Wednesday, May 22

Going Around in Circles

FOR THE FIRST time in a week I went to bed sober and I awoke at two-forty-five covered in sweat. Sitting up I felt it all over me and my clean sheets were dirty with it. I can’t escape sweat in a single bed so I just have to lie in it. There was a big wet patch by my slim ankles. No nightmares; just cold sweat.
It was the same before I kicked the weed: I would wake up wet numerous times during the night. I couldn’t remember anything on that stuff so it had to go. Red wine is different. Red wine is my lover. We’re involved. We finish each other’s sentences.
Nick’s marriage is dying and he sits near me so I guess his marriage is dying in front of me. Quiet telephone conversations. Two marriages totaling four years together. He should’ve been a writer. Instead he sent me. I have no lovers.
He said to me – ‘Let’s go out for a drink.’
‘What’s the matter?’
‘I want a drink. Hard liquor, and women.’
‘I suggest you get drunk alone. It’s much better.’
Some other guy nearby – ‘You get drunk alone?’
‘Hell yes. Other people kill my buzz.’
‘You gonna abandon me?’
‘I ain’t gonna abandon you, I’m just saying I’ve got two-and-a-half bottles of red wine at home.’
‘... Bastard.’
‘I’m happy at work, man. Work is the only time I’m happy!’
‘It is?’ he asked.
‘Yeah, my mind is busy, it’s occupied. I’m not thinking about how shit everything is – and everything is shit. At work I don’t have to think about any of that.’
‘Hmm, I dunno.’
I didn’t know if he actually wanted to go for a drink with me. The Tuesday crowds are dead. The last person I went drinking with on a Tuesday was Helen. I ordered a drink I’d never had before and she made me come twice. No one had ever done that to me before. Now I don’t feel quite so alive without her. I could have gone drinking with Nick. I should have gone drinking with Nick.
At lunch I went along all the paths I walked with Helen in the city. It takes me a half-hour and, at my quick pace, I reckon it’s about two miles. I listen to some music and I walk along it and sometimes I cry when I do it. I cried today. I just walk among all the business people on their break and little tears fall down my cheeks and I wipe them away on the sleeve of my suit. I walk faster to dry the tears. No one can see but when I walk past the place where I put my hand into her glove, I pretend to put my hand into a glove. I like that no one can see that; if they could, they’d probably wonder what the hell I was doing.
I lift my head up to the heavens and it makes me a trifle dizzy.
Nick sleeps on the sofa most nights. He says – ‘They sell scotch eggs and pork pies in pairs but I only ever want one. Do you want one?’
‘Jesus Christ! no, I don’t like that shit.’
‘I can’t stick it in my locker ‘cause then I’ll forget about it!’
I should have gone for a drink with Nick.

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