Thursday, 27 April 2017

A House

My aunt and uncle's house was a great place to visit when I was a boy.  For a start it was three storey, and with a loft conversion too - it felt like a maze.  Loads of stairs to run up and down and rooms to explore.  It was always warm and full of people and animals and the smell of cookery, and noise.  My uncle collected jukeboxes, slot machines, BorgWarner cars and flintlock pistols.  There were big black and white 1950s posters and old adverts and rockabilly paraphernalia.  If I asked for a whisky and lemonade at the age of twelve I got a pint.  They had a black cat called Martha and a revolving line-up of other cats who would stay for a couple of years, sleeping on the old towels on top of the boiler, before moving on.  Chaotic, but in a loving sort of way.  I thought it was great.

An Experience

I lost my lovely auburn hair when I was 33 years old.  Most of it fell out when I was out shopping with my young daughter.  This made me feel inferior to other women, which led to self-loathing.  36 years later I still have these feelings.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

A Dream










am leading a group of sixty or so people across a grassy plain.  I don't recognise any one of them, but seem to know them nonetheless, like one knows neighbours or people living in the same part of town.  It's spring and there's a mighty wind blowing and everybody is in a festive mood.  We are carrying a sort of maypole, a tall, slender tree-trunk adorned with little flags of different colours, to the crest of a low hill.  There we proceed to plant the pole, some people pushing and holding up the trunk, others pulling on ropes tied around its tips.  I am in the latter group, and we are chanting as the pole goes up.  When it does, there is great cheer and I wake with a sense of purpose and accomplishment.

Monday, 24 April 2017

A Crime

[...] School playground friendship had developed into post-school pub friendship and weekend warehouse and club-night outings.  A particular friend I'd become close to had, with another [person] I didn't know so well, decided to capitalise on the weekend environments and [begun] to deal drugs, mainly ecstasy pills and cannabis.  I had no moral problem with this, everybody seemed to be taking drugs at the time and I had a cheap supply myself.

We travelled around as three a lot, most weekends driving into London to a regular club-night or an impromptu warehouse party, the location of which was communicated by verbal social networks.  On occasions we went to a club which was located next to a dual carriageway between London and Southend.  It was a somewhat mythical place of me in as much as I could never sight the building during daylight, whenever I drove along the route, which I did from time to time.

One particular night in this particular club I was again with my two friends who throughout the evening were going about their business.  I had not [got] - nor really wanted to [get] involved, though I was envious of the month-long holiday in Barbados they had coming up.  [...]

It was whilst in the throws of my hedonism that one of my friends announced a problem he had.  Choosing to wear sweat pants that evening - a fashion of the period I'm proud to say I didn't engage with- he lamented that he had no pocket in which to hold his bag of stock.

'No problem,' I said and offered myself as custodian of the drug sack.

My task was to dispense the merchandise to my friend at point of sale.  Events were going to plan when through the mass of bodies I was confronted by two men [...] 15 to 20 years [...] older than those in the club; they didn't fit.  One with a light beard looked me in the eyes and held out his hand, palm upwards, meaning for me to give him something.  I froze, my mind made computations faster than a silicon chip processor - police - undercover drug squad - me carrying Class A drugs in vast quantities - big crack-down and example sentencing - 20 years imprisonment - I'd ruin my life.

His cold expression broke into a smile, he patted me on the shoulder.  'Have a good night,' he said as he walked by me.

I don't remember much more after that.  The relief, the effects of the pills I'd taken.  I did pass the stock back to my friend, who I don't think even witnessed the event or if he did did not share my experience, maybe he knew the two.

I slowed down after that, things were getting out of control with my friends' activities - threats were being made via go-betweens and an incident involving a gun at another warehouse party told me it was time to distance myself from them a little.  The period of this culture was ending for me anyway. It had become dull and repetitive.  I longed for evenings back in town pubs where you could have conversations.

It still scares me, that memory of a few seconds.

Friday, 21 April 2017

A Memory

(This isn't my memory; it's one of Seven Answers).

I have a very strong memory of being five or six, at Christmas time.  We lived in a big, old townhouse, three floors high with massive staircases and creaky wood everywhere.  At Christmas we'd have a huge Christmas tree in the hall, covered in multicoloured lights, little carriages (like old fashioned horse carriages) with lights inside.  In the morning, when it was still dark, Dad and I would creep downstairs, crawl under the tree and turn the lights on.  I don't know why it was the two of us, as we have a big family, but in all the excitement and clamour of Christmas it seemed a really precious, almost sacred time, just the two of us in the cold, dark winter morning.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

A Fear

Deepest fear, and it's a frequent one, is losing someone close to me.  I think it all stems from when my father died when I was 14 - we first heard about it over the phone.  I was at home with my sister (Mum was away with her lover) and the phone rang.  I remember it was dark so it must have been early evening.  My sister said, 'If it's Dad, don't tell him I'm here.'  But it wasn't Dad.  It was his lady friend to tell us the news that she'd found him.  I had answered the phone to her but she wouldn't tell me why she was ringing - she just asked if Mum was there but as she wasn't she asked to speak to my sister, who then became hysterical.  I imagined the worst, which was of course confirmed.

Now the phone ringing sometimes brings on that heavy-hearted feeling, almost like it's ringing with urgency to bring bad news.  It's worse if it's at a strange time, like late in the evening or very early.  I have to tell myself it's irrational and not to be such a pessimist.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

An Encounter

There was a girl I liked, but I wasn't sure if she liked me.  We'd seen each other a few times, but I wasn't quite sure what was going on - I was never very good at reading signals.  One thing we'd talked about was my aversion to fruit skin, and hairy fruit skins, like peaches and apricots, in particular - to such a degree that I cannot touch them (or even think about them) without the hairs on my arms standing on end.  One evening she knocked on the door of my apartment.  I opened it, and she was standing there with a peach.  She'd brought it so that she could peel it for me, so that I could eat a peach.  As I recall, the peach itself was not very good, but the message conveyed by it was.