This morning I shaved my legs. Yay! After 3 days of avoiding the smelly, grubby bath in my new flat. I accidentally cut myself with the razor. Nothing serious, just a small graze above the knee. The weird thing is that the first thought–actually it was more like a feeling–that came to my mind was joy. Joy? Who feels joy at the sight of their own blood?! I’ve been trying to justify it to myself, believe me.
I think it might have something to do with the past year. You see, I didn’t even realise this but I’d been building up this numbness. Last summer was the best of my life because I was free. Free of shit job, free of bad relationship, free of long hair, etc. I was in a new place, starting something new and it was fucking great. But ask anyone normal who’s spent a year being trained as a teacher in the state education system and they’ll tell you a thing or two. You grow a skin so thick you could be stabbed with a protractor and not feel a thing. I won’t even go into what it was like living in a house full of women. It’s no surprise that lightness of being gradually dissipated.
But maybe it’s something else. Like the fact that I’ve moved into a strange new flat, in a strange new hood, with really chavvy neighbours who have got me contemplating calling the NSPCC on a daily basis. I still haven’t found a local pub where where I can indulge in the occasional pint and cigarette and pretty soon it’s going to be too cold to do that (bloody smoking ban). Or… because the ragazzo has moved to South America and I won’t see him till December.
One of the above. All of the above. Despite the build up of tension, the lack of stability, the doubt, the confusion (oy vey!), I’m still here.
Who says you can’t scribble in McDonald’s? Especially if it’s McDonald’s in Swiss Cottage with a seat by the window. Ahh those fluorescent Starship Enterprise chairs (and cheap coffee).
As I was climbing the stairs at the Tube station this evening, the man ahead of me stopped and waited for me to catch up with him. Then he said to me in Patois: You know what the most terrible thing about life is? I said no. He said: The most terrible thing in life is when all your friends get older than you. I asked him if that’s what’s happening to him. He said yes.
At first I thought he must be stark raving off his rocker, but as I sat down to wait for my train I realised there is some truth in that.
Sitting here on a secluded bench outside the Faculty of Music because it’s the quietest place I could find. Despite popular belief and comparison to London, Cambridge is not as peaceful as one might want it to be after a long day of having your mind occupied solely with reality. Completely engrossed in Neal Cassady’s letters to Kerouac, my back against a pristine pillow which I conspicuously carried from my hotel room and down the street, I become aware of a delicate sound like the first few drops of summer rain before a downpour. But I look up into the sky and it’s blue with heavenly pink and white whipped marshmallows roasting in the setting sun.
The sound persists.
I look around me. Around my bench island is a sea of woodchips and dead pine needles, and nothing stirs among them. I stretch my legs [bare feet, cold toes] and notice a wasp (bee?) on the edge of the bench, busily and unselfconsciously carving out a haphazard path as it eats away the dried top layer of the wood.I watch it for a few minutes, not daring to move lest I disturb it.
It seems I’m not the only creature in Cambridge with strange solitary habits.
Don’t know what to make of it
This strange sensation
Like dust invisible but it tickles
Someday we’ll have the conversation
A real face to face relation
I’ll touch your hand, you’ll touch mine
We’ll let our fingers intertwine.
But until then
I take solace in my pen
Because all this has ever been
Is pollen travelling on the wind.