I could switch off the lights and crawl under. I could pretend I will be able to sleep, pretend I don’t hear the noises loneliness makes, the pathetic echoes of my part-filled bed, pretend there are no shadows.
It is the aftermath of love that fascinates, the fat soot that falls upon the dulling fire, the dark after-musk, the taste of salt. Once, once she said her legs were happy, her arms were happy. Salt. No, she said, this is my satisfied face.
I remember the blood in her eyes, the way she said, “Wake up, do it again, again!” and now I am writing because I don’t know how not to see her face.
There should be a balance between lust and love, and love is the silent partner, overwhelmed when young, frustrated when older, cynical and dismissive when finally it gets its time in the light.
You think you are not making mistakes. Mistakes are for later, there’s all that time. But what you don’t know is how you are impregnated with various guilts, how you are stacking the odds, building quiet, invisible walls.
When was it you asked, “It's broken, isn't it?” We paid some woman £750 a day to pretend to fix things, £750 a day to tell us, yes, it’s as fucked as fucked gets. To be fair, she got us to pretend we were talking. There was a brief, mean joy to that, but I was thinking what we could have done with six thousand in cash - The Seychelles maybe, maybe a brief pretend fuck-fest while we imagined different people.
I have thought about a place in a guesthouse for the hard of hearing. On authority I now know I never listened, never heard.
In my new home I could wind up people, mouth obscenities and speak in tongues, tell women I want to come back next time as a lawn-mower and leave my mark.
She is seeing someone already. She will probably remarry. I will work my way through lists until, sighing, I will say, “Those women? I have known them all.”
Meanwhile she will ask me what she should do, and what am I doing? I will tell her, I repeat myself, I repeat myself, but I will offer no help. Best not to interfere.