Monday, May 7

Just A Little Tired

A WEEK BEFORE the old neighbours moved out someone vandalised the brick wall around their garden. They wrote – ‘Good riddance bad neighbours’. It took them a whole Saturday to clean off all twenty-five letters. I watched most of it, throughout the day, checking up from my bedroom window. That was some years ago. The people who moved in haven’t taken down the security camera in the garden but they have rented out some of the rooms to lodgers. The lodgers smoke in the street, next to a bench, and throw their butts next to the postbox.
One lodger is up all hours. I can tell they are up all hours because their light is on – a lamp, by the hue. Lights that light up windows at such hours appear celestial. Male or female? I picture a male, a man; up past midnight, not a morning-person, a night-owl, whiling away the hours, drinking, listening to music, reading, lying on his bed, touching himself. There is never any movement nor shadows over the walls. If the lodgers leave in the morning at the same time as me, or return in the evening at the same time as me then I wonder to myself – ‘Is it their light that is on so late into the night?’ Our road is so very quiet after dark; all wrapped up in bed. My lamp goes out at one.
My mother met a lady at the gym. My mother had recognised her but not said anything. She was sure that this lady at her gym was a former teacher of mine (coincidentally, written about here). I cannot imagine that teacher in a gym. I suppose retirement does silly things to your brain.
‘Would you mind –’ she asked me ‘and you’ll probably poo-poo this – if I ask Mrs Davis around for dinner?’
I thought about it – ‘Probably not. I’ll just make sure I’m out that night.’
‘I just think it’d be nice for a teacher – who was very fond of you, and you were very fond of her – to see how her old pupil is doing, don’t you think?’
‘ It’d be terrific if she came here, yes. Me, still at home, living with my parents, antisocial little fuck.’
‘I could do something from that cake cookbook I just bought.’
‘Not the scones again. Please.’
What if she were thrust upon me again after twenty-one years? I imagine her presence blowing my front door off. Her fi-
gure stood in the doorway, light struggling to get past, dressed in no less than what she wore twenty-one years ago. She will, of course, remain two feet taller than me. If there is one thing history cannot change it is dimensions – and if she should hunch then I will still shrink below the glasses on her nose.
How coincidental that they should both attend the same gymnasium! And what courage for her to approach my mother after twenty-one years!
A good idea would be for me to get a girlfriend between then and now – her presence compulsory – to show that I landed on my feet. Though – and I could not tell Mrs Davis this – I am very uninterested in romance at the moment. Evolution’s dud. How sweet to have adoration in one’s life, no matter how unattainable, but now I find myself without a single girl to point towards. Indeed the only one who stirs me is L—a. What rises from the muddy waters of my infatuations is her, and then only in the faintest of appearances.
One sight that stands out in my mind, and will not let me alone, is her sitting up in bed. Her back was so perfect. There was not a mark on her. She curved her spine nicely, sat up so nudely, her little blonde buttocks, rubbed her eyes in the light of the daybreak. I wanted to pin her to the mattress again. She reached out for her leopard-skin dressing-gown. It rounded her body and concertinaed. Or the pretty position of her lip piercing on my penis, rushing up against the veins. Her lip piercing caught the very pale streetlight. It glinted and she made another dive on to me.
The appeal of companionship lies in the moments of sex or of her not knowing she is being watched. Everyone is more likeable when they do not know they are being watched.
The fields outside of the town have swollen pregnant with rainwater. The rivers have burst their banks and their water, opaque and brown, has overtaken the flats. In certain areas the water spreads out for miles. Birds swim upon the surface. The wind blows and smudges ripples in slow travelling patches. There is flooding everywhere. The drains on the street have overflown and their rejected water lies idle on the road, being splashed left and right. The sun needs to show up and dry everything off. For now, it is all sodden.

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