To Blog: Model Party

Aiming for the start at 8:30, after peeing I left at 7:30 for Joe’s party Dominika had invited me to, taking the fast train to Waterloo, Jubilee to Canada Waters and found the DLR station, after asking where it was from a passerby.  “Does that” sitting “train go to Langholme Park?”  “Where?” the platform assistant asked, never having heard of it.  “Langsomething Park?”  “Yes.”

There was no park this side, so it had to be across the rail bridge to the other and Bright Street should lead onto St Leonard’s Rd.  “Is this St Leonard’s Rd?” I asked.  “Along there,” I was directed, but no one along there knew where Balfron Towers was.  Wrong direction.  A van driver said the only tower he knew on that road was “that one,” he pointed.  I hadn’t thought it’d actually be a tower.  He kept on being helpful.

“Do you know where Balfron Towers is?”  I asked a couple.  “Are you going to the party?”  They were eating first, letting me in and punching the lift button for the twenty-fourth floor.  I missed flat 132 at first but saw Joe through its kitchen window.  I was first to arrive, as usual.  He was still setting up.  “You’re as pretty as ever, Joe; and shaved.  Are beards going out?  I’m only an insecure man five days a week; I shave two.”  I apologised for not bringing champagne.  He said there was prosecco, as was my bottle.  I asked for Dominika’s address he was surprised I didn’t already have and added it to my to-do list before returning it and the biro to my cloth Richmond library bag with the A-Z, phone and glasses in it I put on a bench by the window and followed Joe as he put things away and secured cupboards in the kitchen and, along the lobby, in another room, beyond which was an open balcony.

A young woman who might be his partner burst in to induce Joe to set up the sound system on the roof but Joe, after quickly introducing us who went through the kissing on the cheeks, was disinclined to, on the grounds the speakers wouldn’t be loud enough for outdoors.  She was Metta, though I wasn’t sure it wasn’t ‘Netta’.  I’m assuming the spelling.  Metta had a ring through her septum.  Joe has one through the rim of his ear.  My interest was in having one drink from my bottle, leaving the rest to whoever wanted, to which end I sined out four glasses by leaning over two bikes.  I opened the bottle unaided and started pouring into a glass while, Metta, impressed I’d washed up, stretched for some paper cups.  I transferred my drink and poured two more.

We were drinking in the bigger room, as long as the adjacent other and balcony together, when Dominika arrived with Jackson, her boyfriend I embraced and kissed on at least one cheek.  Jackson had heard a lot about me.  All good, I doubted.   I poured drinks for them and another young man.  That was the bottle out of the way and checked Metta’s name from Dominika.

Jackson and I drifted onto the balcony for a smoke he rolled on the edge, losing some grass.  “Get down and pick it up!” I mock-ordered, assuming it’d fallen in and not out.  He’d read Nietzsche.  I hadn’t got through Also Sprach, not his best Jackson considered which was Birth of Tragedy.  I didn’t say I thought his suicide invalidated whatever he might have said about life.  We talked of Francis Bacon and Charles Dyer Jackson tentatively corrected to ‘George’ who committed suicide.  “Why?”  Jackson thought it was because Bacon’s superior friends patronised him.  “That’s inferior!  If you’re superior you make people,” I skirted the word ‘inferiors’, “feel better about themselves.”  “People should be nice to each other,” Jackson concluded.  “You have to be able to be nasty.”  That may have taken us on to Socrates, a virtual suicide, who, Jackson thought, wanted to be appointed teacher to Athenian youth.  I didn’t say it was to be fed at state expense.  “It was that condemned him.  Why didn’t he go into exile as was expected?”  That, Jackson thought, would’ve betrayed his principles.  I considered whether principles are worth dying for and doubted I would for …whatever mine was.  Why didn’t his man stop him?  I liked Socrates because he had a daimon, Jackson called daemas, like I did and whenever I came across Socrates in any of the ancient books I read I put a dot on the corner of the page.  Jackson liked that but said he didn’t understand.  I explained: Socrates’ god must’ve been his unconscious will, as my man, without being very Socratic about it, told me he was and Jackson too must have an unconscious will that wasn’t making itself evident to him, as mine did me but no longer much was – so why was I going on about it?  The last time was probably while I was being strangled into unconsciousness and saw a vision, of me on the floor with a man standing over I took to be my man leaving me dead who took on the appearance of my assailant however, saying ‘what’ll he do when I’ve gone?  I don’t care what he does!  I’ll be gone,’ that I knew from the tone was no longer my man in the vision but by which he was letting me know what the assailant was thinking, and from it that I wasn’t going to be murdered.  “He stopped killing and went on to bite me, my thumb, the shoulder and somewhere else.  As he was preparing to leave, he kept between me and the door.  On his leaving, I asked, because I wanted to know, why he hadn’t taken the hostel place he’d been offered.  He’d felt comfortable with me.  I’d been too indulgent.”  Was I talking too much?  There was a lot more and Jackson was confusing the long-term prisoner I’d deinstitutionalised with the psychopath I’d witnessed against for GBH to the friend who’d brought him to me.  I cleared that up.  He might meet the former and think he was the latter.  We talked of fate even Zeus was subject to, that the Xians scuppered with their belief in free will provided you choose subjection to god’s.  Lucifer, Jackson said, was God’s favourite.  “Probably because he rebelled,” I said.  “I too act freely though unconsciously determined.”  Jackson thought his nearest equivalent of being fated or unconsciously directed was his deciding without any apparent reason to go out for a walk one night in Melbourne and being attacked from behind by a man who asked why he was there and told him they were going to do this and that and then Jackson would tell him.  Jackson, separating himself from himself, calmly raised his palm and gently pushed the man away, getting himself out of there and away.  It was like me watching myself manipulate an employer into anger to the point of his having no choice but to sack me and then leading him back down again.  The attack might account for the scar on Jackson’s left jaw I didn’t ask about.  He has a mole on his right cheek which reconciled me to the ‘beauty’ spot I declined to have removed since the beauty it marked has long gone.  His lashes, and looking out from under, made his blue eyes sparkle.  He supported my having it out with Dan when he came about why he hadn’t come as the third appointed gatecrasher to my birthday party since any explanation was being avoided.

Dominika asked if mine was the canvas bag she’d put in a drawer in the kitchen.  I had my keys and wallet with cards on me in my blue shorts.  I couldn’t find the drawer on checking but someone pointed it out to me.  Mette told me she’d lost her cards, pin no and Dutch passport in a fanny bag somewhere in the building.  When I retold this in her hearing she’d giggle, “fanny!” at my having misheard.  She said she shouldn’t be the one drinking out of a glass when her guests weren’t.  “It looks elegant.”

Back on the balcony, I was being introduced by Dominika to people.  “I won’t remember everybody’s name.”  I wasn’t going to blog the occasion, using people for material, and there were too many of them to remember their names.  I do remember Agniezka’s because she tutored me in its pronunciation till, “Perfect,” she said, and, having gone that far, I went on to how it was spelt.  “I’m Polish,” she added, otiosely I thought since it was Dominika introduced us and she was, but probably not if one didn’t know ‘Dominika’ was Polish and ‘Agniezska’ might be a more generally Slav name.  Agnieszka was shaven-headed.  Another punk I wasn’t being introduced to had a lot of light dyed hair and asymmetrical black makeup, over one eye’s lid and under the other’s.

I saw dancing was starting up.  If I was going to dance the encumbering blue hoodie had to go and I pushed it into the small kitchen drawer along with the bag.  The drawer couldn’t be completely shut and when I passed I would glance to make sure it was as unshut though I could always get home in my semmit and buy another summer hoodie if need be.

Dominika introduced me to Naiem, whose name I had her spell out, I’d met before at her house painting.  The punk I hadn’t recognised was Beehive, who went at dancing like a little locomotive, all pistons flying.  Quentin was there and was shortly made up, by the girl’d done Beehive on entry, with a spar across his forehead and the post a line down the bridge of his nose.  I’d never seen him dance before.  I like to coordinate the movement of my body to whatever the music’s doing, holding to its shifts and nuances, my feet adept enough to adapt.  Everybody was dancing with everybody else, the men perhaps a little wary of dancing too closely with me.  I love dancing.  Intending to leave early I went to see what the time was on my phone.  11:20, too late to catch the last train to Richmond, as I said to Joe.  “What do you feel like doing?” Joe asked.  “I feel like staying.”  “Then stay.”  It was an all-night party.  I could catch the first tube in the morning.

As I was dancing, a young man asked where I got my black tiger-striped vest.  He liked black.  I told him where but that he was unlikely to be able to buy one since it’d been on a remainder sale.  Gary was his name.  I thought of stripping it off to give him but he was too big for it to fit.

I’m trying to remember where I told Jackson Quentin didn’t think himself a success.  It may have been in the small room.  Jackson thought he was, as did I, but Quentin wanted to be able to live off his writing.  Jackson said he must read something of Quentin’s.  Jackson painted and I told him there were church venues and such all over London, that Richmond reference library had continual exhibitions.  He had had ten exhibitions in Melbourne and one coming up here I advised asking the High Commissioner to, to breach the coterie and reach the public as Quentin hadn’t.  All Jackson wanted was to have a house in which he could spend his time painting.  “You’ll have to be successful to be rich enough to do that.”  On our way out, me following a padding Jackson, I was asked again by Gary the name he’d forgotten of the online retailer of my silk vest.  “Patra.  You must come to Richmond,” I said to Jackson who replied he would.  We mounted the stairs to the roof for a smoke.  He didn’t like going too close to the edge in case he felt the urge to throw himself over though the protecting wall was chest high.  I looked down.  The houses were like Monopoly ones and the people, if not ants exactly, were like very small animals.  The trees were too far down and off to cushion my fall.  “I see what you mean,” I said.  Along the horizon was an edge of red lights at the tops of buildings that weren’t to ward planes off since the taller Canary Wharf had a flashing white light.  Jackson thought the red was chosen for aesthetic reasons but that would mean each building separately going for red as was unlikely.  He pointed out an odd green.

Because they can’t find dark matter and energy, scientists are beginning to think Einstein might be wrong, I told him.  This was a good thing, we agreed.  I said Dominika was leaving the party early to write her thesis.  While Jackson liked it he couldn’t come to grips with it and would read it later, a stance that I compared to my inability to understand ‘To the Lighthouse’ on a first attempt but found it great at a second.  Jackson went off to pee in the near corner of the roof.

A young man got up of the ground to introduce himself, “We might as well know each other,” as Richard, shaking hands.  He’d been lying on the dance floor earlier and I asked why.  He’d a bad back.  Was it on medical recommendation he lay?  It was but he didn’t want to talk about it any more.  “Is it because you’re tall your back’s bad?” because the tall people are more susceptible.  He walked off.  I asked Quentin if I’d said anything offensive.  He thought not.  Beehive thought it was because Richard had suffered too long from his back.  The idleness of my intellectual curiosity may have, in contrast to his real pain, annoyed but you may work out from this text more exactly what the reason might be though I’d no inkling of it at the time.

In the dance room I wanted to ask Quentin if he was enjoying himself but I wouldn’t know if on consideration he said he was whether his enjoyment would be what I’d call enjoyment.  Instead, I’d been told I attracted the depressed, that all my friends were, and asked Quentin what might be the reason, was cheerfulness always breaking out?  “Are all your friends depressed?”  I couldn’t count beyond two, him and the one who’d said.  I wasn’t counting… – I made a gesture – because…? he’d know why.  Two wasn’t enough to affirm all were unless I took my friend’s word and I wasn’t prepared to do that if I didn’t know who they were and recognised that they were.  Quentin excused himself.  “Go.”  Gary commandeered my ear to say he played hiphop and was expected to wear colours.  “You can wear what you like.”  A distinction based on clothes was too superficial to engage me.  Blacks wore colours because they could carry them off.  Gary’s skin wasn’t dark enough to be set off by them to advantage.  A girl said I should be wearing a curly wig.  “Is it because of my nose and Medici features?” I asked.  Possibly.  She sought endorsement from another girl I should wear a curly wig.  “I know a man who wears a wig,” I said, “to be taken as a girl by other men who want to think they’re heterosexual.”  The facial expression of both girls was that of comme il faut.  The paraphernalia’s unnecessary if you’re clothed with grace.  Dominika said “everybody thinks you’re lovely.”  That could be construed as patronising of them.  I told her I’d advised Jackson to invite the high commissioner to his exhibition, explaining why, “or somebody important,” and that he was thinking of going back to Australia after two years.  She said they might move on, to Canada.  “Are you happier?”  She was.  “Are you divorcing?” She was.  She was wobblier than me, thus reconciled to being two pounds overweight.   I didn’t catch the beginning of what Dominika was saying but it was something about my getting sight of her breasts later, then her vagina.  I recalled at four making Sheila Raeburn show me hers in full flow and concluding, “When you’ve seen one vagina, you’ve seen them all.  It’s a very white party.”  She agreed.  I thought the one man who stood out as black was telling us he’d broken a glass but Dominika retrieved the other half of his broken glasses from the floor to give him.  She was more au fait.  Suddenly there was Oscar!  We danced and embraced.  He felt hot.  I thought to ask Quentin about Dan but forgot by the time I reached him and Beehive on the balcony, so passed by to the small room where I stood, turned and, passing Quentin, went back to the dance one where I turned, stood, recalled and went to Quentin, “Is Dan coming?”  He wasn’t.  He was too big for the dance floor and had no friends here.  He was tall.  “He has friends here.”  “The friend he has with him hasn’t and would be gatecrashing.”  ‘Gatecrashing’?  Of this party?  Was he using that word to make it more likely I’d accept the explanation?  “No one’d mind.”  Quentin was conveying what wasn’t true.  “Oh, Dan!” Beehive emitted exasperation short of a groan, substantiating my observation of the party that women, free to go wherever they would, came back to reclaim their men not from other women but other men and Dan was Quentin’s other man, except he wasn’t here.  They had been to a music festival together.  I was too relatively unimportant to Dan to think his not being here was primarily to avoid me.  Was I never going to see him again?  “He asked me to give you his regards.”  “Give him mine.”  Jimmy Hedges was there.  “You brought the beard with you.”  He was leaving next morning.

I was looking for someone to attach myself to and saw Jackson framed in the open outside door but didn’t want to obtrude.  He may have had more than enough of me.  “There you are,” he said.  “I’ve been looking for you.”  I was wanted! and made aware by the attendant impact I might not be as self-assured as I thought.  “Will you go out with me to buy cigarettes?”  He hadn’t thought to bring them and papers.  “You can’t think of everything.”  By leaving the block we let in waiting people, possibly gatecrashing, definitely relieved to get in to the parties.  We walked right quite a way through all but empty streets until Jackson decided ours was a hopeless mission and we turned back.  I pointed to a line of shuttered shops we hadn’t been aware of.  What time was it?  I didn’t have my phone.  By his it was two o’clock.  He should’ve asked Dominika.  She didn’t smoke but would’ve got him a cigarette in no time by asking.  He didn’t like asking.  He preferred giving.  “Is that because you’re afraid of being rejected?”  He thought it was more he felt vulnerable.  I didn’t think I minded asking.  A cyclist was coming toward but he’d stop, might not have a cigarette anyway and I’d’ve made him deviate from his course.  A pedestrian coming toward turned to his right and was too far away to ask.  Jackson pressed 1, 3, 2 to be let in.  There was a prolonged sirenic buzzing he in a tizzy cancelled.  “We can wait till somebody comes out,” I said but, following the instruction plate, pressed, didn’t cancel and there was a voice and babble I ignored because there was also a click.  I pushed the door and we were in.  Having learned how to operate the door, I applied my acquired expertise to the lift, pressing 2, 4.  The lift however required a different expertise, the pressing of a button already marked with a 24.  They make things easy for anybody to use.  “You get the cigarette.  I’ll get the papers,” knowing exactly where they were.  Joe was standing outside the toilet, between the door to that and the small room doorway.  We embraced and his hotness impressed me.  He introduced me to Issy, close-cropped, maybe a fashion.  I asked were she and Joe…?  “Just good friends.”  “And there’s another,” I said of a fleeting Oscar.  Jackson came out of the toilet.  How had he come there?  “Are you in line?” somebody asked.  “No,” though curious what might be inside.  On a shelf to the left was a pile of loose coins, so trustworthy were these people.  The papers were where I remembered them, apparently since unused, on the table by the wall on the right.  I snaffled a few, emptying one packet, and decided just to take the other.  “Here,” I couped the lot into Jackson’s hand.

Passing through the dance room I asked Gary if he had a cigarette.  No, but he knew a man who did.  The man refused, moving away, looking offended by me.  Gary was profusely apologetic.  “I don’t mind.”  The room was smoke free.

Outside I saw Quentin and Jackson heading for the roof and tagged along, catching the word, “nominalism.”  “What’re you contrasting it with?”  “Realism,” Quentin said, going on to ideas.  “Are ideas the same as platonic forms?”  They were.  He extolled mathematics as a language entirely composed of universals.  Physics is universal, I thought.  It uses mathematics.  Quentin cited four as a universal.  “When you said ‘four’, I saw a 4,” (not like that though: curly from the top, like the glyph for Jupiter).  He alluded to sets but that one needed the idea of a set to include it in the set, or something.  I hadn’t been taught sets so had no idea what he was on about.  ”I don’t want to die,” I said apropos of nothing, but knew I’d have to.  We headed to the other side of the roof from earlier.  Quentin turned to ask if the effect of heights was particular to them.  “Burns in spate do the same.  It’s common.”  I wasn’t paying attention to what they were saying but trying to work out if the moon on the horizon, a crescent moon, was the moon and not, alternatively, some luminous sign on the top of a building.  “Is that the moon?”  They paid no heed.  There were clouds but, from a star I could see higher up, not such as would obscure the moon so that that might be a sign low cloud was occasionally blurring the contour of or it was the moon.  The moon, Quentin objected, without the cloud of a doubt, was too much an object to be taken for a universal and there were other moons.  They are called moons because of the moon though.  “There’s the moon!” said Dominika.  “We’ve been through all that.”

She handed us tins.  “I haven’t to drink beer,” being a coeliac.  “Shall I give it to Quentin?” who had his.  “If you want to.  I brought it for you.”  It wouldn’t be cloudy, with gluten, in a can.  “I don’t think it’ll be dangerous;” I drank.  Her thesis was taken from my short story she hadn’t finished.  What short story?  “Instance.”  Her thesis was an author’s work didn’t just belong to the author but because of the way its words related to each other it was something in its own right, and she didn’t mean as interpreted by any reader.  Did I understand?  No, “I can only understand the way I understand,” my Uranus stuck in Taurus.  “My words are too vague!”  “I was trying to understand how they related to the short story and failed to see how.  The short story isn’t meant to be understood either consciously or unconsciously, for example the protagonist uses ‘you’ to address his man who isn’t evident while the antagonist takes it to mean him and at one point it’s both,” to have an effect on the antagonist a reader mightn’t grasp but she wouldn’t have got that far anyway.  “It’s a written model.”

Dominika asked what hatpins were, I think as used metaphorically, that I in my befuddlement took literally and explained what.  I went back to Quentin, “my short story inspired Dominika’s thesis.”  “Good.”  I rejoined Dominika who said I’d met… a name I didn’t catch, and who was wearing close-fitting white head gear that made her difficult to recognise but she was either who Dominika and I had gone to a show with or the actress in that show.  Dominika told her I was seventy-four when my first story was published.  I subtracted 2012, the year of publication, from this year, 2016: four, which I subtracted from seventy-eight, my age now, and I would have been seventy-four.  I marvelled Dominika knew about me better than I did.   It wasn’t strictly true it was my first published story but close enough.  “It was dadaist, breaking all the rules and the final rule it broke was it was true.”  “But it reads like fiction!” Dominika said.  Because of dyslexia she finished reading an hour after everybody else.  She told how we’d been to the Wigmore Hall to hear contemporary classical music though we couldn’t remember what.  I suggested Rihm while she grappled with recalling a name I didn’t recognise.  I may be conflating two scenes here because sitting in the same place for both, the second with Marlon, the girl’s brother.  Oscar peed in the corner.

Oscar was standing in the door with a smudge on his cheek and a black comma from the left corner of his mouth.  “Wipe it off,” he said.  I did think to spit on the tissue myself but held it to his lips, “Spit.  Your beauty is resumed.”  If his dancing’s anything to go by he’s as lithe as ever.

Gary was dancing frottage behind me and I did think to put my arm backwards to grasp him round the neck.  I had danced rape before but any elaboration would’ve been inappropriate to the circumstances.  Jackson put his arm round and pulled me in with him and Dominika.  “Is this called a threesome?” shortly to be a foursome, a fivesome and a most unstable sixsome.   Gary called for attention: the police were here.  This party has everything! and the music was to be taken down a notch, the windows closed.  The floor cleared.  I liked the illusion of hands and arms dangling from the upper frame of the open window reflecting those beneath.  I went out to see the police who were along the way at another party.  “You made it to the party then,” the girl who’d let me in said.  I didn’t see the point of anybody’s complaining when the parties were celebrating the end of flat guardianship, a one-off.  Neither did she.

The door to the roof was locked.  A girl tried unlocking it using her phone.  “That’s a very smart phone,” I said.  She went on to use a hairgrip to no avail.  Quentin, Jackson and I stood by the door discussing what truth was, a debate too restricted to consciousness for me to be much interested in though I’d still have liked to be able to put together the big flat jigsaw puzzle that I was pleased to see enthused Quentin.  “It’s usually truth to something,” I offered, and liars know what it is the better to avoid it.  “You know them by their insistence they have it, so much do they want their lie to be believed true, like Xians.”  Jackson asked about truth in fiction.  I waved him to Quentin whose forte that was.  Up the stairs came a group.  One stopped to offer me a drink.  “Is it all right if I drink from the bottle?”  It was.  His wine didn’t taste cheap but unexpectedly good in a way I couldn’t define.  “Have another,” he said.  I thought about my person for something to give him and, finding nothing, declined another pull, handing the bottle back, looking up, appraising his smiling face, swithering between concluding he was good looking and not quite but deciding he’d do me, in the right circumstances.  He paused a moment longer, hand on the door he went through, catching up on his friends or not as I turned back to mine.  Jackson told of Wittgenstein disconcerting his men by wanking over mathematics.  “Whatever it takes.”

They were leaving.  “How?”  “Bus,” Beehive succinctly said.  I would leave with them, watching her in bra and pants change with her back modestly facing the small room.  I watched Quentin in the kitchen face the challenge of a tie in a knot round his striped kimono.  I’d’ve raised it above my head.  He lowered it to his feet and stepped out, rolling up the tie for later disentanglement.  Ready, I waited outside.  I did think to say goodbye to others but didn’t want to miss going with Quentin and Beehive.  Naiem joined us.  Mette let me off leaving the party since I’d been there a long time.  I was surprised by her bare bum and legs as flimsy fabric was parted by her hips like theatre curtains opening.  At the lift Naiem had lost his phone.  On the ground Quentin thought to phone Naiem to indicate where the phone was as I wouldn’t have.  He didn’t have the no on his but Beehive did on hers Quentin phoned from, as the lift door opened on Mette with Naiem disconcerted at his phone’s ringing.  It was 4 am.  He’d thought his phone lost because he’d put it in the wrong pocket.  I’ve done that.  Beehive felt guilty at shortening the party for Quentin but it was the right time to leave it.  Naiem and I followed Quentin and Beehive to a stop where was a night bus to Trafalgar Square.  Naiem and I recalled what he called a door I bought that Dominika still used for designing on.  When he got off and waved, I waved back.  When Quentin and Beehive alighted they scrutinised the shelter timetable for another bus.  A bunch of blacks at the back sang London is a city that never sleeps.  Trafalgar Square was hooching.  I took out my glasses and looked up the A-Z under a light to see if I’d written anywhere the no of the night bus to Richmond.  What I thought a homeless man lying on the pavement was an overturned bin.  I walked to Piccadilly Circus where there’d be a stop.  I asked a man at the underground exit where it was.  He said he was only a garbage collector but Richmond was that way.  I couldn’t see a stop that way but buses on Regent St were going north so I reverted to that way, Piccadilly itself, and recognised N22 on a stop there as my bus.  A man said he’d been waiting for an hour for his.  I chose to get off at Richmond Station where I said good morning to a scavenging neighbour who didn’t see me.  Richmond looked odd empty.  I drew the curtains, cleaned my teeth, peed and went to bed at six.

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To Blog or Not to Blog

Went off at 7:30 to Joe’s party and as usual was first to arrive.  Metta, Joe’s partner, is Dutch and had lost her fanny bag with passport in it and cards.  She wanted the sound system on the roof of the Towers with a view of London and the crescent moon rising above an edge of red lights.  Dominika and Jackson arrived.  She’s writing a thesis inspired by my dadaist short story, published she told Marlon when I was seventy-four, that she hasn’t finished, being dyslexic.  Jackson’s a painter who’s given ten exhibitions but none yet in London, one coming up, and to breach the coterie of like-minded appreciators I suggested asking the High Commissioner of Australia to it.  Jackson had a fated meeting in Melbourne with a man who attacked him unawares after it came to Jackson to go out walking at night, the schizo asking why he was there.  A damaged Jackson separated himself from himself and got himself away by first calmly pushing the loonie away with the palm of his hand.  I had Agniezka spell out her name.  I danced, quicker on my feet to accommodate all the music.  I wasn’t going to even try to remember the names of people Dominika was introducing me to, never mind all the others.  I didn’t recognise Beehive at first because of her asymmetrical black makeup making her a latter day punk.  A cross was also painted on Quentin’s face. the bar on his forehead, the stripe down his nose .  I was the only oldie there.  I checked the time, 11:20, too late to catch the last train home.  Joe asked how I felt.  I felt like staying.

27/8/16  He’s as pretty as ever and shaven, as was Oscar.  Everybody danced with everybody.  We went up on the roof where Quentin explained nominalism as against realism and Platonic and Aristotelian universals to Jackson and me, tagging along.  Jackson was in perennial pursuit of a cigarette to make spliffs from, having omitted to make provision of tobacco and papers.  “You can’t think of everything.”  We walked out in pursuit of an open shop for tobacco and rizlas.  He didn’t mind giving but didn’t like asking; it made him vulnerable.  I didn’t mind though consideration stopped me asking a man on a bike.  I appropriated some papers from a table I’d seen them on when we went back, me getting used to the buzzing for re-entry and then confusing that with doing the same in the lift when a different method was called for.  This looks like it could be a blog.  Dominika tried explaining to me how we are not the authors of our work because the words take on a life of their own in relation to each other but I have difficulty understanding anything other than the way I understand, my Uranus stuck in Taurus.  She gave me a beer I’m not supposed to drink, being coeliac, but did anyway because it would’ve disappointed her if I hadn’t and there’s not much danger.  I may have given offence to Richard, who lay down for his bad back, out of my intellectual curiosity at its badness, maybe because he was tall, at odds Beehive suggested with its long term pain for him.  Oscar had a smudge of black paint on his right cheek and a comma of it on the corner of his mouth.  “Wipe it off.”  I held a tissue to his mouth, “Spit,” and did.  “Your beauty is resumed.”  I suspect from his dancing he’s as lithe as ever.  Gary wanted to know where I’d got my tiger semmit I’d stripped down to the better to dance, putting my blue hoodie in the drawer where Dominika had put my bag with the A-Z in it.  There were a lot of people but, from a handful of coins left out, all trustworthy.  Dominika reintroduced me to Naiem I hadn’t seen since her house painting years ago.  Naiem, and Gary, notwithstanding and a black man whose glasses were broken, though I was thinking a glass was broken, a piece of which Dominika was retrieving from the floor, “It’s a very white party.”  One girl wanted me to be wearing a curly wig, possibly because of my nose and Medici face,  that I would eschew but knew a man who did wear one in order to be taken as a girl by purporting heterosexuals.  The girls shrugged: comme il faut.  Jackson told of Wittgenstein disconcerting his men by wanking over mathematics.  “Whatever it takes.”  Gary was dance-frottaging, Dominika offering the sight of breasts and vagina.  “When you’ve seen one vagina, you’ve seen them all.”  The roof was closed off.  A girl tried unlocking it with a phone – “That’s  a really smart phone” – and a hairgrip.  Dominika asked what hatpins were, I think as used metaphorically.  A young man offered me a drink from his bottle I took a gulp from.  A blog of this would have to be of fragments, a scattering of beads without their broken chronological thread.  At four Beehive wanted to go and Quentin was leaving with her, having difficulty extricating himself from a striped kimono-like garment because its tie was knotted tightly.  I thought of his lifting it off overhead but he chose to manoeuvre it that he could step out over and out, rolling it up to be disposed of for later disentanglement.  I left with them.  Metta excused me for leaving since I’d been there a long time.  Beehive felt guilty at shortening the party for Quentin but it was the right time to leave it.  Naiem left with us, going back for his lost phone, in the wrong pocket.  Quentin thought to phone it to indicate where it was but didn’t have the no.  Beehive did.  Metta and he appeared from the lift.  Quentin and Beehive led to a night bus stance.  I stayed on the N15 till Trafalgar Square from which I made my way to Piccadilly where I knew there’d be another bus to Richmond and, with the help of a garbage worker at the exit to the underground, found the stop on Piccadilly itself.  I was back in Richmond by quarter to six where I said good morning to Mark, my neighbour, who was self-absorbedly foraging by the station.

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The Log

You all know A Pinnate Leafed Twig.  This is the sequel.  A log appeared in the garden by the cat bowl partially hidden by foliage.  A brouhaha occurred with Bob, the leaseholder, outside the front in discussion with a representative of the landlord and his sidekick, Ian, in the garden pointing to where the log might be, saying to another representative of the landlord, “So you see what I mean?”  I subsequently asked Diana, who was sitting out downstairs, what that was all about.  Being almost totally self-concerned she didn’t know and couldn’t’ve been less interested in what didn’t directly impinge upon her.  What she did say was she’d asked Bob, gardening, if he’d accused John, me, of putting a twig in the garden and planting weeds.  Answer came there nane.  The log disappeared.

That Friday I asked the caretaker, Frank, if he knew what the fuss had been about.  A report had been made to the landlord that a small tree had appeared in the garden and he had been given the job of removing it, as he had done, placing the log on his shoulder and carrying it, with a pause for a pint at The Red Cow, to another estate of the landlord’s where he deposited it in a pile of the unwanted.

A log appeared in the garden by the cat bowl partially disguised by a workman’s rubbish.  When that was lifted, the log remained, more evidently since the hedge and foliage had been meanwhile pared.  On coming home from shopping I sighted a log at the end of an alleyway the other side of the garden wall and, on going in the block, saw Bob in his garden, so deduced he had pushed the log through the hedge over the wall on thinking that’s where it had come from by the hand of some malign agency.

The log reappeared, by the cat bowl.  It has since disappeared to I know not where.

A stick appeared in the garden and disappeared after noon.

Months later the bin-like log and the other reappeared in the garden and re-disappeared after noon.

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A Pinnate Leafed Twig

Mark, next door neighbour, repaid the borrowed £2 and, though he was still there, I let the door close; someone else was coming, Bob, the leaseholder from above as I saw through the kitchen window, who told Mark, “I want to speak to John.”  “I don’t want to speak to you,” I said, turning to my lunch.  Regardless, Bob pressed a pinnate leafed twig against the top kitchen window, “Did you throw this into the garden?” He gardens for the landlord.  “No!”  He’s insane, I thought.  “You planted weeds in the garden.”  I saw myself putting dandelions in holes.  “You’re a fucking lying bastard!” he went on, not waiting for a denial.   “Who do you think you are!”   “Who do I think I am?” he asked but I didn’t catch the answer.  On his going, I went out to ask Mark had he heard the abuse.  He prevaricated before admitting he had but refusing corroboration, “he’s a sweet guy.”  Bob has complained about him six times.  “I’ll have to complain about it.”  Mark nodded.  I looked about.  I couldn’t see where Bob had got the pinnate leafed twig from.  I can’t tell this story without laughing.

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On Acquaintance

I went back to the library in the afternoon to try again entering on Goodreads Lactantius’ Death of the Persecutors.  I couldn’t see how but did see the blushing boy go out the door.  Not going to get any further with Goodreads I might as well log off to catch him on his way back.  Assuming he’d gone to the toilets, I didn’t see them where I thought they were and was catching sight of a sign where they might be when a woman, coming from there where was also a prohibited door, asked how to get into the study room.  I directed her to the door at the stairs and decided myself to leave, going down them.  He was coming up.  I scrutinised his face for fright at me.  All he had were two pink patches on the cheek bones.  It occurred he was the wrong boy, a mistake unlikely to be made since down to the unconscious, or over the weekend he’d decided to overcome his fear and had done so completely, also unlikely.  “Self-consciousness wears off on acquaintance,” I told.  He politely took a musical plug out his ear the better to hear.  I repeated.  He didn’t understand.  “You know how you get self-conscious,…”  “No,” he said, not in the least.  “Oh.  OK.”  Another person coming up the stairs passed between.  I proceeded down.  “On what?” he turned.  I didn’t repeat what was otiose.

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Quentin’s Symposium

I intended not to phone John as he’d asked but go to Quentin’s symposium on my own but he was standing in wait outside Richmond station.  He hadn’t any more money than the night before and an oyster card with £5 credit added for bus journeys only.  This was Sunday but the trains were not running at all and I hadn’t prepared alternate routes.  A small assistant at the barrier asked where I was going, Haggerston Station, and said the overground trains were on but I’d have to change at Highbury or Canonbury.  Throughout, the train’s voice warned John he’d have to have a valid ticket or pay a penalty.  I reassured him this was unlikely to happen when we changed trains but was looking forward to the drama at Haggerston which he obviated by telling me to take the wheelchair barrier, slipping through behind.  A girl was standing beyond.  Not sure which direction to take for Shrubland Road I went back to ask and was accosted by Myling, whose name I remembered by recollecting the ‘My’ and the rest shortly following.  We meet at Quentin’s dos.  She was waiting for Yasmeen but told us how to go, making a sharp turn left.  I took the turn right but from my A-Z retrieved our direction in time for Myling and Yasmeen, whose name I ascertained later for my diary didn’t begin with a J and had too ees, to catch up on us.  Yasmeen I also meet at Quentin’s birthday parties.  At the door Myling said it was exactly four, when the symposium was to begin, with Quentin opening the door to us.

In the party room I handed over card and present of grey hoodie and shorts, which did seem to please, “to see your spindly legs,” handing over the Taittinger for him to open.  He did, without spilling a drop.  I dumped my faux-airman jacket along with woolly hat and Gap bag behind a chair against the wall, giving John his card I’d appropriated in case he, on meeting adverse circumstances on the way, did dump it with his present of a diary in a bin, for him to give it himself to Quentin.  It was of Delboy that Quentin positioned prominently on a shelf.  I directed the pouring of the champagne at an angle down the side of glasses to lessen foaming.  Yasmeen, Myling, John and I toasted him a happy birthday.  Quentin pointed to two packets of chips I could eat that were gluten-free but to beware of others contaminating the dips I didn’t bother checking were gluten-free or not.  Blue-haired Beehive joined us from upstairs, asking who’d brought the cake on the table.  Me.  I asked if she knew John’s history.  She said not and I didn’t go into it.  I poured myself some more champagne.  Myling was going to deny herself a fill-up but soon changed her mind.

Through the door came a man with a skin-tight black cap of hair I recognised once my eye lowered to his creased features as Gareth who I like and meet infrequently at Q’s dos.  He said I’d met his daughter, Naomi, at an early one.  He’s loquacious.  More so is Dan who struck me as very tall in his very long, accentuating frock-coat and ruffled shirt, more than about six three I reckoned.  Between that and four he was to say.  “Is that Mark Samuels?” I asked.  “Indeed it is, John,” he replied.  “Dan always brings something for me to eat.  What’ve you brought me?”  “Nothing.”  Quentin pointed to the crisps that he, however, had.  I poured myself a prosecco and sat on the sofa at the window by Dan on a chair.  “David’s fatter,” I observed as he, another I meet at Quentin’s occasions, came into the room; and he does a lot of cycling too.  Since he was late arriving, somebody asked had he come far.  From another part of Hackney.

Seated centrally on the chair by my coat etc, with a pile of books to hand on the table beside him, Quentin meticulously dilated on the form the symposium would take, divided like Gaul into three parts, the first on the monstrosities of notorious cooks, not great chefs, he expatiated because someone who’d taken a patent out on the phrase threatened to sue if ‘great chefs’ were used and had won a previous case on an equally common phrase so they’d gone, I think he was speaking as a publisher, for ‘notorious cooks’, which I thought better, more “sonant,” I said.  I’d avoided ‘consonant’ but had no idea what word I was ineffectually grappling for.  “In Richmond there’s a shop called Tea Pot that was sued by Germans but they lost.”  [Tea Box, for the like logo.  Ed]  ‘Euphonium’ I thought was said as I pondered what word I’d meant, though it may have been ‘symposium’.  [‘Euthymus’, ed]  “Maybe I meant ‘euphonious’.”  It sounded better!  Anybody who hadn’t bought him a present could buy a book, Quentin said.  After his reading of two amusingly monstrous poems, he asked me if I’d anything to read.  “Yes, but John’s banned it,” to avoid embarrassment.  “It’s what I call a flash faction of a dramatic incident between us at the door in the morning the day after his visit.  I have blogged it.”  Quentin nodded.  John’s face was vermilion and stayed so.  “John has a poem, a short one.  He won an accolade for a collage of his poems in a competition,” the provenance of which I elided.  “Tell them of your accolade, John,” who did, also omitting with whom he’d competed to win first prize.  He also wrote plays.  He apologised in advance his poem was rhythmically rap-like.  He didn’t stand up nor project but on the other side of the room I could hear and appreciate the poem’s well-scanned distillation of the diversity of sights, ending with a police car’s flashing light on any night out in London.

A young man plumped down beside me on the sofa whose name I thought was Carson, which I subsequently amended to Carsend on correction, for my diary, and a girl, Marloes, with a papilla on her right cheek, shortly followed after and stood nearby.  I thought from the ‘loes’ she might be Dutch.  German, the pair of them, presumably flatmates of Beehive who derived her name, she’d explained, from school presumably because she was thought to backcomb it like the wee hairies of Glasgow.

Half the room went for a smoke and a vape on a balcony, including David who did neither.   Beehive took the cake to the kitchen to be cut, as I thought into twelve pieces, conveniently, since I’d counted twelve people there.  Beehive said the packet stipulated fourteen.  [It does.  Ed]  I said that’d be awkward since after it was cut in two it’d be difficult to divide each half into seven bits whereas three a quarter was easier.  I left her quartering, taking a chair by the room door.  Quentin explained that the break wasn’t for tea, which was the subject of the next part of the reading, but we could have tea too.  I had a cup with milk and no sugar I think Gareth brought me.  Beehive distributed the cake.  Two pieces were left.  I tried a red wine but didn’t like it and left the all but full glass on the table.  Dan from the other side of the room was saying he’d been put back a year on his course because the academic running it died.  “Couldn’t you get another near-corpse?  They’re all wearing beards,” I realised on seeing a constellation of four there: Mark, David and Dan with Carsend making up the scrappier fourth.  “Except the women,” Myling, left side of me, said what would’ve been my follow-up line.  “It’ll be topknots next,” except for Mark, obviously.  Myling thought I meant her who, now I looked, was sporting a plume.  I was finding their conformity to a prevalent convention a little odd for literati.  I don’t think Gareth had one though hard to discern whether he had or not.  If he had it was of the merest.  Quentin had greying ringlets and sideboards but no beard.  Dan shouted across the room, “John’s brutally honest.”  “Why ‘brutally’?”  From farthest left Yasmeen throughout was making a string of laconic comments I enjoyed.  She and Myling took pains to ensure I got the name of the latest entrant right, for my diary.  I got that it was short for Rebecca, once she herself gave the name it was nicked from, but why not ‘Reb’ then?  Why ‘Rebs’?  Why, Rebs?  It was what her parents called her who disputed between them who had first, her mother she thought.  She had two brothers not called very much at all.  “Were you the eldest?”

Carsend and Marloes were on the sofa, arms about.  I was asked if I was going to blog the party.  I didn’t know.  I’d have to wait and see.  I hadn’t blogged John’s visit on his birthday and day of release because it didn’t interest me to and was in any case a load of undifferentiable talk until he felt me up in the kitchen, and this was of Quentin reading, not even his own writing, it’d be hard to say anything about, though the demarcation into bits would make remembering where things went easier.  I was surprised when Carsend I’d only just met indicated he’d been primed I might.  I didn’t like the idea I was making him more self-conscious and less able to spontaneously enjoy himself but that wouldn’t deter from doing what I wanted to do if I wanted to.  In any case it made no difference to the way his hair stuck out or that he restlessly moved his feet when sitting.

Quentin said he’d read what some Japanese had written in English about tea but if it was going on too long he wouldn’t read it all.  Good.  He wouldn’t read the Japanese which was in any case only a translation and might pose him difficulties.  “Quentin’s Japanese is good,” said Gareth seated beside me on the right.  “But yours is better.”  “I wouldn’t say that.”  “Quentin said it.”  Gareth’s effervescence flattened, but I hadn’t said anything wrong.  The reading was precious, flowery, like a man investing himself emotionally in what was unimportant, like beer or football, though perhaps to see what he could make out of a little that was itself disconnected from reality, and maybe interesting psychologically of oriental male dissociation and split personality.  When I made a commenting sound which made the audience laugh, Quentin turned to smile at me before resuming his deliberate reading.  I continued interjecting until, after laughing, Gareth turned on his seat next to me, raised an admonitory forefinger and said, “Ssh!”  I shushed.  He himself then played up!  I watched a magpie on the balcony opposite and an old woman in a headscarf removing her shoes before going in and almost missed the best line, ‘but enough of all this sentimentality,’ which evoked laughter.  ‘Sentimentality’ wasn’t the right word for it.  [There was a third part of the reading which has apparently sunk into oblivion or this writer had.  Ed]

Yasmeen gathered herself to leave and to let her out Gareth did a quick shift.  Red wine flowed onto the table, but not the floor, that he was blaming on Yasmeen’s bag which I exonerated, its being on her opposite shoulder.  “It was your bum knocked against the table,” I put the blame where it belonged until Myling, pretty as ever, said, “It was John’s drink.”  “I always get the blame!”  She was leaving with Yasmeen who said Folkestone was only fifty minutes from King’s X.  Gareth started mopping up but Beehive did most of it.

“Have John and Gareth met before?” I asked Quentin; “they think they have.”  “No, but if that’s what they think…,” he shrugged.

“What’s that?”  Gareth continually had a white thing at the corner of his mouth.  It was for his roll-ups.  “A roach,” I concluded.  “A tip,” he punctiliously corrected to avoid invidious imputation.  From his talking I picked on a ‘too’ as sounding almost Scots: ‘tooo’.  Gareth explained as the only Welshman in the village he was finding himself, not consciously, lengthening his vowels whereas in Cardiff they’d be clipped to a ‘ti’.  I wasn’t paying any attention how we were getting to where we were going, which turned out to be a gastropub where we were booked to eat before eight when the kitchen closed.  I sat at the outside end of the two tables pushed together while Quentin sat on the inside, Beehive beside him opposite John, beside me.  “My two publishers,” I declared to John of Quentin, and Dan, who published my poems, “three of them.”  Mark, other side Dan, had something to do with it but it was mainly Dan.  David, opposite Mark, was also a publisher but hadn’t published anything of mine.

Gareth asked what I wanted to drink.  “I’ll come with you and pay with my card.”  I hadn’t brought much money.  Gareth wasn’t having that; it was his round.  “I’ll have a gluten-free beer if they have it.”  Gareth came back, “They have it but have run out.”  He bought me a whole pint of cider.  I poked my head in towards the middle of the table to be able to see Gareth at the far end of the other table on my side talking ebulliently across it to David.  I was missing all that.

I went up to say we were ready to order, ignoring the sourpuss who’d been pushing for it.  The menu had items marked GF.  “You do know,” said Beehive, “the beer-battered ‘fish’ isn’t fish.”  David had a platter of meat, a moment there, then gone for ever.  The waiter said he’d bring me another beer-battered fish; one of three oblongs had dropped off.  “Where?”  “There,” he pointed without looking to the floor, passing where it lay.  I’d’ve put it back on my plate and eaten it, though maybe not here where were a lot of strangers’ treading feet.  John had the same as me.  The battered fish was tofu, the texture not unlike cod.  There was almost too much, but I persevered with it and the whole pint, reducing the quantity of food a little.  Beehive tried a bit from my fork, as did Quentin who deprecated it as tasteless.  “He’s a vegetarian,” I told John, “on principle, not because it’d do him any harm otherwise.  I’ve made mistakes cooking in the fat residue from meat as cooks do and he’s eaten it.”  As if to exemplify, Quentin found out the burger he was eating was meat.  Another waiter came with the correct order and was taking away the mistake when Quentin apologetically expounded a willingness to eat the meat, already replaced, because what was important was that food should not be wasted, as Beehive more clearly amplified.  The waiter hesitated.  He was just going to bin the mistake anyway, so left it for them on the table.  I wondered if there was an irony in their having in all good faith secured three meals instead of two but couldn’t quite make it.

John and Beehive were exchanging mental problems.  I hadn’t known she had any and wasn’t sure I wanted to know if I couldn’t do anything to help and didn’t think I could.  Our relationship had so far been superficial and the assumption on that level is that everybody’s okay.  Beehive said she kept a lookout, for signs was implied.  I said when I was ill I didn’t always know I was.  She agreed but had factored that in.  Assuming what they were discussing was depression, I thought it might level off with age, that age alleviated it, because I was generally happy now.  When I’d been depressed, no one came near me till it lifted.  There was nothing they could do about it anyway.  I didn’t know about euphoria.  [He does; he wasn’t remembering.  Ed]  “You were constrained last time.”  “Was I?” Beehive didn’t think she had been.  [She hadn’t.  He was remembering as ‘last time’ the last party time, not the last time she and Quentin had called in on him.  Ed]  “Yes.  You sat at the edge of the table and didn’t move much.”

Quentin was telling Dan about a Latin course he was taking.  “I knew you were evincing an interest in Latin.  Are you taking Greek too?”  He was thinking of it.  “You’re the linguist.  I’m not.”  He was doing Latin for the philosophy.  “You’ll have to do Greek for that.  The Romans didn’t do philosophy.”  The only Roman who did that came to mind was Cicero and his was derivative.  “The Stoics,” Quentin cited, smiling.  They were Greeks.  I didn’t understand how Quentin could be associating philosophy with Latin.  He had my Plotinus who I was pretty certain had written in Greek.  Porphyry certainly had.  He’d realise.

Gareth came back from the toilet.  “Was there a hole in the wall?”  “You’ve always been after me,” he flattered himself.  It did diminish him but I wasn’t inclined to put him down.

I asked our original waiter, shorter than me, if I might pay separately for me and John with my card, which isn’t contactless.  I stood up to extract change from the tiny pocket for it above the bigger right pocket of my jeans I’d bought the day before and was wearing in.  He too had bought jeans day before.  “Wait!”  I extracted all the change to give him it, about £4 odds I think, to have nothing for John should he get into difficulties.  I’d complete confidence he’d manage.

The rest were settling up the bill with money and Quentin was perturbed he had none on him.  Gareth was standing, holding aloft in his left hand two separate £20 notes.  He wasn’t best pleased but knew he’d get his money back.

It was nine.  John was going.  I could stay on if I liked but I would have to leave not long after.  Somebody was on the phone to Quentin, about to join us and I’d’ve liked to find out who but I felt or sensed I wasn’t there for that.  I asked Beehive how to get back to Haggerston.  She said to turn left and follow the canal.  I hugged Dan.  Mark was attempting to rise.  I hugged his head and kissed his bald pate.  I must’ve hugged a standing Gareth.  As we were leaving, I turned, reverting to the hole-in-the-wall joke.  Gareth, seated again, said he’d kept me dangling.  “Yes, and you’re still keeping me dangling.”  We left on a laugh.

John refused to follow a canal and turned right, immediately launching into not wanting Quentin to think he’d stolen his wallet.  He was sitting on the floor beside the chair.  “I wouldn’t do that!”  “It’s probably been misplaced.”  I asked whoever we came across the way to the nearest overground station, as did John, till I spotted signs pointing to London Fields.  John, whose eyesight’s poor, was still asking and being misdirected.  They hide these stations.  Despite John I saw a sign indicative of a station and headed for it.  It was Overground and all overground lines connect but the only name on the diagram for this one I recognised was Hackney.  I took the platform for that, one stop down.  John, not convinced my deduction was correct, was panicking.  He separated himself and stood, back turned.  “John, it’s only nine twenty.  You’ve one hour and forty minutes to get back before curfew.”  There are always alternatives in London.  If he didn’t, he’d be turfed back to prison, he said.  I doubted that.  He reverted to his other worry, that Quentin would blame him for stealing his wallet, he, John, being the only criminal in the room.  “You don’t know that.  I know someone else who was harbouring a fugitive.”  “Who?”  “Me.”

At Hackney Downs there’s an interminable walkway to Hackney Central John wasn’t convinced was going to where we’d want to get to because signs read ‘at the end of platform 2’ at Downs and ‘at the end of platform 1’ at Central, where it was.  “You made the right decision not to go by the canal.  We’re on the Richmond line.”  He needed to pee and did through the railings of a space abutting the platform and encouraged me to do the same.  “I’m not doing that.  It’s infra dig.  Somebody might use the lift,” which opened onto that space.  “I don’t know why Quentin did that,” the reading, John said.  “It’s just Quentin.”

The train boomed and John explained, twice, how that was air pressure caused by rain over time washing ballast from the tracks.  In our segment sitting opposite and down was probably a bothered Muslim I thought might not like what he saw but had to put up with it because this was London.  He moved off down the train.  John started making up to me, his knee, his side pressing up against.  “What about the homophobic Muslims?” I teased.  “I don’t care about Muslims.”  He hadn’t repeated the ‘homophobic’, probably assumed.  “Neither do I.”  I resisted the want to wipe the wet away.  He just wanted to come home and hug me in bed, that’s all, he said.  He couldn’t and get back to the bail hostel in half an hour.  He got out at Kew.  I continued home, the trains still not running.

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Problem. Solved.

I woke up slightly angry: the same thing I’d calculated on to make John deinstitutionalise himself he was using to put his prospective rehabilitation down to me.  Something like that.  I wasn’t quite stating it right but there was a problem arising from success that was too difficult for me to solve.  I left it to my man and went back to sleep.


I was no sooner up than I heard knocking at the door: John.  I went back for his Jeremy Reed book I’d found after he’d gone day before and left out easily accessible.  “Aren’t you going to let me in!”  “No.  I don’t want sex.”  I hadn’t had time to tie my gown which hung loose but without revealing and inciting.  He said he didn’t want sex.  “You always want sex.  You’re too precipitate.”  “What’s that word?” (For his psychologist I presume.)  “’Precipitate’.”   He gave me back my cds and books from prison, along with two papers – “I don’t read these papers.”  “I bought them for you.” – and a packet of gluten-free English muffins.  “You’re wasting your money,” I handed the book over.  “I won’t call in again,” he was going.  “OK.”  He turned, “I don’t want the book,” throwing it in at the closing door.


I have no choice but to trust my judgment: problem solved.

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