Monday, July 20

So, That’s That

I’VE WRITTEN BEFORE of my interest in an old school friend, Jimmy Lee; an interest that borders on obsession; walking down a harmless street, I often think that I’ve seen him, and stop to pause, only to realise that it could not possibly have been him; no, it has been twenty years since I saw him and people change so much; especially during those formative years when their bones are shifting and hair is becoming all over their bodies. Sometimes I see a great ordnance map with him represented by a red dot and I by a red dot and I imagine how close we get together before we miss each other.
So it is with L— these days. Where is she and how close is she to me? Not that I wish to bump into her—‘O, hello!’—or that I wish nothing more to see her again, no, it is because I find it interesting, these chances, the opportunities, and how they amount to nothing more than frivolous thoughts. A lot of my walks are punctured with—‘Was that…?’ but I never find out whether it was.
Although today, this soft, warm city day when the rain came after a hot weekend and the grey was frightening, I knew exactly where L— was: she was coming to collect her belongings.
It had become detrimental to me to hold on to her belongings. All the time I came across them I had cursed myself and wished to throw them away. (There was a dress at the bottom of my laundry basket: its only memory is when we had spent the day down the pub and when we arrived home she showed me that she was not wearing any underwear and she went down on me; I filmed it, her superb cunt all bald & naked all day and then I came great amounts into her mouth and it all ran out of her mouth down the multicoloured penis I kept for special occasions. Indeed, discovering that dress was a nuisance to me. )
I was glad to get rid of everything.
All of her belongings I took to work in a tote bag she had bought from a shop down Museum St – and I remember that day vividly, too! (That had been a good day, back when I was with her and I bought some books, she bought some books, all was all right.) She would collect them from work; it was no bother, although heavy was the bag and my tremors excited themselves at the weight so that I almost dropped my cup of coffee. After a week of hospital visits and sickness (none of which I was around for, when before I had been, trying to care as best I could, to look after, to put myself second, and so forth), she contacted me saying that she had the day off and would pick them up, all of her belongings she had wanted, but that our impromptu parting had prevented any such exchange. She had only a comic or two of mine, and whether I saw them again was irrelevant in the scheme of things.
I told her—‘Text me when you’re five minutes away.’ For one reason or another, neither of us wanted to see the other. I took the bag to the building’s reception, the tote bag; it seemed heavier. As I went down in the elevator, I felt uncomfortable enough so that lumps collected in my throat, became neighbours and shared milk & sugar.
So this is it, I thought.
The security desk—‘Is it okay if I just leave this here for a minute? My mate’ll be along any second now to pick it up.’
‘Yeah, sure… Does he know it’s here?’
At my desk I could barely concentrate on my work, I knew that L— was closer to me than she had been in some time, a long time, too long for me to count, but sad enough in its length that it overcame me. Is she in the building now? … What about now?
After some time, she text me—‘just wanted to say thank you. really appreciate it.’
So this was it, I thought—‘no worries. take care now.’
If she was gone from the building then it was safe — safe enough — for me to go out on my walk. Doing so, I attempted to listen to cheerful music, but eventually drifted into the sombre songs again. I took my usual route, up Gresham St, and then on to London Wall. I was terrified of seeing her, though I could not think why. I grazed the hospital we had visited together, where she gave me such a spectacular compliment (no longer relevant) that I lost my place in the universe for a moment because I had a much better place elsewhere. That compliment! Ah, but those hospital walls, all tall & forceful, did not spare a thought for me. She had messaged me, I saw it—
‘had no idea where those trousers were, I thought they were lost in the ether. take care yourself. it’s a jungle out there. I love you x’
She loves me?
I broke down crying as I walked along the path. It was again that pain – I suppose you know – when your throat and your cheeks hurt and one struggles to swallow. She loves me! She does not hate me, and all is okay. It was all over. I know it’s over. God knows it’s over. We have not ended as enemies, but as broken lovers, sacred over our time together. I walked along weeping but strangely happy. When I returned to the office I was covered in sweat from the clutter of the streets.
I paused before my reply—
‘thank you for teaching me how to love. you will always occupy a part of my heart & I don’t want that to change. I hope you find health & happiness, really I do. if you ever, ever need me for whatever reason, let me know. I love you, eddie x’
I had thought a long time before typing that last sentence; although it was as true as anything, for me to admit seemed hectic, it seemed a declaration of weakness, or a submission of something or other. But, yes, I meant it, I meant every word as though it were a mile long. I was glad I told her I love her, the only girl who had truly earned its utterance.
She came back quickly—‘likewise, miller. I hope your move went well and that you make even better memories in your new place. be well. I’ll let you know when I’ve made my r2 museum quality model x’
It ended with an in-joke, something only she & I would understand, and I suppose that that is how it was: for a brief moment in our respective lives, we were all the other understood. All we had was each other and, for better or worse, we could not undo it, but remove the bad moments and live upon the good, for to live spectacularly is to be with someone you love. And, o, how I loved her. She did indeed teach me to love, to love truly, and nothing can take that away from her or from me. I could not be happier or more thankful for the good times we spent in each other’s company.
‘So, that’s that,’ I wrote to my mother. ‘So, that’s that.’

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