Wednesday, December 18

A Pop Song Waiting to Happen

I WAS NOT CATCHING any fish so I packed up my things, carefully putting them away so as not to damage the thin rod, and started for home. It was some miles from the river to my house. The river was black; the river flowed in shades of black and upon it ran smaller rivers that were slivers of sunlight, but the river was black amazing black that choked you when you looked at it. The float had hung on the surface and bobbed teasingly, yet not once did it sink.
So I watched the river be black.
I could only try to fish for so long. My muscles ached and my mind wished to hurl me into the river so that I might drown, or at the very least forget how to swim for a moment.
The muddy banks of the river stepped one stepped two stepped three into the busy concrete of the city. Someone brushed my elbow. I kept my rod in the air. There was no music for me. Music was a luxury and now, as I write this, music is not playing; I have forgotten all of my favourite melodies; despair is within me! None of the paving slabs are level in this part of town. My mind, too, is not level.
I have not caught any fish.
I am, at once, completely alone.
‘You seem a lot happier.’
This is what I look like early in the day, without makeup on. ‘I suppose I’ve been feeling a little happier. Moving out has helped, I guess.’
She nodded from the front seat and, beyond the windscreen, the day and my hometown were fornicating in unpleasantly shadowless light.
‘I mean… I still have my lowpoints…’
I don’t know where my calluses are.
After I returned home from fishing I put all of my equipment into the walk-in wardrobe; inside the walk-in wardrobe are all of the belongings of the previous tenant, an American girl with two cats who fled the country and soured my landlord. I would have liked to meet her, stroke her cats, put on a pot of coffee; ask what’s on her mind. Unfortunately her crockery and pots and pans are less interesting and less clean and, as such, they are in the walk-in wardrobe along with my fishing equipment. All that useless fishing equipment that has not caught me a single fish in years. I should throw it out, but it was something my father bought me on his way home from work on a summer’s evening when I was not yet thirteen. The sun was a raindrop that, on occasion, ran down the length of my rod.
But today no such sun shone.
At twenty-three-thirty-seven the sun is up above the city; the sun is shining above the city but the sun does not shine down on the city; the sun is the little morsels of light fed to the plump clouds shuffling endlessly across this gulf of grey. I sweep up the dust from my floor with my sock and then I look at the sky.
Many times I had tried to fish. I change the bait, and if the bait wriggles desperately on the hook then I know that I will catch a fish, though I never catch a fish; the bait just wiggles; the times, the afternoons, just pass; the bait wriggles while its guts drop into the grass and, eventually, the bait stops wiggling and time is just past. I should write an autobiography and leave pages of it down public footpaths.
Sometimes I am so disheartened that I wish to climb into bed and sleep for days on end. My sleep patterns are all upset. I call my mother just to hear her voice. We wind up talking for twenty-five minutes; we laugh and she gossips and I moan and she has me on speakerphone because her hearing is going. Did I really see her two days ago? What was she wearing? My memory is shot. I upset her as she left. After she had left I checked on my fishing equipment, my rod, then I let my eyes water. My eyes watered so much that I pulled the rug over to where I was stood, just to soak it up. The patterns on the rug tried to be colourful then they floated and fell and I’ve not seen them since.
A girl has a hold of my wrist. I have small wrists and, at times, I talk nonsense. I am not primed for love. I say the wrong things and my nose itches when we spoon and she gets angry at the things I say sometimes and I am a pop song waiting to happen. I am a pop song waiting to happen. I’m not sure where I left the fishing rod. It’s twenty-three-fifty-nine. I am a pop song waiting to happen and my fishing rod is not where I left it, amongst the unwanted crockery and pans.

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