This blog feels a bit neglected lately. I’ve been getting out and about doing other writing for other places which I hope to collect up here. But I still love this place and it still warms my heart to get a steady stream of visitors despite me essentially blowing up my primary method of promoting (my Twitter account). One day I’ll tell you that story. Anyway this is one of the things I did – a fierce as hell piece which is the first thing I’ve ever written with the idea in my head that I’d read it out. It scared me when I wrote it, but it scared me a lot more when I read it. Anyway I freaking did it man, I got up and read something I’d written out loud to other people. Me. I did that thing. And I’m going to write about that too because trust me *that* was a mind blowing/scary/powerful experience.
So my best friend just moved into a house down the road from the place where you lived in with your parents – that house I trekked to every other weekend for four, maybe five years. And it was a treck; bus, train, bus, just to make it. Walking past I got that feeling that you get when you see a familiar friend you no longer have anything to say to but know you have unfinished business with. So you stop and stare, but you don’t say anything.
I remembered the address too because for years I wrote it out on envelopes twice a week. We wrote to each other compulsively in the time before the internet, you sent me mix tapes full of American grunge bands I’d never heard of then; Sebadoh and Dinosaur Junior and Sonic Youth. You were four years older than me, which made my parents scared and gave me some fleeting status.
In the end though you won my folks round, in fact to date you’re the only boy I’ve gone out with that they’ve ever really liked. Because they got you. And even though you wore eyeliner and carried round that annotated copy of Street Car Named Desire, your mum worked in Sainsburys and your dad was a bus driver. You had an accent and some rough as fuck friends. You didn’t want the life which was being painted out for you, but at the same time you could see it speeding towards you and you didn’t know how to escape it. You were, basically, a male version of me.
You wrote poetry, you were drowning in sheets of it. Scrawled in the back of books, in letters, it was flowing out of you. You were the one who taught me to carry notebooks with me, always. And in so many ways you were so much better at it than me.
But worse at school. Because I was a girl and I was taught to be conscientious. I could learn by rote and was willing to cram every mindless fact into my brain, even temporarily, so that it all just swilled round in my skull, only to fall out after the exam when someone pulled out the plug. I could do that if that was what needed to be done. But you would fuck off and smoke weed with your mates round the back of that recording studio in Darnell. Because you tried studying and it didn’t work out, the dice were already stacked so what was the fucking point?
We drifted as I went further into studying, hanging out with new friends that you had nothing in common with. Until one day you sat me down and told me this dream you had about getting married, getting a flat and having a baby with me and I just freaked out.
Because I was running from that and I’d run from you if I needed to.
And I did. We split up. I was busy trying to become someone else. Trying to fit in and prove myself and leave every trace of the person I used to be behind.
I would fail. And I knew I’d fail when I got that letter from you, delivered to my halls of residence in that writing I recognised so well it was like some sort of relic from a bygone era. That letter where you asked how I was and told me you were stuck working in a factory now and how you barely ever even wrote these days. And that you sometimes went into town but it was full of pretentious privileged students, who were all pretending to be so clever when really they didn’t know shit. And that even the ones you met who you thought were nice turned out to be cunts who looked down on you and thought they were better than you.
In fact you said it; wrote it out there in that letter which I read, sat alone on my bed as I was about to embark upon my second year of University.
All students are cunts.
And no I never wrote back and yeah it kinda hurt. Right there and then in that particular moment it kinda hurt. But there was also always that part of me that got it, and that no matter what happened, where I went, or what I did to pretend it wasn’t there, that part of me would never stop getting it. And that was the part of me that would always belong more to you, than it ever did to them.
The part of me they couldn’t even see, let alone touch.