Thursday, October 22

Nine Days

NINE DAYS. NINE days that have gone quickly but have contained so much. Nine days ago I came home quite drunk after an evening out with my father; a night spontaneous and longer than expected. We sat in the cold, he a glass of white wine, me a beer, a Tuesday evening, and the moment when he reached out, squeezed my hand and said—‘This is lovely, isn’t it?’ Just me and he. So overcome with emotion was I that I struggled to finish recounting what I had been learning about chimera. Quite drunk, I came home and stumbled about, eating terrible food and topping it off with a glass of red wine, when I saw something I should not have seen. It was not the right time – my ex kissing another man. For some reason it struck me squarely, and, weakened by drink, I was overcome. My mind went off on one, presenting me with images and dreams, horrific and upsetting. I began to weep uncontrollably. Weeping became sobbing became those dry wretches one suffers when crying like the most distressed child! (I will not write about her) but I put my forehead against the cold window and let it out, my silly body convulsing in sorrow with every sob. Life seemed so miserable to me. I began saying to myself—‘Things’ll get better.’ I said it aloud, over and again—‘Things’ll get better. Things’ll get better. They’ll get better. Things’ll get better. Don’t do anything stupid. She’s not worth it. No-one is worth it. Don’t do anything stupid. Don’t do anything stupid. Things’ll get better, I swear they will. Things’ll get better.’ I lay down on my rotten rented leather sofa and sobbed. The leather – fake and cracking – was cool. My tears fell on it. Any pedestrians past my door must have thought me dying, so loudly was I howling; drunk and pathetic. The next day would have been her birthday. I had many memories of that. Each memory was a source of great pain. I curled up in bed, reciting my line—‘Things’ll get better.’ The bed was cool, too. O, it was a rotten night.
That was nine days ago.
Since then a friendship blossomed and died. Or perhaps, in the noose of autumn, it did not properly blossom because it was not destined to be a friendship. She was a fantastic young woman, a spectacular example of wonder in human form. She was as beautiful as she was enrapturing. Instantly I fell for her, instantly I forgot about my ex. The circle began: she made me forget about my ex, she became more attractive, so she made me forget further still, so she became more attractive. Not since my ex in her prime have I met someone so beautiful, so inspiring, so delicious and fun, so wonderful and exciting, as something that life should imitate. She was who I had been looking for, someone to reaffirm my affection for life. All of the blanks I had drawn at night when sat before my keyboard evaporated and I was filled with the influence and love for writing I had forgotten!
So, hello again, life!
But, o, she had a boyfriend, and, o, she was not interested in me. She did not like how I wrote about her—‘You made me sound manipulative.’ When I met her, she would talk about how badly I had portrayed her. She could not understand why I wrote about her. In the end, she stepped away from me. It was ridiculous of me to have written about her when she could read it, ridiculous of me to want her when she is in a happy relationship. Have I not learned anything? Am I still such an infant when it comes to matters of the heart? Yes, I am, it is possible. We met for the first time a week ago, now she does not speak to me.
‘My boyfriend suggested I stop talking to you,’ she told me—‘But I feel you’re sad and lonely, and I imagine that’s an awful two things to be.’ Ah, if I had felt bad before, now I was rotten! Pity! Sympathy! I did not want either. Neither lasted long—
‘I don’t like the way you write about me.’
‘Which way is that?’ I asked.
‘Well, you made me sound manipulative and I generally didn’t come across well.’
‘Okay.’ I did not know what else to add. I wrote about her as I remembered her; not once did I wish to make her appear negatively. Out of my writings she picked the negatives she wished to emphasise, to interrogate, missing the great regard in which I held her, the lust that tore through me. It was sad she did not like me writing about her, because, for the first time in months, I was full of words and they were all her fault, so that I wished to write about nothing nor no-one else.
‘Just stop talking to me. I can’t help you.’ Her words hurt.
‘I was not expecting you to. Okay.’
And that’s that.
But nine days! The rise and fall. I had held on. I would pick myself up. I was better off than I had been nine days ago. It is all a comedy anyway, all this single-handed romance.

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