On the ground by some bins on my way home from work, I spied a pigeon with a club foot pecking for crumbs. It didn’t seem sad or in pain, but what would I know about that? A few days earlier, a newsagent I visited every Sunday as a kid had its windows blown out in an explosion, killing the ghost of the childhood me that had until that moment existed in a state of perpetual bliss I shall never taste again. There was glass all over the road and in the eyes of a few who happened to be walking by at the time. None were blinded, although more importantly, I hope the pigeon didn’t hobble over and peck at the glass, thinking it was food. Yesterday, on the internet, I viewed a video of an old woman being heckled on a train someplace in Belgium. I don’t know why the other passengers were taunting her in such a cruel manner. I don’t speak Belgium, so I’ve no idea. She seemed worried, as you would imagine, and the longer the scene played out, the more the tension in the air grew and grew and grew until you just knew something was going to happen. So, the next thing, the video cuts, and she’s sprawled on the ground outside the train with half her face hanging off. Someone had pushed her from the train, and she’d struck her head on the edge of the platform. There was blood everywhere, and this giant flap of skin dangled over her eyes as she sobbed in a state of bewilderment. It was pretty grim, but, really, it’s just a drop in the ocean, isn’t it? A few months back, when I had my first vaccine, to kill some time beforehand, I walked around a part of town I hadn’t set foot in for years. On the grounds of the local football stadium, I once witnessed a firework display, as a lover with my lover, beaming the way two lovers in love always should. Passing by in the here and now, it felt like it was only yesterday, and yet every minute of my life, it stretches away from me, leaving me forever adrift from the moments that once gave me a sense of identity I’m now so sorely lacking.

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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