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5: Velvet Morning

Wake up! Come on, wake up!

Eyes open. Slow to wake. Haze of dawn breaking. My old alarm clock; 7:00 AM. Limbs stiff. Mirror check. Still here. The morning is silent. Outside, not a soul. Downstairs for breakfast. Cereal, tea, toast. Feed the beast. Need to shave. Or will I grow it? Birthday cards on the kitchen table. My eyes still weak. Mind asleep. Whose birthday was it again? Leave the bins out. Back garden. Fresh air. Stale bread on the path. Untouched by the birds. Switch on the radio. No music. Have no time. Need to get ready. This is my last day at the company. Back upstairs. No one awake yet. They’re up later. Now, what shoes? No trainers, black with white stripes, the ones I always wanted. Shower quick. I hear the song. I love this one. The Walker Brothers, isn’t it? Get dressed. I feel good.  Water. In the hallway. Keys gone. Do I need them? Pictures on the wall. Me and my family. Old friends. Lovers. Down to the shore. No sun today. Trees bare branched. No birds. A child on its own. Laughing. Pointing at the sea. He tells me to look. Saltwater roil, wind gathers. Sky darkens.  From the water, a hand reaches out. Floating in to the shore. Turn around, the child is gone. Hand of stone beckoning me. Seaweed strewn. Torn from a giant. A Greek God. Once proud now broken. No sounds, no cries, no screams. Need to leave. Late already.  Town hall. Doors flap in the wind. Empty rooms. Tables, chairs, paper, machines; all in a pyre. Shouting, echoes ring. My phone rings. Onto the streets. Sirens wail. Streams of birds up above. People emerging. Faces I knew. Looking up. I look at my phone. The time: 7:00AM. A trembling inside. On the ground. In the air. The sky burns red. But I don’t look away. Skin burns red.

My final day.

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4: The Ghost of You Lingers

I had not thought of you for so long, my dear and now today of all fucking days, you enter into my thoughts once again; neither welcome nor unwelcome. Such is your bittersweet hold on my heart even now.

Waiting at the train station, the morning bitter with cold and a deluge of rain bleeding through my clothes I saw you appear out of nothing. Was it you? I couldn’t tell. These days, I find it hard to distinguish between reality and my dream life. Maybe I’m losing my sanity or maybe this is how we all live inside of ourselves, confusion and certainty on tandem, unable to reconcile, our outer skins (mostly) keeping psychosis at bay. And that is on good days, my dear as you would know.

What I know and have known in the time since I met you and in the time apart is that I may never know myself but my feelings for you remain deep and unyielding. Despite the pain of your departure, whenever I see a woman who is even a shadow of you – dark-haired, prideful, strident, sultry – my being responds and the grey world around me slides away.

I  am aware that much of this sounds like so much purplish, overripe sentimental romantic bullshit, the prattlings of a lovesick young fool but  of course you know me…why am I even questioning you. You knew me, I think.  Though I never gave in to my sentimental side enough perhaps when we were together. But then that would make me regretful and I truly never regret having met you and love you the way I did. Life is timing. My timing has always been shall we say, not quite punctual.

But I must go now, the train awaits and the insurgents await me on the esplanade. You walked past me. You walked through me. You walk by. Every day. Every night. Forever.

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