As I’m writing and drinking my wine, I remember the way my grandad used to help me do my tie whenever the occasion arose for me to wear one. I remember the scent of his hands and his gentle but clumsy manner as he looped and uncrossed the thing until I looked like a good and proper boy. He was the one that encouraged me to read, and with his tales of ghost stories and ghouls, he fed my young mind and stirred that side of me that had a first for the unknown. It makes me sad that he died before I really begun to find myself as a writer, as I’m sure it would’ve made him chuffed to see how I turned out. I was supposed to see him a few years ago at Christmas, but he wasn’t feeling up to it, and then he had his heart attack, and they found him one morning on the floor by his bed. If there’s an afterlife like he suspected, I hope he’s demanding those answers that eluded him in life. The more I look back, the more it bums me out to think about the people I’ve loved that have died or drifted away. But, y’know, it happens to everyone, and not many were fortunate enough to have been blessed like me to have been raised by such sharp and magical souls. So, I write for him and I write for them and I write for you and I write to tap into the shit I can’t explain. This wine tastes funky, and the more I drink the more it reminds me of those slices of existence long regarded as lost. Y’know, like the times I would sit with Monty dog and Polo the cat in front of the electric fire before school. Or how about the hour-long bus journies that would take me back and forth between High Wycombe and Reading when I was studying at University. All those towns and villages, those buildings and people I haven’t been a part of for so long. And then there’s you and your absent embrace and how my mind reinvents my memories of you so I get confused between what’s real and what’s not. But hey, what’s new?