Wednesday, June 24

Musical Casualties

SHE HAS MET someone.
Through no fault of my own, quite by accident, I have come to learn that she has met someone. As much as I tried not to know, to avoid her & the inevitable, I learned it and I cannot unlearn it. It was inevitable, yes; aesthetically, she is beautiful and of course it was inevitable that she meet someone in no time at all.
For the first time in a long while, I changed the sheets on my bed. (Back with the cats, Tim had got shit on my pillow while he was waking me up; I changed the sheets, locking him out, sleeping with Pippa only, then their last night with me, the three of us in bed; they were gone and their hairs on the sheets brought me to tears, but the hair eventually disappeared on the small breezes that creep through the flat.) What is the point of putting the case on her pillow, cleaned & ironed? It lies vacant at all hours, for weeks, for my lifetime. Not even my sleeping body rolls on to it, however, now, unlike then, I face that direction, her direction, every night. She leaves, and I learn to sleep facing her direction. What is the point of putting the case on her pillow, white & untouched? It was her pillow. In this new situation, it is of no point. The pillowcase smells of detergent.
It was a photograph, a silly capture, digital & simple, that taught me. Upon seeing the image, I recoiled, the stomach tightened. I looked away. Visions flashed through my brain, like an amateur trying to shuffle cards. Who? It did not matter who, but she has met someone. They are not nice words. The photograph was of her small shoes next to a pair of near-identical shoes, much larger, and the sun shone. Looked at for only a second. She has met someone and he has bigger feet than hers; she is proud of this. No such photograph did she ever take of us, she & I. Often I had considered this, no photographs of she & I together – other than that couple taken by my parents or hers – and I thought—‘That is not what she is into.’ An error, a misunderstanding. Eighteen months we were together and not a single photograph did she take of us. There was an entire photoshoot of her ex-fiancĂ© and her, before he went to fuck their bridesmaid. So ashamed she must have been of me! How grotesque I must have been for her not to have once considered raising the camera before the two of us together, or requesting a passing stranger to do the honour. What had she thought of me? All the photographs I took of her wherein she posed so lavishly. Even H—, whom she disliked so strongly, asked me to pose for her! But L—, nothing! O, how I must have repulsed her and wasted her time. I was surely a source of embarrassment for her.
Nowadays she raises the camera to the very feet of her new lover and boldly exhibits it for all to see, whether they wish to or not.
I ask my friend—‘Personal question… you don’t have to answer if you don’t want to, but when K— met someone else, how did you restrain yourself from going on a killing spree?’
He was surprised by the question that had come from nowhere—‘I never checked, never looked, because that the only time I ever feel jealous… regardless of how it ended. Still don’t wanna know now, really.’
‘I couldn’t help learning, and now I feel shit.’
‘Understandable… Just block it out and wait for the churning in your stomach to subside. Try not to get too pissed. Get a new flat.’
‘Yeah… It’s the churning that is so awful. I need to get out of here… Start again.’
Pause. He was carrying things.
‘You’ll also find that songs you liked together are now off-limits. Arcade Fire and Lambchop are off-limits… Super Furries survived, funnily enough.’
‘Some of my favourite LPs can no longer be listened to… such a tragedy.’
‘No good, is it…?’
I was not sure whether that was a question or not.
By the end of the day, I was exhausted. I did not talk to a soul at work, but kept to myself, working busily to keep my thoughts off of Them. Alone in the flat. A few strong beers to take the edge off. Don’t call your mother, I told myself, but as drunk as I became I called her and told her of my troubles. A mummy’s boy retreating to his mother, yet again. Cracks in the voice, hold it together, have a breather. ‘Did you hear about the cyclist at Bank?’ She asked me if it would upset her. I told her it would. I told her. That is when I broke. It had been building. Covering my mouth so that she would not hear me sob. She said my name a few times but I could not contain the sounds. It was pathetic, but so weary was I, so exhausted, shattered, so drained by life that I could not help it. Just that comforting mother voice on the other end of the line; too many miles away; carried in a thin crackle. ‘She was twenty-six!’ I cried. The horrors of life were catching up with me. She sighed.
L— was due to attend the gig with me, as well as a friend from work and his wife. She had not forgiven me for offering her ticket to another gig to a friend after she broke up with me. Now she was not talking to me, I went alone with my friend and his wife. My friend had liked L— and spoke fondly of her, so I politely asked he cease. Although I could not afford it, I paid for both tickets. There was an empty seat next to me. It was a good evening and I became drunk and stood up and danced. I was in good spirits, despite regarding all the couples in the crowd with a mix of contempt and envy. Often I would be distracted by them and lose myself for a moment or two. Then the band played a song that brought with it many memories; I walked down the street from my flat, listening to it, getting my thoughts in order, thinking of her, trying to understand where everything went wrong, as the trumpet in the song brought me along with strength in my stride. The song had comforted as much as any other during those early mornings on my way to work. With a lean to my friend—‘I love this song, man… when L— broke up with me, I listened to this song every single fuckin mornin on my way to work. Every fuckin mornin.’ I swayed to the song and thought of L— and the end of L—.
Now it occurs to me that I may have wasted a portion of my life with her, and sadness follows. Sadness follows that it did not work out between she & I. When, wondering, will I stop thinking of her, pining for her? When, wondering, will I stop seeing her at the end of the sofa while I am upon it, reading, at the close of the day? Sadness follows.

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