Intimacy at sea

Friday, 16 November 2012

SHE IS A MOUSE in his trouser pocket, snuffling around. Hearing echoes of footsteps trouncing up the gangplank, overheard conversations muffled by cotton lining and big city grime. The 5pm East by West ferry is departing on time.

-- "I love the way you see the world," he laughs at her once back on the telephone line. "A mouse indeed!"

The same merry amusement as upon discovering she likes to dress up cowgirl - boots, denim skirt, flannel shirt, horse head belt buckle with an old metal toy cap gun slung into her belt.

-- "You go out in public like that?"
-- "Of course."

A pause.

-- "Are you okay?"
-- "Yes.
    ...I just wanted to hear a friendly voice."

-- "Oh yeah?"
-- "Of someone special. Stop fishing for compliments. You know that's you."

-- "Uh-huh."
-- "Who doesn't judge me."

-- "Talking to you opens my mind, girl."
-- "Have you departed the shore now?"

-- "Yes."
-- "Goody. Keep a watch out for dolphins for me. If they appear, you could swim home with them. Even if just in your mind.
    ...So, how are you?"

He is, as always, busy. Busy being ridiculously good at whatever it is that he does.

-- "We haven't hung out for ages. Is it time for a weekend adventure with you, Ms P. and me?"

She loved his freakishly stunning Amazon-legged girlfriend of eons, because he did. That simple.

-- "Yes! I miss you. And I want to rub your belly, to see how it feels, your little guest."
-- "Ha, ha. Are the dolphins there yet? I've been feeding the fish too. But it's okay. I'm over that now."

-- "A grand adventure it is then. I'll check my diary as soon as I get home and text you. I'm going to lose reception soon."
-- "Surely swarthy sea dogs don't need cellphones. They have Morse code, semaphore, talking parrots on their shoulders and hooks."

-- "Hooks?"
-- "And probably warm wenches below deck with ruddy and inviting thighs... do you think there's any real pirates in Eastbourne?"

-- "Anything's possible. But I know one thing for sure."
-- "What's that?"

-- "That there's a mouse on this ship, snuffling about."


Friday, 1 June 2012

WE MEET. NOT FOR the first time. I watch you considering me, wondering still, after all these years, where you begin and I might end. The lines on my face may tell a story, but the look on yours says more.

Wherever you go, you are there. So am I. I am the first to avert from our reflective gaze. Because I am of age, as my face honestly purports, and wise enough now to know how we feel without need to see your expression.

We are one. The mirror agrees.

Cuckoo's nest

Thursday, 16 February 2012

I wake from another poor excuse wrestling with the padded white, and by now entirely sodden, restraints of once starched hospital-grade sheets.

Hello, yes, that acrid invasion is indeed wafting from me. A staunch and sweaty stench to sucker-punch Chuck Norris and then some. How the hell anyone can slumber fitfully in this place saturated in craziness is beyond me. Yes, it’s clean as a shiny new whistle, the warden insists on that, and I appreciate it. It’s materially comfortable and the food’s pretty good, but am I really to wholly recover stuck here in this loony bin? The revival odds, I fear, I'm losing faith in. I'm living a lie someone else told, or so my self-appointed publicist says. So sometimes I pretend, mostly to myself, that I'm just another troubled rock star doing mandatory rehab.

—- Lord, give me some sanity, please!

I'm forever hopeful.

Amy’s delirious screams from the next room are heightening in decibel as I lie here, demolishing any loaded silence that could ever exist. I’ll go and comfort her in a second, just as soon as my head clears enough to stand up and function. Clear head... that’s a silly bloody notion, I really can’t remember—-you know what? Sometimes I wonder if good old shock treatment wouldn’t be better. Short, sharp and to the point. Maybe then I could forget all that it pains to recall. Life would be simpler after that.

Right now I pitifully exist in this manic routined haze, the same basic experience over and over, week after week. All the while daydreaming uselessly about something else. These rituals are designed to make me feel secure in a mad mad world, but it’s... predictable drudge with the odd difficult drama thrown in (mental note, haha, don't loiter round the ablutions block or eventually someone will fuck you).

My pal Tom, he’ll be wandering around here anytime soon, looking for a manly chat. About stuff that doesn't really matter, because the important stuff, hell no, we don't talk about that. He has nothing much else to do either, but yearn for his next drink or his next life or whatever. He’s one that's into killing himself slowly I reckon, because he don’t have the courage to do it any quicker. Poor sod. 

Sometimes I wonder if it’s ever going to get better, what's my long-term prognosis? Will I ever be released from this berserk hole? I don't belong here, I deserve better than this, don't I?! I'm not like the others... or is this my lot for the next 20, 30, 40 years? Someone tell me, tell me please, that there’s a good behaviour bond for adhering to... well fuck, I dunno... to doing what’s expected I guess.

-— Yes, Amy darlin’, I’m coming.

She gives me the will to get out of bed. Far better than dwelling here darkly on my back feeling lost.

-— Stanley! Your daughter is screaming. Are you intending to go to her anytime soon?

The warden. I love my wife, I really do. But when the clouds do part on occasion, just momentarily, I can glimpse her confused understanding between the two; of motivation and manipulation. And not just her — I don’t blame her, cripes, it’s everywhere. She maneuvers and I deceive, the game we've learned to play together. Everybody seems desperate to gain control... of our own and others' minds... of all sorts of things. As if it will make us feel better. But it's the best we know for now.

-— Amy, sweetheart. Good morning!
-— Hey, honey. Good morning.

Kisses all round for both my girls. And the rich smell of fresh coffee to awaken a man for the start of another working day. I'll make my fame and fortune yet.

-— And good morning Tom! How’s the head? Glad you didn’t drive home last night, you were somewhat wrecked.

Yes, the more I think about it, the more I see. This world is a massive mental institution. And that acrid smell — I’m realising, it ‘aint coming just from me. I’m surrounded by it. And it's got me to wondering, maybe... could it be... what fear smells like?

(Inspired by something Don Miguel Ruiz said)

Jane Austen becomes seduced

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Romeo has been entering by way of the window at all hours, and dare I confess to having been so encouraging of it. One should never deem to entertain thoughts of opening arms to such a creature, don't I beseech it. The obvious Lothario that he is, indeed, a professional an artiste of seduction as you could ever meet. To share or compete for an object of the male species is pure madness, it is without demonstrable self-respect, as all eventualities will be what the ego and wisdom (or lack thereof) justly deserves. This being so, I am in deep quandary.

I cannot but declare to being an utter fool. Knowing for a fact as I do that he frequents not merely at Number Two, but half or more of the ladies of the street in its entirety, and who knows whom else beyond, in lobbying for their sweetest caresses. So incredulous is he, such that he does not possess the decorum of mind to even attempt in hiding his true Casanovarian nature. Nay, instead he slinks and winds himself about me as we stroll of an afternoon, it can but be said, with the vivacity of a common gigolo.

And I duly swoon. Putting up defences no more than a warmly inviting smile, beckoning coo and becoming embrace. He winks languidly at me, purring in my arms all the while with manly pride during our brief snatched moments of intimacy, before I, with a heavy heart, doth relinquish him to another. For although I have not personally sighted her, I know they reside together in apparent, yet clearly false, propriety at Number Five. I beg, if her ladyship had any good sense at all, alongside the engraved address on his feline collar, she’d place also a warning bell for birds.

Old sweethearts

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Tomorrow painters arrive dabbing brushes, rolling awakening around my home. Builders will renovate, reconbobulate, titivate... leaving plumbers to tap into the goings on. While the garden fairies (or are they gnomes?) weed and plant evermore evergreen and flowery flourishes.

Then they will come. Discussing the merits of location, and romancing themselves with thoughts of days of old, just as I myself have done. The auctioneer will bang his little hammer in excitement (is there any other way?) Soon after, me and my tiny part in her history will be gone.

I have loved this grand lady from long before we lived together. Dreaming in her, about her - and although she was never really mine - making each other our own. She is calming, enlightening and creative, wrapping me up and sending me out into the world... to always embrace me back in again.

Yes, I will miss her dear old woody heart, her colourful spirit. It's from within these walls the last two years I've become more of who I really am. May it be a long hot last summer, just me and her. And when I close her door for the very last time, somewhere, another shall open.