Wednesday, December 19

My Mother’s Words

The streets are so busy here and throughout them I skim and dodge. The brushing of one soul against another is an abrasion, a brief exclamation of contact, and at times I recoil and yet others I hold fast. And so, it is perhaps inevitable that I compare myself to them. Why, I walk past so many people every day and the odd encounter will linger in my mind. At times my mind is dull, but others I am in tune, and I notice every single detail of the person coming towards me.
Wedding rings. I notice weddings rings. Gold, that gold, two Olympic swimming pools, I notice the gold. How it glimmers in whatever light makes it down to winter’s pavement. In a moment I imagine the relationship: the know each other, they date each other, they fall in love, they maintain the love, they become engaged, they stay engaged, they get married, they stay married. There are fittings for rings. Rings don’t just fit. Rings have to be fitted. A measurement of the finger and its knuckles must be taken. There would have been many people at the wedding and all of them had lives and maybe they were married too.
Pregnancy is something different, though. It is unfair… I know it’s unfair, women women women, but in my many walks around the city, I observe and regard pregnancy differently. The ladies wear badges. The badges are white and they stand out against the black coats buttoned down for wind. ‘Baby on board.’ Who are these people? I cannot imagine them, not some of them, most of them. So plainly they stride past me with faces tired and an air of bland terror. I cannot imagine them speaking to their partner for the first time. I cannot imagine them flirting or making their feelings clear. I cannot imagine them fucking or drawing blood from a back, cannot imagine them laughing all day, excusing themselves in a restaurant or being delicious animals. I cannot imagine them becoming emotional. And so they drift past me and I judge myself against them, alone, less than.
‘I’ve had a drink… but your brother is a fuckin arsehole.’
‘What’s he done now?’
‘He’s just a fuckin arsehole. The way he is.’
I laughed at my mother’s words as I paced about the flat. She was talking about the relationship my brother has with his wife and how he conducts himself. I told her—
‘Yeah, I sometimes worry about what sort of person I am when others are like the way they fuckin are, and they married and shit.’
‘I don’t get it either.’
The words of my mother. Only my mother. I try not to think about it. One can easily fall into the trap of equating money with success or love with character, but that would be foolish. Sometimes things just happen. I try to remember that. I am not less than them, they are not less than me. I write about it, but this has no purpose. It was all a moment I experienced outside of the supermarket as I rounded the corner. There is no reason to jot it down. Autumn is almost over.

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