The time passes whilst I change my moods and certainties, and the world around me. Easy girls are now easy ladies and the new easy girls are not easy anymore. But still vulgar. Old fools are still in mirth by their own lies, the ones they believe and that one they don’t. Homophobics still dream of rape, rich people being exploited whilst they exploit other people, travelers are still naive, and the police still don’t care. But with time comes the notion that the purging only happens after the binging, that the error is a lesson and the cause was the effect. With age you sit back and perceive how silly you were and carefully plan how wise you will be — yet, you keep on being daft. You keep on making mistakes. And thank heavens, you keep on falling in love.
It’s about all the things you think when your eyes are closing at night. When you have that last deep breath of the day. When you find a comfortable spot for your beautiful head on your goose feather pillow. You close your eyes and for an instant and revisit the day. Then you plan your tomorrow. And somewhere between those two moments you actually think of how things could have turned out if you had said the right thing at that particular time when you didn’t say anything. You enact your reaction, as if you had a chance for a personal do-over. And you fantasise the outcome of those couple of unspoken words, you exercise how immensely different your life would have been — or at least the rest of your day.
It’s about you fancying not being caught by surprise, when you and I know that it’s the surprise that made a mark on your mind, not the lack of response. It’s about you realising that life has always a new trick under its vest. One for you, one for me. Another trick for the boy next door, whom you barely speak to. It’s the way life flows. It’s not about the imperfect past. It’s about all the things you think when your eyes are closing at night, just a second before you start dreaming of me.
The roads are either too wide or too narrow, the city is a bit big and a bit small. Food is free for some and prohibitive for others. Every now and again, between an ice cream and a kiss, there’s a siren to be heard. Not too quiet to be ignored, and not too loud to annoy us. We walk, up and down, left and right, north and south. We stop and there’s something new, or something incredibly old. We find simplistic things in a unique way, and then we see how complicated and bureaucratic some basic rituals can be. Everybody is a thief in this city of saints. Everyone smiles, everybody is happy. Everybody lies and everybody loves, amid the unstoppable sirens and the seldom quiescence. Everybody bikes on the wide roads whilst the cars pervade the alleys with ease. Lots and lots of people, all around us, except when you hold my hand. Or when we kiss, between a siren and an ice cream.
It was the summer of 1997 and one of my most amazing lovers had died in a car crash. As a man of experience I have some moments of my sexual life recorded in my brain, which I revisit from time to time. She was in a few of those — but since then I never revisited. Oh not by respect, but because it was painful really. I didn’t go out with her friends after it happened by respect – to her and myself. Until then I’ve always wondered how would be the feeling of losing someone you’ve made love to — and believe me, it’s not pleasant. She was wild and very vivid, behind closed doors. A bit too mild and discreet as a person, to my taste. I would never had seen a sparkle of a chance of coitus had I encountered her on a social function. But I met her at the lobby of the Hotel d’Inghilterra, in Rome, for she had mistaken me as her escort for the night. I looked at this wonderful lady, alone, a bit embarrassed. I also saw a row of concierges and bellhops smiling awkwardly, waiting for any move from her that could be read as a request. Waiting nervously to serve her — not as I did. So I came close to try my luck, not knowing the situation, but before I could say any cheap line that would define me a as disposable fuck, she smiled in relief. And readers, that was one of the very few times in my life where I muted before a lady.
She said a very timid hello, and with her pinky gently touched my hand, then moved towards the hall. I could recover my functions swiftly enough to follow, entering the elevator right after her — as if she was leading a dance. Her uncomfortable ways, looking to the metal doors and not saying a word, made me wonder if she was English. And guess what? Then we headed to the bedroom and 48 hours later to Morocco. That was the first of seven extended weekends we spent together over 5 years. I know precisely how many for they were in different seasons, cities and heartbreaks she’s been through. We never spoke about money, but after that first weekend her bodyguards paid me — and I didn’t really know how to react. They asked me for contacts and after I spelled out my welsh cottage address I was given 5 grand in cash. A good six months later and I got a call to see her in Monaco. When I opened the door of that rented house in La Condamine, she failed on her attempt to look excited and started to cry, falling in my arms. And there we stood for about 10 minutes. Thankfully I was never paid again. And after that day, at least with me, she never cried again.
I don’t want to cause any sort of expectation of continuity or coherence with this texts, but here I am talking about my writing. Again. My only consistent habit is my weekly visit to the local butcher Andrew, to get my weekend steaks. Neither is he particularly good, nor friendly to me. I know his name because I overheard it, a few of the many Thursdays I’ve been there. We don’t even speak any more, as he manages to cut and pack me my 2 lbs as he sees me entering the door. All I do really is to go to the left, where this lady works as a cashier, and pay the usual 10 quid. She also doesn’t speak to me, but grabs a note like no one else. So apart from this I am not a man of habits. I don’t watch the telly, I don’t walk on a certain path or take the same bus. I don’t drink the same beer, I don’t cite the same author or song lyric. I don’t love the same woman. But now I see myself having to post to this post post-modern typewriter my thoughts and memories accumulated in the various years of my existence. The ones that survived the erasing power of alcohol. The ones I’m proud and the ones I have to make peace with. A few I don’t want to remember as well. Maybe I’ll lie a bit… not to you, but to myself — as I just did, saying I don’t love the same woman.
I first met the idea of writing on a date. Well on the second romantic date of a day in the late 50`s. To be fair I did not know the second date was a date, I was young and naive — very different than the version of me that is writing now. I had had a proper date during that afternoon with a lovely young lady from the Spanish peninsula, visiting London for the first time and not ashamed to be enchanted by it. She had fine taste and was quite interesting and after an exquisite cup of herbal tea we headed to the park where we sat for a while. She smiled more openly, for the ambience for romance was set up, and I, inadvertently looked at her teeth. Then her gum. And that was it for me. I moved the angle of my hips to the sun that was setting and started to talk about the working class, compulsively. I was embarrassed, but the green moss activity on her teeth has made a very serious point to me and I did not kiss her. That pivotal moment served me to develop many other behavioural routines — most notably the Seagull Manoeuvre.
Second date. A scholar, an academia girl, a logical woman. Angel Tube station, technical conversation, nothing fancy. No obvious clichés, no over-expressed chivalry. Not even alcohol, actually, if I do remember well, a glass of tap water. After walking a few quarters – in a quarter of an hour – the chat’s theme shifted from Architecture to something more personal. I asked about her life and she asked me about love. I then told her about my previous date, many hours earlier. She laughed in coy and asked for more details. And my flakey common sense actually helped me by not letting me express the immense repulsion I felt by the Spanish lady’s dental hygiene, but essentially I said what I’ve just wrote here. Then she said looking in my eyes “you should be a writer” — suddenly smiling more openly…