The

Evening

Party
Filed under — 
JOURNAL


THE ILLNESS HELD ME; I WITHDREW


Fig.XI — NOVEMBER
(2019)



The heating is on for the first time since January, or maybe February; the dates are blurry, as if filmed in technicolor, what was so long ago seems close, and what was close so far away. It was cold indoors. The wind could be heard speaking through the voice-box of windows, wailing, high-pitched. There would be a rush of cold air out of nowhere and all the doors kept shut would bang against their frames. The dial on the boiler turned from ‘tap’ to ‘swirly line & tap’. The thermostat revolved from trembling ten to warm fingers of nineteen degrees. Nineteen seemed like a solid number, not as triangular as eighteen but like a treat, the sort of temperature that worked best with red wine & chocolate, of which I had neither.

The weight of the world is heavy and weighs on me constantly. Eventually I grow accustomed to the burden and its weight is not so unbearable, it just is; I feel that it can be no other way, that I, too, must be a little broken from what I used to be. The clocks changed and darkness darkness darkness. It’s true the morning’s are brighter. On good days the sun is at my favourite angle on the way to work. At night there is no sun. I can feel the cold wet pavements leaking in through my shoes that I am too stupid & lazy — perhaps a little too poor — to replace; my feet become cold and wet, make sounds. Even the heels have worn down to wood, so I make much noise down the street. Along my road the crackheads’ lighters line up like a runway. Their eyes glisten in the dark, if I should catch them nervously, bulbous & bitterly cold; they hold the flame and let it shiver as, in the distance, a car slows & rolls down its window.




A terrible day. A terrible week. Illness. I got through the door late. My niece in her high-chair, her face covered in rice, looked up to me and offered her innocent lips (how I’d missed her!) but I kissed my mother hello first because I am, if anything, a mummy’s boy. ‘O darling!’ Working late; the birthday party was over. I turned to my niece who was still looking at me, having resumed her rice destruction and launching handfuls of it here & there, acknowledged me with a look that said ‘Well, I’m not interested anymore’. I put my hand on her little skull with its fine soft hair and kissed her forehead. ‘She’s been ill, the poor thing.’ ‘Doesn’t matter. I’ve already had it.’ (My mind flashed to a fortnight before, when my ill girl spat into my mouth and I swallowed it like fuck medicine.) I leaned down and kissed my niece hello, told her I’d missed her and that her hair was growing, but she didn’t understand any of it,communicating in handfuls of rice, which I bent down and picked up off the floor, squeezing her feet as she chuckled and my sister-in-law got me a beer from the fridge. I got ill off that. It was worth it. To not kiss my niece after three weeks away!

But the illness held me. I withdrew.

At night I lie in bed listening to the roadmen setting off fireworks. I try to guess where they are in the neighbourhood. Through the blinds there are flashes of colour. Sometimes the crackheads make it into the building and shout terribly loud, or they try to break into the ground floor flats and the building shakes with the impact of double-glazed windows. I can hear no other sounds, so I put on the radio to drown it out.

Illness held me. I withdrew.

I think of the single source of my happiness, lingering over me like a ghost dressed in Yves Klein blue. The pillows are stacked. My room is cold, the bed warm. Does cough medicine rot your teeth? The fireworks soar & pop. How many fireworks do they have left? I will probably miss them when they’re gone.





— a collection of writings, poems and stories by the anonymous author

︎  t w i t t e r
︎  i n s t a g r a m
︎  e - m a i l

UNLESS NOTED OTHERWISE, ALL PHOTOGRAPHS ARE TAKEN BY THE AUTHOR

Ah, we’re an ungrateful race! When I look at my hand upon the window sill and think what pleasure I’ve had in it, how it’s touched silk and pottery and hot walls, laid itself flat upon wet grass or sun-baked, let the Atlantic spurt through its fingers, snapped blue bells and daffodils, plucked ripe plums, never for a second since I was born ceased to tell me of hot and cold, damp or dryness, I’m amazed that I should use this wonderful composition of flesh and nerve to write the abuse of life. Yet that’s what we do. Come to think of it, literature is the record of our discontent.

T H E   E V E N I N G   P A R T Y  Virgina Woolf