Sunday, February 5

Like A Kind Of Rainbow

It was a small lie; mostly it was true; I am happy being single – perhaps even alone. At this age, after the amount of social exclusion I have experienced during my life, I am used to being alone, being single. It was inaccurate of me, however, to state that I was ‘happy’ being single; ‘content’ would have been a more choice word, but I did not have a dictionary present and the moment was gone. ‘Happy’ is a big word, which made the declaration a small lie. They pressed me further—‘How’s your love-life?’ I told them there wasn’t really a love-life to speak of, but that someone had visited the other night, arriving at half-eleven and they knew what that meant. ‘Is it love or casual?’ ‘I suppose it’s casual, but I haven’t seen her in a long time, so it was good to catch up.’ They were both sixteen years my senior and took, apparently, a keen interest in my follies.
I had nothing planned besides a warm body to spoon against in my cold bed—‘Why don’t you have the heating on?’ she asked. ‘I don’t like using fossil fuels,’ I said—‘and I get too hot, so I’d rather be too cold.’ We drank wine until two and then brushed our teeth together. She told me about her work, tried to get me to talk, but really I was just satisfied listening to her. It was late; I was tired; I had only the energy for listening. When we got into bed she asked that I undo her choker. As I fumbled with the clasp, she pulled me out and kissed with her tongue. I could not undo the choker, my fingers shaking, but a half hour later I snapped it from her neck. Yes, I wanted love and the silly things that become memory around another human being, but I was content being single.
Friday night I became drunker than I have been in a long time. The booze ran away with me and, in the L— Basin, I forgot myself. During a moment of realisation that I was alone, that my friends had gone, I stumbled out into the streets. Where was I? The main road was up there somewhere, I was sure, but how to get to it. I thought that if I did not find myself away from the dark streets soon then I would certainly be robbed, especially as I was so drunkenly defenseless – not that I would raise much of a fight otherwise, but it is a benefit in such situations to at least be sober. Finally, I hailed a cab; I did not put on my seatbelt, but spoke nonsense all the way home and tipped him as befitting someone who must put up with a drunk like me.
All of my memory disappeared. ‘It’s not that your brain forgets, it’s that it doesn’t even bother taking it in.’ My brain had been the pinnacle of laziness. In bed I saw the time and that I had missed an engagement by almost two hours. I was due to watch get breakfast and watch the football down in South London. By the time I got to the pub the game had finished and we walked elsewhere. The day was heating up from the morning and only a trace of the clouds remained. Cigarettes tasted foul, my mouth like death. In London the small areas add up, small areas differing in name and environment, they all cluster close together, each a stone’s throw apart. ‘We can’t go in there! We’ll get the shit kicked out of us!’ ‘Just keep your head down, we’ll be fine.’ Along quiet roads we walked and wound up in a pub with the lights off, the stale smell of damp wood, the sound of rugby on the television. It is quite something to drink in a pub during the day when there is nothing else to do. We watched people going into church, drank a few beers. I had to lean on the table at times. When they spoke of their respective lives, of sofa shopping and play-dates, I had to exclaim—‘Fucking hell, this is depressing!’ ‘I’ve just had that wall done! It’s all smooth, looks lovely, and I ain’t gonna have her old man going at it with a hammer and nail. It needs a drill. I’ll do it tomorrow.’ The sun went down and we were in another bar as it started to get busy with young people beginning their night. ‘Let’s make this the last one. Leave before all the divs come out.’ We walked back in the middle of the road, talked and laugh; just my old friend and I. ‘We were work colleagues, but we are friends now,’ he told me, and I agreed, wholeheartedly. It was always a delight to see him, and he had made me laugh so much that I had tears running down my face. As hungover as I was, I did not think I would laugh that much, but I did. I rode the light railway home and felt the dreams of exhaustion playing with my mind. They had both gone back to people they loved, but what about me? Hm, I laid down and ate some cereal. There were no painkillers left in my flat. I put the heating on and did not think about fossil fuels. The heating warmed my bed up. It was all right.

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