Monday, October 26

Locum Tenens


SO LOOSELY I HANG on to a memory that, mountainous, rises up above all the unhappiness at the time. Today is the sell-by date of that memory; I must use it up or let it rot. That was the last time I remember being truly happy with her. That is a tremendous sentence, because her and happiness are things that I miss terribly; although one lays dead and the other dying.
The past week I have been going over old writings, stretching back a year, spaced out by a few days. A friend recently asked why I wrote so little during my relationship, to which I replied—‘It was either I stayed up late and wrote, or I went to bed at the same time as her. That was a very easy decision to make.’ It is onerous to read through my writing from a year ago, as much as it would be for anyone to revisit times very different to that which they live in at the moment of recollection. A year is a long time. I can count up to three-hundred-and-sixty-five. What startles me – and is something distorted by my rose-coloured glasses, so to speak – is how unhappy I was back then, with life, her and our relationship. My pieces from back then are fraught with complaint and cheerlessness; not of an accusing kind, but of a helpless kind. To the bitter end, right until that Sunday night sofa conversation, I was sure that things would get better; she would recover from her friend’s death, her illness would be healed, and she would fall in love with me again.
It was not to be.
The purpose of my writing has always been somewhat locum tenens. Because there is no one for me to properly confide in, I turn to the written word. This has always been the case. I doubt one could spend much time tracking my interest in writing to the beginning of secondary school when I was severely bullied. It is a bad habit, perhaps, because only here do I sling down my innermost thoughts, and, even then, many are withheld. When I should have told her things, I did not. It was to be my undoing.
I am alone now. My flat is very dark because I do not like having the lights on.
My journal entries from a year ago are full of unhappiness. It was quite a relief, however, to discover that my piece on a night exactly a year ago is one sliver of happiness that stands out. I remember that night, that Sunday. Some days are forever in one’s memory; unshackled, they linger because of the unfathomable happiness one experienced.
That was our Sunday in Brighton.
It is because We felt new again. ‘We’ spelled with a capital W as We. I could not measure how happy I was with her. If I could live that evening forever it would surely be heaven. But, alas, it is not so. That moment is gone, that time is gone, life continues, things end, everything decays, I try to remember and try to smile.
It is trying to smile that I remember her. I have only cause to remember her, but no capacity to know her. As she is now is not who I loved; that bird is flown. I knew a girl who I was in love with a year ago and now she is dead. There are memories, nostalgia, there are fragments of my life that I would not tear up and discard for the money in the world. Yes, there was much sadness and hard times, but there was terrific happiness, the likes of which are not experienced often in life. Although that is it: ‘was’ the past principle of ‘be’. That is gone now. It was not to be.
So I remember and I write. There is little else for me to do.

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