Sunday, September 20


IN THE EVENINGS I listen to jazz because it causes me to feel like a Salinger character – preferably Franny – and I am able to imagine I am not in London anymore.
It is not always that I wish to leave London, only sometimes. Indeed I often walk down the streets believing that the city is mine; mine alone, no one else’s, ruler over all, the king of this grey city; however, occasionally there is nothing I would like more than to leave it and all of the memories that line its streets like lampposts. I was born here, raised elsewhere, I have returned and I expect I will die here, too. I will not run from it. I love this city, even if for the jazz of my evenings and my flights of fancy.
I am a damaged man, a ruined man, but optimistic. The blows continue to fall, while I think—Things will get better, they will. Wait patiently. Things will get better. I will completely forget about her one day and nothing will be more glorious. I cannot wait to never think about her again.
It was half-four in the afternoon when I finally left my flat. I stopped at a café for something to eat (out of nowhere, like a smack, coffee sickness). During the week the city is prowled by people, separate & distant, by themselves; but at the weekend most of those who walk around are couples, attached by hands or hips or shoulders or that unmistakable link in the distance between two people as one of them pauses to gaze upon some article in a shop window. Everywhere was busier than I had seen it for a long time. Many groups of tourists, all handling the cameras hung around their necks (& with them one of the most truly beautiful women I have seen in my entire life, looking where a guide was pointing, her face against the disturbed pub & traffic-lights, a Venetian goddess; steal me away; I dream!) A couple of miles to an art bookshop; no money with which to buy anything, but getting out of the flat would be good for me.
There was a word I had forgotten that I spotted on the spine of a book: loom. What a word, I thought! How could I have forgotten that word? At first, I thought of ‘bloom’ with the ‘b’ missing. The word took a long time to come off my tongue. Loom. It was a word that started down in the guts and rose up slowly. A device for weaving thread into fabric. To appear menacingly. What a word, and that it should appear to me, then! I did not buy the book – even for its magnificent title – and walked back home. Five miles. It was something to do.
I arrived home and, though it was not late, the room was very dark. Autumn is quickly closing in. The smell in the air reminds me of university. I cannot explain the smell of the air, but perhaps you know it: recently dead leaves, cold sunshine, change, and the damp as it evaporates every morning.
So it is again that I am haunted by memory; that is all my life has become. I wish to escape them but I do not know when I will. See, it even pesters my writing so that I can think of nothing either substantial or interesting to write about! Imagine my life, if you will, where there is no joy, just the endless recollection of better times, when I was in love rather than trouble.
Things will get better.
Yes, things will get better, I think, from my third floor flat, looking down at the two-thirty couples coming home from a night out, talking & laughing (echoing off walls), but they do not know I am looking, and that is good enough for me.

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