Of How & Who I was

Your domains will be canceled [sic] on January 10, 2022. Your auto-renew failed because your payment info [sic] is incorrect. The following domains will be cancelled:

The old outlet is gone. It is gone in that, more specifically, the domain has expired and now even those with the most impressive memory cannot find it. The e-mail must have caught me at a particular moment – working or washing up, walking into town, at the window – and how little it struck me! Perhaps I was of too feeble a mind to, at that moment, have understood the gravity of the notification. The debit card to which it was tied is, too, discarded in some holy landfill site, cut into eighths.

The history is not important to me. Days later I recorded the beginning and end of my fourth blog – entitled Cylinder Four, after Blaise Cendrars – and was caught off-guard by its lifetime. From the twenty-second of October twenty-eleven until the fifth of March twenty-nineteen! Seven-and-a-half years of chronicled thoughts, joy and heartbreak; remembrance of events; flimsy short stories; sex-filled haiku; what Rebecca would have called—‘Shitty poems on the internet.’ Up till that point, I had always abandoned my blogs once they had been discovered by the people in my life – coworkers or friends – and I would leave them by window in the middle of the night, daring not to make a sound, to flee silent and sorrowfully. Yes, I was sad – no, bereft – to give up, but, to write when those in my day-to-day could read and poke fun, was too much for my constitution. As I went, so I left everyone behind, and then had to start from scratch, hoping that some voyeuristic stranger would stumble upon my scribblings and find something of vague importance or relatability. They were not much; take a small piece off the end. At first, like a street preacher, I shouted to myself, and then slowly others gathered. I am neither encouraged nor put off by their presence; I howl with the same instinctive conviction, the message reaches further, the words are unstoppable; I have company.

A colleague found my blog (name unknown) and so I started a new one. The events within it could, if one were so inclined, be attributed to a phase in my life. Monospaced in its HTML was a young man coming to terms with his career, with independence, with romance and his unremarkable angst, with his misplaced sexuality, with east London, with the deciduous wonder of love, with hope and then recovery. Flicking through, albeit briefly, I was reminded of how and who I was. He is my twin; yes, we look alike, and we have an invincible connection, but I am different, I am my own person, unique, separate. So, I hold his hand then wave at him from afar.

In twenty-eleven, I was still living with my parents in a seaside town. I did not know where I was going, but I wrote often. My first entry was about a papergirl I saw on my walk to the train station. I still remember her; I still remember describing her and her life in my mind; I still remember writing it all down when I got home from work. She will have finished school and college and university by now. By now, she will be her own person, unique, separate; there was her hand on grotty newspaper ink and then we waved at each other from afar. I knew that sleepily I passed by her bicycle like a mist, and yet here I am, a decade later, irreversibly fixated on a route her boss dictated.
My last entry there was entitled Detergents and was about blossom and dear friends who did not believe they could become pregnant and did. They only noticed after she ordered two fried breakfasts in a Saturday morning café. When I asked him about it, he teared up in the pub. Now he is back in Poland and sends me photographs of his large son. At Christmas she sends me chocolate and a bauble. The whole thing ended with—My bedsheets were cold, they weren’t crisp. I felt a breeze from the closed window. It was so easy to be deterred by things.

If, in some drunken moment clawing at nostalgia, I could indeed return to it and read what I had written there, but there is no appeal. That man is dead, and I have photographs.

I started this back in the winter of twenty-nineteen after visiting my cousin. She had recently moved into a flat in Charlton. There was a smack about her green living room walls that mesmerised me, causing my inspiration to stir, and later on, after she had cooked me dinner and we had discussed family matters, I took a cab through the tunnel and, while I petit mal seizures’d across the chicken shops and Commercial Rd fabric wholesalers, I thought that I would seek to change things. And I did. Things went up, they went down. There was Alex and Her Summer. Everything eventually unravelled beautifully from that moment. Nothing about the Hackney streets we caroused inebriated could be recreated by any amount of talent or wordsmanship, forgoing her French pronunciation of—‘Kiss me here’; there are great passages of my existence that are laid waste to the beast of experience-only, what can only be cherished by self and shadowed to confidantes. They have homes in the time of forgetful joy, the grace of century’s-old avenues that falter at the picture frame of memorandum. Whitechapel came to glisten in a perfect brine of pre-lockdown normality; of fluorescent signage and delivery drivers. God, how fine that stretch of earth was in its midnight hour. How terrifying and alive! Finally, there was Helen. Sustain like a violin. And then things unravelled.

I am no longer sad. Not for a monkey would I trade a thing. Down the road, I wave at my twin, and this path is only my own! I will do my best not to shit on the verge, but only pluck a leaf and smile. It is truly in the sobriety of loneliness that I come to recognise the magnificence of my past. What I did not know came to shimmer.

As I stride beneath the behemoth underpass of London Wall, there is a brief amusement before the traffic lights to find that a book could be comprised of my old blog’s expressions. A real writer would seize the binding! I am merely a tourist floating past, grinning like last orders. In the irreparable distance of history, I know that it is too far away, yet there is no urge for my wrist to flick out like this, to summon it back. It is gone. It was marked in the furor of day-to-day and now it is nothing more than faint shadow. In fact, I laugh at it!

Soon the chronicle will be gone and everything within it. My emotions are not sensitive enough. As it lays upon the waves, I signal it to drown. Fish are there. Everything is recycled. Everything evaporates. Maybe one day an old rain will fall upon me. I suspect that then I will not care.