A strange noise blasted out from Bon Iver’s art studio today. The sound of drums fast and unsettling accompanied by a heavy and haunting baseline. It is unusual for him to be listening to music that is so uptempo and industrial. I opened his door and cheekily peeked my head through to see what Bonniebear was doing. He was sitting in a corner of the room in his casual Friday Kimono, hugging his knees and shaking with fear. I ran over to comfort him. ‘Why are you listening to drum and bass?’ I asked while stroking his furry beard. ‘I’m trying to make myself love things that I hate so I can learn to love you again.’ Bon Iver replied coldly as my baseline dropped.
I am awoken by the smell of pancakes; there’s a hemp string tied to my left big toe. I untie the string with a smile and follow it around the cabin, even though I know it will lead me to the kitchen table. There will be a stack of pancakes, some honey Bon Iver collected himself and maple syrup. If I’m lucky there might even be strawberries.
The string leads me into the yard, past the fish pond and through the chicken coup. Along the way several notes are strung up in front of me, pointing out the perfections of a tree or the temptation of the pond. I notice that Bon Iver’s vintage motorcycle is missing, he’s probably rebuilding it again. I smile and enter the cabin again and head directly to the kitchen. Not only has Bon Iver made me breakfast he took me on a morning walk and kept me company.
Bon Iver is not in the kitchen. There is however a stack of pancakes and an envelope addressed to me. I open it and smile at his drawings, but the text takes my breath away. “You told me you wanted me to be happy. I’ve decided to take your advice.” Bon Iver knows I was lying.
I notice another sheet of paper under the pancakes, it reads, “At least I left you something to comfort you”.
I made little cheese cracker sandwiches as I watched Bon Iver make perfect blocks of butter that he’d just finished churning. The candle light found a home in his eyes as he took off his apron.
“Its amazing how one thing becomes another with just a little effort”, I purred as I kissed his forehead. I barely noticed him tremble as my lips touched his cool skin.
“It’s amazing how something becomes nothing without any effort at all”, was all he said before walking off into the rain. Now all I have left is butter. Until it spoils.
Bon iver sipped his mulled wine slowly, tiny drops of maroon fell on to his chunky oatmeal beige fisherman jumper. I chuckled to myself and wiped the droplets off with a napkin. He smiled at me and offered me his mug of mulled wine. I turned down his offer with a kind smile. ‘You don’t need to be skinny to be my love.’ He said.
Sometimes Bon Iver calls me fat.
Bon Iver cradled me like a small child when we went to bed last autumn. I coiled my fingers around his hair, fluffy and soft. He held me in his strong, ink-marked arms till I had fallen asleep. I woke up in the middle of the night to Bon Iver curled into a fetal position, sweating and moaning in pain. I gently placed my hand on his strong shoulders to comfort him. ‘Are you ok Bonniebear?’ I asked.
His tear-filled eyes bored into me through the darkness, and he slowly unlocked his clenched fist to reveal the secret in his palm; a lock of strawberry blonde hair tied with a small, perfect hemp bow.
I have brown hair…
I wrapped Bon Iver’s peppered cranberry cable knit jumper around my shoulders - a faint smell of burning oak, salt and Opium perfume. I knew instantly that he had been making love with Emma.
Bon Ivor leaves food out for the foxes. At night he sits on the porch and watches them. In the dew-shine of the early hours he draws them with charcoal pencils on an old canvas with a candle’s flame drawing love and peace on his face. I sit and stroke his hair and ask him what it is about the foxes he loves so much. He says it’s because he loves what they represent. I jokingly tug his hair and suggest their tails. Bon Ivor looks me directly in the eyes, “Freedom. Foxes…are free.” He smiled an instant after he said it, to sheath the steel in honey.
It’s the first time his eyes haven’t smiled with his lips.
I ask Bon Ivor about Emma. It was Autumn and he’d swept all the orange leaves into a great bonfire. We lay beside it feeding each other ice cream and drinking wine. As my reason wobbled and Bon Ivor dug his toes into the earth, I surprised myself by asking him. He didn’t look surprised by my question, more, resigned. He unclenched his toes and brushed the dirt off of his feet. When he spoke next his voice was molten silk. “Emma isn’t a person, Emma is a place that you get stuck in. Emma’s a pain that you can’t erase.”
Sometimes Bon Ivor lies to me.
Bon Iver had his eyes closed again. He hummed a gentle tune while stroking his baby fern. He slowly opened his tear filled eyes and looked deep into mine. He mumbled something but I missed it. Then he stood up and turned around. I looked down at the baby fern, the plant pot was decorated by a hand painted love heart. ‘Emma & Justin’ was painted inside. My heart cracked and broken, I ran back to our cabin. I ‘accidentally’ stepped on the baby fern on my way, breaking his heart too.
Bon Iver and I walked to the small lake where he used to paint, his bare feet soaked into the freezing water. He had his eyes shut – listening to the water, the tiny pinecones falling onto the soft forest bed, little songbirds humming their songs of dusk… Then I saw it, a tiny gold charm on his anklet with the letter ‘E’. E for Emma, forever ago.