Damoclean Sword

John’s taken to coming back to go out with me at night, the ostensible premiss being he might be taken at any time and returned to prison where he’d commit suicide. He’d wanted to see Tower Bridge. He’d also wanted public sex though I wasn’t to take the viagra until we came back from a trip to the Kings Road, Chelsea. I took it anyway, lubricant and, otiosely, Vaseline. There was no train service to Clapham Junction, on a Sunday. We jumped on the North London Line, deciding to get off at Willesden Junction where I was convinced was another overground service, to Clapham Junction as it transpired. Since there, we took a next train to Waterloo where was no train from Waterloo East to …anywhere, including London Bridge! We took the Jubilee Line.

From the parapet where buddleia and golden rod grew, I leapt down, grazing my knee on the edge of the high step up. Blood flowed. John tended the wound with spit and tissue till I asked “would vaseline help?” “You’ve had Vaseline all this time in your pocket and only now ask would it help!”

We saw HMS Belfast, walked Tower Bridge, around The bloody Tower, past the Monument, up to St Paul’s where a small demonstration against capitalism was being supervised by many polce John avoided by, in one instance, telling me to ask directions from two of them to the unfortunately no longer Bendy Bridge. By then I just wanted to go home and the easiest way seemed to catch a District Line train but Blackfriars was closed, as was Temple. Inns of Court. We caught the last train at the Embankment. He said I was in a bad mood after grazing my knee.

Next day I came in with shopping and made lunch while he was up watching a DVD of Liverpool winning some cup after being three down or something. I moved the remote to set the table. He peremptorily asked for it without getting up himself for it. I returned it to the table. He didn’t use it. Since he had the volume on and didn’t want subtitles as he usually did, I hadn’t put on Radio 3. I’m not remotely sure how it arose from that but, except I probably expressed irritation at the football which was supposed to be finishing, I was accused of bullying that he always confuses with nagging; he wasn’t going to eat the hot food but shave to go out: and he didn’t want any money from me, he’d get his own ie by stealing, better prison than staying with me who was like all the rest he’d ever known. “In that case,” I said, not getting emotional, “you might as well pack and leave. Find yourself another place to stay today,” adding, “if I’m like everybody else, that’s by your determination; you’re the common factor”. He packed, for the fifth time, drinking some wine. “I thought you weren’t going to take anything. Making an exception for alcohol?”

I cooled myself by finishing typing out a copy of the poems for a publisher. He asked if I was allowing him to shave. I refused to give or not give permission, saying it was up to him whether he shaved or not and always had been, I’d never stopped him going out, he didn’t need the excuse of an argument over something trivial to do so.

Eventually he took me in his arms and asked if he was overreacting.

At the station he said he wouldn’t apologise, he wasn’t in the wrong. I agreed he shouldn’t; it could’ve been me expressed irritation at the bloody football. He finds my music as irritating. We don’t stop each other doing what we like though I can see problems longer term. “Wait until you’ve got another place when you can leave after a row and I’ll know you’ve somewhere to go.”


About johnbrucecairns

I'm a retired history teacher who's written for most of his life with a book readied for publication.
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