this is the beginning of something i will write into a novel. if the subject of the novel finds it and gets angry i’d like to send him the following message: “hello! i miss you, but only a little. mostly i am angry. also, go listen to sharyn van witten give out, and arctic monkeys why’d you only call me when you’re high? and fuck off or jerk off thinking about me. i’d take that. send pics.”
We circle each other, always ready and never really wanting. Or really wanting and knowing better. Wanting so badly and wanting more and to never see each other again. I smelled his scent by the harbour yesterday and stopped. It was a father, playing with a daughter on the pelican-shaped rocker. If that’s a sign then everything is.
I texted him at 10pm, knowing that sooner or later I would so it may as well be sooner. “D-floor debauchery at Fever?” He was keen, of course. He replied with a photo: the edge of a plate with a bumpy line, white on white. “Yep.”
I watched the coloured lights flying over my dress, I was happy. I threw my arms up and swayed. I caught the eye of a guy in a blue shirt. He stopped me with a hand on my shoulder. “You’re beautiful.” I smiled thank you and brushed past. I felt for my phone in my bag. He was outside. I held the railing and took each stair on bambi legs, thinking of stability, of a yacht weighed down by an anchor.
“We were doing so well,” he said, laughing.
“We beat on, boats against the current,” I said. But he just threw the door open and put his lips on mine.
it occurred to me today as i drove past that the man who holds the Burger King sign on the princes highway at sydenham is actually the grim reaper. HAPPY HOUR. BUY ONE BURGER GET ONE FREE. That’s what his sign says. Each afternoon he is there, holding his sign and waving to passers-by. His bike is always discarded on the footpath. I have noted with interest that he has fashioned a rope pulley with which to wobble his sign one-handed (thus leaving the other hand free to wave to the cars as they pass.) He wears an orange safety vest and has his moustache neatly combed.
Usually I drive past the sign man, biting my lip and switching between CDs, iPhone or radio stations. But I have noticed one thing: on the few occasions when i have lifted a few fingers from the steering wheel in vague acknowledgement, the sign man has not waved back but rather has turned his hand to the ground and motioned up and down. it at first looked to me like he was saying “slow down” but i am never speeding when i pass the sign man–god forbid the traffic would never allow it.
this year i will be 27 (ohmygodsofuckingoldright?) so it makes sense that i will join Kurt and Jim and Amy and Janis and Brian and Jimi in the 27 club. The year has not been kind to me so far (loss of 2 days per week of employment, 1 x car crash, 1 x flat tyre, financial dispair x infinity, poor decisions x 5ish, a couple of bad hangovers, 1 x spilled coffee, 1 x stained skirt and 1 x spilled salad). Though admittedly when i raised this point to my co-workers over burrito salad, they denied my level of genius places me in the same league as any of these musicians. They also, quite rudely, labelled me Amy Winey. Who are they to say that it is me, not Lena, who is the voice of this generation? or something.
point of the story: the sign man is only warning me of what i already know. i doubt i shall survive the year.