In the tall grass next to the water tower by the train tracks belonging to a town that died decades ago, I trim my pubic hair with a pair of scissors shoplifted from Tesco. I do so to impress the girl who works in the pub behind the supermarket that contains my mind, body and soul. When I’m done trimming, I plant the hair in the mud and hope that there comes a day when something grows, for only God can make a tree, and I wish very much to be the same as he. In dreams, I hear screams. The screams of those who were once here but aren’t anymore. They’re dead, but somehow exist in the ring of sycamores in the local park where my teenage self yearned to find the spark that would ignite his life. It never came. I thought I saw it once from the corner of my eye, but it must of been something else entirely. Back in my uni days, a guy lived on a canal boat and wanted to take photos of me. I was flattered. He wasn’t offering money, only his company, so I politely declined and stayed in bed all day playing computer games while flicking through the local ordinance survey map keeping an eye out for place names that tickled my fancy. I often think about the man who lived on the canal boat. He was married and had daughters from a marriage that was over but not legally. In his youth, he had been scared of spiders but confronted his fears by placing one in his mouth and keeping it there until the spider tried crawling down his throat. He had a big chin and a kind heart, and I hope that life treated him well after I last saw him. Those days were hungry days. I was always hungry. Any money I had was spent on wine, paint and bus fares. Food was right down the list, and yet food was what I craved most. Cigarettes helped to dull the gnawing ache in my belly, but it never went away. Those days, they were purgatory to me, and yet I hold them in high regard. They’re far behind me and yet not gone. They linger like the faint hum of the engines in those buses as they crisscrossed through the English countryside late at night with me sat huddled at the back. It was the dead of winter, and I discreetly masturbated to keep warm on the long journey home from the art studios. The trees. My love. The world spins to get rid of me, yet still I remain.
X and I: A Novel and A Journal for Damned Lovers on Amazon UK
X and I: A Novel and A Journal for Damned Lovers on Amazon US
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