Monday, November 30

‘I Wasted Time When I Looked For Them’

ONE OF THE things I miss most about being in love is having sex sober. It is difficult for me to recall what it is like to lay with a young lady is state of sobriety, to feel about her with keenness, alert to every tremble, to have her body clench me and not a bit of it blighted by alcohol’s fuzziness. It is beyond me to fuck sober, at least nowadays it is so. Even when on the receiving end of some wandering tongue, I drift off to somewhere else, to when I was with someone I loved. Catching myself in my reverie I try to duck out of it, as though I owe it a fare, yet already it is victorious; it has disturbed the moment and ruined everything. She has my hand and is putting it into her hair. I am elsewhere. It is not her fault; she is lovely, although I am staring at the ceiling and I am somewhere else.
Things are getting worse, something I wish were not true, and slowly my descent continues. Life, as it goes on without my wish, weighs heavy on me. I sense that I am returning to an older version of myself, a version I do not like nor approve of, a version of myself I would not invite to a birthday party. Nightmares torment me constantly, and now I no longer have to wait until I am asleep for them to hound my weakened state of mind. Throughout the day nightmares approach my vision. This morning I was walking to work – a Monday morning, all grey and deathly – when, against my efforts, a nightmare appeared; I kept thinking it, on and on, and was horrified at the things my mind came up with. The things my mind threw at me! Am I not a human being? I hung my head. All I do these days is hang my head. It is not all my fault, surely not! The yeah-yeah-yeah, the coming and going of people, rushing that way and this, colliding, brushing shoulders, tall people wearing raincoats and the wind – always the wind, element of the damned – blowing so furiously that it almost tore the buildings down. It seems to me that the sun does not quite rise, but peers half-heartedly over the horizon before going to South America, where the trees sing and the skin is a finer colour. Avoiding the puddles, I long for the sun. I long for so much. I do not know where to begin or where I want to end.
At the christening of my niece I was approached by one of my brother’s friends. He has been known to the family for years; I even remember him on our way to my childhood home, cramped in the backseat through Eight Ash Green, in my mother’s car, where we would have a game of football in the rain. His life is very different now (‘It’s very strange,’ says my father—‘to see all these lads with families now after going to watch them play football on a Sunday morning as kids themselves!’) ‘You wanna drink?’ he asks me. I tell him yes please. He comes back and we converse. He stands very close to me, very close, so that I am uncomfortable; I did not have acne when we first knew each other. He asks me many questions about my life and I about his: his wife, his child, his marriage. He is envious about my living in the city—‘Sometimes I wish I were like you, y’know, livin’ in the city and goin’ out all the time n’ that.’ I smiled at him. He was very close, seeing all the crooked teeth of my smile, the stains, the scars on my skin, the silliness in my muscles—‘Don’t you chicken curry,’ I said—‘there are people in the city who wish they were livin’ in the sticks with a wife an a kid. You’re doin’ all right.’

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