This weekend has now been ruined by it. Take Friday, last night. Having half-heartedly told myself the evening before, on running out of my last little bit, that I would seize the opportunity to take an unspecified break, I decided by mid-morning that I would “drop by” (it’s in the completely opposite direction to my usual walk home) the Place and pick up a ten-bag (despite having been expecting a delivery from my neighbour all week). I never hand around there, and there’s normally no need to. But for some reason, this time nobody was selling.
So I stood there with my can of red bull among the physically and mentally deformed, pretending that I had some higher purpose like studying the game of pool before me, all the while surrounded by plumes of sweet cannabis smoke. I watched one or two other desperates turn up; by Christ they looked sad. We all looked sad. We all knew we were in the same boat despite not making eye contact. Each of us sitting there with our courtesy half-pints or softs, the have-nots versus the haves. Although “haves” is not necessarily the best depiction, seeing as one guy had his mouth on the side of his face and the other had a limp. Another, who had sorted me out before and clearly knew who I was, didn’t even look at me.
What desolation some people must feel when realizing that all is not what it seems, the smiles and winks and nods. The Cash. And I hated myself as much as I did this pathetic scene of quasi-depravity, knowing that I was not going to be home in time to kiss my beautiful daughter goodnight even though I was going home empty-handed.
So I knocked on the neighbour’s door when I got back and he promised me he was going to sort it out that night, and in I got to my unsuspecting wife for a quiet night of frustration as I realised what I knew was going to be the case anyway, that the goods were never to be seen. But a tasty lamb kebab interrupted it. Lamb mince spiced with toasted cumin, fennel and coriander. Lots of chilli and into a pita with some rocket, tomatoes, onions and some garlic-infused yoghurt. It was one of the best kebabs I’ve eaten.
IT’S NOT NOT HAVING IT THAT FUCKING FUCKS ME OFF, IT’S LOOKING FORWARD TO GETTING FUCKING RIPPED AND THEN NOT BEING ABLE TO DO IT. UNLIKE DRINK, WHICH I COULD GET FROM ANYWHERE AT ANY TIME, GEAR FORCES YOU TO RELY ON THE MOST UNRELIABLE PEOPLE WHO HAVE EVER WALKED THE EARTH.
Then this morning, having had the neighbour assure me he would sort it out this evening, I started to crack. It had nothing to do with the lack of gear, ???, but in watching the wife tile the kitchen walls. She was intent on making a good job of the corner, which I knew nobody would ever see. The electrics had to be off and the light was getting dim. I nearly broke down. I don’t know what brought it to this. I was just shouting at her, not in a maniac screaming fashion, but in an unnerving and uncharted way. I did not feel like I was in control. It was witnessing her going through what I had gone through that tipped it.
Hearing her need to talk to someone to share the realisation that, in fact the job [the tiling] was going to take considerably longer than she had anticipated while standing back and looking at it, even with the previous day’s experience behind her. I didn’t want to hear it. That was it. I had gone through too much of this in the last three weeks. I didn’t care one flying fuck about the tiling in the corner that I was never going to see again. Really.
I saw the fear in her eyes though, when she saw the sate I was in. I felt like I was about to cry. It was then that I left the house for the Place under the pretences of some mineral water and to give us ten minutes’ recuperation. So I rolled up there feeling desperate but nonetheless better off for it. Except that when I got there it was dry again. Thick with smoke and fucking dry again.
So I came back resigned to the hopelessness of my situation and kidded myself that I would write-off the neighbour’s dues and start afresh: on my own. But it was a farce, of course. So I slowly cleaned, scored and stuffed two fat mackerel picked up at the airport shop with bay, garlic, lemon and salt. I just couldn’t see how I was going to be able to eat it straight. The fish were eventually baked and served with a fresh fennel, tomato and rocket salad. That rocket lasted 4 fucking meals and it only cost 80p. I enjoyed it as best I could. But the strangest thing about tonight is that my fruitless trip to the bar seems as if it was a dream. It doesn’t feel as if I was there at all.