Tragedy

It might be a chance meeting, somewhere totally random, at a time when my thoughts are turned towards the mundane—why didn’t I bring an umbrella? It’s going to rain—or more lofty matters, probably the former though I have no way of knowing what my mind will be occupied with. I am unprepared, though in my dreams I’ll have lived this moment a hundred times or more. I’ll see you across the street maybe, first doubting what my eyes are telling me but my racing heart will know long before my mind has ascertained the truth. 

Call your name or walk on?

A few seconds to make a choice, too little time to decide. 

I walk on, away…and it takes a little while for a pain so sudden and so great, so fresh it might all have happened yesterday, to fill my chest and spread, making me stumble and try to catch my breath. 

I stop, hesitate and call your name, first in a whisper, then louder, because I cannot let you disappear, again. You see me and there’s no wavering for you, you know what to do, you come to me as if this moment was always meant to be. My body is stiff when you hug me, it’s been years since you last held me, years filled with many things, some of them happy but a life nevertheless underlined with a particular kind of misery. What, next? A pub? Probably. Very little talk to start with. I take you in, a bit more grey in your hair, more lines etched on your face, you look pretty much as I imagined you must do, every time I allowed myself to think of you. I don’t know if I’ll find the words, alcohol might help or hinder but maybe no words will be needed, perhaps the touch of my fingers will be enough for you to understand I have always loved you, even as I ran from you, even as I kept away, all these years when we were separated but together all the same, you and I held by a small, powerful unwinding thread—forever isn’t just found in fairy tales. 

Which will it be? One way or the other, a tragedy. 

Lonely in Paris

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5 am: he’s shivering, cold seeping into his bones, teeth shattering, he turns up the volume on the radio – it’s playing that song everyone hums, everyone knows. Alone in his bed, twisted in a wrinkled sheet which has seen better days, he can’t sleep, looks at the ceiling, thoughts turning, colliding – deadly ennui.

He’s losing his head and his cigarettes are all gone, stubbed out in three different ashtrays displayed around the bed. His studio is a mess of used tissues and empty bottles – it smells just how it looks: stale.

He’s lonely, fucking lonely.

He finds just enough at the bottom of a bottle to have one last drink but the glass escapes, shatters on the floor – he cuts his hand while picking up the pieces, it’s shallow, he sucks the blood on his fingers, vaguely thinks he should disinfect but on the heels of that: fuck it, let it kill me – who the hell cares anyway.

6 am: he needs to find a drink, black coffee or something stronger – he’s not sure yet, thinks: let’s leave this place, leave it to fate. Once in the street he sees some stars – in a Paris sky it’s pretty rare, what with all the réverbères – he cranes his neck to talk to them: “do you have anything to tell me?” he asks, feeling kinda foolish. They don’t reply, keep looking at him from afar.

He gets in his car, roule au hasard, goes through a red light, thinks: don’t get stopped, the last thing you need are the cops – slows down, which is how he spots a small bar squeezed between two bulging buildings. He parks the car, goes inside the tiny bar, takes a seat by the window lit so bright he’s relegated to the role of shadow. In a dark corner a platinum blonde sips on a liqueur, she looks at him, says: “champagne?” He nods: “okay.” Within seconds she’s sitting next to him, one hand on his shoulder, the other in her hair and whispers: “a hundred?” He says: “why not.”

7 am: hotel. He pays, has to dig deep in his pockets for crumpled notes, feels cheap, the clerk looks bored. The room is small, it’s a hellhole, the blonde walks to the bed, gets straight down to business. She takes off her pantyhose and the rest quickly, expertly – revealing tanned skin with an orangey hue which screams ‘fake’, like her platinum hair. She pats the empty space next to her: “coming, darling?” He takes three steps, she grabs him, her painted nails leave a faint trail on his face. Her lips are artificial red, her arched back a practised pose, his cold fingers don’t warm up on her frigid skin, her eyes are empty, blind mirrors. They’re both thinking of nothing while moving in tired synchronicity – there’s no heat between those two writhing bodies despite the groans and moans. The bed creaks, the shutters slam, he thinks: fuck it, I can’t even cum. Frantic, he makes a last desperate effort, increases his rhythm, her eyes lose their vagueness, she’s getting pissed off, it’s taking too long and she’s had enough – he pulls out, he’s gone limp, she simply says: “tough luck, time for sleep”, snatches her clothes and leaves, not even bothering to close the door behind her.

She runs away, the morning is grey, there are no taxis, she has to walk, she feels ugly, needs to go home.

8 am: she’s shivering, cold seeping into her bones, teeth shattering, she turns up the volume on the radio – it’s playing that song everyone hums, everyone knows. Alone in her bed, twisted in a wrinkled sheet which has seen better days, she can’t sleep, looks at the ceiling, thoughts turning, colliding – deadly ennui.

She’s losing her head and her cigarettes are all gone, stubbed out in three different ashtrays displayed around the bed. Her studio is a mess of used tissues and empty bottles – it smells just how it looks: stale.

She’s lonely, fucking lonely.

She finds just enough at the bottom of a bottle to have one last drink but the glass escapes, shatters on the floor – she cuts her hand while picking up the pieces, it’s shallow, she sucks the blood on her fingers, vaguely thinks she should disinfect but on the heels of that: fuck it, let it kill me – who the hell cares anyway.

Passionate vs intense – yeah, there’s a difference

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A long time ago – when I was still a teenager – I went out on a few dates with a pretty boy. He wasn’t my type at all: blond hair, blue eyes, very preppy – he was doing a baccalauréat in maths and sciences while mine was literature and languages.

The Literature and Maths groups didn’t really mix – it was all very cliquey – but we used to meet in the corridors on the way to class and this particular boy and I exchanged the kind of looks understood by teenagers the world over.

Even back then I was into personality rather than into looks, but this boy proved to be one of the few exceptions I made in my life, because there really was nothing to recommend him to my attention apart from the fact he was extremely good looking in that unique way that people couldn’t help but stare.

But I don’t think I would ever have gone on a date with him if it wasn’t for the fact that on the day he asked me out I saw him cross the grand courtyard on his way to me, pass the fountain and promptly stumble on… nothing whatsoever. He stumbled, faltered but quickly regained his composure and I thought the whole thing was just so cute. Okay, I admit you had to be there – but it really was cute.

My best friend Valérie was crushing badly on some other pretty boy called Fabrice who belonged to the local football team. He didn’t go to our grammar school, was doing some apprenticeship at a college. I knew him a little as I knew most of the football team since my dad was the coach.

One day, I met Fabrice in the street when I was on my way to join Valérie in the town’s library. After some small talk he mentioned her and I immediately seized my chance to play matchmaker.

“Why don’t you come with me, I’m meeting her now.”

He agreed readily but as we approached the library he said: “wait…is she in there?”

“Well, yes. Why?”

“I’m not going in there. It’s…the…library.”

“And? You’re allergic to them? You’ve got a moral objection to them? What exactly is the problem?!”

“It’s just not my scene.”

……………………..

“Right. It’s not your scene, fair enough. But can’t you just, you know, pass through the door? Just once?”

“I’ll wait outside – if you get her, we can go and grab some coffee.”

“Fine.”

So I went in and found her buried in some research for an essay she was writing. I quickly explained that Fabrice was outside, waiting to take her for coffee.

She got all excited and then nervous and started to gather her things.

“There’s something you should know though, he had the strangest reaction when I said you were in here.”

“And?”

“…and it strikes me that not only is he the kind of guy who’s never read a book in his life, but he might also regard those who read as…weird.”

“What?! I DON’T CARE!”

“Oh. Ok then. I was just saying, because I personally find that really off-putting.” 

“I like him! I don’t care if he burns books in his spare time!”

Well, I had to laugh – teenagers were always ruled by their hormones.

Off she went to meet him and by the end of the day they were an item.

The next day, I went on my third date with my pretty boy. I had a feeling it would be the last because we were – predictably enough – very different people and we hadn’t gelled at all on our previous meetings. I wasn’t sure why he kept asking me out to be honest.

This third date was as boring as the other two…until he asked me what book I’d last read and I revived like a parched flower that’s finally been watered. My latest book was “Tristessa” by Jack Kerouac and I proceeded to explain at length why I had loved it. At some point I realised there was a really long monologue going on…and he was looking at me kind of funny.

“What?”

“Nothing. It’s just…you’re very…intense.”

I was silent for a few seconds as I processed this.

“Intense?! What do you mean by that? Intense…Because I loved a book?! Are you serious?

Well, I’m sorry I like to read and I like to feel things…except I’m not, am I!!”

I got more and more pissed off as the reality of what he’d said hit home. Even with my limited experience, I was well aware that being called intense was not a good thing. In fact, it was a bloody awful thing…and there I was proving him right by freaking out.

I looked at him and all I saw was that amazingly pretty face that suddenly didn’t look so pretty anymore. He was bland, we had nothing in common and what the fuck was I doing here? I’d gone out with him because of his arresting looks. He’d gone out with me because even back then I was into style and fashion and it had blinded him to my bookworm nature. It was all a huge mistake.

That was the end of pretty boy and I. But it was an important lesson because that’s when I first realised this is how it goes:

if a guy likes you: you’re ‘passionate.’
If a guy is not that into you: you’re ‘intense.’

I’ve been called passionate far more often than intense over the years, thank fuck.

I never again made the mistake of dating someone who was just pretty. It was never who I am but I guess you have to try everything (most things anyway) at least once.

As for Valérie and her own pretty boy, they lasted exactly 2 and a half weeks – at least he never did tell her she was intense.

*Pics from last Tuesday when I was in a Charlie’s angels kind of mood*

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5th of November

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5th of November:
Outside, the air suitably smells of powder, smoke — it’s bitterly cold but no matter, because for the crowds, it’s all about homegrown terrorism and Guy Fawkes.

A penny for the guy and a penny for your thoughts, before you play your hand — straight As for your poker face and the impressive attention span.

It’s a royal flush of course: you win, take everything-including me-on the table. It’s messy, it’s bold, the cards tumble, fall to the floor.

“Preposterous” I mumble.
Why? I don’t know, maybe the wine was responsible, or this is what happens when sanity crumbles.

“Say it again” he tells me…he insists, when I don’t reply instantly.

I oblige: “Pre-pos-ter-ous”

Possibly the strangest dirty talk ever, have I done weirder? I can’t recall.

Nevertheless, as long as there’s no straight jackets, give us a cell and padded walls—sex laced with intellect from dusk till dawn—I guarantee I’d never get bored.

Pre-pos-ter-ous. Possibly my new favourite word…this, I discovered on a night filled with fireworks, on the
5th of November.

*Posted this time last year, but I kind of like it.

Hero

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I’m not asking you to:
Scale the walls
of creepy castles
Dive into a medieval moat
Slice anybody’s throat
Send complex smoke signals
Ride into the savage storm
shooting scarlet arrows
Battle blood-curdling cyclops
Wrestle wild aurochs
Banish ghouls or ghosts
I’m not asking you
to be brave, a saint, a hero

Why would I?
When you’re not even able
to return a fucking phone call

Image credit: cat-girl-q8.deviantart.com

*First posted last year, but there’s always a fuckwit it can apply to*

You


Come and inspire me, come and pull my strings, save me from silent glaring mannequins

I’m in need of a waterfall crashing down steep hills in cascades of feelings

You, I will let you

Whiskey with ice is a crime committed by swines and pitch-black hearts

Break the glass, select the largest shard – stab convention keeping us apart

You, I will let you do

Breathe heavy and deep, drown my faded pink, exhale burgundy reds with your lips on my neck

I walk, you follow, I talk, you swallow, inevitable thoughts of your tongue down my throat

You, I will let you do anything

We glide down parallel lines, I’m here and you’re there, you want me, throw the dice, live & dare

Take your time, please come fast, we’ve fallen, crossed over, it’s so late – too late in the day to be scared

You, I will let you do anything to

It’s not you, it’s me—it’s not me, it’s you—we’re so much of the same – balanced on opposite sides of the scales

On my skin, on my heart, it’s not a stain, it’s your name—you’re calling mine, in the dark—it is right, it is sane

You, I will let you do anything to me

*Is anybody else exhausted due to General Election? What a week it’s been. Special thanks to my friend Adam for closing it in style with me late last night, or rather early this morning*

We

Sun in the sea

The sun dips into the sea, making it blaze while the waves, amazed, shyly retreat.

I’m the only witness to this explosive orgy of flames as you’re standing behind me with your arms around my waist and your face buried in my tangled hair.

For that one brief moment, as you inhale deeply with your eyes closed and I attempt to fully grasp this extraordinary spectacle, we are one and the same — fierce, invincible, we are the guardians of the Galaxy.

Betrayed


This is the story of a man who took a fancy to a vase made of delicate and fragile porcelain

He was asked not to handle it unless he understood how precious it was, how rare—

this wasn’t a job lot out of a rubbish factory, it had been crafted with love & care

Someone else, the man was told, had been thoughtless, even cruel, and had let the vase fall

It had not shattered but some pieces got broken and scattered all over the floor

It had to be put back together—long and tedious work of many hours

But eventually, it was as beautiful as it had ever been

The man listened to this story

Of past abuse and said he was so sorry to hear it

That he wanted the vase very badly

The man made many promises

The man oozed sincerity,

It seemed he could be trusted

And yet, after just a day, the precious vase he dropped and betrayed

And for the sake of a childish boast, he made public this betrayal

The vase, faced with this further disrespect crumbled a little more

Before it got angry-but resourceful-and called on the spirits of wizards and witches of old

Who fixed the vase in a second and turned the traitor man into a toad

Like all stories, there is a moral here of sorts

Very few men are able to appreciate and take care of precious porcelain

No matter what they fucking claim

It is safer to hide all valuables behind locked doors

*This was written a few hours ago (very quickly and it’s as subtle as Trump’s orange hue, I know) on my way to a date. And yes, I was wearing a kickass leather dress, for those of you who appreciate such details*

Plus-one

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You know Spring is on its way when the days start ending in a slow kind of fade instead of dying abruptly like they do in December.

Friday night. The evening is announced with gold and purple bleeding into an English sky that’s actually visible for once. The usual mass of grey is noticeably absent, the sun has made an appearance and what a difference it makes. There are tenebrous-looking clouds dotting the sky here and there but it is on rare evenings such as this one that the very special luminosity of Turner’s paintings come to life.

I get to the party on time (early), for a change. Which would seem strange as I’m known (almost famous) for my tardiness but I don’t really want to be there, so it makes perfect sense—the sooner I arrive, the sooner I can leave.

I take in the crowd and it’s exactly what I imagined, I expect to have to go through many “and what do you do?” before the ordeal is over — I’m bored to tears already. The lawyer isn’t here yet because we agreed to both come directly to the venue and obviously he would never imagine I could arrive on time.

A glass of champagne is handed to me and I observe the way the bubbles race each other to the surface as somebody drones on about equity laws. I have no idea what they’re talking about so I smile and nod my head at regular intervals because sometimes, even I have to blend in and hide my unusualness. I don’t do it very often and only for people I care very much about.

A solid feeling of middle class confidence hangs above the room. The women are polished and the men all wear that same satisfied smile. They are where they want to be in life, or maybe they are very skilled at deluding themselves. I’m not sure, but the atmosphere is stifling and now is one of those moments I wish I could be just a little more normal, I wish small talk wasn’t so difficult. I have a sudden desire for the ceiling to come down on top of all of us just to see all those people being ruffled and react in not quite such a contained way. I am a horrible person—they can’t help being who they are and neither can I.

I make my way to the bar visualising shots of tequila waiting for me, neatly lined up, slices of sunny lemon and a small mount of salt.

This is what I want but cannot have for fear of the act slipping. Just as I get to the bar, a man approaches. He makes eye contact and I know what’s coming next. The fact I sigh only inwardly shows how good I’m being tonight, my patience is being tested and I’m winning this fight. So far.

“Hi, I’m Mike” he says, taking my hand before I’ve had time to react and shaking it enthusiastically.

There are dozens of other bottle-blondes in this room, did he just pick the first one he noticed not huddled in a group? The one gazelle isolated from the crowd? I have a feeling he might have, so that means I am a random choice and even though I don’t give a fuck about this guy in the skinny suit, it still irks me. What a depressing thought.

I’ve been too good an actress and now this guy is doing his charming flirty act and I’m clearly expected to trill like a bird and feel flattered.
Oh, he has no idea!

Luckily for him, I see the lawyer across the room, making his way towards me. I watch him assess the situation from afar, he quickens his steps. In no time at all, he’s at my side and a lovely scented kiss later, the skinny-suited guy walks off looking dejected. He thinks the lawyer putting his arm around me in a proprietary way meant that I was being rescued, when the reality is that he was.

“I saw that look on your face, I arrived just in time, didn’t I?”

“I have no idea what you mean” is my wide-eyed innocent reply.

He laughs—he always does when faced with my “failings”. He’s not annoyed with me as he could be—as others would—he appreciates the fact I agreed to be his plus-one at this function and even wore a predictable black dress, even it is accompanied by vampire jewellery. He knows “this” isn’t me, he knows I’m trying and he’s grateful that I am.

“One hour and we’re out of here, okay?”

I readily agree because, why wouldn’t I? We all want to be accepted and loved for who we are, especially when what we are is that weirdly-shaped piece of the puzzle which has never quite managed to fit in anywhere.