AS ALWAYS, THIS is the time of year when ghosts are flying around me like the hopes and fears of all the tears never to be shed, and the grief of those already flowing into the river of time like a small tributary. Outside, the world is covered with a springtime drizzle of polluted water from the murky heavens. Trees are trying to bud, and there is the slightest hint of green on everything – like the peachy fuzz on the face of an adolescent boy who hasn’t started to shave yet.
Easter Sunday, again: my solitary activities heighten the imagined sense of… something I don’t quite want to admit to myself. I was doing a mini roast. For one. The smell of it reminded me of a different flat, a different time, and the last time I’d been there.
She’d emptied it of me. The drawers I’d been allowed to keep my things in were only for tea towels again, like I was never there. Things like that can drive you crazy if you let them, and sometimes it’s better to let go and dive headlong into the driving current sweeping you ever forward into who knows what, because it might just be better there, even if the journey seems a bit rough. Clear as day, the Doing of The Sunday Dinner played in my head like an unwelcome repeat.
After eating, we’d clear the dishes from the pine dining table in the corner of the living room and She’d retrieve a wet dishcloth from the bowl which lived in the kitchen sink. Bustling back to the crumb infested surfaces of the place mats, a few practised swipes would remove the offending detritus into the cupped palm of Her hand.
Then, the horrors would begin… Dropping the handful of crumbs into the waste basket by the coal effect electric fire (with matching mahogany style veneered surround), She’d fold the cloth so the clean damp inside was out, armed and ready. Kneeling in the front of the dormant fire (which had the black broken grin of a fractured element) She’d shimmy the cloth behind the bars. Not just a Sunday Treat for the hapless machine; every time She had a cloth of the cleaning variety in Her hand, She’d ritually dust behind the bars of the electric fire.
“Just to be tidy,” She told me the first time I saw Her do it. I can laugh at it now, a little. And each time, it sounds less like I’m screaming. All that remains for me to do this day is to eat, wash it down with some cheap wine and try to divert my mind with something – music, maybe. A friend of mine once told me that when your head’s full of noise, there’s no room for anything else.
So I try it.
Full of food and drink, I lie back and close my eyes: but the randomly chosen CD reminds me of the past. With sudden intensity, the feel of those days reaches deep into my mind. I drift: is this sleep? Does time exist?
Everything kaleidoscopes, then it’s One a.m., and I’m on the streets again, plugged into the Walkman, the hipfi, bopping along the empty road to nowhere, and dreaming little dreams behind eyes blank with reverie and seeing only second-hand daydreams of the neverwas.
Sad memory sings its song, pulling me back to pain not of my choosing and That Place I chose to live in with a Stranger bound to me with a thin chain made of one gold link. I’m lost, somewhere in mindtime and between the past and future – the place where the present should be just cannot exist, it’s simply too small. But it once belonged to a woman whose body I worship still, silently, in the dark and dreadful lonely hours of midnight…
Turning from my sleep-time position, I rolled onto my left side, and her body was already facing me. Her right arm snaked gently under my head, and her left around me below my right arm. With a sinewy shuffle, she arched her back, and my mouth was caressing her naked left breast. Another subtle shift and she cradled my head in that combination of maternity and sexuality which can only exist in those moments just beyond waking. Gently, I nuzzled and kissed as she adjusted her position to give me the other breast, to give herself an even spread of sensuality. Her hands trailed down my back, then up again; and I realised that we were both ready – neither of us seeking selfishly, but both feeling for and with each other. A slow graceful turn, and she was reclining, drawing me into her, and I billowing and entwining around and with her like a scarf in slow motion. We arched our backs, and we were one with each other in the universe, we were joined, we were together, we –
And the alarm clock woke me.
Curled up in a small solitary warm area of my large cold bed, I cried.
© Jeremiah Savant – used by permission
Jeremiah is ashamed to be British and has fallen through almost every safety net. Finally finding a voice, read his explosive memoirs...
Jeremiah Savant’s Adventures in Mental Health