Sunday, December 9

You Can Get By





I LOOK AT my cousin’s kids as they giggle and dance on their heads next to the spinning decks. I look at my father as he looks at my cousin’s kids; he thinks – ‘Those were the good days.’ The good days have gone. I look at my cousin’s kids the same way.
The ferocious fires rage on. My petty infatuations are ill-timed and ill-assigned. I list the reasons why I shouldn’t breed. I list the parts of women I like most. I come up with stories to write in order to upset someone or other.
The managing director and the chairman were sat in the boardroom going through some things and they called me. I started to update them on my projects and was swearing because I thought everyone was stupid, so they told me to sit down. Then they told me – ‘We’re giving you a pay-rise. We’re not giving them to everyone, but we want to show our appreciation for all your hard work.’ It was a good pay-rise.
I told my mother – ‘There were so many fit birds at that bar last night.’ And she asked me, immediately, as she always does – ‘Well, did you speak to them?’ ‘No.’ And she is disappointed.
I just kept drinking and drinking and drinking myself into oblivion. It was good. (There were some words (echoing) in my head that an associate director had told me – ‘Take it easy!’ I told him that it was just me. I didn’t want to take it easy. I wanted to erase a lot of myself and dance. So I tried.)
Rain fell when I woke up and I walked home and got very wet. The rain did not matter because it was late and there was no one else on the streets. I got home and felt angry because in four hours I would have to be awake again and I would be hungover at work.
Buildings sites in the grey winter of London are miserable places, full of puddles, abandoned, quiet except for drip-drip nonsense; the meeting went ahead, for three awful hours as I tried not to throw up on the table. I succeeded.
The architect was a pretty, young thing. She was married. She wasn’t English. She had blonde hair on her upper lip and when she smiled she smiled with big teeth that were very neatly arranged.
Students gathered around their arts faculty to smoke cigarettes and chat. I hid while the other men from the meeting walked on. Then I, too, smoked a cigarette. The sun had come out with its feathers resplendent. Water fountains sprayed. The smell of food-carts filled the air. I was about to collapse from something or other.
I ate some fast food in the middle of the station, kicking away pigeons, giving money to a bum who blessed me, scowling at people who got too close to me, and enjoying the bustle. I slept in the sun, with it beating its wings on me.
It’s been a month since we started talking. I want her. I want to possess her, but she is a human being. It’s been a month since I thought that I might be possessed by her and that I could write a great many words about her. Very often I wish that I didn’t give a fuck about her.
There appears to be no time at all between the nights when the moon is so bright that it is lighting me up in the midnight hour, and when it is half in darkness. I’m not kidding. There is no one left at the party. I’m having my guts ripped out of me.

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