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Is it just me or are the fireworks getting bigger, louder, smokier all over the world? 2009 arrived, resolution, resolution and resolution. What shall I resolve to do? I resolve to find time to be peaceful, to sit quietly and ponder and consider, not to rush or march to anyone elses tune other than those closest to me. Even then only if I want to, I will not be harangued, bamboozled, cajoled, harassed, pushed, running out of good adjectives now!Will I be able to say no and put myself first, giving myself that precious, valuable time. Time will tell.
Carnage, will anything ever change? Human beings killing and massacring each other the world over! Gaza, Zimbabwe the Congo. I turn away from the news, not wanting to hear it anymore. How much pain and suffering can we tolerate? Where is the good news I find myself asking, it must be out there somewhere. Maybe I should write make believe good news! Here goes, “today in Runcorn an elderly lady discovered that she will never die, she is blessed with the immortality gene. It is not known how many other people have the same condition”! Hmm, is that good news?
He ambled along the street, grinning inanely, arms stretched out wide, legs performing a dance only known to them. At the same time he talked and sung to himself. Passersby crossed the street, anxious to avoid the lunatic in their midst, fearful of the danger he presented to them, the unknown quantity. There was no smell of alcohol, so not a drunk. Possibly an addict but more likely he was cursed with some mental illness. Where was he going, who cared for him, how did he care for himself? On he went in his own mad, desperate world, to where?
He sat silently in the corner of the room, surveying the detritus that lay before him. Newspapers and magazines were strewn everywhere, months of grime and dust covered all surfaces. Rubbish bags lay in the kitchen where he had felt unable to remove them and piled up. Wildlife had begun to take refuge in his waste, cockroaches and other assorted bugs roamed freely whilst his mind and lethargy prevented him from tackling the obvious disarray that confronted him. Visitors to his door went unanswered, so departed. He knew he wasn’t well but felt unable to help himself or get help
Knees up and head in hands he began to weep, it came from deep inside him and rose steadily up through his torso into his throat. He wailed loudly as the tears streamed down his face and dripped from the end of his nose, his stomach lurched as he struggled to get his breath between sobs, overwhelmed with the years of pain and suffering that tormented him. Slowly the intense feelings subsided, he slumped against the wall, totally exhausted and depleted. Sleep overcame him, his mind and body rested, exhausted even unable to dream his brain shut down for hours.
His eyelids began to part, a narrow slit. Slowly the light entered his pupils and the blurred image made its way to the optic nerves, he blinked. His eyes opened marginally further as his brain stirred and woke from its slumber and arose into consciousness. It was 4pm on a winter’s afternoon and the daylight had almost faded into nothingness. He stretched from the corner where he had slumped and switched the table lamp on. The forty watt bulb added a minor glow to the room and illuminated the mess and carnage that had previously overwhelmed him. He groaned loudly.
Consumerism, what’s the point! The only point appears to be to drive the world economy along at a rate of knots. Credit crunch, what’s that all about? My understanding is that it’s all down to confidence, a few well placed comments can send the whole damn system spiralling out of control, someone in some high powered financial position mutters the like the voice of doom and everyone falls for it and it all comes tumbling down like a pack of cards. Is it just down to the power of words, does anyone know what they’re talking about? I think not.
The kid looked at me and it was like, “you get me, you actually understand me, I’m not all bad, I can do this.” He stood up and read, the words came out of his mouth and started to fill the room, he could hear his own voice, a look of pride and pleasure spread across his face. I felt like I’d achieved something, at last a breakthrough. After weeks of torture and disappointment we’d finally got there, we’d built some trust and understanding, that magical moment when you feel like you’ve made a connection, one human being to another.
Off he went, the feeling of success coursing through his veins, a little piece of self esteem to take away with him. What must it be like to live a life that is full of pain, let downs, violence, bad experiences. You’ve felt very little joy, no celebrations, no pleasant surprises or events that you will regale with excitement in your latter years. Too late for change? Is life that predictable that the course is already set, that there is no changing his destiny, failure, disaster and a life of conflict? The cards are stacked, which hand will be dealt?
Crisp white frost lay heavily on the ground, flora and fauna slept, all was still. The first glimmer of sun winked on the crest of the horizon, a sheet of gold leaf spread across the land and began to warm all that fell beneath it. It was as if the trees shook to clear their branches of the frozen remnants of the night and discarded their icy clothes. Birds began to find their voice as if stirred from a coma and a lone red deer appeared from the hedgerow and raised its nostrils to the air in search of danger.
I need to do a list, getting behind again. Why is it, as an adult there never seems to be enough time in the day? The end of the day and I still feel overwhelmed, panicked that all those tasks and things to do are left undone, loose ends to tie up, stuff to organise. One thousand four hundred and forty minutes in a day, what the fuck do I do with them all! Suddenly the day has gone, darkness has descended and night falls upon me. Must get organised, need to be more efficient, ah chill, have a beer!
She said she’d never known how it felt to be in love, in her early fifties this felt like a tragedy. I could hear the sadness and sense of loss in her voice and the pain. The clock was ticking, was it too late? I hoped for her it wasn’t, to have never felt that joy and elation of meeting a fellow human being and not tasted that level of intimacy. To not yearn during absence, to not feel the thrill on return or your stomach flip at the sight of them. I pray there is still time for her.
The mind is where our memories dwell. Thousands, millions of fragments of experiences, moments in time stored away in the repository of the brain for recollection at any time now or in the future. Moments of joy, sadness, loss or excitement, those historical moments can be recalled when stirred into action. For some those shelves of history begin to empty as the years pass, taken out on loan by dementia and then not returned to be re-stored. Slowly but surely the wealth of knowledge and experience is depleted until nothing remains, personal history has been erased, never to be replaced.
I watched him drift away, into the nothingness, the space where nothing remained, the emptiness. There were occasional flickers of recognition, a very distant memory, some familiarity, but then he was gone again. When those moments presented themselves I grasped them with a sense of urgency, this could be the last time, never to return again. The last embers were glowing but dying rapidly, and I was fanning it, trying to get that vague remembrance to burst into life, praying that it would. At the same time seizing the moment and welcoming it, before it was gone again, no more.
The city arched its back and awoke from its slumber. The early morning glow warmed the air slightly and tinted the dawn light. It had been a long night, Jack had slept lightly and anxiously, never knowing who might stumble upon him sleeping under the bridge that spanned the canal. Fortunately there had been no visitors during the night looking for shelter so Jack was able to enjoy the first rays of sunshine that danced on the surface of the water. Even though he had been sleeping rough for some time he was still able to appreciate the early morning.
Jack rubbed his eyes and sat up in his sleeping bag. He arose early in order to finish his ablutions before any cyclists or pedestrians appeared on the tow path and interrupted him. He stepped out from under the bridge and up into the trees and bushes that would conceal him. Unbuckling his belt he lowered his trousers and underpants exposing his backside to the fresh morning air! There was something liberating about shitting in a public space, both physically and psychologically, he found it enjoyable to empty his bowels whilst listening to birdsong in the crisp dappled morning light.
As Jack squatted on his haunches he observed a cyclist passing on the opposite side of the canal, in a hurry the cyclist sped on. Jack found it easy to drift off as he squatted, pondering how he’d ended up here, how long had it been? Eighteen months now, eighteen months of sleeping rough, he’d become accustomed to it now, but in a strange way enjoyed the solitary existence and the anonymity. No address, no responsibilities, no one to answer to. It had proved very easy to walk away from it all, the continual arguing, pressures of money and work.
The old crone reached out with her withered hand, a thin layer of translucent skin covered the matchstick like bones that lay beneath. Her fingers danced a little tune, desperately trying to convey a message to the porters who were transporting her around the hospital. Unable to speak this appeared to be her only way of communicating, the porters oblivious to her efforts just smiled inanely and attempted to placate her with a few words which were of little help. Slowly the trolley departed the ward, past the other patients who watched her undignified exit, was this her final journey?
No one knew she was missing, she’d lain there for days and no one even noticed. What was it like to be so invisible, to be unloved, unwanted and anonymous? As she lay there she knew that the milk bottles would be piling up on the doorstep, surely someone would raise the alarm soon, the gathering army of white bottles an indicator of a permanently secured front door, no one in or out. She’d fallen five days ago, as she’d hit the floor she’d felt her hip and pelvis crumble knowing it was bad. Her situation was desperate and dire.
It was the perfect situation to contemplate her life, no interruptions, just her, the four walls and the possessions that surrounded her. Maybe I’ll die here alone, she thought to herself very matter of factly. As the hours and days passed her mind drifted back to earlier times in her life and she found herself feeling regretful for some of the decisions she’d made. Things could have turned out differently, but she’d made her bed and now had to lie in it, at that thought she still managed a chuckle to herself as she laid spread across the floor.
He lay there anxiously waiting for his wife to arrive, she’d only found out half an hour before and was now rushing to the hospital before they whisked him into the operating theatre. He could feel the hysteria in him rising, not sure what the outcome would be and would he see the love of his life before they put him under. All around him endeavoured to reassure him but this just fed his anxiety and heightened it until it was almost uncontainable. At last she was here, just the sight of her beautiful face as she entered calmed him.
Is it too late to bring another child into this world? We talk about it constantly, what features she would inherit from each of us, would her hair be blonde or with a touch of strawberry, would she have my partner’s eyes, the green with a hint of yellow that is magical. It’s as if we already know her,as if we have talked her into existence, she already walks with us and chats constantly, holding our hands as we walk along the way. She has a curiosity about her that brings an almost dawn like freshness to our world.
The evenings are starting to draw out, winter is on the wane at last. The light is still crisp with the freshness of a bitter winter’s day but soon it will come to an end and spring will return with the hope and promise of new life that it always brings. Soon the birds and flowers will sense, as they always do, the change, both will spring into action. Birds will get busy and return to their spring nesting grounds and the flowers will start to push their way through the cold damp earth that has held them tightly dormant.
The ice crunched under my feet, on top of the rolling downs with man’s best friend at my side we both paced along filling our lungs with fresh god sent air! Up here I can empty my mind, putting down for a while some baggage that can be dealt with later, let it not intrude upon this moment. My dog leaps feet first into a mound of cow shit and looks very pleased with himself, oh to be so easily pleased, to be so abandoned. I urged him on, he continued to explore, sniffing at everything he came across curiously.
Her heart stopped and her body ceased to function, dead. Natalie peered down over her body as if elevated just a few foot above, she looked at herself, “how peaceful I look,” she thought. “So this is it, it’s all over finally.” She surveyed the scene, the doctor noting the time of death and all the life saving equipment being put to one side and ready for the next critical patient. Natalie wondered to herself, so is this my soul that is left and when will I pass over to the other side? Big questions but no immediate obvious answers.
Do I believe in the essence of a soul, that spiritual part of each being. I wonder if it only comes into being when we die, from the ether it is born. So what arrives at the pearly gates, is it simply a glowing orb! Come in, come in we were expecting you, I could pretend to be someone famous, I mean, surely you can’t tell one orb from another. Many questions that we in the mortal world are simply unable to answer, all I know is, if there is life after death it must be bloody crowded up there.
She lay on the sofa and fantasised what it would be like to own it, she drifted off into the world of dreams where anything is possible, where interior decor knows no bounds. Her fingers felt the complicated weave of the cloth and her eyes feasted on the contours and colour of the object she so desired. She saw the room where it would sit, where she would lounge and make love on it’s comforting plump cushions. The cushions supported her beautiful firm buttocks from beneath and it felt good. “Can I help you madam,” “just browsing” she politely responded.
She sat down next to me, she was late, forty four years late in fact. Neither knew that the other was the one, the one that it’s your destiny to be with, only neither of them was aware. He had been all over the world looking for her, when she had been on his doorstep all along. Thousands and thousands of miles he’d travelled, to the four corners of the globe whilst she had waited patiently for him to arrive at his final destination, she knew he was the one very soon after that initial encounter, that’s fate for you.
Where is home, is it the place where we first started out on our journey or is it the place where we finally settle with our loved ones? We all want to come home, to rest, to be at peace, to feel loved, nurtured and wanted. So maybe that’s it, maybe home is just a feeling rather than a physical place on the land. But then we talk about our roots, roots implies a place of growth, of tending to whilst others stand by and watch the fruits of their labours as we grow into maturity, into a solid oak.
I watched them on the small screen and felt utter disdain for them. They looked like a bunch of sex starved slappers who had seen better times, their looks and physicality fading fast whilst they desperately clung onto some vestige of youth that had died years ago. They were growing old disgracefully, when they looked in the mirror I could only imagine that they saw something very different to the image that confronted me, I found myself feeling contempt for the men that sought them out, what were they searching for, was it their final quest to display their virility.
At last, it was mission accomplished, I’d seen it through to the end. Others might achieve greater things but right here right now this was good enough for me. My words were out there, I’d put it down on paper and they were there for anyone who chose to read them, whether they did or not was of little consequence, this was for me and that was what mattered. So read them if you wish, whoever you are and wherever you may dwell, forgive my colloquialism those of you across the pond from the old country, it’s not quite Shakespeare!
The Tip Jar