Sunday, May 31


THE PEN WAS a black biro that I had stolen from work, most unintentionally, carried home in my bag, discovered, used, and left around the flat before it found its way into my cup of pens. The crime of the century, but a good enough pen with a steady flow of dark grey ink. I always found it qualified for use in my drawings.
The paper was part of a Christmas gift, a stationery set, a thick pad of multicoloured paper. They were glued so that each sheet could be removed without any indication it had ever been part of a group, singular, individual, soft to the fingers. The pad came with a set of envelopes in matching colours. The pair of them had been with me a while, gathering dust. The paper was so small that one could only handwrite upon them, no typewriters; thank-yous, casual hellos, brief notes.
The chair was called (by her, at least) my ‘wanking chair’ because I had, on occasion, masturbated while sitting in it. It was my parents’ but had been lent to me until I could purchase my own sofa for the living room. She and I shared it (but I have written about that before, with perhaps more detail regarding the orgasms occurring upon its faux-leather). I was at her feet, where I belonged.
The table came with the flat and was – one could surmise – purchased from a Scandinavian furniture chain store, and assembled on a sunny afternoon. I never grew attached to that table, but I may have stained it (not picked up on the inventory report).
This was back when she used to visit for the weekend, arriving on a Friday night and leaving on a Monday morning while I was at work. This was back when we were falling in love with each other as two pages of a book come together and kiss. It seems so long ago, but I believe it actually happened. The air smelled different back then; the light on the wall fell at a different angle. From the mezzanine, looking down. In all of my life they were only a few months and months are so short anyway, but they were there, and, if I look back with eyes keen enough, I can see that time.
She had left me a note on the table, using the pen and the multicoloured paper (a green sheet) that read—‘I hope you had a good day at work, but if not, just imagine I am here.’ My work-tired hand shuddered the note as though a breeze were upon it. Another fleck on the wanking chair, green; flaked delicately on the black—‘…or here’. And then up on the mezzanine, where we had shared a bed before, above the head—‘or, especially – here.’ Underneath her handwriting, so flicking and ambitious, was the purse of her lip’s lipstick.
It was so long ago. We were falling in love with each other back then, as though we were two pages of a book coming together to kiss. It seems even longer ago. Is that a memory underneath there, lodged in the blancmange of my mind? Is that a memory staring out like a pound coin, sharp and shiny? I would like to review every moment when she started to fall out of love with me, so that I might become a better person and perhaps win her back. When did I become so forlorn? It was not when she left, maybe a bit before, but maybe a bit after? To pinpoint it is tiring. One day I will get over it, get over her.
The last note – ‘or, especially – here’ – is with me everywhere I go, in my wallet; carried forgotten until I stumble upon it, before, alone, I open and reread it. Imagine I am here. She is not. You are not. I never needed much reason to obsess over a girl, but now I have one I wish I were one of those fools who cares not about the people who grace his life (always male). That blissless and forgetful existence!
But no, I rediscover the note when I am in a bar trying to forget things. There are a great many things to forget. One does not wish, ultimately, to forget but to become indifferent to the memories, and that is indeed as great a crime! I finger the folded green note back into my wallet, where it is folded in half by the latter’s spine. I order the round of drinks, and struggle to forget things. There are a great many things to forget, and the bar closes soon. When I arrive home (drunk, with a plastic bag of food from the fried chicken shop, feeling drunkenly terrible) I remember the note – the note, the note – and do not discard it unto the north London landfill, but keep it, sadly, among its cosy receipts and ticket stubs.

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