If she were a dozen years older she would be in the Party, shouting slogans from street corners – or maybe living in Cuba, already. Daddy’s little Bolshevik. But, actually, I am her + 12 years, and I am reading an arts degree at a red brick university. I didn’t even select a feminism module – I picked Children’s Literature and Contemporary American Fiction (i) .
I brought her here to help explain suffering, specifically why in Hinduism Shiva is the God of both destruction and fertility.
“Watch.” I tell her, and give her a small smile. She balances her chin defiantly on her fist, and digs her toes into the sand. I miss that about me. Lava bubbles up from under the sea (ii) . The water cools the molten rock quickly and it becomes part of the crust of the island. “See, volcanoes can be very destructive – they can kill people, but it also creates new land which is incredibly good for growing things on.” I think it looks like bonfire toffee.
“You (we) are thinking of a simile right now, aren’t you (we)?” She glares at me – green eyes shot through with honey-brown. They never look so disgusted in the mirror. “How did you (we) get so bourgeois?”
- This might explain why we were sitting in the Americas, and why I am writing footnotes.
- There is, in fact, no tectonic boundary beneath Hawaii. The volcanic activity is due to a phenomenon called a ‘hot spot' - this was discovered when a scientist recreated the earth's crust in treacle - these hot spots were present even in store-bought sweetness.