Monday, September 14

Gradual Ascension

RECENTLY I HAVE BEEN somewhat at a loss for words, at a loss for these words that I put down here; not specifically these words that your eyes pass across now, but the written retreat I take every night. It is no matter, I suppose. Words are not such a big deal. I don’t know the extent to which some events damage me, nor, in the interest of trying to improve and retain my mind, do I attempt to measure that extent. It is true that some things cause me to spiral. Perhaps last Tuesday was one such event. The following few nights I sought to chase them away. Even if I knew my actions were unhealthy, I saw them through.
I was angry and could not do it sober, but when she went to the toilet, I necked a large drink in the middle of many others. The memory fades on me, but I did my job and she hers; unpleasant; my blood on the sheets, seashells of tissue on the floor and dead jellyfish about the rug next to my bed. I could not remember her leaving, but the next day the hangover drove me into a hole. Down the pub again in the evening; friend’s birthday; rainclouds; she asked me—‘I was kinda expectin you to invite me over tonight.’
‘Nah, sorry. I just want to be by myself, get some sleep… I’m shattered.’
She groaned and walked away. A small stranger, a man of five-feet, approached me—‘She really likes you.’ I smiled and let him be.
Very often I have bad thoughts, but I cannot help them. It is as though if my mind is inactive for too long it gets pins & needles; small, cold, sharp pains all over; dainty thoughts that prick my comfort and cause me to shake my head. I cannot think them, so I try my best not to. Being alone is difficult.
On Saturday I ached all over and felt quite lonely. Asking my friend whether he wanted to go for a drink, I joined him south of the river: he, his partner, and his friend. We watched the football and became drunk, refused food, ordered round after round, racing our pints in that silent way that men do. It was all laughter. At first I was nervous but after the first few drinks I settled down. I became good, very good; just the four of us; I was very happy. We watched boxing on the television, then a man came with a guitar and we all sung along & danced. Time passed. We played games. We won. Over & over I cheered and we, the winning team, cheered. ‘Line us up another round, man, it’s your shout.’ For the first time in a long while I was drinking out of enjoyment, not because of any predetermined plan to forget or to get drunk; and that is most wonderful to me yet most dangerous to my wallet. I spied a woman I liked; a woman, the good side of thirty. She wore a thin, tight blue & green dress that dripped over her figure and plunged down her small breasts. She danced to the man with the guitar; she was the tip of a flute. Without a moment’s pause I strode up to her, fingered her to my mouth and said—‘Mate, you can fuckin move. Keep it up.’ She smiled at me, twirled and continued as I rejoined my friends. Then I stood there, stealing looks at her. Every time our eyes met she burst into this beautiful fit of laughter, holding her hand to her mouth, taking a sip of her drink then continuing to dance. She probably thought me foolish, a drunken nonsense, but it was all there, watching her sway to the guitar.
I caught the last tube home. From south to east; back in the east; back to where the sun first lands in London. I decided I would take Sunday easy, abstain from drink. In the evening the thirst came back. Staying sober was difficult, yes, all the thoughts returning and nothing to distract me. I prepared a couple of salads. There is a moment in the evening, around half-six, when the sun glances the side of the building opposite in just the right way, sending it up in orange and red hues as if the walls are parading as the sky itself. That was enough, and in bed I was so exhausted that I did not need a single of sip of the red wine that was next to me, already open, waiting but disappointed, as I draped my eyelids over the day and went, unwillingly, toward the nightmares.

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