Wednesday, 17 June 2015


Yesterday I packed my blue rucksack for the journey home. My blue checked pyjama bottoms were at the bottom of it, balled up. They smelled of your fire, woodsmoke, welling up.

I sang "smoke gets in your eyes" stirred, almost hysterically, melodic but shaken with tears. 

Instead of putting them in the machine to find clean, I decide to take them along. 
Now, typing this in bed, after the crematorium, in the family home on a wet summer afternoon, the smoke clings firm and glances over my senses occasionally, just to check if they've forgotten yet. 
No, we didn't forget smoke, thank you, the senses and I recall with a startling perspicuity that now seems both perverse and astringent.

Just how did you come to be caught up in these garments then old smokey? Oh I remember, mind and body and senses, all of these compartments of me can see. 

Sunday afternoon, June 7th, I received news that my aunt had passed away, despite having visited her the previous weekend, seeing how she was, ready for to go, at the impressive age of 90, it knocked me off kilter. 
I had to crouch on the floor and cry, curled up, shaking for a time. 

Then I got back to packing up.

Ibrahim and I were going to go for a -24 hour camping trip (Pobbles bay, Gower, good old Pennard and Three Cliffs).

We scarcely had matching "off" days, and, being in that room with my thoughts wouldn't have done me any good. 
There was nothing to justify staying. So, to make the most of his free time, and better fill my own, we went.

I all weird, slightly numbed to the physical world from that hazy perspective that (familial) death can generate.

Not a great start, but, you could forgive and understand my mood, surely? My slight irritability.

My moods were shitty anyway, less predictable than usual, the pill I'd recently started taking had my body storing up water like the apocalypse was on the horizon, a turn of the Earth away. This in turn had me all confused and annoyed, why was I unable to fit into trousers that had been loose just yesterday?! What was (is?!) happening to this form of mine...?

But, after a shaky start, setting up, after the show the sky put on for us, being present, the sea air, after we both "bucked up" and had a little Chablis, listening to Daniel as the tide came in, it was pretty magical.

We were by the fire, pyjamas out of the bag and ready to be enveloping these legs. I was wearing jeans, and you can't sleep in jeans, even in a bag in a tent. 

First, before changing, I wanted to kiss you. After the unpacking and eating and organising had happened, in that calm contentment, outside the tent, with the cold salty air and the warm earthy fire, we did kiss.

It was chilly and our usual undressing right away wasn't underway. We just kissed and felt and everything built up until you said, with an urgency mixed with something sweet as almost in desperation "I want to fuck you".

It was uncharacteristically bold and I was incredibly responsive to it. 

I don't need to remind myself how good it was. 

We were good at that.

So, smokey pyjamas, thank you for carrying that memory forth, from that day my aunt died to this day, the day her body was burned.

All other garments from that adventure were washed and some even re-worn in the short interim between then and now.

My blue checked shirt, comfortingly oversized in my swollen state, smells of you. 
Clean-shaven you, your incredible skin.

I wore it the last time you were in my bed. Monday last.

Trying to lie down with me, trying to hold both my gaze and body. 
You attempting to console away a pain I caused with my me-ness, my difficulties, forcing you to break "it" off, the effect.

I couldn't.

It was too much not to wail, to pound at my dumb doughy face, punch this perennially protruding paunch. 
So I took it out on myself another way. Not allowing that weakness a last embrace, a most vulnerable and sad goodbye.

Oh Ib I wanted you. I saw you, legs crossed on my bed and I wanted to feel you on my flesh immediately. With an alarming alacrity I wanted to hold you to me, squeezing your thighs into mine, I ached to cup your thick dark curls in my hand as our lips would meld together, those searching tongues.

How could I lie with you there when I could almost feel my palms on that soft chest hair of yours. Looking down at you, feeling you thrust up to me from below. That look on your face when I got into the swing of the thing and you didn't want to climax yet. A sort of pleasure-panic. 
A glance that matched the words "STOP. It feels good but I don't want it to end yet".

I couldn't have been held, because I couldn't have held all of those images, those acute sensations under the surface. 

Such viscera can't be drowned by these feeble hands.

I wish I had fought though, thrashed with that.

I wish I'd let you comfort me. Been that pathetic little powerless victim. Instead I was that cold yet slightly unhinged abomination. Not even showing you the human decency of eye contact.
I was staring at the wall through lenses obfuscated by slowly enlarging watery pools.

Oh god and that weight beneath my sternum, that leaden orb which has since slowly reeled itself to a position at the back of my throat. The hook and the line have scathed the depths of oesophagus. The trapdoor of epiglottis almost wedged shut at times when swallowing is necessary but resultantly elusive. 

 I wish I hadn't been so instantly bruised and defensive, trying to preserve some shard of dignity I know isn't there. 

That shard is something else.

It's not dignity that's cutting in to you my friend.

That glassy knife is made of all those minerals of self-hate. Compounds of pity and deep deep (easily extracted for its sheer abundance) grief.

I regret that we didn't decide, better, to slow down before this crash. 
I wished I'd been able to say; "Let's STOP. It feels good but I don't want it to end yet".
Rationed that passion and stamped on my own stupid sorrow. 

Oh you sad, scared human Helen.

Above all, I wish I could have been held.

To be held now, today, on this drizzling, misty, Ystradgynlais afternoon, dizzying.
All of the day festooned in a funerary fog.

To be held, physically, together, protected from the falling apart or merely safe to do so.

I wish I didn't need...