Tuesday, May 13

I Wish I Was Cat Comfy

THERE ARE TIMES—many times in fact—when I wish I were not so unreasonably miserable that I might, if only for an evening, enjoy life and be its friend. If someone was to take a photograph of me on such occasion and hold it up to the light, then they might ask—‘Why is he not having a good time? Why is he not smiling?’ My brother received an instant camera for his birthday so that he could, with a more amateur eye than mine, document the gestation and birth of his daughter. As my family sat in the bar, someone suggested my brothers and I pose together. The three of us slowly developed in my brother’s girlfriend’s frantic hand, our features accentuating gradually, and the colour coming back to our cheeks. Without any good reason—but, of course, smaller reasons that are not reasons at all—I was resolutely miserable. It was too much for me to enjoy the situation; rather I lingered constantly at my mother’s elbow, and when she took a seat at the dinner table, I followed and sat precisely next to her. I could hardly leave her side. When they dropped me off at the train I was heartbroken that I could not lean into the front seat—obstructed by shopping bags—and kiss her good-bye; so I crept over a puddle, boarded a night-train, slumped in my chair and stared, between pages, at the dimly-lit towns we passed through.
The first photograph my brother took on his new instant camera was of his girlfriend, undressed, at the end of their bed, and, without much thrust, the bump that protruded forth from her slight frame. It was dated at the bottom in his handwriting. He plans to hang it from a mobile in the nursery, along with many others, he asks me—
‘Where did you get yours from?’
I am stood in the street where it is raining, looking at the road while I talk to him.
‘I dunno. Mum got it for me. I reckon you’ll be able to find it on the internet somewhere.’
As I journey back to my flat, and they all drive back home, I think that I no longer feel a part of them and it saddens me beyond belief. When I left home, I not only removed myself from their address but also their family, a unit I had cherished and loved. They are all in the same county, fifteen minutes down the road from each other, while I am far away, with a different skyline and a different news cycle.
L— had done some laundry and was telling me how much she liked the smell of my detergent, and I was inclined to remember, in a Proustian fashion, how infatuated I am with my laundry when my mother does it; how I would pay anything to have her wash my bedsheets and every night imagine that I am back home.
And on top of all this I know that my luck is in, so to walk around and moan at streetlights and keyboards is a terrible pastime but I cannot help it! Indeed if any human asks me about myself, I will interrupt their questioning with a question of my own that so catches them off-guard they are forced to cease; allowing me to stew and stew and stew. And words! what have you ever done for me? They have cast me off, too, taking my family’s side, as if I were the perpetrator of some awful crime. No longer do I feel like throwing down long stretches of prose—even those describing my own life!—but brief ejaculations of poetry as though I have already made it. But these words offer me such comfort that, even as this May rain falls and its winds bang at my window, I cannot abandon them altogether. So they are penned, with great effort and greater purpose, for me to go to bed with having done something, at least.

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