Sunday, October 7

A depressing reunion

Rain fell.
In the pub garden, where we stood, rain fell and it fell all around and it even fell under the covered areas because it bounced off of other things. How apt that it was a mate’s head-wetting.
I had been sick, laid up in bed the day before, but it had almost gone and what was left I had chased away with painkillers, but, still, I was in an unsettled frame of mind. The idea of going out was not appealing. I went. Rain fell.
Rain fell and I don’t remember it stopping the entire evening. It was always falling, in varying thicknesses. ‘Have you seen the kid?’ ‘Yeah . . . It’s all right . . . It’s a baby.’ ‘They’re not real people until they’re in my phonebook, as Bill Hicks said.’ Time moved very slowly. At some points it did not move at all. The people around us weren’t there; subtly shifting, applying hairspray, rolling cigarettes, ignoring the barmaid as she takes away empty glasses, checking make-up in pocket mirrors; but the people I was with were funny, all underwhelmed, sipping pints, sniggering, poking fun at each other.
A woman I hadn’t seen in some time arrived. She materialized out of thin air. She was not there and then she was, underneath the marquee. I could not remember when we saw each other last. She’s this beautiful Indian, a lawyer, a tally of curves and lazy eyes that are unimpressed and a smile that is like a booby’s wings over the sea. It was good to see her again. It was good to see her again but as we talked the broken-hearted content of our conversation harmonized with the rain that fell and was, altogether, depressing to anyone listening in. What had changed since we last spoke! Why had we not gone so far! So difficult to be upbeat about such things, when both are edging around the admission that life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. ‘So you’re not a mother yet, then?’
‘No, I’m forty now. I figured it was time to give up, time to move on.’
And on it went, in the rain.
She had not fallen pregnant. I had not been in love. She was supporting her husband’s business. I was still living at home. She had forsaken her writing. I was losing interest in the fairer sex. ‘I just ain’t interested, really,’ I said, ‘I’m an evolutionary dud, maybe.’ She always had this smile where her lips curved right up at the edges and you would adore it if you saw it because you are only human and such smiles are what drove men to walk upright across deserts, but we just had the rain in two-thousand-and-twelve.
‘I’m not staying long. I’m going after this.’
It was a large glass of white.
‘We should meet up. I only work around the corner.’
She showed me a photograph of her husband. They were eating breakfast on a sunny beach, yards from this bright blue sea. He was handsome, good posture, excellent blonde hair.
‘I like his hair.’ I said.
When a friend came along – ‘Isn’t he turning into a handsome man? Lovely! I’m coming over all maternal.’
Some people.
Rain fell.
An hour later I thought it was time I left. Tourists were trying to make sense of the public transport in a last push to find their hotels. They dragged bags through puddles. The cars in the road sped along, kicked up miniature clouds of spray and went on their way, hissing in haste. All their lights were distorted. I scowled at couples and the drunks crawling on hands & knees out of bars. It was a circus of animals. I got on my train and attempted to read some O’Hara. The words made little sense. A girl on the other side of the carriage looked like a former lover. The girl just paid attention to something petty in her hands but I stared at her and remembered how good the former lover’s cunt tasted after we’d spent all night drinking.
A cleaner woke me up. The sickness has tired me out and I cannot sleep enough. I thanked the cleaner and walked home. There was nobody on the streets of my hometown, not even drunks. The rain was falling hard and I got wet. The rain fell. It felt good. I was glad that it was there because if it wasn’t there then the streets would feel even lonelier and god knows I felt alone because it was difficult to resist crying but I couldn’t figure out where the tears originated or why they came. So I just kept walking, faster and faster. After fifteen minutes I made it home.

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