Thursday, 24 July 2008

Verbatim

Overheard in Queen Street, 6.20pm:

Young female Big Issue seller to tall man: "Look, the sooner I can shift these [brandishes four or five unsold copies] the sooner I can go home."


Fork Handles



"I am going to treat you to a Very Special Weekend," said Flatmate. "You will not pay for a thing. A single thing!"

I tried to object.

He waved away my protests.

"I've been really skint this month and you've paid for everything the last few times we've been out. So it's your turn to be treated. I get paid on Friday. We will have a barbeque in your back garden on Saturday night and I will buy meat and everything. I will buy beer. I will even buy ice cream. And cheese, of course! We will have a Nice Time."

"You can't pay for everything, you oaf. You're still poor even after you've been paid."

"Shut up woman! It's our last proper weekend together. I'm going to make it brilliant. I will even buy you breakfast on Sunday. And a coffee." He looked at me shyly.

"It will be very strange here without my little Weasel," he said.

Were his eyes watering? He had a very soppy look on his face. We'd had a beautiful weekend together, after my pre-menstrual strop the previous week. We'd gone out and raised hell on cheap beer on the Saturday night, and had spent the Sunday in a state of pleasurable companionship.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Waking when the sun streamed in through the half-drawn blinds, we lay for a while attempting to compose the worst puns known to man. (We have a fairly chaste relationship).

Starting on a cheese theme ("Shall I put the cheese in Shed P, or Shed Q?" "Please put the cheese in Shed R." "Where did that cheese come from?" "It grew here" - say it in a Welsh accent and it makes sense) we soon branched out into other comestibles ("Can Anna bring her fruit in here?" "No. Ban Anna."), eventually realising we needed breakfast. Walking up the road to the nearest cafe, Flatmate reached for my hand.

"It's ok to do this in public isn't it?" he said. But he dropped it when we reached the main road.

In the sun outside the cafe we watched the world go by and continued the punning ("Did Mer say to move those cars?" "No. Mer say 'dese.") Gorged on lattes and croissants, we removed to our second-favourite coffee shop where Flatmate spent the next few hours absorbed in his chess and I took up residence in the squishiest leather armchair available to continue reading the FABULOUS and WONDERFUL Last Bird Singing by Allan Bush who is a man who lives in Roath which is where I live!!!! Read it immediately; it is astonishingly good. Anyway. The next couple of hours were blissful: Flatmate at the table next to me where I could secretly gaze at him; Gomez playing on the stereo; a great book in hand; just enough customers to surreptitiously people-watch, all of them quiet, browsing their newspapers. Even the scattering of ankle-biters there weren't making a racket. Is there more to life on a Sunday afternoon? I don't think so.

Parting for a couple of hours to attend to chores at home we met up again in the evening and - get this - went for a long walk by the river, instead of going to the pub.

In the twilight, under the trees, the river sliding by, horses in the field on the far bank swishing their tails, he sat me down on a bench, pulled me close, and kissed me.

It was a very tender kiss. I would go so far as to say it was magical: no slurpy noises, no drool, and no giggling. It was meant.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"So, a barbeque it is then, my treat entirely, and I'll even cook it. If it's raining, we'll, er, have a grill. Invite your friends. Shall I invite my new housemates?"

"Please don't invite your new housemates."

"Ok. Are you going to invite anyone?"

"Just Downstairs Monkey."

"Cool!"

It is the pleasurable companionship I will miss most.



Friday, 18 July 2008

Autumn



I pushed back a tangle of curls from his bare shoulders and kissed the nape of his neck.

He didn't stir.

I fetched the alarm clock and put it on the pillow in front of his face.

One eye opened. "Fuck!" he said.

He rolled out of bed and looked for his clothes, strewn across my floor. He still looked, and smelt, drunk.

I was tetchy. We'd convened at his house the previous night ostensibly for a midweek catch-up and Scrabble and a bottle of wine. The Scrabble hadn't happened, and it had taken until the bottle was empty and a new bottle started and two pints of Guinness in his new local for me to crack a smile, despite Flatmate's best efforts to lighten the mood. In my hormonally-induced gloom it appeared Flatmate only valued me as an excuse to get pissed.

"I wish you hadn't finished off the second bottle of wine last night," I said. "And you had the spliff. Now what are we going to do on Saturday? I can't afford to keep doing this. I'm more broke than you."

He'd carried on drinking at my house after insisting on walking me home. Fed up with him, with his drinking and drugging, with my loneliness and the world itself, I'd gone to sleep. Around quarter to three, he shook me awake to show me pictures from a hairstyle magazine which, he felt, aptly demonstrated why I was more beautiful than the pretty models therein. It had done little to help my mood.

"Got to make the most of it while it's available," he shrugged.

Dressed, he sat on the bed next to me and put an arm round my shoulders. "Sorry I didn't, um, you know, last night. I owe you one. In fact, I owe you several." He pulled me in for a kiss. "Sorry about my breath," he added. "I stink."

"Yes." I looked at him. "You're not going to want to hear this," I said, twirling his hair in my fingers.

"What?" said Flatmate.

"I love you," I said.

"Don't say that," he said, and kissed me again.

On the way to the front door, we clowned in front of the mirror in the hall, pulling faces at each other. His arm snaked round me again as we grimaced and pouted, then our faces grew still as we watched each other closely, thoughtfully. Trying out our reflections as a pair? I shook my head.

"I look old enough to be your mum," I said, downcast.

He held my gaze. "Beautiful eyes," he murmured. "Absolutely beautiful."

He kissed me again before he cycled off to work. "See you soon," he said.

I watched him ride up the road, and really felt the truth of it: that it wasn't going to magically work out, that he wasn't in love with me, that I was just another instance of making the most of it while it's available. Come the time, he will stand there and let me go.

That night, BK phoned from France.

"I've got news!" he spluttered. "I got a letter today from New Zealand Immigration! My visa's been approved! I've got to send them my passport. It should only take another month!"

The beginning of the end.


Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Briefest of Updates

Hello!

I am still alive folks, which, after the weekend I've had, is fairly surprising.

BK left for France yesterday afternoon after spending four days resisting all attempts to get him to contribute to the house-cleaning. He claimed he was terribly busy packing up all his stuff.

Flatmate, seeing me close to disintegration, intervened on Monday night, mentioning to BK (forcefully but nicely) that he and the Weasel were also moving out but had not yet had time to pack up our own stuff due to being busy scrubbing bathrooms and kitchens and so forth. He put a duster in BK's hand and pointed him in the direction of the skirting boards, which were covered in a thick layer of that special dust which is invisible until the day before one moves out of a property, then suggested that when the skirting boards were done BK could make free with the vacuum cleaner.

When the sound of hoovering filled the house, Flatmate smiled a broad slow smile, handed me a beer, and sat me down in the sun-filled garden.

"It's your turn to chill out now little monkey," he said, giving me a reassuring hug. "You've done your fair share."

The skirting boards are still filthy but I feel it was a moral victory. As soon as BK left Flatmate kissed me in a way that made my insides go curly.

I no longer have internet at home but I will post when I can.