Friday, 21 February 2014

The fantasy

The sun sets swiftly. It has been a long time since it dared shine for multiple consecutive hours and having done so defiantly all day, it flees below the horizon and will doubtless shroud itself behind the safety of cloud cover once again tomorrow.

It's so cold. Even at midday, the wind was sharp and the air full of the laggy damp that sinks through your skin and settles in your bones. Now it is bitter. Chill upon chill settling around each living thing; the warm blooded eking out their precious heat while the cold blooded simply fall into a doze after the excitement of the day.

The water laps lazily against the walls of the canal and disgruntled fishermen begin to pack up as the ducks, geese and moorhens return to their nesting spots, terrifying the fish as they do so. Somewhere lurks a fox, its tail fluffed to its fullest, hovering in the hopes that the coming dark will drive the humans indoors once again so he can retrieve food from the dustbins.

She sits alone, as the world sinks into darkness and the warmth fades out of her. She does not shiver or huddle deeper into the thick warmth of the coat she wears, she simply gazes outwards while something in her eyes indicates to anyone who would care to look that she isn't really here.

She isn't listening to the birds as they squabble intermittently about the traffic on their commute; she is offering a drink to a man she admires.

She doesn't see the water rings, mocking the frustrated anglers with signs of fish that are beyond their reach; she is laughing up into the eyes of someone special.

She doesn't feel the cold or the damp; she is wrapped in his warm embrace.

Her expression isn't vacant; instead the barest quivers in the muscles around her face indicate expressions of emotions so deep, intense and real - joy, excitement, demure teasing, even love - they each glimmer then vanish as she moves to the next chapter of her romance. For someone who looks close enough, all these things are there.

For someone who looks deeper, what is even clearer is the fear. The reason she sits on a dark night, outside, where no one else would care to go. The fear is why she is alone right now, the fear is why she doesn't tell anyone.

It's not right, you see. If you're going to be happy, it has to be because of real things. She knows you can't laugh at a joke that no-one ever tells. You can't flirt without someone there to answer back. She knows that if anyone sees her laughing and smiling, happy in her own mind, all alone... she knows, you see. 

She isn't mad. She isn't drunk. She isn't anything to be afraid of.

She is happy in her moments of fantasy and she is celebrating inside her own heart the way her life could be if she were something else. And when she is finished, she will go home and live her life equally happily. 

But she mustn't be caught. No one can ever know.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

I don't know how my brain works sometimes

I'm in love.

I'm in love with three people, and not one of them exists.

I'm in love with a man who makes me feel all kinds of fire, passion and thrill. He makes me feel safe, vulnerable, strong and respected. He trusts me in a way I never knew I was lacking.

He doesn't exist.

I'm in love with a man who makes me feel like I've met someone I can balance with. Someone whose intelligence and sense of fun doesn't surprise me, who is matched so well he has always been there. He challenges me and knows me. He is engaged with me in a way I never knew a guy could be.

He doesn't exist.

I'm in love with the woman who would leap through the fire of my doubts for either of these men. The woman who would take the risk and find them in the world and tear open the fantasy just to find out if it could be true.

She doesn't exist.

The two men are the fantasies to fulfill either side of my brain - I figured that much out immediately. I want a guy who can be - IS - both sides of this ideal. 

The woman is who I want to be. Every story I've tried to force out of myself recently has been about one of these two men and this woman. This passionate, risk taking, emotionally reckless woman. I'm not her. Aside from anything else I can't cast aside the understanding of the repercussions that are caused by everything I say and/ or do and take a risk knowing it could hurt someone else. I really want to be selfish. I want to not care how much  I may hurt others in seeking my own satisfaction in life because apparently I believe that's the quicker route to happiness.

What I don't know is: why now? Why am I now fantasising about big dramatic displays of affection that cement in the eyes of the world that I have reached some pinnacle? I've been single for a while - why do I suddenly feel I have something to prove?


Friday, 14 February 2014


You don't smile often
but when you do
it feels like the sun after a year of rain

You don't laugh often
but when you laugh at me
I feel privileged

There's a story that talks
About a man who shows his wife
no public affection
No kisses
No hand holding
for fifty years

She's the only one who sees
that when he looks her way
he lifts an eyebrow
ever so slightly
it's a look he keeps just for her
their intimacy
Their public affection

You don't hide affection
And I couldn't give up that contact
But what makes me special
is your laugh
Your smile

You don't laugh often
but when you do
your eyes turn soft
and the fire inside
turns to a caress

You don't laugh often
but when you laugh at me
I feel privileged.

On the nature of love

I can't sing. I love to but, as I often find amusement in pointing out, the more fun I'm having, the less fun my audience has. 

I love to dance. I have good rhythm, I have reasonable co-ordination and I'm not embarrassed to really go for it. This means people often are convinced by the sheer force of my attitude that I'm a good dancer. I'm not going to disabuse them of that notion.

My future man must - MUST - be willing to take me to karaoke. He must - MUST - be willing to get on a dance floor, because I won't sexy dance unless I'm comfortable being sexy with my partner, and sexy dance is fun.

He may not enjoy listening to my appalling caterwauling, and he may not be a fan of dancing himself, but I know this one absolute fact: any man who is interested in my happiness would consider that a small price to pay for the sheer overwhelming joy I get from these two things. 

This is something it took me a long time to understand. I don't need permission from a man to be happy in those things, but to have the closest person in my life refuse to participate in something that brings me so much joy throws up an unnecessary and crippling barrier. 

Not the most cheerful comment for a Valentine's day special, but you know what? That's OK. It's true and it's more real than a candy heart.

Here is something to make up for it: If a man does not like dancing, but will get on the floor and move through a clumsy slow dance with you because you do and it makes you happy; he is giving you a gift far more precious than a man who loves to dance getting on the floor and hauling you through a perfect rumba.

And since this is the internet and someone will misinterpret - I'm not saying I want my men to be unhappy to prove that they love me. When you love someone, you will do something that you would ordinarily hate because you know it makes them happy. And if you really love them, you won't tally it up on some sort of point scoring system. You'll just do it and it won't be a big deal to you.

But it will to them. Because they'll know and they'll know what it means.


As I wrote that last sentence, tears welled in my eyes and I found myself wishing I loved someone like that. I don't right now. I will, but I don't right now. And that makes me feel lonely.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Budding lyricist

Last night there wasn't anything much on TV, I'd finished making my clock and my silly illustration of the Knights of the Roses and Quality Streets locked in combat in the form of their Miniature Heroes had ceased to obsess me, so I lay on the sofa and listened to Kenny Rogers.

It was part way through a song about a man who had cheated on his wife and was hoping to be taken back that I felt the urge to write something. I lay here thinking about the writer of that song and either how searingly honest and vulnerable it was, or how cleverly recreated the emotion is.

I wondered if I could do that. I wasn't sure; I'm sill not; if the challenge was for honesty or falsified emotion.

I'm also not sure which (if either) of these I've produced. Given the depth of my resistance to the idea, I suspect there is a startling amount of honesty here.

It's the fear that takes hold of you
In the time before you fall
All those moments you could be misunderstanding
That make it so hard
Because you want it so badly
You want it to be real
Admit it
If you weren't longing for it each moment
You wouldn't care if this was an empty promise

But there you are
And there it lies
Wrapped before you
Hidden from your eyes
The only way to see inside
Is to break through that surface

And you have no way of knowing
If this gift is meant for you to keep
Or if it is on loan
Perhaps it already belongs to someone else
Who cannot give it back
Reach out
At least acknowledge it has been given
Even as you wonder if it has any worth

Now there you are
And there it lies
Wrapped before you
Hidden from your eyes
The only way to see inside
Is to trust that it is given in good faith

I've never been here before
Staring at what you offer me
Wondering if I dare see what it truly is
Or accept the superficial and never ask for more
Do you know what I want from this?
Is this a gift or your best offer?

And here I am
There is lies
Wrapped before me
Safe from my eyes
The only way to see inside
Is to risk it
To admit it
I want it to be all of you