Dog Days

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Used to work in the homeware department of this clothing store. Sometimes, when the flesh around my fingernails would crack from being too dry, they would bleed on the towels I’d have to fold but fold them I would. It was working there that I met Sarah. After we’d been chatting for a few weeks, I offered to draw her a picture of her choosing. She asked for a rat, and a few days later I handed her the image on a sheet of card with my phone number on the back in a sealed envelope. Later that night she messaged me, and the rest is history. Before she joined, I’d already been there for nearly a year. Fresh out of graduating from University with a Masters degree, I was soon folding towels and plumping up cushions for a living. Could’ve got myself a proper job earning good money, but there was a part of me that knew such a thing wasn’t going to help with what I wanted. And what exactly was that? To be a writer? I’m not sure, but as much as I hated folding those towels and stacking packs of curtains and dealing with brain-dead customers, it kept me angry, and to this day I still have that anger, and these words, they keep bubbling when others I’ve known along the way have traded in their youthful dreams for a slice of the pie. Stood there serving those customers, I’d think of how easy it would be to hand in my notice and get a better job. Maybe some gig in an office, or a car showroom, or even a teacher. As the days turned into weeks and the weeks turned to months I would work from 9-6 and then go home and write until it was time to sleep. And those words- Jesus, they were beyond awful, but I had a dream of telling stories, and so with no plan other than to keep writing that’s exactly what I did. During my lunch breaks, I would go to the toilets and masturbate thinking about whatever attractive women I’d served that day. When no one was looking, I’d hide in the warehouse and spend my time pondering the meaning of life until a manager caught me and ushered me back onto the shop floor. And then along came Sarah and several months later she fell pregnant. It took me years to open up about the loss of baby Bethany. I think I was so set on living in a fantasy world that when stuff in the real world happened I didn’t quite know how to handle it, hence the onset of depression and the drinking. And here I am all these years later still putting pen to paper searching for whatever it is I’m looking for. I’ve hurt those I’ve loved and lost more than I needed to. I’ve drifted around- spent whole chunks of my life feeling numb and empty looking in from the outside- a self-imposed exile. Is it because I felt I needed to suffer to write words with meaning, or is it because I’m just out of touch and don’t quite belong? I’m alive and dead at the same time. Inside my chest, there’s broken glass mixed with the scent of Spring and an urge to resist that won’t let go, and so it remains.

A Journal for Damned Lovers on Amaon.co.uk

A Journal for Damned Lovers on Amazon.com

20 replies »

    • I’m grateful for your words. There’s no tidy place to put it away at all, and yet to realise that isn’t as obvious as it would appear. Not to me at least. Still, we learn from our mistakes. We have no other choice.

      • I don’t know the circumstances of your loss but like many women, I have had more than one miscarriage. It is an incredibly common occurrence yet almost no one ever talks about it. We have little language in our culture for those types of losses. In many ways I think it is even harder for men to grieve a miscarriage or the loss of a child close to birth–there is so little acknowledgement that a man has suffered a loss at all and society tells them their role is only to support their partner. MY heart hurts for you.

      • Thank you. It’s a shame there’s a stigma attached to such loss. I think it’s a reflection of the society we live in. Anything that doesn’t fit in with the norm is swept under the carpet. To be a victim is seen as weakness, and so many suffer in silence as a result.

      • We are not good with death in general– we don’t acknowledge as a natural part of life. Although the loss of a child never feels natural does it? I have been struck with incredulousness with every loss that the rest of the world keeps moving while my life is forever altered. There seems to be cultural agreement that it is only seemly to grieve for a certain amount of time and then we should get over it. But grief takes as long as it takes and we re-experience all our previous losses when we have a new one. Thank you sharing this story S.K.– it is important for men–for all of us– to remove the veil and acknowledge that these losses are real, meaningful, need to honored.

      • I agree completely with you and let me just say you are exceptional when it comes to sharing emotions my god! Each time I come here to read you Im not surprised by all of what you make me feel but I am at the same if you know what I mean? I really am just learning how much I love to read because you stay interesting! 🙂

      • Ive never been good at picking a good book to read…3 pages in I think nope not happening…I always thought it was just me.. that I must not be a reader…thank you for changing my mind about me! XO!

  1. This is so beautiful, it’s filled with so much emotion, you’re one of my favourite writers on wordpress, and reading this made me realise that no one is perfect you’ve been through so much yourself. I really loved it.

    • That’s very kind of you. Thank you. I’m not alone in my experiences but I think there’s a certain grey area when it comes to dealing with this kind of loss, potentially even more so for men. There’s not much in terms of support, you’re kind of just expected to get on with it.

  2. This was beautifully written. The rawness and emotion.what an awful incident, god keep you strong , it’s not an easy thing to have to go through, losing a child! You an amazing writer…

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