Thursday, October 1

Marquee

THIS HERE IS wedding weather. The month of September – gone now, but in the past, thirty days strong – reminds me of weddings. My cousins always got married in September. All other weddings I have attended pale compared to those that have been in the month of September; that month of cooling & descent. My blood is too thick for hot weather, thus a wedding in one of the deep summer months, when all is steamy and I am wearing a suit, is terribly uncomfortable. No, give me a wedding in September, when the fields of my country youth are being filled with blackberries. Give me a tanned bridesmaid’s shoulders and top buttons undone and drunk men smoking outside the rented marquee. Give me weddings in wedding weather.
There are people wearing coats already, too eager to fend off winter, the dead leaves, the cold, but there is no cold! The sun beats down, weakened, yes, its curve slightly flatter, but I am made for this weather. September is a joy to me. It is one of my favourite months. My arms still have colour. Walks at lunchtime are enjoyable, and I have only to lift my elbows in the air, like so, and that autumnal breeze cools me down. (
In my first year of university I was accommodated in a temporary building on the edge of the site. Of the whole campus, it was my room that was closest to the motorway; that churn of the A1. On my second night, while pulling the window closed, the mechanism locked, warped and then bent. I sighed and moved away from it. The building was a hangover, a refuge doomed for demolition years ago, somehow, having survived, it nurtured a community unrivalled within the establishment. I was too lazy to call the housing board, so for the first couple of weeks I slept like that, with the window wide open, my bed perpendicular, a cold twilight gasping in and washing over me every night, the duvet pulled up to my chin. I didn’t draw the curtains back then, but gazed up, when I couldn’t sleep (often, as I found it difficult being away from home, and not fitting in, etc, so night-time was a good time to reflect, to soak up the sorrows and, drunk, try to keep my advances in order). The houses just yonder gave a small glow, the town a bigger glow, and the A1 artery a bigger glow yet. The carriageway always a low hum, a swish of heavy proportions, a sound that offered strange comfort to me, even in the mornings, still present, when I would awake, frozen all over.)

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