Sunday, May 26

Wash Her Hands of Me

So miserable, bored, tired, alone, & lonely, so I am going to write, if only because I like the feel of the keys underneath me, and, as always, I write in 12pt. Century and during the nighttime:

IF I CROSS THE road, I go to the pedestrian island, clear of one lane, before I cross the other half. I used to go for walks at lunch with K— but, since Helen, I have avoided all, preferring to lunch on my own. In fact, K— herself has become a stranger to me and I find it uncomfortable whenever we encounter each other in the office.
On Wednesday of this week I received a letter from Helen; she notified me that she was washing her hands of me.
We had VIP tickets to the concert. There were eight of us; most were colleagues – and in one instance, my boss – yet I very much enjoyed their company, though their junior by many years. The novelty of the experience filled me with wonder. ‘Good, isn’t it?’ they kept asking me. It was. I could see down at the whole stadium and the yet-to-be-occupied stage.
I don’t blame her for washing her hands of me. I deserve it.
During the gig I was struck by a bout of deep sadness. Someone told me that the drummer had lost his only daughter and his wife within ten months. The gentleman then took off on his motorbike around North America, clocking up 55,000 miles. Engines are hot after 55,000 miles. That was all I could think about for some time. I kept on drinking and falling into those stares where one glazes over and feels warm & floatful.
On the train home I sat near a violinist and she read through her score. She was pale skin black hair distinguished nose. Two lovers got on and, in each other’s arms – her rested upon his shoulder – spoke to some drunks on the other side of the carriage. I took up my position and cursed everything.
I carry her letter in my breast pocket. When I go for a cigarette, I read it a few times. I study the lines of her handwriting. It pains me to read. Indentations.
In the queue for the taxi rank I am angry and drunk and it is late and below us, just beyond the hill, the twinkling lights of my childhood town drown out into the night. A man in front is getting angry with me and I want a fight so I blow my smoke into his face. He gets into his taxi without reacting. In my taxi home I am speechless; looking out at the passing scenery.
I’ve never been so sorry about anything (except an event with my mother, just after my grandfather died). The post office lady must wonder what is going on when I send two packages to the same Helsinki address in one week. Or maybe she doesn’t care. I care. My body wasn’t built for this.
The night before the gig I thought that I should get some sleep as I had to be up early (for a survey just behind Savile Row) and had had so little sleep. Then I finished off a bottle of wine and started on another. ‘I’ll sleep at the weekend,’ I thought, and wrote a piece about chopping off my testicles. I wish I had the guts to chop off my testicles and forever rid me of this fever.
A lazy Saturday.
I decided to draw Anniek. I’d never drawn anyone like Anniek before so I thought it might be a good exercise and I was smitten by her form. Anniek is built like the girl who took my virginity; as I drew, my virginity simultaneously became hers. I didn’t close the blinds – though maybe I should have – because the sun came in afternoonly at an angle. I started to perspire. Anger began to gather. Things were not going right. Dead leaves gather in water, feather, blacken, fall apart, stain.
What now? Will she reply to my letter? Never in my life have I received a letter and written a reply in the same day. Never in my life have I felt what I felt when I was with Helen. Though, in my marrow, I know that things will never be the same again. The ship has sailed. Come on up to the house.

Photograph of me by Rebecca Rijsdijk

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