Full of Fire: Part 3

(Part 1Part 2)

She never regretted moving to this flat.  It was her bolt hole in this fast paced city, a place where she could flutter and eventually fly free of her parents, beloved though they were.  In fact, they were the reason why she had moved to the city.  She couldn’t quite face looking into their eyes once Robert had been to visit her at the parent’s house.  If they had known of all of the positions that they had made love in then her cheeks would be forever burnished, matching only those of rosy fresh apples.  No, much better that she had moved away to a swanky new flat with him instead, free to both explore their love and to allow their careers to take a foothold upon the employment ladder in their chosen fields.

The flat wasn’t really swanky in all honesty.  Sometimes, especially after a heated remark or two, it could feel like a shoe box and one that she yearned to escape.  It was at times like those that she felt she could happily return to her parent’s house, to become engulfed once again in their loving embrace.  But she realized that this would never happen again, she had flown the coop and would not return to live there in this lifetime.  She visited, from time to time, and had hosted her mother and father in her adopted city, but they would not meaningfully live side by side again.

Robert was her immediate family now, her lover and confidant, her romancer and family man.  Her father wrote often though, kept the familial bonds strong and she wrote back as often as she could, though writing was not her forte and clearly her path in life was not to follow her father.  She loved his letters though, decorated as they were with doodles on each page.  The notes on his latest writing project filled her with hope for her father and his health, as she often mistakenly equated the health of his imagination with the health of his ailing body.  Her mother sometimes added a page or two of notes as well, updated her on school crushes and old boyfriends.  It was these tidbits from her mother that she really enjoyed, kept her in the loop of small town life and let her feel guilt-free pangs of happiness.  In this raging city of 24/7 access, it was grounding to know that life continued as much as it ever had in other parts of the country, parts that the creeping suburbia of the city hadn’t yet reached.

The illness unhinged her for a while though, the images of her father spraying droplets of blood was not something that she wanted to think about, neither was the fact that her parents were indeed mortal and not immortal, as a childish version of her thought still.  Her foundation of independence had just become solidified yet it felt like even as she started to make her mark on the world, the world had started to shake the rock that she built her life upon.

In all honesty she tried not to think about the condition slowly taking over her father’s life.  To put death at a distance and to keep love close.  That was her motto, though she could never think of the words to articulate it, it was how she lived her live in the shadow of her parent’s slow, earthly demise.  Her father would probably be writing a poem at this very moment and she could just picture it, his pen gliding across the paper in what would seem to be a well-rehearsed manner.  The words would flow, the inconvertible truth that this man was born to give a voice to his generation would be undeniable.

In her darkest moments, sometimes the ones that followed the passionate lovemaking sessions with Robert where she lay in quiet repose resting, the thoughts would intrude into her mind like unbidden shards of shattered glass.  He would be remembered by the many, not by the few.

It would not be long now.

Journal 10/09/15

Every night the front cover of my diary asks me ‘Who are you?’ and every night I struggle to articulate myself, to justify myself to myself.  Lyric after devastating lyric falls from the speaker and I want to share this moment with you, I want to bask in the radiance of your love for this artist.  I find myself driving along at night knowing that if I don’t take the turn off for home, I will not ever stop this journey north. The trumpets herald, but I am not sure what they signify.  I miss you.  Will this job ever end, will I ever escape this office?  How do I break free of my own body.  What are those birds thinking, soaring so high in the sky, eyeing each other, safety in numbers perhaps?  The land meets the sea, the sea meets the sky, the sky holds the stars.  Everything that has ever lived, nearly everything that has ever lived, is here on this planet, on this pinprick in the sky.  Where have you gone though, when will I cross that eternal divide?

I miss you.

This is the thought that is at the forefront of my thoughts, that one that pervades the bitterness of being here, of comforting your family when all I want is to say how much I loved you to you directly.

I miss you.

Did I ever mourn my lost family members enough?  Should I feel guilt now, why has this struck me so hard?  Why does this artist so move me to tears nearly every day.  Their music touches me like nothing else, a lightening bolt connecting the living and the dead.  I hate and I love.  I just want to say to my father, to my mother, hold me.  Hold me.  I miss you.  My elbow is dirty again, how can I scrub so hard yet it not get any cleaner?  I can feel the metal attached, drilled deep into my bones.  I can feel the plates and the rods pressing against my skin, the metalwork that keeps me standing and grounds me, that completes my alien body amongst this landscape of beauty, this hidden careworn ugliness.  I am jealous of your walk in the woods, your walk up the hills, your walk down the concrete slabbed route to town.

I miss you.

What is death when life is complicated enough.  What is life when death is eternal.  The great divide, never knowing just what it is that separates this from that.

Full of Fire: Part 2

(Part 1 – Part 3)

She had heard him coughing over his poem in the far off room, could no doubt imagine the fine spray of blood that was probably even now covering his crisp writing paper.  It would not be long now before he was too ill to write.  This was a period that she had been dreading, even as he sought to convey the full confection of his feelings for her in his short, often romantic, poems detailing their shared life together.

Today, however, was a different story.  She had already heard him earlier, muttering under his breath about the lines that had formed on his paper in the distinct rays of the morning sun.  Once or twice she thought she had even heard him growl in resigned and quiet anger.  Why didn’t he stop, rest and enjoy the short time that they had left?  Why hadn’t they eaten breakfast together the past few days, as they normally would have either in the light yellow breakfast room or in one of the cafes that proliferated the nearby shopping arcade?

She knew, of course, why he had been focusing on his writing, even more so in the autumn of his life, ever since that damn diagnosis.  It was to be a slow decline for the writer of such fiery youthful polemics, which had made him his name as an author in the country of his birth.  There was to be a steady lessening of his commands, a slow fire that would rise up from his belly and engulf his lungs so that in his last days he would feel as if he was drowning in flames.

They both faced this poetic decree by his doctor with solid stoicism, unmoved by his descriptions and livid features, the jowls that so willingly proclaimed the closing chapter of a life well lived.  She had swallowed hard that day, had pushed down that knot of fear, pushed it down so deep she had barely registered its original presence.  Yet it lingered, as the ghost of an early morning dream does to those that live the day believing that they are forgetting something fundamental in their routine.  Guilt mingled with the fear, the fear that, even if he were to pass as she was still undecided on this matter, she would remain in this house built for two alone.  Her coming winter was to be spent in silent reflection.

She had somehow forgotten of his ills, perhaps buried them once more, as she busied herself with the tasks of daily life.  Filtering the mail, answering calls, fielding journalists.  In truth this was a remote interaction with the world at large, her life with him had been steady, filled with the romance of every day love.  Gestures that Romero would never have a chance to show to his youthful Juliet that filled theirs instead. avec amour chaque devoir quotidien.

This day she had let him write alone and she thought he was progressing, writing further poems of truly requited love, the kind that beats across the decades and the kind that fills the marital bed with the warm glow of satisfaction.  Towards the drawing of the late summer sun she had heard that cough percolate throughout the house time and time again, shaking her core foundation and filling it with a silent dread.  She abandoned her tasks and rushed towards the sounds of his frail body, wracked as it was by coughing convulsions.  They embraced as one, his eyes holding hers.  A quick glance at his desk showed a poem, scribbled all over and dotted with the fine droplets of blood that he had indeed sprayed forth.

It would not be long now.

Other Sides

‘…..and I’ve already told you of the experience, how demeaning it was, how I felt like utter shit abandoned at the end of the world- do we really have to go through it again?’

‘Yes I’m afraid so, you know as well as I do that we have to go through each experience of importance and process it so we can begin to understand more fully why you are here today and what we can do tomorrow.’

‘But it just feels like we are revisiting the same instance, the same scene, again and again, I do not feel that this is not the main theme of my life, I’ve gotten over it, why are we doing this?’

‘I think we could be at a turning point in this session if we pursue this particular point, please can you tell me again how you felt at that point in hospital?’

‘Okay fine.  Well, it was maybe the 2nd week after the surgery, and I was managing to get to the toilet with a little help from the nurses to push me over to it on a portable commode (not the most glamorous mode of transportation), and on this occasion the nurse helped me get over to and on the toilet seat, told me push this orange button once I had been and done my business, as usual.

Fine I though, this wouldn’t take that long, heck it was nice to be sat upright, even if it was draining and made me tired and nauseous.  So I was enjoying being out of the lumpy bed, my bowels moved and I cleaned myself up, lent over to the sink and washed my hands.  After that was done I pressed the orange call button firmly and waited…’

‘Please continue..’

‘I was located in a side room, away from the main bays of the ward by myself, and the toilet was also in my room.  Effectively I was two doors away from the main artery of the ward, out on a limb from the nurses station, but I didn’t think this would be a problem.  A few minutes drifted by and I sat and wondered where the nurses were, tried to remember what time it was and if they would all be busy serving drugs or meals.’

‘I could see the orange glow of the button I’d pressed so I knew it’d be making that humming noise every few seconds, with a light above my bedroom door flashing as well.  It was only a matter of time, but the longer I sat the more sore my bum became, my bones ached more and I felt more and more uncomfortable generally.’

‘I began to feel like I’d been abandoned, lost, and I was racked with aches and pains.  I hadn’t moved this much since the surgery, I began to tremble. and I… I…’

‘Go on, you are in a safe room here,’

‘Well I’m not afraid to say a tear fell loose from one of my eyes, I felt like I had been cast away, left to rot on a desert island of clinical smells and frustrated, worn out, bodies.  Surely I must have been in there for more than half an hour?  Maybe more?  The seconds turned into minutes, and the minutes seemed to drag into hours.  This can’t be right I thought, surely someone has seen the orange glow, has heard the hum above the hustle and bustle of the busy ward?  it’s not hard to ignore, but at the same time it signifies that someone needs your attention.’

‘Sure, it hasn’t the red glow and the violent incessant thud of the emergency alarm but it was still a signal saying that someone needed attention, was waiting to be seen, hoping to be heard, right?  I was there and I needed someone.  And I just couldn’t help it or myself, I felt broken by such a small thing, by being left on the toilet atop of my own shit, my own weak body holding me back, and I just couldn’t fathom how… how I could get out, how to do it, I think at one point I shouted a bit, not much, I was meek, weak at the knees at needing attention but never actively seeking it.’

‘hmm right, please go on, how did the situation resolve?’

‘Resolve?  It never resolved, I was found on the toilet half asleep from the weakness of sitting there for so long.  The nurses told me that it had only been 30 minutes but it had felt like a lifetime.’

‘And how did you feel towards the nurses after the incident?…’

‘I viewed them the same as before, how could I not?  I depended on them, I needed them.’

‘Did you think you were consciously abandoned?’

‘No, of course not, I mean why would they when they knew I was out of bed so recently after major surgery, they probably had better things to do right, you know this is a hospital, right? Some people are far sicker than me…’

‘Hmm…’

‘I, I don’t know, I just thought that this is it, this is how my life is going to be, waiting for help, waiting to be moved, waiting to be noticed…’

‘Ah, I’m afraid the session is up for today, please can you come back next week, say Wednesday at 2pm?’

‘Yeah of course, I guess so…I just don’t feel as though we have made any breakthrou…’

‘Goodbye Mr Petersen,’

‘Thanks…’

The day was bitter and the wind whipped at his face as he left the gray tawdy building.  It looked warm in the sunshine, it looked relaxing to be outside in the great bosom of nature, but it was a facade, it was cold and unwelcoming.  Mr Petersen knew this, but he could not comprehend it.

Diary Keeping

An excellent article over at the Guardian- ‘Diarykeeping is an exceptional and heroic act‘.  It reminded me that I kept a series of diaries, or journals, over a period of a few years, from the hectic sixth form years and surgical gap year up until my first year at University.  It may be time to take a peek of them.

It is an act of writing that is deeply personal and often only for the view of that person themselves, yet their value is inherent.