Saturday, July 11

A Reflection of Myself in Someone I Lost

THE PARTY IS over. Although I have had the windows open, for a cool breeze to enter the room & for tobacco smoke to leave, I cannot remember hearing the party start. Now it is midnight and the party is over, because I can no longer hear them, up there somewhere, elevated, angled southwest, but high. Distinctly present in the night air was a group of girls around one boy, he telling jokes, and all of them laughing endlessly, this horrible cackling out into the black steam. If not for the heat, one would surely have closed the window against the racket. Still, groups pass by beyond my window – always beyond my window – and they are a long way off from me.
It is not in me to write, not this evening. It is my last Saturday in the flat. Eleven months in this flat, on the sixteenth, she & I moved in on a Saturday. Was it so long ago? yes, it was a lifetime ago, much has changed: you are worse-off.
My parents were having a family gathering at their home for my father’s side: Micks from the city who all went to the coast for a day to get together outside of a funeral or first holy communion. ‘It’s my last weekend in the flat,’ I told my mother on the phone—‘Besides, I have a shitload to do.’
L— attended last year; that, too, seems so long ago.
Today was spent packing away my books, for which I have such affection other than when I am packing them and carrying the weighty boxes to a new flat. I asked the young man in the shop if they had any cardboard boxes I could have—
‘You’re moving?!’
‘Yeah, unfortunately so.’
I was already quite drunk and buying a bottle of wine.
‘You like this wine?’
‘It’s all right, man… it does the job.’
‘It’s the worst thing I’ve ever tasted.’
‘Yeah, it does the job. Just ring it up, please.’
He gave me one box, collapsed & pitiful, and told me to come back Friday afternoon, after the delivery, when there would be lots of boxes. The box he gave me used to have pasta inside. It read—‘Pasta do Semola’ on the side.
The flat (The Flat) slowly becoming empty as things are gathered and placed into cardboard boxes. The boxes obstruct paths, trip me up. On the box is a description of what’s inside. Photographs are removed from the wall, the nails carefully pulled, like baby teeth, and the holes filled. ‘This won’t do!’ says I, in front of my handiwork—‘It’s so obvious that a nail was here!’ Another beer from the fridge, sitting down, staring into space, yet when I return to that spot, I cannot find where the nail was at all; so I smile. On the living room wall are five I have yet to take down: a photograph of me as a toddler with my dog; this photograph of L— & I; a photograph of my mother & grandmother; a nude by Ellen Rogers; and a painting I bought years ago off Brandi Strickland. Around them, shitty stars, are nails that hung other frames from our time together. Still do I contemplate removing the lone photograph of us, that bold reminder, although my aesthetic fondness for it almost exceeds the nostalgic. Suggestively, it remains.
Even now, couples are arriving home, whom, seen through my window, are beheld in an angelic glow, lit up from the bollard lights; ladies stepping carefully over the cobbles (kick kick kick), men clutching coats, bowed heads, talking quietly or chatting loudly – it does not matter. Indeed they walk over their doorway, much like she & I did back then; maybe they make cups of tea, maybe they retire, maybe she bathes the night muck off her, maybe they fuck and he lets into her the syrup of a whole night’s adoration for the shape her thighs shake when she stands up to go to the toilet. I speculate wildly. I sit and stare.
Gradually the flat loses the part of itself that I used to call ‘home’, yet I spend my nights here. There are hotels all about, cheaper, but those walls are not pockmarked with love. They have room service. Long ago this place began to lose its sense of home, most likely that night she left, when I was down the pub with my friend because it would be easier that way; for I returned drunk and spoke to my mother on the phone, because it was back to her being the only woman in my life. These days the walls become bare, the floor becomes bare, the furniture becomes bare, finally the room becomes bare; it is as though we are moving in over again, only it is just I, fumbling and struggling with the rent.

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