Mindset

It was in that moment she just knew. 

Their eyes met across the smoke tinged bar and she blinked hard trying to stop his face blurring as the acrid scent of alcohol, sweat and the gents stung her eyes.  She watched his callous face swim in her vision and imagined herself touching him, stroking him, holding him as she once had. Then the crowds surged and his face was lost in a sea of slurring bodies, desperate for toxins to complete the tortured travesty of their lives.

She turned, walking towards the scarred and swollen door, keeping the strangers out and the occupants in.  The oblique and only portal of the bar, framed by a sweat-greased lintel bearing an equally soiled solitary tankard.   A swift jerk on the creaking handle edged the door inward enough to let her slide out into the frosty night air.  Her breath froze in an instant as she let out the breath she hadn’t realised she’d been holding and she felt her shoulders sag as tense muscles finally relaxed.  Standing there for a moment she closed her eyes and looked round the deserted street, seeing only the reflection of the moon on the iced pavement and the flutter of leaves and discarded papers on the slick road.  She felt alone, isolated, for a moment bereft and turned her head slightly back towards the fetid bar.  To company, to familiarity, to where she’d once been.

“Oi, shut the door love, it’s fucking freezing out there!” a voice shouted from the depths of the bar, followed by jeering laughter and the odd whistle.

“Dozy bitch, what the fuck is she doing?”

“Maybe she figured she’d need someone to warm her back up when she comes in”

“Naa, birds like that don’t think!”

She thrust her arm behind her without turning towards the howls of laughter and grasped the icy handle pulling with everything she had at the door, dragging furrows in the floorboards as it resisted the unusual treatment and screeched towards its housing.  With a final lurch, she stumbled forwards and slammed the door with an echoing crack that broke the night air like a rifle shot and then she stood, breathing hard, listening to the remnants of her life before sit in dumb disbelief as the single glass on the shelf rolled gently back and forth in the aftermath of the quake only to roll softly off the edge and shatter into greasy shards on the floor.

She straightened and pulled up her hood, shoving her hands deep in her pockets and turning to walk resolutely back down the shining, glacial street.  As the shouting started she let go of her breath and smiled.

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The Eclectic Path The Storyteller Must Talk

I am not what one would describe as ‘an open book.’

I tend to be a bit closed with feelings and emotions and all that jazz, preferring to self soothe over self-pity and self-suffice over self-indulgent.  However like the rest of the populace, when things are out of my control on occasion I have no option but to react to other people’s behaviours and this can lead to a little self-reflection after the fact.

On this occasion, the catalyst was my inability to lie

If I were a different person I wouldn’t feel the need to start considering the permutations a lie can take and the damage a single untruth can bestow.  If I were a different person I would have let the molecule of fantasy roll off my tongue and guild the surrounding air with the taint of falsehood.  If I were a different person I may have smiled a little at my own tenacity and silver-tongued my way through the intricacies of the literally landmine-strewn conversation topics until the lie was sold.

But I’m not, I’m very much me and I did the only thing I could have done in the circumstances without actively incriminating myself and yet at the same time provided a response tantamount to an admission of guilt.  I offered a self destroying answer that not only convicted me but also laid open my internal struggle over whether or not to stick to the truth.

I did the only thing I could have done being the person I am.  I hesitated.

In that single moment of hesitation I considered the pros and cons of perpetuating the lie, the actions to be taken to continue the story and propel the sinking account into the ether to be taken as gospel or torn apart.  And I considered the moment in the future when the truth would emerge, battered and bruised from its fairytale cocoon, and whether by that time the truth would still be a beautiful ally or perhaps an ugly stick for the beating.

I hesitated and therein lay my answer.

In hind sight I should perhaps have answered fast and false to save further questions, accusations and recriminations, but I am not that person to whom a lie comes easy.  However I am also not the person to feel obligated to prostrate my life and times on the line for public scrutiny and peer approval.  In fact if there is one thing I value above all else it is my ability to compartmentalise, my skewed views and my right to keep both to myself.  Both in my head and in my life.

Hundreds of pigeon holes litter my world, literal, metaphorical and symbolic.  Tidying away the stray thoughts and random musings scattered across my days, pulling up the emotional trickles that would follow the scars of past wounds and keeping track of the plethora of philosophical nonsense connected to every mis-stepped slip, slide and stumble along the road I have travelled.

To ask to see the intricacies is not only an affront to me but to the careful and crazed paths of the world I’ve built; the very world from which I watch the path’s you’ve chosen, laid out like brazen roads flaunting their straightness, their destiny, their certainty.  Showing their strength and power and sense of purpose.  But look closely and I see the rigidity allows no deviation, no about-face, no change of mind, of heart.  You have your paths, I have my holes, to ask to trawl the depth of mine is to request the very access I build my maze to prevent.

And yet you, who have known me so long, seen me so well and had every opportunity to learn, have come up empty-handed.  How can it be that you look so hard and harsh and only come out with exactly what you went in with?  What did you hope to achieve.  Beyond asking, you assumed to take what isn’t yours to be shared and tear it asunder, fluttering the pieces of my calm across the tides of your anger like ash through the breeze.

I guess you forgot that boxes is not all I am.  For I do not like to lie and prefer my crazed maze to your open paths and emotion strewn ways but that which makes you different makes me curious.  Whereas that which makes me different you simply do not comprehend.

Whatever I am, whatever I do, however I do it, I’ll always have something you can never understand.  If all else fails I can retreat inside and spend time and again within my boxes, reshaping, re-learning, reorganising and if needs be; retrying.  you with your rigidity and structure mean you see no other option, you see no other path you see no other right.  And left, to your own devises you may emerge unchanged from the maze, but rest assured you will have left with nothing.


Staple In Time

It seems I have had a relapse.

Not the back, that seems to be going on its merry way just fine.  Well, except for a few mornings when I bend down to get something and then realise I don’t have the core strength to get myself back up again.  I’m always grateful at those times I live on my own…

No, instead I am referring to all the forward progress I made when at home.  I guessed this would happen and that I would find the delicate balance of time to be a mythical thing of the past.  However I’m not quite ready to give up on elusive balance of time I managed to find during the winter.

So this is me, setting a standard to live up to.  Finding a balance I can be happy with.  And possibly setting myself up for failure.  But damn it I’m not going to fail again before I’ve even tried.

Make sense to you?

No, me either.  But it’s going to be fun trying to decipher the cracked workings of my twisted thought paths


Sieval Outcry

Emotional outburst against a backdrop of firey fuelled righteous indignation

Against a plan that wasn’t there for a source that isn’t provided

And yet still you burn and burn and burn

Against the tide of injustice only you can percieve

Fighting the inequality of life amidst the stain

Of your equally unwarranted vile and vitriol.

And yet, do me a favour?

Keep it to yourself.

See how you like living with it.

Just try it.

Sweetheart.


Face Paining

It was a day for singing and sadness, a day for open hearts and censored thoughts, a day to celebrate the life he has not mourn the living he left out. It was not a day for honesty.

The rain sluiced down the windscreen onto the black bonnet, drumming a tattoo on the roof of the Cadillac and muffling the sounds of Sophie’s quiet sobs from the back. Dave shifted awkwardly in his seat as he tried to gather her more fully into his arms but her limp figure just seemed to slide from his grasp at every turn, leaking back onto the black leather seats as if to immerse herself more fully in the noir of her misery.

“Come on, love” he cajoled. “We’re here to celebrate Alan’s life and he wouldn’t have wanted to see you in this state now would he?” The second the words left his mouth, Dave wished he could suck them back in and erase them from existence, but it was too late.

“What?” Sophie’s head whipped around with a muscular power belying her previous slackness. “You hadn’t spoken to Alan in weeks before he died!  How can you dare to presume to know what he would and wouldn’t have wanted?!”  The previously muffled sobs now started to escalate into tearing cries akin to the wrenching apart of rusted metal as Sophie worked herself further and further into her state of hysteria

“How could you?  You know all he wanted was to be friends and if only you’d have talked to him perhaps none of this would have happened! I’m not sure you should even be here today.  If the tables were turned I’d be too horrified to show my face at his funeral. You… you…” This thought was clearly too much for even Sophie’s melodramas to finish and instead she dissolved into loud, hiccupping wails that startled the group of mourners making their way past the end of the car under their umbrellas.

Dave sighed and once again shifted in his seat waiting for Sophie’s display to finish.  His head was starting to ache and in all honesty he was beginning to wonder why he had agreed to attend the funeral. Wiping his hand over his face he heard the rasping stubble of the last three days and felt the sleepless night’s grit in his eyes and thought over the possibility of escaping the confines of the vehicle and Sophie’s amateur dramatics into the cool embrace of the October rainfall.  For just a moment he entertained the thought of leaving all this behind him and making a break for it through the peaceful graveyard to his left.

Suddenly Sophie’s flaccidity seemed to return in full force and she flung herself artistically onto his lap and howled into chest with a ferocity that made the driver, studiously ignoring his passengers until this point, jump in his seat and turn to the back seat with a look half shock, half ill-concealed disgust plastered on his face.

It was too much.  This was really all too much for Dave to take. He took one look at the driver’s exasperated expression and couldn’t help the noise that came out.  Sophie slowly lifted her head and turned to look at him in disbelief, but the view of her makeup strewn, puffy-eyed, slack mouthed, wobbly-lipped indignation was the last straw.  He could feel it creeping up his chest and overpowering his conscience sense and there was nothing he could do to stop its onset.

Dave leant his head back in the seat and roared with laughter.  The kind of laugh that leaves you feeling weak and trembling after it’s arrived.  His body shook with the sudden mirth that overtook him and tears started to course down his cheeks unchecked as he pushed Sophie away and reached for the door handle.  This seemed to shake her from her incredulity and spur her to action

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing you selfish bastard?  Today is about Alan and you think this is acceptable?  You clearly have issues you need to sort out but right now, I’m telling you to get your shit together and think of Alan!  Shut that door, get back in the car, get yourself together and walk me up to that fucking graveside or…”

“Or what Sophie? You’ll do what exactly..?” Dave left the question hanging in the echo of his final chuckle and stared into the face he once thought he loved. “You’ll do what?”

They stayed locked in the stare for a long time before colour gradually started to flood Sophie’s face, barely visible beneath the cake of makeup on her skin but the flicker of her eyes down towards her now twisting uncertain hands was all the confirmation he needed.

“No, I didn’t think so,” Dave said quietly. He turned in his seat and pulled the door open.  The grey sky and greasy rain greeted him as he stepped from the vehicle and straightened up, stretching as he went.  He stood for a moment; face turned to the clouds and listened to the muffled sounds of the world beyond the black Cadillac and all it held. Without a backwards glance, he walked away, through the peace of the gravestones.

 


Options paper: 2.5 hours

It’s been a tumultuous time of decision consequence and adventure.  Time has spun so fast, a fantasy round-a-bout of facts and fiction but now I would like to get off.  The dizzying tilt of reality is starting to make me feel nauseous and claustrophobic in this shell and I need to find air to breathe.

Who knew that coming back could made this hard?  Thank the God’s I didn’t think to try taking this on on top of the post-operative effects but when did I stop realising how much I had on my shoulder.  And how light could I feel without the weight of responsibility not grounding me but driving me into the ground.

Thing is, this is all in my head and tonight it is coming out in fits and starts and explosion of incoherence. Tomorrow. Tomorrow I will sit down and lay this out in a cold, hard, clear, practical harsh-light-of-day kind of way.  And I will piece it back together.

And I don’t care whether you like what you see or not.


‘The time has come’, the Walrus said…

I cannot utter the first four words of that sentence without swiftly following them up with the latter three.  It’s like an incomplete statement if I don’t.  Unfortunately that sentence often only comes out to play when there is some decision I need to make or unpleasant action to be undertaken and I am girding my loins to take it.  Procrastinating is the other thing that comes out.

‘Girding the loins’; who does that nowadays? Moving on…

The time has come, some three months after beginning this, to return to life as I once knew it.  Time to leave my sanctuary, my bolt-hole and rejoin the society I have left behind for over quarter of a year.  And I just don’t really want to.  Oh, it’s not fear of what has changed since I have retreated, it’s not even worry about how I will slot back into the place I left behind because that would all too easy to do.  It’s not even concern over whether there is a place for me the way I left things or whether the tide has come in and washed away the footprints I left behind.  No.  My trepidation is due to the fact I know I’m not the same person as when I left. And I have no intention of fitting neatly back into the sunken hole I left behind.

  1. Health

Upon my departure I was sick.  Not in an infectious, illness kind of way no, but more in a withheld, withdrawn, incapable kind of way I can only see now with hindsight.  For two years I have been a shade of me with tranquillised edges.  Now, I can feel again beyond the L5/S1 vertebrae and have found that desire to keep feeling this way for the foreseeable future.

Not only that, this is the most I’ve exercised in a long time and I’m actually enjoying it.  Who knew recovery could be so damn good for you!

  1. Happiness

Having avoided looking at what makes me unhappy – beyond that vertebrae combination – for some time [the only attempted foray into it ending in disaster from some dubious decisions, calling into question my confidence in my own judgement – all in all a depressing and counter-productive exercise], the time to confront what has dropped me lower than the stereotypical Essex girl’s knicker elastic has been more than a little terrifying.  But also incredibly enlightening.  As a wise and trusted friend has told me on more than one occasion, ‘you cannot change other people’s actions, only your own and how you react to others.’  Looking at what makes me unhappy has also made me face what truly makes me happy and how much I have been neglecting the positive in my life without meaning to.  And as Nickelback have taught me, ‘It’s hard to see through bullshit when it’s up above your eyes’.  I was in fact a self-fulfilling prophesy and now I see that, it has fulfilled its last

  1. Selfishness

Mm, to the crux of the matter.  This is something I have forgotten recently and have frequently rearranged my plans to suit anyone else’s intentions rather than my own.  And this is something I have recently decided need an overhaul.

I have always believed that the word ‘selfish’ gets a bad rap.  To be selfish is defined as being ‘concerned primarily with one’s own interests’, which so many people would agree is a horrible way to live and that selfish people alienate people, lose friends and will in general die lonely and alone because they have lived their lives purely for their own gain to the detriment of all others.

However at this juncture I would beg to differ.  At what point did making yourself a priority become an evil to rival the seven deadly sins?  Since when did putting yourself first become behaviour worthy of disgust?  And just when and where is it written that you must, at all times, put the needs and desires of others before yourself in order to avoid committing such an immoral taboo?  Believe me, I am just as anti ‘selfish, self-centred, unrealistically full of their own self-importance twats’ as the next person but to be perfectly frank; if we’re not selfish once in a while who else exactly is going to primarily concerned with one’s own interest?  Because it sure as hell isn’t going to be anyone else is it?

  1. Insight

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.  But a little further knowledge is always appreciated.  From time to time I look at myself and wonder if I have it wrong.  I thought I knew me pretty well but time and perspective has made me realise I’ve underestimated a fair few points about me that actually should be considered important.  It doesn’t matter what they are and quite frankly it’s not anyone else’s business but there is never anything wrong with a little extra insight into your own world.

 

I have changed in three months, to the extent when I’m starting to like myself again.  I’m not the person I left behind and I have no intention of return to her sorry shell.  I’m perhaps apprehensive, maybe sometimes anxious, a touch tentative and possibly even a little scared of what is to come.

But the one thing I am not doing, is hiding from it any more.