Fifty shades of cordon bleu

I spent ten days with my family soaking up whatever sun can pass through factor fifty, freaking out about the abundance of freckles on my face and feeling like the odd one out in my family of perfect accomplished tanned go getters. Goddammit. When I spend time with them I’m the albino gorilla, I’m the prodigal son… oh how different Abby might be if only she had learnt to play piano or volleyball or  gone to college or spent more of her childhood in the sun. They don’t say it… just.

My best friend joined us for the last few days.. way to rescue me from beach boredom. Had a lot of fun, until we got dressed up and I remembered why I don’t live in Italy, why I don’t fancy Italians and why I bought pepper spray. Eugh.

Not fun… well, just a little bit fun, because I had my biatch with me and of course it was pretty off the hook, regardless of the slimey greaseball Italian teenagers we encountered.

I was glad to leave though. On to France, to Bordeaux. To my lover….

I flew without fear, the second time I really nailed it, fuck you fear of flying, I am just a normal person now who doesn’t LIKE flying but the last couple of flights I have been so cool, no shaking fear, no commandeering both arm rests to grip  them tightly while mentally composing my eulogy.

I landed with a self satisfied smirk at how brilliant I deal with flying now. The girl next to me was white and panicked. SAP.

The airport was tiny, we walked about 50 metres from the plane and entered the baggage reclaim hall. Ahead of me those opaque glass doors sliding open for the crowd ahead of me. I ducked out of view… crap.

Suddenly the moment I have fantasized about for over a month, menaced me with its uncertainty.

Would he be standing there, too far…. would I have to do the walk-skip-keep composed while grinning furiously? The romantic reunion in front of the crowd, or would it be an awkward hello how was the flight is this your bag? While I accidentally go for a kiss and realise I’m just getting a hug?

And do I look ok? I had applied some makeup on the plane but I was up at 7 to catch two trains and maybe I look tired, drawn… my so called tan is just freckles, isn’t it? What if he liked me pale and alabaster, what if my sunkissed skin is too Irish and freckly.. did I trade my classy, elegant whiteness for a bad patchy shade darker? I think in panic of my bikini like, de-haired but so fucking white next to the thighs and pink belly… oh my pink belly….

I squint into my tiny hand mirror and think no, it’s ok… fuck it. Fuck it. I just have to do it. I swing out through the doors and don’t look at anyone, hoping at least to “spot” him as we are nearly beside each other, so there is less uncomfortable distance and idiotic smiling.

He’s not there. Oh oh… but my flight was late, he’s probably having a smoke outside. I turn left through the doors and there he is, sitting on the low wall, looking at me…

He looks young, oh so young… younger than I remember. He’s so tall and thin, his face is young and lost and hopeful. I reach him and smile shyly, not sure any more about anything… do I really have the most amazing sex of my life with this young man, do I love him, do I want him? Have I just followed something shiny because I couldn’t have it, has he been one of my conquests, have I pursued him to prove I could, have I fooled us both… does he love me?

And I reached him and his hand reached up to my face and he kissed me, tender but reserved, and doubt curdled in my belly and then I hugged him and dropped the handle of my suitcase and his arms were around me and he held me so tight and I kissed him tentatively on his cheek/jaw/neck and he breathed  heat onto my neck I missed you… and I said it too and it caught me, it caught up to me, the hug lit up between us and it was Dublin airport all over again.

Shyly he took my hand and I dragged my suitcase along, giddy with the confirmation of everything being right again.

We walked to his car, borrowed from his father. It was an oven inside… he turned on the engine and I sat beside him with my freckled knees showing and talked about everything and nothing, and he asked me would you like to go to the beach? And I didn’t want to go to the beach, no, I wanted to go to bed, to lie down with my lover and tell him how much I missed him with kisses and feel him swell up and want me again.

But I said sure, cool… let’s go to the beach.

We stopped at the exit from the car park and the machine was automatic. His card didn’t work so we tried mine, but that didn’t work either. It didn’t accept coins… the intercom guy told us we had to pay the parking inside the airport first. Oh. We drove back in circles, trying to find another space to park. Parked and walked back to the terminal. Hand in hand, our eyes flicking over to each other and smiles spreading contagiously. He stopped once or twice and pulled me to him and kissed me and murmured, you’re beautiful.

We paid in the terminal, again the machines wouldn’t take our cards but they accepted my last few coins. Back to the car, back to the exit. Ticket accepted… now DRIVE!

Away from the airport… He squeezed my hand and I babbled incessantly about my holidays, my family, my friends back in Ireland. I made myself ask him about himself. His work, his dissertation… his family. Living back at home. All the time I drank him in, his smell, and I loved him and loved him and loved him. I love you, I thought. I really do love you. I mentally formed the words but didn’t say them. We drove to a petrol station, it didn’t accept our cards again. PUTAIN!

I love it when you talk French. Say something in French…

He said something quickly and I understood… he said It was so hard when you left and I missed you a lot. I smiled, I don’t know if he thought I would understand that….I squeezed his hand and said moi aussi. Which was wrong so he laughed. I think it should have been je aussi. Me too.

We found another petrol station and this one accepted his card. It’s a little bit wrecked, that old bank card. Bent and cracked in places. They took his card and when he came back I thought great, let’s be off… I want to be free of these motorways and generic shops. I want patisseries and cafes and old men drinking pastis and striped shirted cyclists carrying baguettes in their wicker baskets. And mostly I wanted to be alone together where I could pounce on my chauffeur without endangering our lives, and eat him up and make him love me.

He slid into the driver’s seat again, and elegant folding of long limbs. He looked stressed, what’s wrong? I asked. He groaned… I forgot the lid of the gas tank at the other place. What? I took of the lid, and I must have left it on the car and it fell off. Oh. Shit. Damn this I just want to go now.

He drove back to the first petrol station and we couldn’t see it. I think it is green, he said. I scanned the road out my window. Nope. We drove away, and as we left I had a brief glimpse of something green on the road, right in a busy intersection. And we were gone before I registered, that might be it. Shit. Now it’s too late, isn’t it? If I tell him now, it’s like… why didn’t you just say there it is? Why didn’t I? I don’t know. But I kept my mouth shut. I guess maybe I didn’t want to sit there any longer while he found somewhere to park, circled back, left me alone and went to pick up the lid. I just wanted to go. I felt bad though…. A little reminder of how selfish love is, for me anyway.

We drove away, away from the motorways and concrete. A long, straight, two lane road lined with trees. Forests, he told me. Important woodlands for the timber industry. Ahh. Oooh. Roadsigns loomed warning us of deer crossing. I made stupid comments about doing some deer spotting. I made stupid comments about everything. Stop this Abby…. stop talking mindlessly. He’s a silent type, he’s going to think I’m an idiot. We held hands sometimes. In traffic he kissed me quickly and his eyes bored deep into me.

This is good, he said.. This desire we are creating…

I agreed but privately wanted to smack him over the head for this delayed gratification bullshit and make him pull over so I could go to town on him.

We drove for too long. We drove and drove and then we were in a bright, summery, well kept little town by the ocean. We parked a metre from the sand dunes and tripped down to the beach holding hands and looking forward to sitting in the sand and kissing properly. We sat on a towel… smiled quickly and he pulled me over, grabbed my bottom lip with his two and kissed me passionately. My arms fell around his shoulders and my hands caressed his neck. He’s beautiful. He’s beautiful. He fits me better than anyone, he slides around me and fills the spaces, he’s never uncomfortable, there’s never a spare limb, never a clash of teeth or a nose in the eye. He’s beautiful, I kiss him and kiss him and my chest overflows with love. He’s my prince, my young prince… I kiss him and he holds me close and I feel him breathe me in and gently hold the back of my head like I’m a baby, delicate.

We breathe together like this and I’m perfectly happy… with a touch of sexual frustration. We struggle to our feet and dip our toes in the water. It’s cold, the ocean… cold but not too cold. I thought it would be too cold… I picture myself in the water in my bikini, holding him semi naked in the cold water, my legs wrapped around him, the salt buoying me to fucking height. I could twine around his body and devour his face, and no one would see us from the beach because the sun is starting to set and they would probably just see a couple holding each other and kissing. I tell him we should get in. I’ll change into a bikini. He smiles with all his teeth and pulls up an edge of underwear and snaps it. Black lycra. Swimming trunks…. well, briefs I guess. There’s a flutter in my own underpants as I picture my hand reaching in there and pulling him out. I want to kiss his penis like it’s a tongue. I want his head lolling back and I want his hand on my hair. Oh I want him… I wonder how far the city is from this place? The airport was far but we messed around with a lot of petrol stations and shit.

We head back to the car and I take my bikini. I hope he likes it… I look good in this bikini, well, for me… I’m not a bikini person. I’ve never been “beach ready” but this year I am something close to it. Glass of wine first?

YES. As I realise the water is cold and alcohol will help.

Sit at a little table outside a bar-restaurant. Two glasses of wine. Two euros each glass. Lovely wine. Little pretzels on the table.

The sun sets behind him, sinking into the sea in a partially visible ball of fire. There are a few clouds just there so it’s not magnificent, but he says “it would have been too cheesy if the sunset was perfect.” We talk about our plans. I realise he isn’t still studying any more, just this dissertation and he’s finished his degree. He wants to do a masters but is going to leave it for a while. My heart sinks because that’s what made me feel like he had no choice about going home… the studying. He’s starting work as a teacher’s assistant and that’s something I know he wants to do, so I guess yeah he’s tied to France but not as strictly as I had thought.

I didn’t want to tell him my semi-plan on the first night as I have to find the right words so he doesn’t think I’m moving to France to be with him. In some way, yes I am… but I am doing it for myself too. I want to study a TEFL course here in Ireland over the next couple of months and then I’ll go to France. If he doesn’t want to be with me, or he’s just not willing to be in a relationship, whatever happens… heartbreak, but I know I will love France anyway. I’m tired of the parties in Ireland. Fun fun fun but too much, too often, too expensive, and too destroying. I want more elegance, more class, more good taste and manners, less howling and stumbling down streets and less fear on a Monday morning. I want fine wine and cheap wine, but not too much wine. I want cheese and bread and olive oil, I want to throw open shutters in the morning, let a pale yellow light flood my home and write amongst coffee and crumbs. I want a French man to make love to me. I want it to be this Frenchman but I’m open to interviewing replacements if it’s too much for him, too much passion and intensity for his first relationship.

I could find another Frenchman to swoon at.. just… let me love this one a little bit more. I want him to want the same thing I want, but I don’t know what that is yet. I have a flimsy image of us sharing weekends in the city, working and living our lives during the week and coming together Friday in glorious hedonism and enjoy each other for three days, regular but not suffocating. But I can’t tell him this because he’ll think this is my plan, my real plan, and I’m waiting for a YES LET’S BE TOGETHER WHEN YOU COME HERE. I’m not, I just want a “yeah that would be cool… let’s see what happens.”

Maybe. Maybe I’m bullshitting myself.

So I tell him I want to do the TEFL course, that I’m saving money, that I think I’d like to try France and I want to learn French but I don’t know what part of France yet. It’s true. He thinks it’s a good idea. I’m obviously not happy in Ireland. I tell him my dad’s take on the subject:

“You didn’t like Italy, you don’t like Ireland… if you don’t like France you know where you should go? THE PSYCHOLOGIST.”

Ha ha. Maybe he’s right, but I think I could try a couple more places before I can be considered jaded.

Antoine says he wants to travel. He feels the same sometimes, maybe he is looking for something that doesn’t exist. But he wants to work in France for two years, then travel… hitchhiking across the globe. I feel a twinge of annoyance. Like it’s a personal rejection of me. Dismiss the idea. Not everything is about me… I think his idea is swell. I tell him go for it, but I mean NO DON’T GO TO THOSE STUPID PlACES… it’s all here, what you need, here with me… but I’m jealous too, because I can’t hitchhike around the world staying in random houses, it’s just too dangerous. The height of it for me would be to couchsurf, I casually think I might do that some time but I’ll still freak out that maybe I’ll get a creep….

I tell him I want a new adventure, I want to write. I want him to know that I have a life I want to lead and I’m not hanging around waiting for his invitation. He leans in as we finish our wine. Looks sincerely in my eyes.

He says, “I know you’re gonna do it.. I know you’ll do something great. You make all these tough choices and you keep trying… you will do something great, I know it.”

I feel like crying. I don’t want to do anything great, anything, anything. I just want him to wrap me up in his arms and plug the hollowness that keeps creeping back in my chest. I want promises and kisses and I want him to lay me down and remove my meticulously chosen dress and peel down my knickers and kiss me there, and not notice the awful white triangle with the red bumps from the ingrown hairs, and just notice how non-hairy it is for a change.  I don’t care about learning french or writing books or teaching English or having friends or doing anything all I want is this man inside me. It’s crazy, why does he make me feel this way? Why does lying down with someone, touching them, looking at their eyes, why does that make me happy? Why am I always a little bit lonely, a little bit yearning for something that feels impossible, until I feel his face against mine, nuzzling and breathing, kissing and sucking. Why is this something I want? Why do I feel so peaceful in his arms, like nothing matters, like nothing can go wrong. He’s nobody, he’s a man I met and he’s smart and sweet and generous and polite, and funny and gentle and passionate and romantic. But I’m in love with him and nothing but being with him, totally and completely, fused together in an embrace, nothing else will make me happy.

I want to tell him I love him but I know it’s something we aren’t going to say. Maybe not until tomorrow, or maybe not at all. We walk back to the beach and I change into my bikini awkwardly, under my dress. I boasted I could do this ninja underwear change because of PE (phys ed) changing rooms as a teenager (and not wanting other girls to know how weird my nipples looked when they weren’t erect) But I changed awkwardly, and when I finally was ready, bikini under dress, I realised he had miraculously changed trousers without my noticing. Oh. Ok. A better ninja.

We ran down the beach. The sun was still behind clouds, hovering over the horizon. Red light behind the clouds. Waves crashing on the shore. I whipped off my dress and he took off his trousers. My belly seemed more bloated, suddenly. I wasn’t feeling so cocky any more. He was slim but had put on a little bit of weight. Tanned, he looked good. His legs were brown up to shorts height… and under his shorts was the part of him I use to love him. I couldn’t wait to take it in my hand and look up at him and for it to be that time…

We ran into the sea and it was cold. Up to our shins was too cold so I decided to pretend to be a daring, life-living, day seizing individual and I just dunked my body in, and as I crouched into the water I was drenched in cold, cold saltiness but it wasn’t so bad, it was a nice shock. He followed my lead but better, he went underwater. I didn’t want to mess up my eye makeup.

And the waves were suddenly high. We were standing up to our thighs, I needed to pee I realised. But the waves were breaking on us, up to our shoulders. Up to my shoulders, his ribs. I wanted to pee and we were standing far enough from each other, I knew I could do it. I just needed to get a little deeper…. But a wave was coming, a big one. So big, this close to the shore. We were 20 metres from the shore. He yelled get down but I didn’t get down, and the wave battered me, pumelled me, dragged my bikini bottoms to one side. I started to tighten the strings but I realised I was at the right depth to pee. I released a tentative stream of pee while re-tying my bottoms, but he started to wade towards me. Ack! I might be discovered, my filthy juvenile sea-peeing. I waded back a bit, away from him, unable to stop the stream of pee. He looked at me like why are you running away? And then another huge wave broke, and again I didn’t get down because I was tying my bottoms. The wave jolted me forwards, stung my eyes, stung up my nose. I spluttered and realised it had also dragged my bikini top down to my waist, and the bottoms down to my ankles. My pee was startled into submission and I clutched my bikini to me… retying furiously as another monster loomed. Antoine told me come further in, the waves are worse here at the shore. But I was panicking, it was too deep with the waves. I’m not a good swimmer… I’m not a good swimmer. I’m here, he said. I’ll take care of you. But I had my bikini to sort out and it was scary, the waves one after the other, mercilessly battering me and dragging my clothes from me. He came to me when he saw the fear and he held me in his arms and I hoped he didn’t have an impossible pee detecting sense but of course the waves had already dispersed my pee, he would never know. Maybe he peed too….

He held me all wet and cold and kissed me saltily. I just wanted to leave with him, back to warm and dry. But I didn’t want to seem like a pussy. But  was too freaked out. I garbled my excuses, not good at swimming… not used to the waves… scared of drowning… not enjoying the forced nudity… and he wanted to stay in and maybe he was thinking of fucking standing up in the salt water, but I couldn’t stay in I was too scared of the salt in my nose and eyes. So we sloshed out defeated, more waves to dodge and surfers to be ashamed in front of. He wrapped a towel around me although I wasn’t cold. From the beach the sea looked beautiful and it was beautiful. I wished I had stayed in, the sea felt amazing, and I needed to finish that pee that was interupted. But it was scary. He rubbed me with the towel and then I took his towel and wrapped it around him. He pulled it over his head, a blue towel, and I laughed and said he looked like the virgin Mary.

He said really, but actually you know I’m not a virgin…

And it was the first allusion to our magical sexual relationship since he left me in Ireland. I grinned.

“really? Did we have sex?”

“You don’t remember?”

“Ah I must have been drunk..”

We kissed and his hand pulled my face closer, owning my face. His lips forced my upper lip into his mouth and he kissed and bit it. I had his lower lip, the full one, always a little chapped… I sucked his lip, I squeezed him with all my limbs and then tore my mouth away from his, kissing his jawline, nipping his skin, to his neck, I love his neck. My nose fits in there and it’s warm and tender. I breathe into him and he holds me, wet and sandy lovers on a beach in France, nothing like the environment we met in, but the feeling just the same, just lovely. I’m melting.

Another glass of wine? Some food? Or back to the apartment?

I just want to get you home, I say. Apartment. I’m not hungry…. I bite him again. I can’t have ever wanted anyone as much as I want him. I try to remember how I saw him earlier, at the airport… sitting on that wall, looking like a lost boy. He doesn’t look like that now. It’s his character, the way he acts, the way he drives, the way he kisses me, the way he  talks… they fill in his face, they make him a man.

Ok it’s about an hour though. And it might be tough to find parking… I am filled with rage. Why did we come to the fucking beach, I just need to get him to a bed now… now… noww… but I know I’m glad we came to the beach, it was cool, it’s why I’m so ready for him now. But I wish there was a closer beach, or a closer apartment. Depressed, I slip into the car, throw on my dress over my wet  bikini. I sit watching the deer crossing signs and forcing myself not to make any more inane comments. He talks a bit, I talk a bit. We listen to music. I think about his penis. I can’t remember it very well… it’s lovely but I can’t remember what it’s like exactly. He tells me the road is boring to drive along, it’s so straight… people can fall asleep. I quip, but was actually serious,

“If you’re bored I could suck your penis for a while…”

He says no that’s probably not a good idea… haha.

I tell him just for safety, I don’t want him to fall asleep.

My half-joke-half-desperate plea for sex falls flat. I’m feeling grumpy and rejected. It takes AGES to get to Bordeaux.

Eventually we arrive but the only space outside the apartment is half on the footpath. It doesn’t look like you can park there… he might get a fine .At this point I couldn’t care less if he gets a fine, if the car is clamped, if it spontaneously combusts. I just want to get out, go upstairs, sit down and start touching hidden body parts. I make sympathetic noises and statements. He decides to risk getting a fine. We go upstairs and he opens the door.

It’s an old, bright, slightly messy apartment. Two medical students live here but are on holidays and are lending us the apartment… they are friends of a friend. They don’t know him or me…. pretty decent of them actually. He has made the bed up and there’s wine in the kitchen. We put on music and open wine and sit on the couch uncertainly. For a second.

And then fall on each other, kissing, whispering, Touching, stroking up under shirt and dress, running hands up legs, hand cradling back of neck, fingers through hair, mouths everywhere. He lies back on the couch and I fall after him, kissing and moaning. I am almost embarassed of how wet I am. He tries a finger… it’s ridiculous. I remember what I was waiting for all night and slip a hand inside his trousers. The fabric is soft and there is an opening at the front, they are kind of pyjamas really… He’s there, hard and smooth, curled underneath. I pull him out of the fabric he is caught in and he springs up.. I feel tenderness wash over me. He is his penis, it’s his delicate part of him…. the part of him I can concentrate my love on and he will feel the most. That’s what it is, it’s not a SEXUAL ORGAN, it’s an extension of the person you want… their avatar for sex, their vulnerable bit.

I lean over and kiss it and it tastes like the sea. I kiss it wetter again. He closes his eyes and tightens his grip on my arms. I kiss him again and again and then I stop because I want our first time to be closer than that. He pulls me up and takes my hand. Leads me to the bedroom and we collapse on the bed. Kissing and kissing. So lovely, so gentle.

I want him NOW. He murmers I want you, in my ear and it thrills me that we’re in sync like this. I bite hard where my mouth is, somewhere on his body, and I can hear a packet unwrapped beside me. It’s the plastic, he didn’t remove the plastic first. Rookie mistake, and sure enough it’s a few agonising moments before the condom has been isolated and I put it on him because we both know I am better at this because I have more experience…

He’s big and beautiful and he’s leaning over me, on his arms and knees, my legs closed between his. He looks at me full of fire and emotion and sweetness. I have been waiting for this moment for a month and a half. He kisses me and guides himself in. It’s the most incredible feeling, he’s so close to me. It’s a little painful at times… I cling to him, we rise and fall, we kiss like our mouths are also having sex. He wants me to come too… he feels around for my hand and brings it to me. I try but no, I just want to feel him. I don’t want to remove myself from the back and forth to try and come. So I tell him I just want to make love now, and I want him to come when he feels it… And I get on top of him for a bit and I grind onto him, and it feels so good. I’m full…

And finally we he turns me over but it’s not doggy style, which I don’t really like… I’m flat on my face and he’s flat on top of me. His body all over mine, his mouth behind my ear, his breath hot and his arm reaching around under me to touch my breast. He shudders into me again and again and it’s too hot, I can’t move and I love it. He nips my ear, kisses, pulls at me. And I feel something… I hear a snap or I feel it, but it feels too good, him inside me… I don’t stop him. He comes and I know the condom is broken. I think he knows too. He comes gigantically, mashing me into the mattress, gripping me with his whole body, and as he is tensest he lets go and moans into my sweat-drenched neck. He kisses me gently now, quietly. We pant and he hugs me and buries his face in my hair. A single last moan. That was incredible. Intense…

He lifts himself out and we sheepishly eye the broken condom bunched around the base of his cock… We both make some half admission of maybe noticing it happen but not being sure. It’ll be ok, we can get the morning after pill.

Now we can have sex without these fucking condoms…

I looked away and muttered, that’s not why we use condoms…

He said yeah but it’s already happened twice with us, that they have broken… so…

We smoke a cigarette, smiling at each other, drinking each other in. Holding hands and rubbing each others fingers. Kissing between drags… finishing the cigarettes and lying back down, kissing and touching, gazing at each other through the haze of emotion. He cups my face in his hands, those big strong hands. My skin against his skin. I shift forwards and feel him hard under my belly. Kiss with more urgency. Sucking his skin between my teeth. Reaching down and massaging him and his breath catches in his throat. Eyes closed. He’s so hard, so big and hard. I love your penis. My penis loves you too…

I move further up and I’m sitting on him on the low couch. I feel him strain up instinctively and I pull him up and into me and sit lower and he reaches to my buttocks and squeezes and my thighs and pulls me forward and back, we rock together more and more urgently. Sometimes his head jerks forward and he seizes a breast, pushes a nipple to his mouth, sucks, bites too hard, oh too hard. Then he lets go and clasps my back, tightens me to him and I shift my thighs and urge him on, squeeze him inside. He lifts me… we glance at the couch and decide on the bed.  Dart back to bed, he climbs onto me, he looks hungry, the hungriest I have seen. My legs over his shoulders and this time I touch myself and we come together, violently, disgustingly, beautifully, perfectly synchronised and I whisper I love you as he groans to the end and I don’t know if he heard me but I don’t care.  I love him so completely then, I want nothing, I’m at peace. He lies half on me half off and kisses me slowly, his thumb running over my freckles. I think cloudily about his body, his eyes, his face.

I wonder what  I look like to him. He has brown eyes and a slightly mournful expression in them. His lips chapped because they are full, and because I bit them very hard. His cheeks are not pudgy like mine. The bones sit just under the surface. An attractive skull…

I notice big pores on his cheeks. Wide pores… I wonder if he sees all my blackheads, all my facial hair. I get rid of my moustache and the ever growing beard hairs, but they are always back. I feel self conscious about a bit of a moustache that is about a week away from needing serious intervention. It’s ok… is it? I look at his pores and they seem oddly like part of why I’m attracted to him. I wonder does he love my defects too. I wish we were having a sweetheart’s conversation and not just smiling at each other. I ask him to tell me something. I want him to compliment me or tell me he loves me but I pretend I mean a fact, a story… something interesting. He  stares at me intensely and says sometimes you don’t need to talk to tell something. And I check the way he is looking at me for clues, and then it’s obvious what he’s saying, just what I’m thinking. He’s thinking I love you. He’s thinking I love you and I can practically hear it. I know why he doesn’t want to say it. I kiss him with as much love as I can…

We make love four more times that night and fall asleep in total happiness.

Waking up is perfect, his limbs warm and soft with mine, his face peaceful, together slowly realising awakeness. We kiss the chaste kiss of the unbrushed morning smoker teeth. He’s stirring, I’m still wet from last night. We make love again and come again, less violent, more contented. We lie together then he gets up and dresses, we have coffee and he goes to buy croissant.

I sit in this stranger’s apartment and listen to the sounds of France, the cars and shouts in my lover’s language, the slammed doors and barking dogs, probably poodles. I want to call my best friend to share my sexscapades but it’s too early. I giggle to myself about my lover going to buy croissants for breakfast. I think about Dylan Moran’s stand up about French people, naked from the waist down and padding around the apartment picking up croissant crumbs with their feet.

I stroke my belly which hurts… not my belly but something deeper. I’m sore inside, the sex was gentle but relentless. I’m raw and have something like period cramps. I wonder how it will be to buy the morning after pill in France. Embarassing… he’ll have to speak for me.

He comes back with two croissants, two delicious pain au chocolate and some juice. And the morning after pill. I love that he bought it for me. Saved the embarassment. The pharmacist insisted I come in person, but he refused. “It has just as much to do with me as it does with her.” She relented and sold it to him. I took the pill.

We drink coffee and eat and then smoke and shower together, intensely and slowly washing each other badly, just feeling the soap suds, nobody getting very clean. We leave the shower and make love again with a condom, careful this time and then again, and then I’m too sore to move but I still want more. He kisses me with questions in his eyes. He looks like he can’t believe it, how good this feels. We talk and make plans for the day. I want to see the city but I don’t care what we do…

Outside the car has a yellow fine tucked under the wiper. We wince but it’s only 15 euro.  There’s a proper space free now so he moves the car…

Walking around the city goofy with love. Holding hands and stopping to kiss. Lunch with wine, delicious and simple. See the sights, the cathedral topped with a gold Mary. Towers and parts of the old city wall. A palace-like building he explained to me but I don’t remember. The river and the fountains. The people so elegant and relaxed, the streets wide and leaf-shaded. Beautiful, everywhere beautiful. We go home and make love again and eat cheese and bread and I wonder when will I be able to go to the toilet. The toilet is a little closet with no sink… the bathroom has no toilet. It’s too unprotected. My body seizes up and demands a 20 minute safety window so I can relax, go to the toilet and not have him realise.

We go to the cinema, it’s lovely…. sit in the dark and he feels my fingernails, the badly applied polish addictively smooth to touch. We go for a drink after and want to meet his friends but they are going to a concert and don’t reply to his text asking to meet up later. We drink wine, talk about life, I make a comment about how I think my family thinks of me as someone deeply unhappy…

He holds my hand and tells me I deserve to be happy, so happy. It feels like something I would say to someone I wanted to find their own happiness, but had no intention of contributing to it personally. Like a breakup platitude…

But then, let’s go home and make love.

We go home and make love and I don’t want to sleep because the day will be over, and we will only have one day left.

We sleep sweetly and wake and breakfast and make love and shower and make love and shower and it’s all so perfect. We drive out of the city again… to see the vineyards. Lunch at a tourist-heavy medieval town full of wine and cafes. I order the chicken and it’s boring and dry. His is duck, and it’s succulent and lovely. He shares his with me and we have an expensive, lovely wine. Flies surround us as we eat. It’s annoying and I stress about the flies maybe being more around me than other people. But no, everyone has a lot of flies.

I still can’t go to the toilet. It just isn’t happening. My belly is a drum… It’s awful. I want to be slim like I was when I was in Italy. I want to look good…

We drive through towns in the hottest car in the universe, and stop for flan which is delicious and a cool drink at a boulangerie. I ask him what a boulange is and he says it’s nothing. Boulangerie means bakery. I have to stop saying stupid shit… But he often comments that I’m intelligent. For a woman… it’s a joke we have because his friend said that once, perfectly serious but drunk out of his mind. I tell him he’s pretty smart… for a man. We are in a bubble of stupidity really, but nothing matters.

I want him all the time. He kisses me every chance he gets. He touches me… he puts an arm around my shoulders and I feel like a woman and I feel loved. We drive for ages, we talk about everything. I talk more of course. He leans and kisses me passionately at traffic lights. I want him again… we can’t find a parking space so we drive far away, I’m going crazy because how can we not find a parking space? It feels like a massive conspiracy against us. Our precious time wasted in a car. Finally a spot is found, miles away. Long walk back to the apartment in the sweltering heat.

We pick up food in the supermarket and I feel like crying because that was the last day. I have to leave tomorrow and I don’t want to go, I want to be with him and it’s so hard…. I’m so happy with him by my side.

He notices the things I like about myself. He’s intelligent… he’s lovely, he’s polite, he pulls my chair out before I sit down…. he’s sweet and passionate. He’s interesting and he likes a lot of things I like and a lot of things I don’t know about.

Back in the apartment we fell onto each other, a whole day in the car and all that longing. I gave him the really, really, really good head. The stuff reserved for people you are afraid of losing. The effort, the diligence. He whispered that’s incredible and he came with a flicker of fear across his face. He held me tight and kissed me all over and told me it was amazing, incredible, amazing. I swelled up with love and so did he. We showered together again and he made dinner while I contemplated what I had to ask him, what I needed to tell him.

We ate duck breast, beautiful and pink inside. Potatoes with peppery, creamy sauce. Drank red wine while the words jumbled around in my head, waiting for the moment.

We smoked after dinner and kissed each other and I breathed deep.

So how do you feel about this? Now that I’ve come here….

He told me he was glad I came… it felt so good being with me. So happy, so relaxed.. but he didn’t want to make plans for the future, he couldn’t handle it. He couldn’t think about the future… his eyes widened in panic as he spoke.

I wanted to reach out into him, some special part where decisions could be made, reach out and press DO IT, JUMP WITH ME. Let’s be together…

You’re young but you love me, I’m young too but I’ve loved and risked and lost and started again and it’s worth it my fuck it is worth it. I’ve suffered.. I’ve cried and cried over worthless men but the feelings… the feelings were worth it. I don’t ever want to run away from the happiness because it’s scary, I’d rather take your hand now and lose you in a month than stand alone now to avoid the hurt. You can’t fall in love and avoid the hurt. It comes either way. But we can have more happiness before it comes. To make it all worth while… but I didn’t say that, I said something like that, something about how I wanted to try… but I didn’t want to make big plans either.

I knew I wasn’t saying all the right things that I needed to say but I was afraid to  say the thing that would make him run for the hills. We didn’t say we loved each other but it was obvious.

I told him how I was so hurt when he left because I thought he didn’t care, that it was all bullshit….  he stared at me incredulous… how could you think that? How could you imagine that?

And I explained, he told me he wanted to try move on, be happy without each other… but he said no, no, it’s easy to say… it’s hard to do. It was so tough losing you. So hard to say goodbye… I missed you so much. We kissed and held each other and I felt like no matter what he said it was fine, he obviously loved me, he made it clear. He just didn’t want to plan to be together. But I was in his arms and it didn’t matter, he clearly loved me, he couldn’t turn this down….

We went to bed and made love. And then again, the last time although I didn’t know it then. It was perfect. It was the most wonderful time I have ever had with anyone. He gasped I love you and we came together with our mouths together, kissing and still kissing as we came, and he stayed inside me and we kissed afterwards, until eventually we had to make sure the condom was still intact. We gazed at each other and our sweat shone and our eyes shone and I loved him so much and I have never felt so loved.

We smoked a joint but I became paranoid and couldn’t sleep… I wanted to go to the bathroom but I still couldn’t go. The joint made me panic, nearly three days without going…. could I die? I sat in the bathroom with paranoid thoughts for a long time, worrying about something vague, worrying worrying about it until I realised I was just thinking about goats…. my mind full of pictures of goats. Tried to shake it off… until I heard something, just when I thought maybe I could go, maybe… I got up and skulked into the kitchen, freaked out… thinking maybe someone had broken in… of course it was just him, of course… but the joint made me so paranoid. I found him in the light of the fridge, lean and tall, drinking milk with a straight back. He saw me and told me, he had been paranoid too. Thought I had just left… got up and left the apartment. We laughed at our paranoia.

We cuddled and smoked a cigarette and then went back to bed. I was sad because I don’t want to leave him, I want to sleep with him next to me. I want to wake up with his face to kiss, and I want to do beautiful things with him, make love and feel warm. He fits me so well, I wouldn’t need to be jealous, protective, paranoid… when I’m with him it all makes sense.

We had breakfast and a last glass of wine and we said we won’t be sad today, ok?

We bought a good bottle of vodka for the girls who lent us their apartment and left some money too. We packed our things and cleaned the apartment and changed the sheets and he collected all the condoms. Some of them hid, under the mattress, behind the bed. We rounded them all up and I realised that was the last time, last night was the last time. It was perfect. It couldn’t have been better. We left it at that. He drove me to the airport and said I don’t think we should spent an hour together in the airport, that isn’t good and he was right. He parked in a taxi spot and we kissed goodbye quickly and with a slight wrenching and parted suddenly. I walked into the airport without looking back and he drove away and I felt like crying but not like when he left me before.

I wanted to tell him so many things, I wanted to tell him I loved him and would he just cop on and be with me, whatever it takes, just stop being confused, realise how special this is.

I got my flight with a slightly broken heart but I was able to cope… after take off I picked up the last book I was reading, One Day. The bit at the end… the sad bit. I don’t know why I thought I could read that but I cried on the plane and for the first time as an adult, I cried on a plane and it had nothing to do with thinking I was going to die. I had to stop reading the book but it made me realise I was not totally ok. It would be hard, off course it would… the easy lightness when we spoke about everything, barely touching off what we should have spoken about… it doesn’t seem so cool and fine any more.

I’m not as desolate as I was last time… he made me feel sure that he loves me, and I still do…

It’s just…

Yesterday my mother got married to her long long long time partner. Official stepdad now. They were very sweet… I had a great day and a great night, I was in top form. But there was so much drinking and I only got about three hours of sleep. So this morning I had an atrocious case of the fear. I yearned for my lover. I ached for his warmth beside me, his sweet face and murmuring you’re beautiful.

And I wrote to Antoine saying I miss you. And he replied pretty quickly, yes it’s hard for me too to be separated again.

But then it went downhill… He said he thought it was pointless to write sweet things to each other because it’s not a substitute for actually being there. And he said we can’t just see each other for a few days here and there…

He would love to have a chance to make things happen but it’s not like that. I told him, look I’m not making plans about this yet, but I might be in France in a few months and we might have this chance. I really don’t want him to think it’s for him, it’s not. Without him I still want to do it, but with him I’d probably go to his city. Without him I’ll avoid his city. I do love his city… but I’m going anyway.

But he said, please don’t have these expectations, I don’t know, I’m lost… He said he loves me, he loves who I am, but he doesn’t know what he can offer me.

I told him I haven’t got expectations, I just love being with him and I’d like to see him again, even if just for a few days I think it is worth it. But he said, I have to go back to work, we can talk later.

And I remembered his dissertation and he only has a few days left to work on it. And here’s me badgering him about our relationship when he’s got a serious deadline…. Because I need hung over confirmation of his feelings, of things we have already talked about. MY best friend tells me move on, he isn’t worth it. He’s too young, he’s not ready.

But I want HIM, he’s the man I want. Why can’t I have the man I want, if I’m so freaking awesome? She told me I don’t realise how great I am, how special I am. But if I’m so special why isnt he chasing me across the globe, begging to be with me? I know he loves me. I know I’m special. I know he’s had the best sex of his life with me., the best time with any girl or woman… But what does that add up to? I don’t know if he will want to see me if I go to France. I would love to go to that city, I loved that city… but can I really go there if I’m gonna bump into this man who gives me goosebumps, who I love, tenderly, passionately… who loves me and loves being with me but doesn’t want to risk saying “ok let’s try this!”

Again I’m doing mental gymnastics for a man, to try and make sense of his love but disinterest. The feelings are sincere. He may say confused things but I know he is sincere. So where am I?

I had the best three days with anyone I’ve ever met, the best sex, the best romance, the best dates, the best time. And I should be happy… so happy… but I’m hung over and my love says he’s lost and doesn’t know and we’ll talk later but he was online later and didn’t write to me.

And what does he have to offer me? What is it? I’m addicted to the feeling I get when I’m with him. The first night we met and walked in the sun back from that party…. we talked a little bit, about our hopes, our families, our pet hates. I was ready for someone to sweep me off my feet and he did it so effortlessly, so simply. I fell for him that morning, that night… he was romantic. I don’t think I’m asking for anything. Just two people enjoying each other… does he think that’s too much or does he think if we lived nearby, I’d expect him to be at my side night and day, just like when we were in Ireland or France with limited time? If that’s his fear then no, no… I know that’s not sustainable long term. I’d want my own space too, even if only to give myself a chance to use the fucking toilet.

Some part of me knows I’m lying to myself and him, that I’m head over heels and stupidly so, and I won’t be happy until I’ve smothered the fire, worn out all the passion we have and can be finally bored of him and cast him off, lost and confused, and be my own woman again. Maybe all we have is passion and an appreciation of another lonely intelligent person who isn’t quite a nerd or quite a party animal, somewhere between romance and sex addiction, somewhere between doing what’s right and doing what feels good. Maybe I just opened my eyes to someone who’s kinda like me right at the moment when he came along, and now it seems like he’s the only one…. I don’t know…. is it him? Is it me, aching to make someone fit and be my companion in a life that’s lonely and confusing? I don’t even know where I’m fooling myself. I don’t know if maybe he’s being naive, making annoying decisions about what’s right and what’s wrong, or if he’s totally right, and his doubts are right, and I just can’t see the problems for myself because I don’t want to let go of something sweet.

I have lied to myself about every man I’ve met, and it’s a hard habit to break.

But I’m ok… I will survive. From one romantic crisis to the next,

yours, and always…

Abby N Flicker

Progress

Ok. Three or four posts today… Thanks to my blog family who are actually reading through all the insanity!

SO I still feel like utter shit and depressed and all but I am making brave plans,

I decided to go to the Stone Roses gig on Thursday, just decided to go and fuck it, and I found cheap tickets last minute and I’m going, and my best friend is going and so are some other cool people so YEAH!

Progress.

I’m not saying I don’t feel like crying, I’m just saying I am able to look forward to something, and it’s only a LITTLE TINY BIT about him seeing the cool photos of me having a great time and looking skinny and missing me. It’s only a little bit about that.

Also the guy who took the amazing photos of us together on our last weekend together, he’s going to be there and I was talking to him and he said if I was there he’d love to take more pictures of me. Because I’m so photogenic, well he said that when we were at the party anyway. So there, Frenchie.

There will be lots of really flattering pictures of me having fun at a concert and then you will be sorry.

And come back and be with me again.

Groan…

But look it’s improvement, definitely. I actually am looking forward to this…

And photographer guy is pretty hot and cool…

NO!

BAD ABBY!

No weird, common aquaintance-incestuous revenge fucks! Remember the lovely… oh. Yeah. No more FUCKING people. Want looovee and affection!

Might try to masturbate about someone else though tonight, see if I can do that without weeping.

Now what am I going to wear to this concert in the rain so that I look hot and like I am having a good time and so he regrets leaving the best woman he is ever going to meet for a few years anyway?

I think I might wear that dress, the black and white one with the stripes. I wore it the first night we met and I was all bloated with beer and period, and I still looked pretty damn good…. Now I’m in fantastic, frail shape… We shall see… It’s my sexiest dress of the moment anyway. It’s cool. I’m in fantastic shape thanks to a month of intense bedroom gymnastics and three days on a banana, some oat cakes and a cup of miso soup and a half a bowl of pasta. I’ll just stick on a pair of boots and a shitload of makeup and oh my god, this is lots of progress.

And I’m starting to be able to think, fuck him.

Like really, fuck him.

Just a little bit. Just a small bit… I’d still jump… but…

but…

But it’s progress.

 

And it ends

He leaves on Wednesday, and today is Friday.

I called in sick today…. again.

To spend the night in my lover’s arms, desperately wringing out all I can before he’s gone.

He spent Wednesday night with me, cooked me dinner and we drank wine and then whiskey and made violent love on my furniture and in the morning it rained and I had to lend him my jumper.  He’s a very, very tall man, my lover, so I only had one massive hairy woolen item that would fit him, a charity shop find for snuggling into on cold lonely evenings. We took the bus together and I wallowed in the bonus time with him, almost part of my workday…

At work I was given yet another pointless boring task and my eyelid started twitching as it does sometimes when I’m stressed or haven’t slept or drank too much coffee. Or usually all three. I couldn’t look at the screen any more so I whinnied to my boss and left early, and paved the way for a no-show the next day, today.

But would he want to see me? Again, so soon? Whatever, there’s no point playing it cool, I have five days left and I’d be a fool to waste any of that time. I texted him if he’d like to join me… no alarm clock the next morning… interested?

He came, of course he did, and he told me he spent all morning looking at his phone, hoping for a message from me. Why didn’t he text me then? Because you had to work early, I didn’t want to distract you again…

Distract me as much as you like, I want you all the time. But he said I made him so happy when I sent him that message. Ah, I’ll miss this one. I’ll miss this one when he’s gone. I hope… I dare to hope that when he leaves it will hit him, the whiplash of our relationship or affair or whatever it is. He’ll miss me too. I hope so. I know so. I just fear a little bit that he won’t, that he’ll move on and his life back home will close around the gaps where I should be and sure a little hole will remain but it will be so much smaller than the emptiness I’ll have back here.

He’s exchanging my love for home, for friends, for his language, for his life.

I’m not exchanging anything… he’s being extracted like a perfect tooth, yanked out of my world and replaced with nothing.

But he will miss me.

And I don’t know what to do, I’m frightened of how sad I am going to be.

He entered my life a month ago, my period had just started and we had an instant connection.

4 or 5 days of every week, we have spent intensely and passionately and tenderly in each others presence.

Today I got my period again. We’ll end this like it started, with a wild night on the town and messy sheets and potato waffles under the grill and so many cigarettes.

Today is Tuesday and he leaves on Wednesday.

Tomorrow.

I told my boss my twitchy eye is acting up and I need tomorrow off… I’m taking the piss, absolutely… but this is more important, it’s a matter of hours left, with my happiness. I’d lose my job for a few more hours. I might lose my job for a few more hours….

Friday night he took my face in his hands and told me he loved me and he knew I loved him too.

We spent that night loving each other and we danced together and I said sorry to his friend, sorry for being Yoko on your last night together. It’s ok… he said… he’s happy with you. I like to see him like this…

A guy took photos of us and later he sent them to me and I thought, fuck that’s going to hurt. But they’re lovely and I’m glad to have them.

He leaves tomorrow and I don’t want him to go, but there it is, the full stop that loomed over our love affair from the first night. I’m waiting for him in the apartment where we must have made love … no, we never fucked, did we? Fifty… sixty… oh go on, a hundred times…

I’m waiting in a pretty dress and I have a stupid hope that it’s pretty enough to change things.

When I’m with him I’m not alone, and when he leaves it will just be a bedsit again and all my sick days will drop down into my empty life like tinny change.

Oh but it was all worth it. It has to have been worth it, it was beautiful.

To feel like this again, to know I can feel like this and someone can fall for me…. I’ve never been anyone’s first love before, and now I fill that space in a life and I’m so honoured.

At least there won’t be bitterness. Maybe I’ll never see him again but he’ll see me every time he’s sad or every time  he falls out of love with a woman, and I’ll be there, untouchable, beautiful, never fading, because the love didn’t grow old and wither but lived fast and left a perfect corpse to torment us with.

And then it seems ridiculous because we met a month ago, but I’m no newcomer to love, I’m not kidding myself romanticising something mediocre just because it has an expiration date to sigh over.

He’s packing his life away as I type and soon he’ll be here for our final night. Part of me wants to sit in silence and boredom like Yossarian’s friend  Dubar, to make the night live forever through inaction. He’ll be here soon and then it will be over.

I have too many condoms left to use up tonight. I feel like throwing away the rest because they are our condoms and they are for us and I don’t want him to leave and I don’t want to go back out there, dressing up and going out and allowing someone who isn’t him to disappoint me by comparison.

And he’s coming over soon and I’m all sad…. and I have to be happy for our last night together. So I’ll leave off my lamenting for now and try coax myself into good spirits and I’ll come back and cry to you all tomorrow or the next day.

Good night….

Shall I compare my job to a summer’s day? A summer’s day where you sit in an office and everyone else is outside drinking and getting tanned and being interesting

I hate my job.

I hate my job.

I hate my fucking job.

I sit at a desk and I look at the screen and think of all the people out there, people with jobs they like and jobs they enjoy and jobs they maybe don’t even need but they just get up and do anyway because it’s part of who they are.

I wonder about those women who you ask at a party, what do you do? Who can answer without an apologetic “well, it pays the rent”. Those women who you would want to talk to, whose answers lead to questions and whose questions make you want to know more and more…

People who help people, people who make fantastic amounts of money, people who are responsible for things we eat and watch and think and feel and want….

I don’t want to be massively rich or famous, just not….

I’m a telemarketer and I earn minimum wage… or maybe a little more than that, but it’s awful. It’s awful and boring and shit and it gives me a headache and makes me comfort eat. If I stay in this job for too long, I will become a fat telemarketer and I will have nothing to talk about and I will just want to spend time with other fat telemarketers because at least they will laugh at my impression of the creepy Albanian guy eating his beetroot out of a lunchbox and will ooh and aah at my latest report on the office bitch. Then I will be a completely uninteresting person and I will probably forget all about how miserable I am and just start aiming for minor promotions until I marry some boor with neck acne and a Dunnes Stores shirt because he’s the best looking guy I see daily, and maybe he’s the office alpha male and his same wage as mine but no shopping addiction allows him to impress me by buying rounds, and then I’ll be bored and I’ll become exited about maternity leave and I’ll wind up living on the outskirts of Dublin in some nice big house and there I will DIE a boring fat telemarketer.

I don’t want to do this, not even for a few months, because that is definitely what will happen to me and I know myself, I leap into things so it would all probably go down in a space of two years.

But what ELSE can I do?

All I want to do is write.

I want to write but I feel like the people whose jobs are writing have either done the time in college or know the people or have some secret ingredient that’s just missing from me. Those people who just push themselves forward and seek out what they need to get what they want and I just languish, pining after the end result with no idea of what to do to get that.

I had another great weekend, a long weekend with a Bank Holiday Monday and I spent three solid days and nights drinking and taking drugs and having fun and laughing and smiling and people I didn’t know came up to me and told me I had a wonderful smile and was a wonderful dancer and when I danced I looked so happy… And they were on drugs too so that’s probably why, but I felt like I was at home again, and everyone was lovely and I felt like part of the city.

I took the bus in to work on Friday and I sat in the back facing the wrong way and watched the streets fly past. Dublin welled up inside me and I thought about why I came home and I felt happy and excited and told myself this is it, this is where you want to be and you don’t want to just be some asshole living for the weekend. Go out, lose control, get into stupid situations, say yes to drugs, fuck a knacker you don’t want to see again, hang out on the steps smoking joints and don’t worry about sitting in pee.

When I was wild I was vulnerable and I always got hurt but man, I love who I was. I would be proud to be the one who gets hurt again because now all I do is skirt around anything scary and I meet men and I’m not very nice to them and I act like I’m being the open and honest one but all I do is tell a different lie than they do.

I used to throw myself into the traffic of men, and they ran me down and again and again I wondered what was wrong with me. I’m still meeting the same imperfect candidates but now but they don’t really stand a chance now….

I went out on Friday afternoon and I stayed on the session til Monday morning. I brought friends back to the bedsit and we drank bottles of lukewarm buckfast and Jameson from the bottle and cans of Dutch Gold. I met an old friend I had never had a single romantic thought about and I said to him inexplicably in the pub, what do you reckon? And he said about what? And I said what do you reckon? And he said… good Dj? And I said no… WHAT DO YOU RECKON. And then somehow that made sense and we got into a taxi and went back to my place and had sex but mostly we didn’t have sex, mostly we just kissed and held each other and fuck it felt good, although the sex barely even registered… Neither of us were in a fit state, but it felt good to touch someone…. Maybe it was the ecstasy, oh yes it was definitely the ecstasy but I remembered how nice it was, the other bits of sex. I haven’t been close with anyone in years, because all the sex I’ve been having has been unfeeling on my side at least. I keep looking for the wrong things. I haven’t found the right thing either but it’s like, it was just nice to lie there with someone I feel at all close to. He’s just a friend, and an old friend I haven’t been in touch with lately… I’m sure it would be awful and awkward and not the same if we tried it sober, but it was a good feeling.

I’m getting lonely, properly lonely.

But I’m still happy.

I finally have a social life with people who will stay on the session for three days, not like the Italians with their three drinks and then go home…. People here you can wheedle and coax and bully into staying, regardless of work in the morning or family comittments…

Ah I needed this…

And I am probably not in the best mental shape after that weekend.

But ahhhh…

I’d like to meet a man I like. An older man with filthy suggestions in his eyes and interesting tales on his lips. A man who neither sleazes onto me, nor waits for me to TELL him we will be making the bactrian camel later. I like a good hand on my waist, the suggestion of claiming my body… Ohhh I’m horny.

And I have my job to go to in the mornings and my bedsit to come home to at night.

The weekends are all hope and pressure to enjoy it all.

I spend all my money at the weekends…

I want to quit my job and be a writer and write with my energy instead of coming home from that shitty, awful job that’s chipping away at me, and feeling like writing but then realising I need to wash clothes and they never dry outside and I have to wash my hair and iron clothes for my shitty job.

I’m writing today because I have nothing to watch and because I have been meaning to write for ages, but it’s like… blerg. I don’t want to just be complaining, it is still kind of the nasty depressing aftermath of a long weekend. I just wanted to get some of this out….

Man, I hate my job.

But I’m still happier here than in Italy.

I just wish I didn’t have to do my stupid job….

A good old fashioned bender

Ahhh just even starting to explain this whole thing to you …. jesus.

Fuck balls.

There is no way to tackle the bastarding monster that has been this weekend, there’s no point of entry I can see but then I am so hideously drunk/hung over right now. I’m alone, I just woke up under the impression that I was lying in bed while the party rages on outside, and I finally hoisted myself and my pretty slept-in dress along to see, to join the posse, and it’s 5.27 am and everyone is asleep on couches and it’s dark and silent. Tomfoolery must have continued in my absence, I just went to bed, I feel terribly left out because I just went to bed… i didn’t want to leave the party, dude… I don’t know how I did leave. I can’t remember. Dancing.. then nothing.

So there it is.

Looking at the state of it all in memory banks shifting now with a bit o sobriety, it doesn’t appear as glorious and beautiful…. Yesterday we felt wonderful. We were carry it on forever drunk, and happy, and feeling good, and now it’s starting to cave in a little bit….

But it was GOOD.

Have been doing a lot of drinking since London, but it has clearly escalated since coming back to Ireland.

Thursday, my oldest friend came up to stay for the weekend and we hit my local pub and shrieked about jagerbombs. It was a quiet, middle aged kind of local pub and not the kind of place for that sort of thing. It was silly embarassing the next day, but now it pales into insignificance next to the following debauchery. Woke up Friday and had a few whiskey coffees to take the edge off.

Friday, was it, a lot of drinking, a lot a lot a lot. My best friend since childhood staying with me at my parents’ house… my step-uncle came for dinner and stayed to avoid driving home drunk.

Drank a lot, don’t know exactly how it escalated from wine over dinner to dancing to 90s pop in the living room, but somehow we made it to bed in the am. Must have hit a few solid hours there… four, five, probably no more. My friend and I, sharing my old single bed and single duvet with the flowery cover… not entirely conducive to good sleep. Woke up earlyish, Claire is gone… where is she? I follow her out and hear roars of the still drunk, and music loud and I think urgh what no, I was hoping to hang over with dignity. Claire is up dancing, everyone has resumed drinking except for my mother.

I’m not entirely surprised to see my family and friend having a little mini party in the morning, we slept very little and are all still pretty drunk. The energy to dance and talk to each other the next day usually only lasts about an hour of optimism before it dies and everyone goes back to bed or couch….

The drinkers offer me a whiskey coffee and wheedle me to join, so I do, and I notice I feel a little bit less than great. My uncle offers me sugar. No… ah just a bit. Tips half the bowl in. Actually yes that’s pretty good thank you. Drink up. Realise that is the second bottle of whiskey we are drinking now. I had two litres, that’s the second one gone…

Pissed again. Feel awful, can’t tell if the whiskey is helping. Maybe the coffee is, maybe it’s just nice to drink something warm. My throat hurts from all the stupid smoking. My mother is in bed, everyone tells me she is upset and I should talk to her. I’m so hung over it feels like the absolute cruelest thing anyone has ever asked me to do, to comfort someone sad but I go in and find her crying and I hug her but it doesnt make it stop, it unleashes it, it gives her motivation for crying. She wails at how much of a pig my stepdad is being. He’s still pissed, he’s being HORRIBLE. The things he said. I try to smooth it over but it’s like putting out a fire with booze, she’s loud and upset and I want her to be happy but all I can do is hug her and agree he’s being a pig. She says she hasn’t been able to eat all morning because she can’t bear to go out there… have everyone looking at her crying.

I notice she is being melodramatic in her hangover. My stepdad is being a total pig but in his defence, she was trying to drag him out to Ikea or something and naturally that is a ridiculous thing to expect of a hung over man. But she says he told her mean things and I think, well so what? I don’t get upset when people say mean things. This is a total lie, I sulked for a good while just the other night because my stepdad told me I was a very argumentative person. (I am inclined to disagree)

But I’m getting a bit pissed again, and all I want to do is leave the bedroom and the tears so I proclaim I will be her champion. I really, really don’t want to do anything. I wanted to be in bed and enjoy the sloth of the hangover, I don’t want this crying people thing. I go out and tell my stepdad he’s a pig, and to be nice to my mother. I am a blunt instrument, it’s not really  good idea to use me for tact and slippery situations. I yell at my stepdad a bit, he yells back. Fuck… I don’t want to argue with him, I just know it’s not right that my mother is upset and he is the cause. It feels so wrong to think of someone crying while I feel so bad. You mean it’s possible to feel worse than this? I’m in awe… But I can’t back out of this yelling with my stepdad. He IS being a pig. Claire and uncle Jack are staying out of it but they tell me I’m in the right, but they let me tackle my stepdad alone, and I do a terrible job. Eventually my mother comes out all red eyed and potters around noisily. My stepdad begins ranting at her again. She sniffles and I try to smooth things over using shouts. URgh.

My uncle is looking for his keys. Where are they? I need my keys. Don’t give him his keys, he’s pissed. No no, just to get a change of clothes from the car. Oh why do you need to change? I’m going to the pub. No you’re not. Yes I am help me look for my keys. I pick up a few things but they are not the keys. I’ll have to go wearing this. No you are not going. You can’t leave us here in this horrible atmosphere… It’s bad enough for me here with my mum and stepdad yelling and crying and sucking out all the air in the room but quite another for Claire who is my friend, a guest, staying with us.

We’ll come too… we’ll come with you.

Jack nods. He probably doesn’t want us coming with him, but he knows my family situation… he’s witnessed a lot of crap. He knows it’s not pleasant when it’s like this. He probably wouldn’t be leaving at all if it wasn’t for this awful tension in the air. He’s a lovely guy, I am sure he is willing to bring us with him, away from the horribleness.

I’m not sure though. I tell her no, we are not going to the pub. Oh come on. No. Fuck no… It’s gonna hit us pretty soon, reality… Don’t make us be somewhere unmellow when that happens. Please no.

She goes to change clothes. Argh shit no, don’t unleash your drunken vigour on the public… I am not allowing you to go, as your best friend I command you to stay. No, I’m going, you can come too… come on.

I picture a pub with normal customers watching the rugby in silence and my friend flailing around, screeching. No… please don’t make me be the sober one at that party.

I refuse to go anywhere. My mother is doing things and washing clothes and my stepdad is sitting at the table, drinking, and looking like utter shit. He’s not saying anything, he’s not commenting on the drunks. He’s just drinking. He’s not drinking for pleasure, like we are. He’s an alcoholic, he just drinks. It’s not obvious to me at the time because I am drunk, that man sitting at the table, concentrating on the whiskey before him… he’s drinking beyond all enjoyment. He’s marinating in his rage and he has no intention of feeling better or making his hangover subside.

When he speaks, he spews forth a barrage of senseless anger that isn’t really directed at my mother, but her sensitive nature likes to get in the way, a bambi that runs before his drunk driver. It’s not her fault, but she steps in and takes it personally and fuels it with pathos too.

I can’t be in this house. The panic is setting in. I haven’t had a panic attack in two years, and here I am, my jaw held tight with nervous energy and my head pounding danger.

I remember what it’s like now, I can’t stay here for even two weeks. I need to find somewhere to live, and fast. The energy is repulsive. The whole house… it’s a much bigger house than it used to be, but instead of having somewhere to go to get away from the shouts and tears, they have just spread their sickness to fill out every corner.

There is no going to bed to sleep it off. We are too sick in the brain. I tried to lie there when I woke up but my brain wouldn’t allow it. You did this to me, you will pay the fucking price.

It’s around 10 or 11 am.

Jack is still looking for his keys. I really don’t want to go anywhere but still, the pub starts to seem like a reasonable option. I sip my whiskey. It really isn’t so bad, I’m beginning to feel a little bit better in the head. But my stepdad… he’s polluting everything. My mother is sad and that’s wrong, but I can’t think of how to solve anything. It’s obviously not something I can do, but at the time I feel entirely responsible. Only one person is allowed be mean to my mother, and that person is me. Every time I go to hug her, she wails and sniffs and begins naming the sins of my stepfather. Because she’s crying I can’t argue with her, but it begins to gain dimensions before me, it’s not just one person being mean to another, there’s also a massive nest of uglyness spanning nearly two decades, most of my life, and she’s as guilty of buildng it as he is. I don’t feel entirely right any more, in my outbursts to my stepdad. I just want them to be nice to each other, and for him to go to bed and leave the party because he’s not fun and it’s actually pathetic.

I start to get really, really sad about my family. It’s not normal, and I was used to it as a child but it’s not normal.. I can see that now. I feel a heavyness and I really don’t want to be in this house right now. I want to leave and forget it again and go somewhere that’s mine.

My mother and stepdad are acting out a pantomime, showing off their dirty laundry like it’s a badge of how much shit they have to put up with. I don’t want to be here watching this, I want them to act it out and then get over it. It’s obvious I can’t stay here.

Claire invites me to the pub again. I nod. I’m going to get changed. I put on a dress and cardigan. Try some makeup… my face doesn’t seem too bad really. My eyes are quite red, but my skin is the best it’s looked in days. I’m a bit puffy but the makeup although a little shakily applied, manages to bring me up to a pretty decent standard. Claire joins me briefly in my room to sigh and declare “I CAN NOT PUT ON LIQUID EYELINER RIGHT NOW” and promptly leaves before I can even think of saying, well I’m definitely not the best person to do it either. We emerge pretty much finished, just as Jack’s 40 something year old friend arrives, stone cold sober, to pick him up. Oh, there are also two young girls coming with you? Oh… okaaaay.

My mother and stepdad descend on us as we leave.

“What? Where are you going?”

She’s distraught.

“I’ll be on my own!” her voice is shrill and desperately unhappy. “He will go out!” He’s not going out, he’s not, I tell her. “Well he’s being horrible to me.” I’m sorry mum, I just can’t be in this negativity right now. “It’s him! He’s horrible!” I know, but I can’t stay here it’s not your fault. My mother is like a big frightened deer or something… right now she seems like another species to me… I want to explain, to help, it’s ok… but I honestly don’t know how to communicate with her. I try but she always makes me feel like I’m a horrible bitch and she’s the innocent victom. I have mostly given up. It makes me really, really sad.

The worst is, everyone sees how I am with my mum and tells me I am mean or she is so nice I should be nice, but I can’t help it, and it’s a very difficult dynamic. I love her very very much but I was an only child in that house, I had no brothers or sisters and I had no cousins and all there was was my mother, my stepdad, his drinking and her denial, and me in the middle. I find it very hard to have a lovely relationship with my mother because if she’s such a lovely person, why did she make me endure their toxic nightmare of a relationship? Her sweetness is sickly, there’s something wrong about it sometimes. She’s a nice person.. really… but she’s so SURE she’s a nice person, she doesn’t see when she’s being incredibly selfish. It’s like she labelled herself “nice” years, years and years ago, and since then she just hasn’t thought to check if sometimes she isn’t in the right.

I forgot what it was like, staying here… I really didn’t expect it to slam into my face so violently. My whole childhood rushing back at me… The two of them playing their little game with me in the middle, feeling guilty and wanting to patch up their relationship.

It’s hard to convey this… when I try to explain to a friend or a boyfriend what it was like… it just looks like I’m being dramatic, talking about feelings and negativity and expecting to be treated like some sort of victim of abuse. But it was abuse. I’m not saying there were no smacks but they weren’t the worst of it, the worst was the days of misery in my room, alone, knowing the entire universe that I was free to inhabit was full of poison air except for my little bedroom. My little bedroom I’m in now, with two doors between it and the living room. I listen for the vaccuum sound of the first door, I can almost hear it… someone about to ruin my peace. They come in ALL THE TIME. They knock and enter at the same time. What the fuck, people? I’m not saying I need to masturbate all the time, in fact it’s pretty difficult in this horrible bed that reminds me of unrequited love and text messages that were never answered, but I am an adult woman, I need a bit of respect. Knock, and wait, how hard is that? Also I don’t appreciate being disturbed anyway for trivial things and to be informed of shit or asked questions.

I just want out of this. I knew it would be awful being back home even for a few days, but I forgot how awful. It is so sad to come back here, to the house I was raised in, and see my family like this. My dad in Italy, he never had any idea how horrible it was. My dad and his wife, when they are angry with me, they shout and then it’s over. There’s no subtlety, there’s no twisting the knife in your back, it’s just what it is, you get over it, you fight and you argue and you draw a line under it and move on. I could have told my dad I guess, but I grew up in this house here, and to me it felt like this house was the normal house. Back here again… Jaysus, I mean I love Ireland, I want to live in Ireland definitely, but I really miss my dad and his wife and my sisters, all so innocent of this type of bullshit. They would never sit at a table and drink and wallow and force hate and rage to continue long after it should have just collapsed on its own. I could never sit at the table and hit the whiskey coffees either… but that’s cool, I am starting to think this open alcoholism and cross-generational sessioning is… not entirely as brilliant and positive as I was brought up to believe.

So with all those thoughts dragging me down, far down, much further than the whiskey and further than my own hangover… I hug my mother with involuntary coldness and we head out to this new guy’s car. He’s sober… he’s sober. I don’t feel good. Claire is bubbly and kicking and running and she’s had two whiskeys. I know it’s going to hit her soon, the uneasyness, but I just hope she can manage to be hung over in her own head and not try to offload any of it onto me. I have just enough to deal with myself, thank you.

But Claire is an extroverted type of girl. She shares her happy more than I do, but she also brings you along on her adventures in misery. I brace myself for a worse headache than I have now…

We drive and drive and hit the bar. Be good… don’t be too lairy. Jack tells us to keep our cool. I point out to him, if he is bringing us to a bar where we have to behave ourselves, anything that happens is his fault for being so foolish. I will try to be quiet though, I promise.

We enter and head straight for the bar and sit up on stools. I order a bunch of bloody marys, knowing with all beautiful certainty that the bloody mary is all that can save me right now. I love bloody marys, I could honestly drink them non stop but they are very expensive. I knock back my first and start to feel absolutely fucking WONDERFUL. The heavens have parted and sunlight shines down on my mental state. Life is great.

I am beside my uncle and his friend.  Claire immediately swivels around and starts talking loudly to this group of men around our age. I talk to Jack. We say numerous witty and hilarious things. We are so totally smashed, I don’t even know if he had any sleep and we definitely didn’t have enough to sober up. A couple of hours, maybe. That damn single bed is not big enough for Claire and I to sleep through a hangover. I feel like I might have tonsilitis, there’s some weird pain in my throat but it’s only on one side… urgh. Will deal with that later. I woke up today to a message from the std clinic, I have tested negative for ghonnorhea and chlamydia. Oh YEAH! Boom! Wonderful news. I didn’t think I had anything, but still… I had never had a test before. Very bad. and those are the two most common stis or stds or whatever. I still need to get a blood test too and a pap smear but I’m just really happy about the chlamydia thing because my friend freaked me out about it recently saying if I had it for ten years or something I would be infertile. And you know how much I value my fertility.

Anyway we drink at this bar… The barman eyes us impassively. He has no fucking idea what the dynamic is between these two middle aged guys and these two absolutely shitfaced 20 something girls. But he doesn’t allow his face to find us challenging, he just makes our drinks and throws back the occasional quip. I tell him he’s making these bloody marys too damn good. Stop that!  what a good complaint, he says, smiling just a crack. I have had two.. now I’m drinking beer because, bloody marys cost a lot of money and also it’s my round. Claire is in the centre of this group of men being drunk. They are all monstrously attracted to her, and she’s being charming. She yelps out “YOU HAVE A MASSIVE ERECTION!” to someone who it turns out, had been over talking to her with a very obvious hard on. I start to feel jealous. I want attention…. I want to see hard ons.

She’s quoting Anchorman left right and centre. “SIXTY PERCENT OF THE TIME… EVERY TIME!” and “It means a whales vagina!”

She turns to me and grips me by the arm every so often, as I wallow in feeling insignificant. “PLEASE stop me from talking to those boys… What am I doing? UGH… Stop me.”

I’m like, maybe a little bitterly, “Well just stop being so damned witty and charming”

She chuckles. “I can’t help it I’m just too damn charming!”

and she returns to the collection of panting 20 something guys, throwing out one liners and cheeky comments… she’s on fire. I’m just really impressed.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the less animated guys who are not really receiving her attention, are defending themselves by sort of taking the piss out of her. I can’t tell which feeling dominates though, whether it’s more wow hot girl being hilarious and talking about sex and being fun, or look at the state of them messy up all nighters with the two old guys…

I am half jealous of the attention and half embarassed of it. I decide to drink more. I somehow reach the nice place. I try to get Claire outside with me to have fun in the sun, she shrieks “I don’t want fun in the sun, I’m not into scissoring!” What’s scissoring, ask the boys. Shhhh I say. Don’t explain scissoring to these people… “Well you know women don’t have penises… so they have to have this…” makes scissor actions with her hands, interlocking her fingers. “LIKE A PAIR OF SCISSORS!”

Hey… she says, catching sight of me… You have really beautiful eyes!

Thank you.

I take my role as the responsible, sober one even though i can barely walk I am so drunk. I admonish Claire, I try to wheedle her outside. She refuses. Fine. I go outside for a bit, two of the men arrive out for a smoke. I have become a smoker again just for today… I am briefly the centre of attention. The other men realise I am absolutely muntered too. I thought you were the good polite one? No that’s bullshit, it’s just mother hen mode, it happens when my friend is a little bit drunker than me, I start to mother her.

It’s just a habit I got into some time ago I guess.

Back inside, I am talking to one of the guys. His name, he says, is Fionn.

Claire tells him oh no, I could never have sex with you. My brother’s name is Fionn! (she’s not lying) He turns to me instantly. what about you, is your brother’s name Fionn? I say, yeah both of my brothers are called Fionn. Really? Yeah totally. Claire wanders off and he talks to me. I interrupt. WAIT A MINUTE, did you just “Plan B” me?

“Nobody Plan B’s me!” I try to snap my fingers in the air like a sassy black woman on daytime tv but I remember I can’t snap my fingers.

He gets indignant, no! I wasn’t plan b-ing you!

YEAH YOU WERE. It’s ok, I’m not offended, it’s just… aint gonna happen BABY! I don’t want no scrubs!

No!

Pfff.

I decide to be cool and stop babysitting my only a tiny bit more drunk friend. I yell sometihng like “spring break, woo!” and declare “I’m not gonna be mother hen any more, it’s not me, I’m gonna get OFF THE HOOK!”

Claire says great! Fionn says Go for it! I feel wonderful, wonderful. I’m being totally charming and hilarious too…. What an idiot, sitting there all jealous when all I had to do was let loose and be fun….

Fionn looks at me… “wow, your eyes are amazing, they are really pretty…”

I grin and say, “yeah, I know”

He’s like “Ha I like that, you just say I know, you’re not modest about it.”

I shake my head. “No! It’s only because my friend just told me the same thing a few minutes ago…that’s why… I already know, like.” He seems to find this amusing. The guys are thoroughly distracted by us from the match they were watching. I feel a surge of happiness and like this is exactly where I should be. In Ireland, where we can just be happy drunk people and buzz off each other.

“I like you, you seem really nice,” says Fionn

“I’m not nice,” I tell him.

“You seem nice.”

“I’m not it’s just, I give that impression because…” (I wave my arm towards Claire) “I’m not saying I’m ugly or anything… but because my friend is so pretty, people just presume I am nicer.” I feel like that’s a really clever observation I just made. But he jumps in with the right thing to say, obviously.

“What? But you’re like… stunning too!”

(I grin from ear to ear but wave his compliment away as irrelevant) “well thank you, but you know… yeah I don’t think I’m ugly like, it’s not asking for a compliment, my friend’s just better looking you know? It’s no big deal it’s not like it makes me feel shitty. I feel pretty but she’s just… a different sort of pretty, you know?”

He looks at me unbelieving. Maybe he can’t tell if I really mean what I am saying or is it a trick to make him say my friend is prettier and then burst into tears or something. I think I was originally talking shit trying to seem cool with it but as I said it… I realised I totally, totally meant it and didn’t feel remotely unhappy about anything. I felt great, actually.

I wave him away and continue. “You see, she’s like, the outgoing pretty popular one, so naturally people presume I am smarter and nicer and more serious. I’m really not. Seriously, we are both really similar, but we get labelled differently.” I realise as I say it, and by the way it’s the first time I ever even think this thought, it’s like… it feels really honest. Claire arrives and squeezes in.

“What’s happeninnnnn?”

Fionn tells her I seem nice but that I said I’m not the nice good one. She sides with me.

“She’s not good! She’s way more… um… wild.. than me…” She’s like Samantha from Sex and the City. Seriously! She’s OFF THE HOOK!”

We high five each other. We have been saying everything is OFF THE HOOK in a kind of Cartman voice all night. It’s something i always say, and I have infected Claire with it. We said it probably at least 2000 times over the course of that one day. Also, we high fived each other and the lads and the men… too many times. We woke up with sore arms. And legs. And bruises everywhere. That was probably from all the dancing….

He asks me, are you really like Samantha? I say yeah baby. He’s like… yeah I kind of see it now… And I’m like… hey you aint seen nothin’ yet… and wiggle my eyebrows suggestively. Actually scrap that, I say… I am not trying to flirt I’m just having a laugh. I leave him and turn to Claire. Claire seizes an ancient white haired man by the hand and exclaims “I LOVE YOUR RING!”

He is wearing a pinkie ring with a clump of semi precious stones attached with beads and a bit of elasticated string. He says it’s not real, I don’t think, but I like it. She tries it on. She likes it a lot, I can tell. She says no it’s not real, it’s costume jewellery, but it’s very beautiful. WELL DONE YOU!” She hands it back. She has made that old man’s day, he is just beaming happily. She leaves him to his Guinness and comes back to me.

We screech “OFF THE HOOOOOOOOOK!”  together several times and collapse into  hugging each other yelling “you’re my best friend! you’re my best best best friend!” while the guys make appreciative cheering noises.

We pull apart. Claire pauses then yanks up my skirt and spanks me particularly hard across the buttocks. I shriek DONT FUCKING SPANK ME IN PUBLIC YOU JERK! She has a tendency to spank me, sober too, but normally she doesn’t pull my skirt up to do it.

I hear one of the lads pipes up with “hey hey what did I just miss?”

I pretend to look annoyed at the attention and pull my dress down indignantly and storm off to the bar. MORE BLOODY MARYS! I have had like four of them now and a couple of pints of beer. It’s around 2pm. The barman says he wants a good tip now for making the bloody marys so nice. He walks off.

Claire whispers to me… “Here’s a tip.. stop dying your hair black.”

I giggle hysterically and only then notice the barman has really badly dyed hair. I am very glad she chose to whisper this time.

I talk to people about my marriage. I tell my uncle and his friend about how I used to have to get up at 3am to take a dump in secret in the bathroom because I didn’t want my ex to know I had a disgestive system. That was probably weird, but fuck it. We laugh. Then it goes back to a sort of dark mood, we talk of death.

I discover Jack’s friend Ned just lost both his parents recently. Like, very recently. It’s the first time he has been persuaded to go out and have fun since their passing. It dawns on me just how inappropriate it is… for Claire and I to tag along with my uncle and his grieving friend, pissed out of our skulls and ranting and roaring about scissoring. I try to be cool and not say anything insensitive. I say flippant silly things and say life is beautiful and death is horrible but it makes life so much more precious… and he disagrees. It’s not like that at all. Well, I say, don’t mind me… I’m just drunk and say things before I think about them. He tells me actually I’m pretty coherent and not being bad at all.

I puff up with pride but wish he would leave me alone, I’m drunk I don’t need this depressing talk.

We’re leaving the pub. Claire wants to stay with the boys. I tell her there will be other, better boys. OK!

We walk along the street, a dubious foursome. I have my head hanging in respectful drunkeneness and I am being talked to about grief. I manage not to say anything rude but my head is pounding at me saying get out get out of this conversation. We arrive at the second pub which has just opened. It’s four pm. We are INCREDIBLY drunk.

Claire enters the second pub yelling about her drunkness. I am skipping and running and whooping. My uncle sits us down the back somewhere, in a nice dark corner. It’s very dark. Hooray! I love this pub. It’s the nicest place I have ever seen. I remember being here when I was 16, and drinking two pints before being asked to leave. We made a huge fuss and the bouncers were called and we were made to leave and it was very embarassing because of all the men we got to buy us drinks. Underage… ohhh..

Well it’s a nice pub. We get a few drinks in. I notice my uncle is absolutely pissed too, for the first time. I think he was just on his best behaviour in that other pub. There is a statue of a naked venus or something and he grabs its nipples and goes “Biddly biddly biddly!” I try to avoid being cornered by the grieving friend. I am somehow drawn into a conversation- he insists he read a scientific study where water that had been blessed with positive energy had chemically different properties than water that was not blessed. He says he doesn’t mean blessed like religion blessed, more like… positive vibes, man.

I tell him I don’t discriminate between mumbo jumbo, it’s all the same to me. He swears it is a real study. I tell him I am a skeptic and darn proud of it. I want proof baby or there’s no point… He swears he’ll show me proof. I say I will wait for the proof… that’s the whole thing about being a skeptic, him saying the proof exists is not good enough for me. He still insists on continuing to talk to me about it. I don’t want to be a dick to some guy who wants to believe in things when his parents have just died but I don’t believe what I don’t believe, and it’s annoying having to play the tolerant atheist for one day, even if I am absolutely shitfaced. I say all the hypocritical rubbish that the tolerant atheist says like,

“Yeah of course it’s possible, I mean I don’t KNOW there aren’t ghosts, I just don’t believe in ghosts unless I find proof of a ghost. And I mean if I found proof of ghosts I would be FUCKING DELIGHTED! And fair enough, maybe water does change based on observation, I just have never seen the proof of that.”

He tells me we are all 90% water, and if water changes its structure based on good or bad vibes, then that’s amazing, maybe positive thoughts can cure people?

And I’m like… urgh.

“Yeah I mean who knows… it’s just that my entire, absolute point is not, this is my opinion of what is true versus this is your opinion, it’s like… all my opinions are fluid, but they don’t get swayed by drunken argument and being told something is true.”

Anyway I said a lot of stuff that isn’t true about my open mindedness. I’m not agnostic about ghosts, any more than I’m agnostic about a god. I don’t think it’s impossible for there to be ghosts, but just because I admit I COULD be wrong, doesn’t mean I have to keep an open mind about ghosts in preparation for maybe finding ghost evidence. I can safely be sure there are no ghosts because as a skeptic my mind is still open. Deciding there are absolutely no ghosts is only a definite statement that can’t be reversed, if you are a devout believer in things. I decide there is no god, if I find evidence of a god it will change my TOTALLY 100% made up mind because that’s what my mind does. It changes, even when it is totally decided.

Anyway this guy kind of wrecked my head, but he didn’t seem to mind my disagreements. I was nice and diplomatic enough even in that condition, that he said I was great and had a great way of looking at things. Yeah, because it’s not my real way of looking at things. I know what a nice tolerant person would say, but it makes me cringe when I say it. Anyway you’re grieving, I’m drunk.. it’s not the right time to educate you on nihilism.

I grow really bored and excuse myself. “TWO MOTHERFUCKIN JAGERBOMBS IN THE HIZZAY!” Claire is talking to a strange middle aged woman and her husband.

“you’re AMAZING!” Claire tells the woman. “I don’t have any money, can you buy me a drink?” The woman says ok. “JAGERBOMBS BABY!”

I approach Claire. “I didn’t pay for this drink!” she yells at me, hanging off the arm of her benefactress. The husband engages me in conversation. He calls me “jagerbomb girl” which I think is weird because why would he call me that? He tells me I have been up at the bar several times buying jagerbombs. I don’t remember that.

I tell him about my marriage and separation. He tells me I am interesting and strong.

Well… I grow louder and boast to the man for a little longer and then lurch off through the dimly lit pub, finding the beer garden and for some reason this random elderly man is offering me a job. I accept the job. Sure thing, I’m great at administration. I’ll get your number later. Yeah! Oh… I don’t want to give this old man my number. I have to… go over here now. I back away and find Claire again. We are eating crisps and have more jagerbombs. We realise we haven’t eaten anything all day and we are hungry.

The barman comes over with some menus. Would you like to eat something?

YES! Oh my god yes! I didn’t know you did food!

I look at the menus, they are for various take away restaurants in the local area. For some reason I don’t think that is weird that the pub has these random menus and not… like… its own menu. I think maybe they will order us a takeaway. I look at the menus but I don’t want anything. I tell the barman I actually had my heart set on a poached sea bass. He grins and tells me that can be arranged. REALLY? I was just being annoying. Can I have it on a bed of wilted spinach, with some onions on the side that have been gently ashamed? Yes. He writes it all down on a pad. My friend wants a steak, medium rare. Actually I wish I was getting a steak. I realise the menfolk will want some of my sea bass and I don’t want to share, so I order a portion of chips for them. I might have some chips too. Make that TWO chips!

Sure thing. The barman goes away.

Claire and I beam at each other excitedly, I’m sitting on my hands rocking back and forth.

“I cant wait for this food it’s gonna be…”

“OFF THE HOOK!”

We sit for a while chattering about our food. I clear my stuff off the table in preparation.

Jack comes back to us.. are you coming outside for a smoke?

“No we have to wait for the food.”

“What food?”

“Uhhh… I didn’t know what you wanted so I got you chips. I’m having a sea bass. You can… you can try a bit…”

He snorts. They aren’t actually making you food. It was a joke.

What? A joke?

They don’t make food.

I don’t believe this. LIES! I stalk up to the barman.

“My sea bass… I ordered a sea bass.”

He laughs. The whole bar laughs. I am unembarassed. I feel like, it’s more shameful for the bar staff, taking advantage of naive drunk chicks, than it is for me. I pull myself up to my full height, swaying on battered mid heels like an ancient tree in a storm. I will put you people in your places.

“Yes… ysss well. I may be ugly, but you’re sober. And at least I’ll be drunk in the morning.”

I am of course aware that I am misquoting, but I find it is better to just SUGGEST to people that I am drunk but they are ugly, but fuck it up completely, than to actually tell them that I know I am lairy but gorgeous. It’s like… reverse psychology, or something. But I am pickled from the inside out. My eyes are red, my cheeks are red, my face is white as old portraits of sick princes who died when they were 10.

There are roars of patronising laughter. I am sure we are more entertaining a party of drunks than we are an annoyance. It’s a pub… it’s a pub, that’s what they are for. I chat to the barman for a while. He claims he is going to get my sea bass out of the car. I continue to ask him about my sea bass every time I see him actually. It’s probably annoying. Who cares, I am fun. I am king of the world, I’m charming the pants off everybody. Hooray!

In another room, I find Jack and Ned. Oh hello! I join them, radiating joy and entertainingness. I am here! The party is back on track! I don’t think about why they have left the room we were in. I presume they are looking for myself and Claire, the life and soul of the premises. YAY!

Claire barges in behind me and slumps onto the bar. She begins interviewing the barman, for some reason. Loudly. She holds out a glass or a straw or something as a microphone and bellows questions at him jovially. Behind him is a young barmain, giggling and blushing. She pleads with the barman, she wants to serve us… Can she serve us?

He nods and smiles, steps back and lets her come to the bar. Claire begins to interview the barmaid instead, who seems to find it all brilliant and hilarious although in some part she is also laughing AT Claire. But she is getting a kick out of it, that’s for sure.

“So how does it FEEL to be here today?”

And then one minute, I think I hear a guy beside me mutter something about going outside to get away from these annoying people. The horror… the fear and misery and despair washes over me.

Do we… do we annoy people?

Are we not cool and nice and fun and hilarious and witty and warm?

I thought we were being the life and soul of the party, but maybe… is it possible I am wrong, and maybe we are just drunkenly leering around, assholes and dickheads, boring everyone and making them want to leave us? I turn to Jack and Ned and whisper sadly… “I think those.. I think those people hate us.”

I want to cry, I want to crawl down into a hole. I didn’t realise people might not appreciate our antics.

Jack says no, of course no one said that. I’m being paranoid.

Am I? No, I don’t think so. Why would I think that?

Jack is drunk too… he leans over to a woman near me and shouts “did you say the girls were annoying?”

AHHH! Cringe! No! I insist to the confused woman who is shaking her head… “I didn’t tell him that! Shut up Jack I didn’t say that! Sorry! Sorry!”

The woman insists I must have misheard. I’m not surebut I am embarassed now. I go outside to get away from the shame. I come across the man who I think maybe said the thing about us being annoying, and a woman with a shaved head. He storms off imediately. Ok I’m not being paranoid. I sit down with the woman and talk to her about myself for a while. She laughs at my jokes, and as she speaks it occurs to me that she either has a REALLY OBVIOUS American accent or I am just hopelessly drunk. I interrupt her.

“I’m very sorry. I can’t tell if this is a racist question or not. If so, I’m sorry. But… Are you by any chance… an AMERICAN PERSON?”

She laughs. “Yes, I am an American person.”

I am so relieved. “Sorry that was like… I didn’t know if your accent was like… my imagination or not. You see maybe I’m paranoid. Because… I thought this guy said I was annoying so I was upset, but maybe I’m paranoid?”

Claire lurches out to me. “HEY BABY!”

She addresses the American person as “Sinead O’ Connor.”

I don’t remember how this was received. I know Claire was giving everyone nicknames. She told Ned he looked like Toad of Toad Hall. That wasn’t appreciated, probably. At one point Ned began telling her she was “very sad” because of her behaviour. She disagreed. She said she was happy. He tried to tell me my friend was sad too. I argued. No, she’s happy. I haven’t seen her so happy in a long time…

He insisted, it was the behaviour… she could end up getting taken outside and raped, being so flirty with all the guys. I was really upset by him saying that stuff. He doesn’t realise she is like that with men and women, it’s not flirting, it’s friendliness.

He says, she could get into a lot of trouble.

I’m like, “You know what, man? She is friendly and I love that she is friendly. If she gets raped it’s not cause she’s too friendly, it’s because the rapist is fucked in the head. It’s not her fault she is attractive to men, and I would rather she was friendly than standoffish because it’s people like her that make the world a lovely fun place to be in. You know dude, I’m not half as flirty, I take a lot of care not to accidentally give men sexual signals, but I wind up in so many worse situations than she does. It doesn’t mean you’re in more danger, being over friendly and bubbly. It’s a lovely thing.”

He shakes his head. He doesn’t believe me. He says I’m just standing up for my friend…he says she is “damaged.” I’m like, well you’re entitled to your own opinion and all…. but you’re wrong.

He tells me my friend should be more like me, and I am really sensible and sorted and together. I realise when he says this, he hasn’t a fucking clue what he’s talking about at all and I stop bothering to argue with him. I just shrug and go back to yelling “OFF THE HOOOOOK!” and asking people about my poached sea bass I wanted. My mother starts calling and asking in a sad little voice, when I want to come home? “Uhh I don’ wanna… I’ma having fun now ok”

She doesn’t sound impressed. Meh. I’m having far too much fun. I want to stay out forever…

I am drinking pints. I wonder how much I have drinken.

Claire has disappeared again. I find her in the midst of a group of musicians who are waiting to play a gig. I tell them they are really good. Then I remember I haven’t heard them play yet, so I tell them, well sorry maybe you are shit. I mean, I’m sure you aren’t but how would I know? I go away and leave Claire with them. Outside I am with my uncle Jack and Ned and American Sinead O Connor and the guy who said we were annoying. Jack confronts him about it. He says no, nothing like it. I am really embarassed and angry. He’s lying. He’s lying to us because he thinks we are all so drunk we won’t know…

My mother rings again.

“Do you want to come home?”

“No.”

Jack shouts “Ask for a lift!”

“Can I have a lift please home mum?”

“I thought you didn’t want to come home?”

“I don’t.”

“Where do you want a lift to then?”

“Home.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

My mother arrives soon after. I drag Claire away from the musicians and some guy who apparently gave her coke. We’re leaving…. Okaaaayyy… Bye guys!

We get in the car. My mum is all sober disapproval. It’s me, Claire and Ned in the back. Ned is coming back with us. Why? I thought he was having a shit time, apparently not. Apparently he had caught up with us and was drunk and wanted to keep partying on. In the back, Claire and I are shrieking “ITS OFF THE HOOOOK!” and more quotes from Anchorman.

Ned lectures us… “Your mother is being a wonderful woman picking you up from the pub like that, you should be nice to her.”

I nod and fall silent. The car stops. At an off licence. Why are we here? Why is my mother ENABLING us? Her and Jack leave us in the car. Claire and I take their absence as a challenge to make the most noise. We start yelling and scrapping.

I tell her “DONT THINK I WONT FUCK YOU UP, BITCH, I FUCK YOU UP! I FIGHT DIRTY BABY!” and she starts biting me in the arm and giving me nuggies.

ARRRGH! I bit into her arms too. We are kicking and biting each other and shrieking fightin’ words. “Bitch you DEEEAAAD!”

My mother and Jack return with a bottle of vodka and some whiskey or something. I find that really weird… How? Why? Since when did we have any money left? Why isn’t my mother being good and cutting us off while she has the chance? Why is she allowing us to continue our ridiculous bender?

Me and Claire calm down a bit. I pat my mum on the back on the head and tell her gravely “thank you for picking us up,mother,  you are truly a king among men”

We all thank her.

We get back to the house. Drinking ensues… I make a litre of bloody marys, but I am utterly fucked right now and just put a whole load of things in there… it’s not very tasty. No one else wants theirs, but I drink mine and then some. YAYYYY!

But I know it’s near the end because it fails to make me feel like I’ve just guzzled a pitcher of happy juice. I start to admit the idea that our awesome festival of debauchery will come to an end. There’s dancing… We are all dancing. I sit down because I’m starting to feel shitty. My mum is at the table sitting with me and starts talking to me in non-drunk language. I can’t take it.. it’s giving me a hangover. I can’t hold a conversation with my mother. She’s actually not sober, she picked us up at 8pm from the pub apparently and it is now like midnight, I am just missing a huge chunk of memories. But it feels like my mother is sober and wants to nag me. Everyone else is having a great time…. I’m starting to crash and burn. I smoke a joint and it bangs the last nail in the coffin for me. I’m off. I’m fucked… Good night everybody. Good night…

And there it ended. The best, most awesome fun, improvised bender I have had in probably around a year. Claire and I used to have the most incredibly fun times together when we were briefly in college. I blame each other for our dropping out before the beginning of first year. But we have the best times. She sweeps people up with her charm and friendliness and I contribute some other kind of madness to it, and we have the BEST times. I mean, maybe it doesn’t come across, the fun we had…. I hung out with my step-uncle and his friend, two men aged forty five or so, and we all had a brilliant time. Maybe we were mad bad and sad girls, squawking inanity at each other and everyone, but I don’t think so. Jack and Ned reassured us the next day. That’s what you have pubs for. Drunk people. That’s what drunk people are like… if you’re lucky. They admitted it was one of the best times in ages, we said the same. It was something that would go absolutely tits up if you tried to plan it. You can have a massive house full of booze and sexy beautiful people you like who are fun and young and crazy and not come out with a day like that. It was gloriously fun, and silly, and inappropriate, but it was fucking fantastic.

And it’s exactly why I moved back to Ireland. Not so that I can go off the rails and drink enough to kill a bus load of Italians, but so that if I do get drunk and go out, I will laugh and laugh and I won’t be ashamed of the sillyness, only the badness. And here I am now, it’s not the day or the day after, it’s Tuesday and I started writign this at 5.30 am on Sunday morning with the fear and the depression and I still don’t feel entirely well or mentally fit yet…. I’ve been having panic attacks for three days now which isn’t pretty but as Sly Stone said, the nicer the nice, the higher the price. I think.

When it comes to serious drinking, there is no piracy. You gots to pay for what you take. And I’m not happy about paying but in the long run, I’ll remember that day and I’ll forget the hangover. It was… seriously… OFF THE HOOK.

About the whole reality thing, and the being in my parents house… yeah, that has my brain pretty damn fried too. But I am sure I want to be in Ireland. I just don’t want to be in this square kilometre. So… tomorrow hopefully I will have produced some new seratonin and can get back to writing my cv.

And as to the whole… alcoholic family and my terrible, terrible approach to alcohol… I am entirely aware of the hypocrisy and badness of it all. I’m not drinking again now for a while, really. But anyway, I would never have gone to any pubs during the day if it hadn’t been for the awful tension in the house and all. I fell and landed on a bender, that’s what happened.

And I haven’t abandoned my blog, I was just too drunk and hung over to type anything.

Screw you, job! Cheerio, own apartment! Hasta la never, ITALY! I’ll miss you, hot barman…

Today is my last day of gainful employment for oh, however long I can swing it…

On this spitefully cold, Narnian winter’s day, I leave the ranks of the downtrodden… the servile… the fake smilers.

Unemployment, ho!

I will work again, sure… I know it’s not the last time I endure THE PUBLIC or do something monotonous that makes my sense of self want to curl up with a heated body pillow. I will work again, I will sell out, I will sigh and watch the clock and wish it was Friday.

I would so like to never work again. Isn’t that the dream, everyone’s dream? But I feel like it is something particularly suitable for me. I imagine other people have less difficulty just getting on with it. I just feel like I’m being cheated out of some better, beautiful, serene existence. Maybe everyone feels this way, but it’s probably just me, alone, who sees exactly how unfair it is that I have to do stuff i don’t want to so as to be able to afford things.

I wish there was a better way than yucky unemployment… some nicer way than work. A generous stipend of some sort, filling the lazy days with painting on a sunny terrace, eating things Gwyneth Paltrow would approve of, and spending the seasons like a Jane Austen novel, filling wings of houses with friends for months on end. But with more promiscuity. I would like to be a lady of leisure. I would get very good at cooking, or maybe I would never cook again…

In reality I wouldn’t paint anything, that’s just someone else’s crappy dream I copied from a low fat yoghurt ad. I don’t want to paint. I really don’t. I might paint a nude male model if he was very good looking, but I would probably get distracted then and pretend to need to feel his junk to get an idea of the 3 dimensionality of his form… I am quite good at bullshitting so I would make a great artist, unfortunately they didn’t accept me into art school so now I just mock art students. Although they totally are a bunch of saps and I am not even bitter about it any more. (my portfolio was 50% collages I made when stoned, 50% naked drawings in charcoal. Some of those naked pictures was good, but when it was a male model I tended to focus on the genitals.) Art is not for me though. I’m more about applied creativity, like fixing things with sellotape or using origami to solve the problem of messy water fountain drinkage. I don’t have an artistic vision, no way man…

I’d like to write a book, a really good book. It wouldn’t have to be about anything. It would just need to  be enough about nothing that people would read it and think it must be about something really but I was just not spelling it out for them and they would think it was really a very subtle and clever work of literature. It wouldn’t be a very long book so I wouldn’t have room to bore anyone. And I guess some people would think “this is stupid” but it wouldn’t matter i wouldn’t have to hang out with those people and I could just act like they were too closed minded to appreciate the genius of my writing but in reality those people would be the only ones I could respect, because they saw right through my crappy novel. But they would think I was a hack… I would get very drunk and disrespect my fans and they wouldn’t mind because they would think I was awesome, but then that would make me feel even more contempt for them. I would eventually just become a hermit.

I always wonder about J D Salinger, what his story was.

Anyway it would still be cool, and it’s about as far into greatness as my imagination will stretch.

Some day, ah some day. Maybe.  But of course I would need to sit down and come up with something. I have no problem with the sitting down, or the writing… I could write for hours without running out of things I feel like talking about, the only thing that stops me is the annoying suspicion that a lot of what I write about is extremely boring and the more of my daily life you read about, the more it will start to dawn on you until eventually you just won’t bother any more. But a book, man… it’s not the same as my ramblings about who I am attracted to and how insecure I feel with regards to Nordic women. I have immense respect for the novel, too much to attempt it now when I’m just faffing about. It’s not for me, not yet. I am already pretty spectacular now and I’m only 24, but I will definitely be really super awesome when I am older, and that is when I will write a book if I don’t get hit by a car or something. I like to think when I am 40 I will have a good book in me, and some day I will just sit down and tip it out, and it will pour out of me like a carton of chocolate dessert, and land plop on my keyboard, and it will be a masterpiece of bullshit and meaningful emptyheadedness and I won’t have to do anything else, again, ever, and I can just spend my autumn years resting up and congratulating myself on being so wonderful.

I just have to keep making poor decisions and doing things that make me unhappy and lonely, so I have something to write about. I think becoming unemployed as I am doing now,is a good first step. Being poor is supposed to be good for your writing. I know if I had more money I wouldn’t be writing at all, i would be out buying fancy things and drinking non-fattening alcoholic beverages which I am sure exist if you have enough money. I would also like a panic room in my house. Or to live in a hotel, with my own floor. And I want a pool… And a lot of Chanel.

I wouldn’t get surgery though. Apart from the fact that I disagree with surgery on principle, ie, it’s genetic false advertising… I reckon that if you are rich enough to afford a good surgeon, you are rich enough that it doesn’t matter what you look like anyway. Like the way it works with men, I’m sure the same is true for women… I think the reason we don’t see ugly successful women with hot young men more often is that women probably have more sense than to choose a partner based on looks. So they end up getting with their own peers, successful but maybe not very hot men.

I mean it will probably happen to me too, at some point. I hope I lose my shallow and cop on a bit….

With any luck, I’ll meet someone who could never make me swoon like a hot barman, and he’ll make me laugh or something. Then I’ll be lost once again in the lunacy of these damned human emotions, seduced by the shimmering illusion of a person to fill my lonely. I always believe it, that some other person can fill the void, but it always winds up, I’m lonelier than ever, because at least when I’m single and lonely, I have the hope to comfort me, the hope that some day that feeling will be smothered in me and all I’ll have is happiness. But when I’m lying in a man’s arms, I man I swear I love with every molecule in my body that could potentially be involved in the process of loving, and deep down I still feel the same gnawing… Well that’s just the worst feeling in the world. It’s hopeless. It wasn’t horniness, it wasn’t hunger, it wasn’t a lack of love. It’s Goldilocks, but the baby bear’s bed still just isn’t right. It’s intangible and it’s melancholy, and it’s why people do drugs. The people who have everything they want, I mean. Poor people and people who have shitty lives probably do drugs for other reasons.

Incidentally, hot barman wasn’t working today so I couldn’t even say goodbye in my head while gazing upon his beautiful face one last time. Ohhhh. That was a massive blow. Feels so anticlimactic, like if this was fiction it would never have been allowed fizzle out like this and die without anyone doing anything.

But I’m not sentimental by nature. I really hate to add the burden of emotions on top of real problems. Now I’m going away, a year’s restlessness comes to a head… I’m going, I’m really going. It’s what I want. I’m miserable here. I’m a shadow of myself, I fit in the cracks between Italians, gave up jostling for my own space long ago. I trudge in and out of work, I disappear back into my nest and sometimes I fly away somewhere happier for me. What I have done here has not been good. I’ve been stagnating, barely showing up for work and harvesting money from that miserable endeavour only to spray it back out into the world like champagne with nothing to celebrate. Money, I know you’re good for some happyness… make it so!

I’m leaving loneliness and wasted energy, shame and pain and anger and so, so much loneliness and yet here I am welling up inside about all I leave behind.

My family, I’m not even going to start on how much I am going to miss them. It breaks my heart to tear myself away from my sisters. I am not even going to talk about that, because there’s no point in beating myself up about it, I am no use as a big sister when I am this unhappy… but I will miss them and I am going to miss being a central part of their life. I will go back to the outskirts, only visiting sometimes… I always have to miss someone. I don’t mind goodbyes, it’s not the goodbye that hurts. It’s the slow disintegration of closeness. It’s not painful to me to say goodbye to my sisters, although there will be a yanking of the heart when it comes down to that moment… it’s the being gone from the family nucleus… that hurts.

It’s probably not helping that my current youtube playlist, which is kind of a messed up slightly nonsensical journey from the 40s to the 90s, mostly in chronological order… has hit a choke point in the 80s, with Everything but the girl- missing.

Always stirs up nostalgic things inside me…

It snowed again the other day, I had to go out for Andrea’s birthday and we had synchronised our high heel wearing for the evening, so I refused to pass up the opportunity to look awesome and I wound up running for a bus, 6 blocks in the snow in 6 inch heels and tights. Brrr.

It was a fairly uneventful night really. We drank a lot, everyone kept asking me about my move and my travelling and I kept looking around thinking “no more of these people, no more of these places, no more of these nights and Italians who think I am SO mad and interesting and out of control.”

The most fun I had was when we tipped out of a bar and I ran down the deserted street drawing shapes in the snow on car windows. Guess what I drew? Yep, penises. With some cars, I would be about to draw a dick on the window and suddenly I would feel like oh no, what if it’s an old woman’s car or a family’s car? And then I would draw a smiley face. But mostly I thought fuck it and drew dicks. Several windows received a big fat cock but with a smiley face on the head. I was wearing high heels but I didn’t fall in the snow.

The rest of the night was spent fending off the forgettable guy who… yeah I went and forgot his name again. I remember him feeling my ass in the taxi the other night but decided I had been drunk enough that he would probably believe I didn’t remember or was too out of it. But he kept cornering me and forceing conversation, and offering me a taste of his drink and stuff. I responded to the attention in my usual retarded fashion, by being caustic and cutting him to the bone, which had the usual undesired effect of making him think I am a cool cat and wanting more, more of my rude aloofness.

He pissed me off because he kept saying “oh we will have to come visit you in Ireland!” as if we are some happy gang of buddies and I would ever hang out with his boring Italian face in a country where I have cool people to socialise with, people who are the same height as me or taller and who have a sense of humour. He was insanely short this time, because of my heels. It felt good, but he seemed to not appreciate the absurdity in attempting anything from knee height. Ugh, you get fall-down drunk one time and let some guy grope the top of your buttocks and he like, thinks you’re fair game. Ridiculous.

I wonder, though, maybe we have hung out on several occasions and I just keep forgetting him? I only remember him at all because of the backseat gropefest, it tends to push someone to the forefront of my drunken recollections. If I dig around in the recesses of my mind, there is a vague shadowy figure there talking to me, or rather listening as I flail my arms around and throw out incendiary opinions to see how they sound, and make up news items. Maybe that was him… and maybe he has taken our frequent late night conversation to mean we are buddies and he might get to hook up with me in Ireland? Ugh gross no.I will just tell Andrea, if she is coming to visit me, there is no room for more than her and her boyfriend. I’ll say there is a big potato fair on in Dublin that week and the hotels are all booked up. People are largely ignorant about Ireland so I am sure I can get away with a little white lie.

So that was that, we hopped from bar to bar and then hit a late night restaurant. I never realised such a place existed, but there it was. I had gnocchi alla bava, bava literally means drool but it is actually cheese and cream. It was amazing but the waiter, an old Jeeves type, serving us long past reasonable working years and hours, clearly despised our drunken lairy asses. It was expensive, and the short Italian guy copied me and ordered the same thing but with ham and then insisted on us trying each other’s food. I didn’t want him taking any of mine because it is my favorite dish of all time (I used to be lots fatter) but politeness told me not to yell MINE  and cradle the plate under my arm, exposing my incisors and emitting a warning growl like my dog when she is guarding a piece of mouldy bread.

I very begrudgingly let him try mine and then took one from his plate in return. Oh GREAT. His was nicer than mine. Ballsack, this is why I never try other people’s food. Either you don’t like it, in which case… waste of time… or you do like it, and you regret your choice for the rest of the meal and your own dish no matter how much you originally like it, now tastes like failure.

Anyway, it was an uneventful night. The rest of the people we were with, were nice I guess, except for this one very cutting Italian who kept asking me questions and frowning. I was thinking, dude, we clearly don’t like each other, stop fucking drawing me out. He kept pestering me with pointed questions, lifting the rocks in front of my personality and then recoiling from the creepy crawlies underneath. It was annoying. He complained about his girlfriend in a very mean and cutting manner. I didn’t like that one bit. She was nice, but had very low self esteem. You could tell because she was wearing more makeup than me, which is quite something, and she was going out with that scumbag.

I was bored for most of the night, and I felt tired, I was only really there because it was Andrea’s birthday and I wanted to say goodbye to her. I gave her the dress I bought her… as far as I could tell, it was a good buy and she loved it. I said goodbye to her and her boyfriend, who is probably delighted to see the back of me as I am a terrible influence on Andrea and he always ends up giving me lifts home, drunk as a skunk and screeching about men and the cultural differences here and in Ireland.

I’m going, I’m going, goodbye crazy scene… Goodbye people I liked, goodbye mostly people I could happily never see again.

I said goodbye to my colleagues today, Gabrielle who was in a foul mood because she feels like my dad purposefully stocked her shop with all the ugly clothes, just to spite her or something. I won’t miss her paranoid conspiracies…. but we had some really fun times too, and she was so wonderful when I was hung over and destroyed on Saturdays and sat there stinking and shivering and scaring the customers. She wished me all the best…

I said goodbye to an ex-colleague, who I always liked but it just wasn’t that kind of relationship that carried over into normal friendship territory. She told me if I ever needed anything, to come to her. I thanked her and we took the bus home together, although it was a bit out of her way. We talked about what I was going to do, and where I was going to go… I talked a lot and eagerly, but when she kissed me on the cheeks and got off at her stop, I realised that nothing I had said was very sincere at all, and I had fallen into that trap of saying what you think you are supposed to say, and leaving out all the real true things you don’t think other people want to hear. I don’t like that feeling, but then, we were on the bus and I could feel people looking at me, interested in the foreigner and what possible reason she could have for leaving this fine city.

When she was gone I felt naked, because however little I touched on the reality of my leaving town, I still talked at length in front of all these people. I remember busses in Dublin, sitting for 45 minutes with a friend or two, boasting about drinking and scoring boys and skipping school and talking loud, loud, not caring what anyone else might think… DARING them to judge you, triumphantly part of the newer better rougher generation. Until your friends got off and you were left with your stories hanging in the air, shorn of the validation of your peers.

The thought of feeling judged by these mean, narrow minded bus wankers, merely because I had talked about my plans and aspirations.. nothing scandalous, nothing raunchy… just drove home exactly how wonderful a thing it is for me to move away now. I have never felt so criticized and insecure as I have in Italy. The critical eye of Italy has been good for me in ways like, I am more groomed than ever before. I have stepped away from my previous style incarnation, part 1980s, part scraggy hobo. I have started showering frequently and brushing my teeth… at all. So those are good things, but they are good side effects of bad feelings of inadecuacy. I’m glad I have reined in my tastes and my gluttony and drunkeness considerably (yes, I have, you didn’t know me before Italy… just you wait and see..) because I feel like I look better this way but it makes me sad to live in a society that does that to people, takes a happy person who loves clothes and colours and doesn’t see why they have to be locked in monogamous relationships, and bullies her towards black and brown and navy and beige BUT NOT TOGETHER OF COURSE.

I’m going, I’m going.

It was hard for me not to get carried away with the melancholy of my last day. Everything meant something, everything was a “last one”.

I sat on the tram this morning and the sun was shining like the first day of Spring. I crossed the river on the tram and the light bounced off the wavelets, dazzling and beautiful. It’s a gorgeous city, really. People who come here, love it. They find it impressive. But I just never found it… anything. I reached as deep into this city as a tourist here for a week. I paddled around, I tested corners and cliques and places and people, but I never really immersed myself. I lived here, but I never lived while I was here. I took so many holidays… I never had time off to just sit and watch and enjoy this place. It is beautiful, and I am sure there’s a warm heart underneath the concrete and the snow, but I’m just not interested and the city is hardly going to reach out and woo me.

It’s over, now. I can’t say I gave it my best shot, but I gave it the best shot I was ever going to give it. Ireland is a place so unlike this… it’s a very special place. You don’t realise that about Ireland until you leave her behind, and more than that, you don’t realise what’s special about Ireland until you leave Irish people behind too. I’m sorry, Italy, but she’s just too hard an act to follow.

I do feel under it all, some pangs of guilt about Italy. It’s not a bad place. But it takes a certain kind of person to be happy, an alien in a foreign land. I am not a reed that bends in the wind. I am what I am, I’ll break before I bow.

Tomrrow I pack my things, not everything, mind, but my most loved clothes and my most needed makeup. I leave so much behind, but I’m not moving properly yet. I need to find a place to live in Dublin, then I can come back here and box what I want to keep and send it to my new place. So the packing I have to do tomorrow is really more of a tidying up and throwing out and then (because I already packed my suitcases on Saturday) pulling things out and reassessing whether I really need this many skirts if all I ever wear is dresses.

The organisation of my two measly suitcases is, I think, half geeky, half pathetic, and half genius. That’s right, three halves, just like MANBEARPIG. I also managed to fit three halves in each of my suitcases, because for the first time in my life I rolled and folded instead of my usual scrunch ‘n turf method.

I have photographed and catalogued every item I am bringing apart from pyjamas and my various decoy pjs, which are of course cute little hotpants and string tops that I pretend to have as pjs if I have a man in my bed. UGh so not looking forward to being back in my old room, I am still not sure what kind of sound isolation there is between my room and my mum’s room. I don’t know. I’m going to miss being able to make noise when I masturbate. Not that I’m like… “oh YEAH that’s it OH MY GOD DON’T STOP” when I do the solitary bold thing, but when I’m trying to keep it on the down low, it’s like I have to stop breathing as well as keeping my legs pressed against the wall so the bed frame doesn’t accidentally bang off it… It’s very stressful and I find it very hard to smile afterwards, my mouth is just frozen in a grimace of disgust that I even bother with such limitations, and the sinking feeling that if I don’t get up and dressed soon, my mother will knock-and-come-in at the same time (what. the. fuck?) and ask me if I want tea, but really she wants to know when am I planning on getting up today because it’s a lovely day? Yeah I know, these curtains were a piece of shit when I was a teenager and they are a piece of shit now. They don’t block out any light and they don’t block out the scary shadows when the wind blows branches in front of the window.

They never got me decent curtains! Years, I complained about those curtains. Oh the bitterness. I don’t even WANT to stay in my mother’s house. You know the more I think about it, the more I realise that probably the reason I am so grumpy and testy (he he… testes) with my mother is that I can never get a decent stress relief in that bedroom, it reminds me of my shitty adolescence although I used to tackle the masturbation problem by lying on the ground and pushing my feet against the door in case my mother decided to knock-and-come-in. I used to have a joint afterwards, and lie there all happy and grinning. Ugh, must make sure I find an apartment soon.

Happy thoughts, going to have an awesome time socially… who cares if I have to lie on the scratchy carpet to get my rocks off? Priorities, baby!

Anyway. I’m sure I’ll have a rockin’ sex life anyway, it’s gonna be.. OFF THE HOOK, motherfuckers!

I just have to get STD tested when I’m in London and then get a Pap smear in Ireland because I have never had one and oh my god I could have like, vagina cancer and not know and then I could die like Jade Goody who was only 27. So, yeah. Got to get that test. It’s really bad I have never had one, but there you go. Anyway I don’t know was I just too busy thinking about wanting to have sex to pay attention in sex ed, but I don’t remember anyone telling me that it was important to do these things. I mean maybe they did, I just remember thinking “if they think I’m giving someone head with a condom on, they must have no fucking clue what is going on in the world” so I didn’t bother taking anything on board.

So. I’m sure I’m fine…. I lie, I am deathly afraid of having some horrible disease or cancer. But however, I am not going to obsess about it until I get the test. I lie, I am so going to obsess about it… argh.

Anyway. Last day of work… no more customer stories ever, ever… well, until I get another shitty customer service job. But for now… for the forseeable future… no more. No more of that.

YEEEEUUUSSSS!!!!!

I’m drinking beer right now as I have to clear out the fridge anyway.

If you are also drinking then let me raise a toast to ME, and my awesome future, and my not being riddled with disease, and my fabulous prospects in life.

CHEERS!

Also, thank you, crazy pervy lamewads that you must be, thank you IMMENSELY for joining me and reading all my mind-vomit and all about my tummy vomit too. It’s been a year, oh how far we have come! Yes, we have. I was far more bitter and there were less of you then. I am going to take you all with me now to Ireland and as I am currently unemployed (I love saying that. I am now unemployed and legally separated, could I BE any more winning?) I will probably be bombarding your inboxes with very regular yearnings for Italian vegetables and olive oil and bemoaning the wind and the rain. It’s gonna be a wild ride, maybe. YAY!

P.s

Sorry I have been trying to cut this short for a while but I really just can’t do it.

Anyway, I have been calling myself Chesty LeRoux since I started, but it was just an off the cuff silly pseudonym and I got it from the Simpsons obviously, so it’s not even particularly original. ALSO I don’t have much boobage. I never really did but I was kidding myself about it for ages, I was buying C- cup bras but the elastic would dig into my back and I just refused to buy a bigger bra with a smaller cup, but really… I have to come to terms with it, I am a B.

It sucks, but at least I don’t look as slutty as I really am. That’s the cool thing about small boobs that I would of course sacrifice in a heartbeat in exchange for big boobs- I can, if I want to, look non sexual. I don’t choose to excercise this choice, but it is always there if I want it…. Yeah I know, what a stupidly optimistic way of looking at it. Why would I ever want to look non-sexual? Forget it.

Anyway, so I’m hardly Chesty LeRoux.

BUT I have racked my brain and thought of some other better and more appropriate names for myself.

I haven’t changed my email or username yet but I probably will soon, anyway I think I will be calling myself

Abigail Natalie Flicker.

Oh what? No! No, that sucks!

Ah ha, well don’t worry about that, it’s a bit of a mouthful (ooh arr!)

How about you just call me, Abby N. Flicker.

Badum-bum-tsssshhhhh!

Yeah baby. That’s me…

I spent a lot of time coming up with other names too but I think that is the most suitable. Just.. if you see the name anywhere, don’t freak out it is just me.  Also I reserve the right to change my name again if I think of a better one over the next few days. Let me know your thoughts anyway.

LURKING IS NOT PERMITTED.

Ok, ok, but only because it’s you.

Good night sweet dreams don’t let the genital crabs bite. (What a stupid std. Imagine getting crabs, all you would have to do is shave and they’re gone. I hope I don’t have any stds. I really hope I don’t. Or cancer. Aaaaah. Oh great, it’s gonna be one of THOSE nights…)

Shoppin’, stalkin’, drinkin’ alone, and talkin’ ’bout religion. I’m an incorrigible woman

So, I know I do this every month and some of those months I write whole blog posts about it but:

It was just a period related fat week. I have not put on twenty pounds of belly fat, I have not conceived a baby oesophogaly, and my disgustingly sedentary lifestyle has not finally caught up with me. I have deflated again. OH period, you sly dog. I always fall for your hysterics, every time. Three days ago I was grabbin handfulls of loose flab and making “nyom nyom me hungry” noises and crying inside. Today I have pelvis bones again and if I suck it all in and stand with my bum thrust far back and my chest out, I can look in the mirror and think, damn girl, you fine. Except then I got too excited and tried on the Calvin Klein swimsuit. Ouch. That hurts, bro…

But so long as I stay away from the devil swimsuit, I can pretty much cope with my body this week.

The peep show will go on…

Even the weather is kind of back to normal. It’s a few degrees above 0 today. I feel so enthused by this balmy temperature, I may even achieve something later, like bring down the bins or wipe the kitchen counter. It feels like that kind of day. Productivity, hoy!

I have a collection of disgusting bins on my balcony saved up from the past week or two of snow. It was so cold outside, the bags are all frosty the microbes seem to be in suspended animation so it’s not like there’s a horrible smell coming from my apartment, giving neighbours the impression I have choked and lie decomposing in a puddle of whiskey and vomit.  There is a horrible smell in my kitchen but that’s just… well, I am going to look into that one of these days. I wonder if it’s possible for my floor to be so dirty, that it actually smells bad. It’s pretty dirty because my sweeping brush on the balcony was covered with snow. It’s melted now, I should really sweep the floor.

It’s such a relief, the cold abating. I was worried I would have to go to London next week and just… leave the apartment in this condition. Seriously it’s not like you think, it’s not JUST I’m lazy and keep pushing my responsibilities onto the plate of my future self, but it’s so cold in my kitchen. I get home from work hungry and grumpy, I enter the kitchen… I make some soup, chopping everything on plates with the good knife (I have to stop calling it the good knife now, those dinner plates have really fucked up the cutting edge..) because the counter is so dirty and gross… and I had to throw out the expensive wooden chopping board because it didn’t like the dishwasher and if you are gonna live in my kitchen, you have to learn to get along with the dishwasher.

So I make my soup, and while that is cooking nicely, I start to lose the feeling in my feet. I look for my slippers and find them in the bed. BAD GIRL wearing those filthy things in my bed. I put on my slippers, back into the kitchen. It is still too cold. What to do, what to do….. Hot whiskey. It’s really the only thing for it. I prepare a mug of hot whiskey and shuffle off to bed just to get my temperature up a bit. I sip my whiskey and feel waves of Irishness and contentment wash over me. O, to toast my pinkies by the fire… o, to graze the green pastures of home with my own herd…

I feel a bit misty eyed so I snuggle up under the duvet and watch some Seinfeld. This phase of obsessive Seinfeld watching has lasted a record 3 seasons so far and shows no signs of dwindling. I have also dipped back into playing Skyrim but it is too cold in reality to be hanging around a virtual winter wonderland.

After a while of horizontal relaxation I get up and check the soup…  mmm… wonderful. I put meat in my soup. Everything is better with meat. Or cheese. Meat, or cheese are the best foods in my lofty opinion. If you are lactose intollerant I feel bad for you, son. I got 99 problems but the lactose aint one. Hit me! (piece of trivia for you: They used to call me the Rapmaster. I have had many nicknames over the years, for some reason or other they never catch on. Except for one… The Masturbator. That stuck, like moss on a stationary stone.)

Fix myself another hot whiskey and take a bowl of soup back with me to bed with a stack of bread  riddled with the shrapnel of frozen butter. Oh baby. And there ends my productivity for the evening. I drink more whiskey, watch more Seinfeld, and eat mandarins whose peel I fling overboard.

I can do no more… until it gets a bit warmer. Today is a start, a cheery step in the warm direction. I will do the bins today, definitely. The organisation and packing of all my disordered worldly goods, that can wait until we hit a modest 10 degrees maybe. But it is really happening. I am going to London next motherfucking WEEK. And I have nothing prepared. I am the worst, I know.

And I have altered my trajectory. I was going to London on a scouting mission. Just to check out the lay of the land… party a small bit. But lately I have become disillusioned with my foggy plans. I used to say “hang the expense, I don’t mind slumming it for a bit, it’s LONDON it will be amazing.” But now it looms on the horizon, the moment when I switch from imaginary personality that can cope with being broke… and me, the real person, actually having to go away and be poor and not have all my nice shiny things and spending money.

And reality-me is not on board. Reality me says, no dude, I just wanted the social life bit. I am not really willing to hang around paying that kind of rent and paying that much for transportation and not being able to afford olive oil and avocados, probably.

So we (me) are going to hop over to London purely for hedonistic purposes then head on to Dublin… I would give you a whole bunch of brilliant reasons why i should choose Dublin over England but mostly I think, if I’m honest, it comes down to: I’m chicken shit.

The things I am yeller about vary from “scary underground trains” to “not being able to afford avocados or enough privacy to be naked in my own home” and plenty in between. I have friends in London, but I also have friends in Dublin. Wherever I go, it’s gonna be OFF THE HOOK. I’m excited, very excited. I have probably just transferred by silly optimism from one city to the other, but meh. I know what I can get away with in Ireland. Sure, I haven’t lived there in over four years… not since the worldwide shitstorm mopefest downer buzzkill financial crisis….. but it’s still my city, I know her oh so well…. Although last time I was in Dublin, over New Year, I took four taxis in the space of 2 hours because I kept forgetting where things were and the distances and I got a bit lost. I mean I wasn’t lost. Not really… But I was a little bit lost, yes.

I’m not just going to move over next week, first I’m gonna hit London for a weekend or so because I am stubborn and refuse to miss out on any of my holiday time even when I need every cent or penny I have… But meh. That’s like, my personality. You can’t expect me to just change my personality. It’s all part of my rogueish charm.

So London, then straight to Dublin where I will immediately hunt for a shitty little apartment to rent. I will hopefully find one. I will return to Italy, ship my things, spend some guilty time with my sisters and then back to Ireland to move into my new life. YAAAAYYY. And then I will start looking for a new job. Any suggestions for a job that doesn’t involve me spending much time with other people? Or animals. Or children. I am not good with plants either.

The time is so tantalisingly close now. I have been wanting desperately to move out of this country since I started writing this blog, about a year ago. The whole time I have been relating my humdrum adventures, I have been utterly miserable in my situation. I have had happy moments (wink wink) but mostly I was just waiting out my sentence. If I had been more active in the waiting maybe i would have more money saved. But hey, it is what it is. I’ll learn.. well, today I bought some cashmere tights and a dress BUT IT WAS ON SALE, so no… it seems I never learn….

But the time of action is almost upon me. Very soon I am going to have to say goodbye to people, and I am going to lose some of my independence and luxury. Butt fuck it.I am going to gain a LIFE.

Last night, Andrea invited me out for a meal. No chicken feet this time. Ha ha ha. I turned red and muttered something about how I wasn’t a fan of those feet but I loved the snails…  Yum snails… Oh MFO, just shut up already. It’s over. They must have known I was faking it… I know I’m not convincing anyone when I tell the customers they look good in MC Hammer pants, and that lie doesn’t even involve overcoming the gag reflex.

But it was fine, we went for sushi. I love sushi. But I didn’t realise how little cash I had left… I put my money in the bank and I don’t remember the pin to that card.. I counted before leaving the house and found I had about 25 euros liquid assets. Shiiit (I have since remembered my pin) WHERE does the money go? This meal better be cheap. REAL cheap.

I didn’t know how to broach the subject without seeming like a total bum. I would need to be like, uh how much will this cost, and can I borrow like a tenner from you? But I didn’t want to borrow anything because she is very generous and I knew she would agree but then never let me pay her back.

So we were getting ready in her house, and I fiddled with the question in my mind for a while, eventually blurting  “how much…err.. more or less…” but she wouldn’t say, she just said, oh no I am treating you. And I’m like, no Andrea don’t be silly, but she insisted, “hey you are leaving in a week and I’m not gonna see you again…”

Aww. Man, of course I’m gonna see you again. I will come back to visit my family as often as I can, and you can come visit me. It will be fun!

She was like, “yeah, I know…” but she stuck to her guns. “I’m paying, I want to!”

So I argued for a while, the old polite grown up back and forth… don’t be silly, etc… but secretly I was relieved when she ended the discussion by firming her tone of voice the way my grandad does when he is on the verge of actually becoming annoyed if you don’t let him pay. I didn’t want her to pay for me but like, I couldn’t actually afford to pay for it all myself. So I backed down on the condition I paid for our taxi there and back and my money just stretched to that. The meal was gorgeous and it was a set menu so it wasn’t expensive and I didn’t feel like such a shit for letting her pay.

We ate a LOT. We scarfed down plate after plate of sushi and noodles and when we went to leave we realised we had been eating for 3 hours. It was a great meal. I realised since the night with the crazy food experiments, I am no longer phased by any of the foods i used to be squeamish about. Mushrooms… courgette… shellfish… polenta… broccoli… squid when it’s not deep fried in rings…. I had a lot of food hang ups. But now I’m just shovelling it all down the gullet, yum yum yum. Next time I’m in my mother’s house I am going to try a brussels sprout. (my childhood nemesis)

I also finally conquered the chopsticks. I mean, I was able to completely empty every plate of food that arrived without once resorting to using my hands or even dismantling a california roll in the soy sauce. I was able to eat noodles, although I did get a lot of sauce on my face and the uber stylish hipster dudes at the table next to me looked a tad repulsed. But I made it through the whole meal. I didn’t leave aside a single piece of mushroom or squid tentacle and I didn’t get my hands dirty. This is momentous for me. So after all, the chicken foot episode was a good experience. It has improved me. Do one thing every day that scares you, indeed.

I always do shit that scares me, like google my symptoms, but usually that just makes me lie in bed at 4am, sleepless with a lead weight in my heart, convinced not only that I have one life to life but that it’s about to come to an end because of cancer or HPV or that thing Stephen Hawking has. I lie for miserable hours and wonder whether as a nihilist I should not give a single shit about what happens to my remains and let my family bury me or cremate me or whatever floats their grieving boat, or whether as a non believer I shouldn’t be insulted with churchy stuff even if I won’t know. I usually lean indignantly to the latter and start drafting clear instructions to my family that my earthly remains do not go near a church or a cross or a priest and if I am cremated they are to bury my ashes somewhere and not just fling them in the air where someone is going to breathe them. And maybe plant a tree or something there so they can visit the tree, but not if they are going to make up any bullshit about me actually being the tree. I wouldn’t want my mother getting all freaky about some tree and talking to it and generally letting her grief drive her insane. I would prefer her to just bore people at parties talking about how great I was. Aw I really don’t want my mother to have to go through that. I’m glad I quit smoking, I just wish quitting was like, a get out of cancer free card. It should be.

Ideally, I would like to be buried in the bog somewhere without a coffin, so the bog juice can preserve me and make me into some cool person-jerky like the bog man they have in Trinity College in Dublin. And then when the people who want creationism taught in schools have bullied science back into the dark ages and future humans start to question where we came from, they can use my shrivelled up body as proof that modern humans and whatever kind of Morlocks are feeding on them, once evolved from homosapiens. That would be pretty awesome.  But I don’t think you are allowed just bury people in the bog.

Sometimes I really can’t sleep with all those thoughts so I give up trying and turn my computer back on. And watch tv or compose my eulogy, it is coming along nicely by the way, although it is hard not to sound preachy…  Usually the next morning I have come to terms with my mortality all over again and probably don’t think I have vagina cancer any more.

Anyway don’t google your symptoms. That is just bad scary. Pretty much everything is a symptom of cancer, just like pretty much every emotional state is a sign that you have too many thetans or whatever and need Scientology to sort you out.

Anyway. Not to get too sidetracked here, but it was a great meal and we had a really nice time. I was getting very excited about moving away.

Andrea was quiet, I jabbered on about the streets of Dublin that are paved with proper chunky chips and the summer evenings with the sea breeze and cider as the sun sets… Of going shopping and buying a “Small”, of not being the palest person in the posse… or at least, not by too much.

Then she said, “I can’t believe you are leaving. It’s so shit… Who will I go out with now?”

I was surprised, I guess it just didn’t occur to me that people other than my family would miss me at all. Then I saw she had tears in her eyes. What the? I have, all this time, been treating our friendship as a beneficial arrangement where I get to hang out with her, I get to have a friend, I get to go out and meet people, and drink, and in return she has, so far, tolerated my company. I never really got why she kept calling me up and asking me to go out. She has a lot more friends here, but she calls me up every weekend and we go out, and mostly it’s just the two of us plus eventual menfolks. But she’s much more sociable than me. She has other friends too, the Eastern European group we went drinking with before… the girls are fun. I always just presumed she was being polite inviting me out, or she didn’t have anything better to do… but suddenly last night it occured to me, that actually, what I have here is a proper friend. She actually LIKES my company. Why this was so unexpected… I don’t know. I guess I just spend so much time on my own, and I’m so used to the people I meet here kind of frowning on my antics… I had made several little attempts at friendship before Andrea and each time, I got too drunk, they got too boring, and it petered out from mutual disinterest. Every venture was an exercise in endurance. A game of friendship chicken.. who would give up first?

But Andrea is my actual friend. I managed to, out of all that self-flagellation and ridiculous drinking and terrible ranting and sluttyness and vomiting and being weird and yelling… I managed to make a good solid friend. I never make friends with girls. Never. My best friends are girls, but I don’t know where I picked them up. I certainly didn’t charm them with my personality. I guess they just got used to me and learnt to put up with the ranting and the talking through movies and the self-centredness and whatnot. It was so much easier to  make friends with people in school or college or when I had lots of coworkers. In those situations, there’s no pressure for you to be each other’s ideal friend, you just hang out sometimes and you have your job in common, or your teachers, and then if you get along well, gradually they overflow into your normal life.

Outside those big forced socialisation environments like school or work, you have to really like someone to see them again. You need to make the effort and put yourself out there.  It’s like dating, I presume, because I’m too easy to have ever actually been on a date. I never bothered with making friends in school. I would usually make one good friend and then I was happy, and that friend would just keep accumulating other friends, and then there was a group, and I automatically had all these friends to hang out with. I have no idea if these other extra friends actually liked me or not, because I certainly didn’t like every single one of them… But it was a pretty sweet set up. I got a social life while really only bothering to make one friend. I didn’t think like that at the time, I just realised now that’s how it seemed to go for me.

But somehow this time, without any outside help… merely on my own merits, I guess, somehow I made a good friend. Now don’t think I’m going all low-self-esteemy on you. I know I am a super person. I am the shizz, in a good way. I am the Alpha and the Omega, baby. There’s no doubt about my kickass personality here. It just surprises me when other people, these saps I share the earth with… also manage to see how wonderful I am. I mean, if other people like me the way I am, all hostile and grouchy and unhygenic and vulgar and vain… then what the FUCK is the point in this whole culture of being polite and nice and the terror of people knowing you pee in the shower and masturbate and pick your nose? (not simultaneously, that’s just gross)

Apparently, it seems I can totally get away with my behaviour… I mean sure I’m not everyone’s cup of tea but that is ok, I just need a couple of folks to hang out with and laugh at my jokes. Also if everyone liked me, who could I feel superior to? Exactly.

Ahhh.

I started to feel kind of terrible, admiring my newfound magnetism and popularity while Andrea’s eyes welled up.

This was long after they had taken away the wasabi, we were having dessert so it was definitely tears and not the insane amount of wasabi she stirs into her soy sauce. She’s actually going to miss me, imagine that. I’ll miss her too, I mean she’s my best friend here… my only friend I actually like… I know I’m a bit of a cunt when I talk about her, calling her a bitch for being pretty and all that… but I think she’s a lovely person, really. I just get drunk and feel ugly beside her, that’s all. But honestly I prefer having a friend that’s prettier than me than a friend that’s less pretty. I briefly made friends with a girl here who was a bit of a moose, and it wasn’t so much flattering as embarassing. It’s not like, by being the better looking of the two of us, I attracted hotter guys. I just attracted a lot more ugly ones. It’s a bit of a kick to the ego, having these men make a beeline for my companion and not see me next to her even though I am like a foot taller. (Well, I exaggerate.) But it’s not like I really WANT them. She deflects a lot of scrubs, which is actually good as my usual reaction is to either bring them home and regret it, or threaten to mace them for daring to look at my exposed buttocks. (A scrub is a guy that thinks he’s fly, he’s also known as a bus stop)

Anyway, it was kind of sad but flattering to see Andrea all teary. It honestly didn’t occur to me before that anyone would ever miss me based on my crumby interactions here in Italy. I thought like, my family would miss me. I mean they’re my family, they love me…. But the fact that, all depressed and mopey and drunk as I am here in Italy, I have still managed to get someone to think that it will be worse when I’m not around… It’s a real surprise. And I am probably not going to miss her that much, really, after all. I will be losing a good girlfriend, but recuperating a plethora of other friends… My social life is gonna be so much better….

I don’t know what I would have done without Andrea, though. She has been my only real friend here. She has been pretty much all my social life. I have had other attempts, other trial friendships… but I always found myself craning my neck through the drivel conversation of my own group and coveting the laughing hooting party at the next table. Or any other table. I kept going out with these various dry shites, but it was a mechanical thing like eating crackers because you are hungry. You don’t wanna be hungry, so you eat, but you never want to socialise with their human equivalent. It’s a crappy crappy solution to a very important need…..

Most people when they move away from somewhere they lived for 3 years, have a leaving do. They go for a meal or have a party and invite all their friends… I have known people here who spent 6 months in this city, and had a 30 person sit down meal to mark their departure. I’ve spent 3.5 years here and what do I have to show for it?

Who would I invite? Andrea. My colleagues… All four of them. I don’t like the fifth girl, she’s a cunt. And even Gabrielle, my team mate and colleague, is really pissing me off lately. She’s so negative, she makes ME uncomfortable. She also recently came out with this speech about how vaccines cause autism and she would never get a vaccine against anything, and I was respectful but pointed out the eradication of polio but she just ranted and quoted anecdotal evidence that didn’t even make sense. Child got vaccine- child later was diagnosed as autistic. So the vaccine must have caused the autism. Post hoc ergo propter hoc, is it? Fucking ridiculous.

Sorry guys I just haven’t done a wash in ages so I had to wear my RANTY PANTS this morning.

Then there’s bum chum… eww. No.  Then there are all the aquaintances… my failed attempts at socialising. Moose face, she’s just a boring dick…. The Welsh girl I met once seemed promising… until she wanted to go home by 8pm because she had work in the morning. Eh, so did I. It was seriously like 7.30… We never met again…

The Scottish girl I met, who spoke far too quickly, barely breathing, I could hardly understand her… but she seemed nice, she came to visit me at work a few times and stayed for a long chat… I was excited, maybe we would be friends. I would love a girlfriend to talk English with… even if it required my undivided concentration to understand her speech. Then we became facebook friends. She started to appear on my news feed.

“Christina likes Church of the Anunnciation of the Saint of the Virgin’s status: “A woman went to the doctor asking for an abortion. He told her,why don’t you just kill your five year old son instead. She realised that it was true, an abortion is exactly the same as murdering your child.” And “if evolution is so true, then how come there are no talking rocks” and other similar pages, all these religious pages about priests delivering supposedly fatal arguments to Richard Dawkins and Charles Darwin…

I can not be even slightly friends with someone like that. I might have so few friends, in part, because of my intollerance towards religion, but it’s a total dealbreaker for me.

All my friends differ from me in some area of belief. Be it homeopathy, astrology, accupuncture, the Mayan prophesy, ghosts or simply vitamin c as a cure for the cold… there is something to disagree about. I don’t believe in any of the above, it’s a passion of mine… looking things up and finding out if they are fact or fiction, or if there is any evidence for or against, or if it’s an old wive’s tale, where did it come from? I am interested in digging it up… I’m totally skeptical. I welcome the dismantling of my old ideas. Challenge me on anything, I take a deep pleasure (oh yeah) in learning that I have been wrong about something all this time. That, and looking skinny, is how I get my kicks. And I’m not really sure about many things, because so much of life is gray area… not astrology or homeopathy, though. Those are just pseudoscience. I’m definitely right about that.

But I don’t really judge people on those beliefs like I judge them on religious faith. Because none of us are naturally rational creatures. I’m not rational by nature, I just have a strong interest in sticking to the real, the solid, the provable. It’s a sliver of a difference, between myself and the people who believe in things. Where I have a gap in my knowledge, I am happier to leave it blank than to fill it with something arbitrary, but I am sure my brain is still riddled with placeholder myths.. Most people prefer to smooth it over with faith than to have an “I don’t know.” And I don’t think this makes them stupider than me or more ignorant… because in theory, we both lack the knowledge, we just attempt to deal with the hole differently-

I honestly don’t think that is stupid. It is, I believe (based on nothing) one of the reasons humans are so intelligent. Our brains are able to outperform computers because we are not constrained by logic and reason. We can leap, we can make educated guesses. We can presume. And if we couldn’t do that, we would be like Vulcans, and have horrible identical haircuts, or maybe we would be like monkeys, or if monkeys are a bad example then mongeese. Imagination, inventiveness… I have no qualms with those aspects of humanity. I don’t want to be a robot. The problem I have is not the filling of gaps with guesses, it’s that as the gaps close up and there is less space for fantasy left, people are so firm about their fillers that they wind up rejecting the real, knowable answers in favour of the previous best guess.

I’m aware that filling a gap with a god is just the same as filling a gap with astrology or homeopathy or angels or kinesiology. It is the same, irrational, no evidence, leap of faith. But although I wrinkle up my nose when my family or friends claim to be cured by arnica or worry about the horoscope’s warning… I don’t think my family or friends are idiots like I think religious people are idiots, I look at it like they just don’t have the same insistence on questioning absolutely everything. My teachers always said that, that I always had to question EVERYTHING. I wouldn’t believe the text books, or the teacher, about anything “just because it’s in the book”. I would first argue my own ignorantly formed opinion and then I would go home and look it up and 99% of the time go back the next day, knowing I was wrong, and just say nothing. But sometimes I was right, too, and then I would become the most insufferably little shit and my smugness would know no limits.

I don’t think that my skepticism about everything is necessarily right or good. I have been wrong and dogmatic in my own route to knoledge, just as much as any religious fanatic or Mayan prophesy believer.

But I don’t hold astrologists or pseudoscience enthusiasts to the same standards as I do the religious. Maybe it’s because if I don’t agree with astrology, nobody will think I am wicked. Nobody will try to force astrology on my kids, if I ever have them. Nobody will think I am immoral or untrustworthy if I say I don’t believe my personality traits are determined by the planets moving into certain areas of space. The holders of these beliefs are tolerant of my lack thereof, so while I wish they wouldn’t waste their money and cling to redundant ideas, I keep my opinions to myself usually unless I am drunk. And then, as you know, they come out in the worst way possible and I become rude and insulting and make up laws of physics and throw around words I don’t understand like thermodynamics.

I have lots of views about religion and stuff though. If you made it this far, let me tell you, I really have been so GOOD about keeping the rants off here. Seriously I am on my best behaviour. I have barely touched on my feelings about religion.

I don’t want to preach to anyone, honest, I just want to let you in on all my thoughts because it seems a bit superficial if all I do is talk about hot barman and my failed social life and my dirty house when all the time, there is a philosophical battle raging under my pasty white surface.

INCIDENTALLY, it seems that now I am in the home stretch, mere days away from phase one of my big move…

Hot barman has become particularly chatty. Damn it hot barman, it’s too late for us. We could have had something beautiful, but now I’m going…

I have to go now….. go… walk out the door…. just turn around now…

I won’t be back here any more.
Weren’t you the one who tried to hurt me with goodbye not fucking me on the bar top?
you think I’d crumble
you think I’d lay down and die?
Oh no, not I, I will survive
as long as i know how to love get jiggy with it
I know I will stay alive,

I’ve got all my life to live
I’ve got all my love poon tang to give
and I’ll survive
I will survive

Hey hey..

Anyway it’s Andrea’s birthday today but we are going out on Saturday to celebrate. So I wanted to get her a nice present, and I know she likes this cool expensive shop so I went to have a look in the sales there. They didn’t have much stuff left. I have a problem as you know with shopping, I am not very good at buying gifts for other people and not for myself. So I went in, scanned the room for Andrea gifts and there was nothing. Then I saw some nice dresses for myself that she wouldn’t like and I tried them on and they were pretty but I said no, no, bad girl. So I tried to reason with myself, I said you are only allowed buy that… it’s really flattering by the way… if you find Andrea a good present. But there wasn’t a whole lot. The sales are kind of petering out.

I was looking at this one dress thinking… it’s pretty cool… Andrea doesn’t wear dresses really, but I think she would like this. Maybe. i don’t fucknig know, I can’t pick clothes for another woman, it’s too personal. It’s like, either I pick something for her because it is exactly like something she has already, in which case… lame gift… or else I risk it and pick something she might not like. So I was humming and hawing and the saleswoman was hovering around suggesting expensive things and being a really good salesperson, making me feel all pressurised into buying. I caved and told her I was looking for a gift… she brings out this 7o euro scarf. Uh, pass. I reject the scarf but in doing so, furnish her with more details about what I am looking for and my budget. The next suggestion is harder to refuse. and the next. I panic and return to the dress I was looking at. The salesperson jumps in and begins cooing about the dress, it’s so nice, it’s so comfy, it’s so pretty, it’s so cool. Ugh. Fuck off.

But it works I get all flummoxed and stressed and feel like it’s all because of the pushy saleswoman so that’s hardly my fault.

I buy the dress for myself and the one for Andrea, because at least she can return it if it’s not her cup of tea. I will insist on this, I hope she doesn’t feel forced to like it. It’s her favorite shop though and I think it’s a cool dress, so… well anyway, I feel pretty ok about it. I hope it’s not too much… no. It’s ok. Man I am going to obsess about this now, I can feel it. I feel awful buying gifts for people, I hate it.

So I took the dress for Andrea in a gift bag and jammed the one for myself deep into my handbag.

I stopped at hot barman’s bar before going back to work.

Hot barman was working the till so I knocked back my coffee and then like the pathetic sap I am, I wavered by the checkout pretending to think about the sandwiches. I realised I hadn’t actually eaten anything so I pick up a sandwich and go to pay. Hot barman smiled that “oh great now I have to spend the rest of the day in this underwear” smile.

Ohhhh the face… he’s so cute. I usually don’t simultaneously think CUTE and SEXY but with hot barman I don’t know if I want to put my hand out and tousle the curls on his head or drag him out the back of the bar and have loud dirty clothes-on sex in an alley.

Or both.

He made some joke about me having both a coffee and a sandwich today. I didn’t get it but I was like “oh hee hee yeah,” and he goes, “have you still not had lunch yet?” because it was pretty late. I’m like, no, and I put on a really insipid facial expression and say “I had to get a present for my friend’s birthday so I am just grabbing a sandwich, I’ll eat it in work.”

He’s probably really impressed with how selfless I am, buying presents for everyone else while I starve.

He asks me about whether I can eat sandwiches at work, and is it pretty chilled out? I’m like, yeah, totally, tee hee hee…

Oh this smiling, dude… I am probably going to get a wrinkle later in life which can be clearly identified as the hot barman wrinkle. He makes me turn to chirpy mush. If only all men were this hot… I would be a really nice friendly person. Unfortunately if you smile at less attractive men they are inclined to talk to you and ask for your number and then get angry if you don’t want to dance. That’s Italy, anyway. I forget what it’s like outside Italy.

I chatter with hot barman. I stand there for like… five minutes.. exchanging pleasantries.

Then I’m getting into the guts of our nice conversation… have no idea what we talked about but like… it was a great conversation.

And then the other guy interrupts, the older barman who isn’t hot at all. He starts saying he saw me on the bus the other day, and was it me? And I’m like yeah, the 68, that would be me. And he started talking about how much traffic there is there now down by that street with the roadworks and the snow. Urgh.

Hot barman dwindles into the background.

But I talked to him loads today. And he was totally happy talking, he kept the conversation going when I was letting it die… and then, stupid other barman interrupts. Wanker. Foiled again!

Ah well, I get annoyed but really, what is going to happen in the time we are chatting? Absolutely nothing.

Step 1: Talk to hot barman while he serves me coffee.

Step 2: ? ? ? ?

Step 3: Ride him silly on the top of the bar.

 

Seriously, need some help figuring out step two. I don’t even know if it is possible.