Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday swab

I wake up in a motel the morning after the somewhat truncated night before. I don't feel good, but she's already three hours into her day, feeling worse. There is breakfast, there is bad TV, and there is a trudge of a drive home.

We get back to Dublin and I pick up a new product that promises to alleviate my cunt of a mouth ulcer in one fell swoop. It is acid on a swab, and it should come with a health warning. "This will sting." This will shred your fucking soul. Show me the man who doesn't shed a tear when hydroxymethoxybenzenesulphonic acid is applied to an open sore in his mouth and I will show you a man dead from the waist up. I sit in the armchair for some time, shell-shocked and self-pitying, reading a Sunday supplement.

I sit there for too long. After a fashion she perches beside me on the arm of the chair. I want her to sit on my lap, but she thinks she's too heavy. She's never been too heavy. There is good music playing, and there is the slow admission of what is really up: the difficult days approaching and the momentary sense of the impending collapse of it all. The crass guilt I have put on myself. I say very little because she knew before I did. I cling to her like an infant and she asks if I want to have a cry. I do, but I know I won't. I had a sneaky one last month.

We stand up and suddenly I'm freezing. She offers to get my jumper, but I need something else. I take off my black shirt and put on a t-shirt and a hoodie. It's bright orange and far too big. Retrospectively thinking, I may have bought it for days like this. I am an X or maybe even an XXL, but I am not an XXXL. I wonder how many men have the dubious honour of being called extra, extra, extra large by clothing companies.

She hands me a cup of tea and I smile gratefully, then shuffle out to the balcony for the day's only cigarette. I peer through the rain and count the chimneys on the grey slate rooftops. I'd never even noticed them before, but right now they're fascinating. I've been sleeping here about six months now, but I've never really lived here. We won't be here much longer.

I spend so much time broad and bearded and made out of bricks. I spend so much time six-two and smiling. I spend so much time strong and almost sensible. I spend so much time, so much time, so much time. And today I'm the small, shivering boy I thought I'd long left behind.

For half an hour, anyway.

14 comment(s):

Ben said...

6'2 in heels!! ;)

Tessa said...

Anybody who leaves their inner small shivering child behind is dead from the soul up.

Meadow said...

Orange is a beautiful colour for comfort. Hope you feel better soon.

NaRocRoc said...

You write nice. I like.

It's seasonal affective disorder. Us Arsenal fans get it more and more these days around the middle of May. It'll pass!

Sinéad said...

Ick, feel better. I have a mouth ulcer, it's a cantankerous bastard of a thing.

jothemama said...

I'm still all immersed in vampire angst, I can't take this post. The pathos! The drama! Don't go into the fire, Andrew, there must be a better way!

red said...

yikes andrew. i hope today is an easier one.

Andrew said...

Ben - OK, I hold my hand up, I'm six one and a bit, but that would've interrupted the flow somewhat. Anyway, fuck it, I'm taller than you, muthafucka.

Tessa - yes, perhaps so. first time i've seen mine in quite a while, though.

Meadow - Well, I still have it on today, but i think that's largely for warmth. Things feel a lot better today, thanks. I think it was my version of a panic attack, and they never last all that long.

narocroc - y'know, it's worrying to think that that might genuinely be a tiny bit of a factor. I'm honestly not sure i'd have felt quite as shit yesterday if it had been Arsenal lifting the title on saturday. I think that might be incredibly sad of me, i'm not sure.

Sinéad - Thanks, chicken. that one-use stuff for mouth ulcers that I was talking about really does work, traumatic as it is. It's called Bonjela Once and costs about 15 euro for two of them, or ten for 3 of Boots own brand stuff.

Jo - Vampire angst? sorry, but I don't know what you're on about. will a quick look at your blog set me straight? i've been a bit out of the loop while studying for exams. Anyway, no fire for me, just a wee bit of stress that has now passed.

Red - Cheers. it was easier, considerably so.

Not Ruairi said...

Peter Schmeichel.

He wore XXXL jerseys.

Annie R said...

Good luck Andy, you're gonna do great. xxx

Radge said...

Excellent piece of writing Andrew, and hope you're well sir.

Blazing said...

What NaRocRoc said,

love your writing.

Get corlan pellets for the ulcer.

Andrew said...

Not Ruairi - Good point, I'd forgotten about that gigantic fucker.

And thanks, guys, my difficult week has now ended with my exams (possibly the last I'll ever do) done and dusted and a place to live for the time being sorted out. Just have to find a job now.

MJ said...

I missed all the drama :) Was studdin too! Glad you're back to normal now :) Me likes thee writing also.