Keep Your Pecker Up

And how are you doing?

Head cocked to one side, feigning concern. No eye contact and a pursed little moue of a mouth, pursed with the distaste of someone else’s grief. Or maybe tears welling up, oh so willing to cry along with you. Showing what they think is compassion.

If there’s anything I can do, if you ever need to talk, you know where I am.

Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

You think about needing to talk, and how you would choose someone you love over a sanctimonious rubber-necker. Or how you would seek comfort in a stranger. If you ever needed to talk about this paralysis of giving a fuck, or this loss of recognition of what makes you function, or this howling anguish that comes and goes like the squally showers they talk about on the weather sometimes.

You think about how you wouldn’t choose a grief tourist to bore with the details of your desert-like state, now hot and arid, now dead to the very horizon of existence.

You smile and say you’re fine, say thank you, and you know.

But you’re thinking, Fuck you, grief tourist. Come any closer and I’ll peck your fucking eyes out.

Sundays are the hardest

Swipe at the alarm. Silence the beep. There was a reason for it once. It’s a hard habit to break, this rising at a certain time, in time to do duty. This numb march through hours and minutes of getting up, getting ready, setting off, sitting and smiling and achingly making conversation that goes nowhere. There was a reason for it and a point to it once.

Find a new routine. Replace one fake brightness with another. Continue convincing that everything is fine. So British, so stiff, so ramrod straight and unkind. Let the brakes corrode, let the tyres crack from under-use. Let the day drift while filling it with distraction. A film, a meal, a visit to a gallery. Culture as a means of faking a life.

Take a pill or a drink. Take two. Button up tight. Bind your emotions, because now is the time to move on. To get back to normal. To pull yourself together.

And who says so? Who writes that rule repeatedly? Who drums it into our heads like a profanity?

Profane, the thought of letting it go. Profane, the stopping of a tongue, the cauterising of a wound, the prevention of a sorrow.