Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Zwei Augen und eine Nase!
Guten abend, mes amis.
On this night of deepest darkness, before the rising dawn, through frantic pain and suffering, a thought of hope is born. And when the sun is o'er us, when in sunshine we delight, we'll not worry for the moonbeams, who trace us through the night.
I often think of time, dear reader, the concept of it, not the hour of the day. I've oft concluded that it does not exist and is only a simple measure of distance between events. Just as inches do not exist, they are but marks on a ruler. If time does not exist, how can one travel within it? Can you answer me that, my love?
But travel in time and space, we do. Mr Einstein and Mr Hawking have provided much food for thought but, sadly, more questions than answers. Mr Eintein points to the stars, Mr Hawking also points to the stars, and then to God.
If God exists, he pointed me, on 5th March 2007, to Bristol, to Krafty Bitch.
All things having been planned and arranged by text message, I found myself on the morning train from Bournemouth to Southampton. Please, my little maid, don't ask me what time the train left the station, it was too early in the day for me to care. Well, less care, more absorb.
I like that word. Absorb. I think I'll make it my word of the day.
It wasn't long until the train pulled into Southampton Central. A strange man with Roger Moore eyebrows waved goodbye to me as if I knew him. I shook my head in wonderment and he scowled.
Time to change trains. And platforms.
The Cardiff train was the one for me and my station, Bristol Temple Meads. A strange commuter-style train run on diesel arrived to transport us to the West. I was expecting something bigger. The story of my life, hen. I soon found a seat, a window seat. Although there were plenty more to go around, a middle-aged woman chose the seat next to me to park her bottom. Why, I don't know, because she immediately showed signs of aggitation and it was obvious I was the source of her pain. She looked at me, slyly, several times, then sped her glance away. I coughed. She shot up from her seat like a rat up a drain-pipe and moved.
I settled back into my seat, exchanged a few texts with Phyllis and Krafty and enjoyed the views from the carriage. After a few stops, a young man boarded the train and, as the middle-aged woman had done before him, he sat next to Minge. His constant thumb-fanning of a paperback book annoyed me. As I looked over to see what the book was, I noticed the stubble on his arms. Yes, stubble! He'd shaven his arms. Not that day, of course, or there would be no stubble, but perhaps a week before. I wondered if arm shaving was a trendy thing to do in Wiltshire or Avon, wherever we were. A quick glance around the train was no help as there were no other bare arms to see.
He left the train soon aftrwards. I was a lonely Minge once more. Still, I had the wee boy in the seat in front of me to provide entertainment. He was about ten years old and as camp as knickers, just like the child in Ugly Betty. I laughed out loud when we'd stopped in Bath station:
"I wonder if there's a town called Toilet," he said, "or Shower."
Strange that he didn't think of Sink.
Strange must have been my word of the day that day. Strange people and strange turns of events.
It seemed our arrival in Bristol was only moments later but I think, dear reader, it was about twelve minutes after having left Bath - about 10:50. I disembarked the train carriage and made my way, hurriedly, to the bogs. I was busting for a waz. I then washed my hands, noting the several men who didn't bother, muttering, "Dirty buggers," under my breath.
The ticket barrier retained my permit to travel. Looking up, through the main doors, I saw a white jacket. It was my very own Krafty Bitch.
Although I was indeed excited, I didn't feel a level of excitment I'd come to expect in situations like these. Instead, I felt an emotion not dissimilar to a sigh. Simple relief.
I believed I smiled and waved as Krafty turned to see me. We embraced, kissed and said hello. Without a pause, we began walking into the city centre, conversing as if resuming one we'd only recently had, beginning where we'd left off.
I felt I'd known Krafty for a lifetime (or two, or three...) and felt very comfortable with him. I was eager to know what he thought about past lives and if it were possible we'd known each other in another incarnation. I stopped myself, though, not wanting to appear werid.
A walk of just over a mile brought us to the city centre and a wee coffee shop where we enjoyed an almond croissant and hot chocolate. It took us an eternity to eat and drink said articles, our mouths being so busy spilling out words. And more words. Neither of us are bad at talking. In fact, I'd say we're rather good.
Krafty told me some more about the death and destruction tour. He was very candid and spoke from the heart. I felt that I understood him. I mean, really understood. Not like a driver understands road signs, more like how Ernie Roberts understood Joey Deacon. And I don't mean than in the playground sense.
From the coffee shop, we meandered through the city and soon found ourselves in Bristol Cathedral. It was a beautiful building. I soon spotted the Cathedra and thought one of us belonged in it. A spooky moment.
Then I saw the visitor's book. These things are like magnets to me. I often write comments in them in my pen name, Edna Welthorpe. She is a tribute to Joe Orton. But I digress. I began to think of something witty, humourous or ridiculous to say... But then, after having read the entry of the man just leaving the desk, I couldn't go through with it.
Dear Dad and God
Thank you for support you have given me and Millie recently. She has never shown such strength before. I hope you're ok and wish I could remember and know you more than I believe I do. Please give strength and guidance to Mum, Millie, Jess and me. I'm finding things really hard at the moment and the way in which I don't even know why I'm feeling weak makes it even worse. Please give me guidance. I love you.
PS Forgive me.
I know it's not very deep or startling, but I stood there for a second, barely able to breathe, feeling moved. I know there was something horribly wrong, but didn't know what. I'd just seen the man who'd written this. I'd seen him put the pen down. I wanted to tell him people cared, that I cared. I wanted to hug him. I wanted to tell him to dream again. But then I felt ridiculous.
Time to tiddle.
Oh! What a fiasco! Minge managed to jam himself in the lock-up. I started to panic and tried to calm myself down, thinking I could call out to someone if they came in. Thankfully, it didn't come to that. After giving up with the bolt, screwing my face up and feeling tearful, I decided to try again. Miracle of miracles, it slid from its sheath like a freshly lubed cucumber from a fetishist's anus.
I must have been in there ten minutes. Krafty would have wondered what I was up to. I told him the entire sorry tale. I thought I'd feel stupid, but didn't. Everything I do is stupid, so I felt no different after telling him than I had before. From stupid, through stupid, to stupid again.
Someone walked past us as we made our way to a wee garden within the grounds of the Cathedral. She said, "Why do you come here?" I thought she was talking to me, which took me aback a bit. She wasn't though.
We then left Bristol Cathedral. I inadvertantly found myself in the cycle lane. A passing cyclist made some nasty comment to me. If I'd had my bag of hammers with me, I'd have thrown one at her. I'm not sure if I'd have gone for the one with the claw end or the mini-mallet, but it would have been one or the other.
With no real direction in mind, we made our way to the water, talking mainly about Jennifer Paterson. A smart little eaterie was soon in sight. We entered and sat at a delightful table with a fabulous wee view of l'eau. Krafty asked me if I'd like a cocktail. I replied, "Oh, do tell me one."
I had a Margarita. Krafty indulged in a Passion Fruit Martini. Pure fabulousness in a glass. This was not a liquid lunch, hen, no. We both ordered a vegetarian mezze. Quite delicious. More talking.
...To a church. Appealing, but unfortunately, closed.
This ol' black girl
Needs some shelter
Will you step aside
Or help her?
As we left said church, the heavens opened up. Please excuse the almost-a-pun. Krafty allowed me to share his umbrella. Next stop: shop selling umbrellas. It was soon found and a purchase followed.
From the umbrella shop, we sought out a pub. Karen Walker and I, um, I mean Krafty and I were parched. He checked, en route, where to go for his bus.
The gin slid easily down my throat. In my drunkenness, I told Krafty how my supposedly straight brother likes his female partner to use a strap-on-jack on him. Mortified, Krafty said we'd better leave.
Kindly, he walked me to the train station. It didn't seem as far going back. Return journeys never seem as far as the initial outing, do they, dear reader. I wonder why. Oh, why is it journeys and not journies. I think journies looks better. More camp.
The nearer we were to the station, the more sad I became. I knew that Krafty would soon be leaving me again.
And he did. I seemed to feel squashed under the weight of the world, buried. It was difficult letting go, but unwilling to cause a scene, I did. A hug, a kiss on the cheek, I turned, he was gone.
The shop offered a few filled rolls. It was about 17:00, so I bought one, and I think a chocolate bar. Oh, and some Ribena. Really light!
The train journey home was unkind to my sport. I called Mum. Her chest infection was worse than ever. She'd taken to her bed. Mum never takes to her bed. The fact that she'd done so told me all I needed to know about her state of health.
The train pulled me in a South-easterly direction. My mind, without a guiding compass, was all over the place. Sadness and worry filled my very person until I arrived back at Mum's house some time later. My sister was already there. I made them both a cup of coffee.
Christine (my sister) then joined me in the kitchen. She had a fag and told me to call a doctor in to Mum if she was no better or worse come the morning. I told her not to fret, that I was going to do so anyway.
I went back up to Mum to see if she needed or wanted anything else. She was already asleep.
Ian called. I recounted my day to him, then took the dogs out for a final short walk.
By bed was calling. I washed, brushed my teeth, put my pyjamas on and got under the duvet. Mary promised me she'd not get up on the bed in the night. I switched off the light and was soon in the land of nod.
Everything about my trip to Bristol seemed to have a spooky edge. Even in my telling the tale, an eerie wind blows about my mind and in this room. Spookier yet, as I write this final paragraph, with iTunes on shuffle mode, Unfinished sympathy by Massive Attack begins to play. Massive Attack are from Bristol.