I missed your birthday. Happy Birthday. Please don’t reply saying “it’s fine, silly”, or “yeah, you prick”. Not because I don’t want your reply, I’d treasure that more than life itself, but I’m trying not to exist. Thanks. X
I’m fucking shit at poetry (and almost all forms of art, most would say), so I offer you all ten British Pounds to the person who can provide the best response in the comments section – the ideal would be in a metrical pattern consisting of four lines of unrhymed iambic pentameter …
She was the ultimate, unreliable narrator. Her words were a compromised version of credibility, even to her own ears. In the silent space that occupied the ever-growing void between her own voice and her friend’s supportive responses, she would inwardly chastise herself for uttering such obvious untruths.
In time, her circle of friends became one of passing acquaintances. Then, even that sphere shrank to the size of a little-white lie. Now, she reclines alone upon her little-white-bottle-strewn bed.
She thinks of the myriad of moments where she recognised “the feeling”, when she chose not to instruct herself to shuffle away from the precipice.
Now, as the selfish narrator of her own story, she tells herself the ultimate jet-black lie: a bodiless whisper to herself in the darkening room – “Jump, I’ll catch you.”
I should have written a novel about her at the time, or a short story at least, kept a diary maybe. A scant-few weeks have elapsed, but already I can sense my mind reaching out for the detail of the past with manipulative hands, twisting the truth with between my fingers to fit a narrative. If I take my pen to paper, I am not convinced that what happened then would be as I document now. It is an immaterial thought; for my hand is not steady enough to write.
I look down into my shot-glass, positioning myself direct above the rim so it forms a perfect circle against the dark-stained wood of the bar. This circle is today, not the past. It is absolute in form, with no distortion of perspective, no aberration in colour, no lies told that I cannot correct with an informed shift in point of view – this is no selective memory, yet. I drain my drink and order several more – I lose count long before I run out of cash -but with each refreshed glass I make sure I look down upon that circle: to remember.
Alex can see I am a mess and like any good bartender she asks after me, the concern on her face genuine, for I am a regular now and we have become familiar of late. I don’t tell Alex about the shit going on my life, because then she would be no different to the others that show interest, be it society-required faux-concern, or genuine. Every conversation with Alex would be stilted and short, progressing in the same way – “how are you holding up?”, “it must be so tough”, “I can’t imagine what you are going through.”
I want Alex to remain my personal escape, and of late I need her to be my imagined infidelity. She lifts her short skirt and lowers her panties, bending forward, supporting herself with her hands against the rough brickwork of the alley at the back of the bar. Her mouth spews encouraging filth as I give her, at her own demand, a severe pounding from behind. But then, even in my own fucking fantasy-dream, I can’t keep up and I slump to the cold floor – breathless, pants around my ankles. Alex straightens her clothing and laughs at me, then picks at the grit in her palms in an absent fashion, as if she has done so many times before; and in my mind she has.
I still wouldn’t swap my imagined failure for Alex’s pity; I already have too much of that in my life. I wake in a puddle of light, soaked in the midday sun and, I think, my own piss. The bedroom reeks like something has died in here, and, as I open the windows wide, once again I wish it had been me and not her. I hold my wedding ring to the window, and in the blinding sun I look upon the perfect silhouette. This particular circle is of the past, and I cannot recall as much about her face today, as I did yesterday.
The moment he met her for ‘that drink’, he knew he would be fucked. Her eyes would burn away his paper defences, and in the floating motes of ash he would see the end of his life, a reveal of a future cast in black shadow, pain and intolerable pleasure. For now her only hooks in his flesh and soul were her words, but it was already too much.
Step One: Quit
I quit today. Or at least I gave my intent to end my current job – my last day will be 31st January 2017. When I hit send on the notifying email I felt a surge of happiness. Sure Mr.Corporation, I need your money coming into my bank account, but I don’t need your shit. I smiled for the first time in weeks – I felt like a new man.
I have neglected myself of late, but handing in my notice was the first step to doing something I want to do with my life – trouble is, I have no idea what is that ‘thing’.
Step Two: Shave
I shaved today. This may sound a small step, but I always find that shaving my head is another indication of change within me; a reminder when I look in the mirror each morning; to stay determined, move forward and not tread water. I may get another tattoo.
In the shower I continued to other parts of my body. When the razor took away the last few hairs from my neglected scrotum, the feeling of the smooth, lickable skin of my ballsack and shaft made me smile – I was feeling a new man, in more ways than one.
Step Three: Do Nothing (for as long as possible)
I am taking February off from work, but I do not know what to do with myself; how best to use that time. I suspect I’ll shave again during this month, but other options are welcome – any suggestions for me and my smooth balls?