Patrick was a stocky type of a man. One with a kind face and a warm heart. He met his best friend on a boating trip back in 1986. A dropped oar turned slowly into a quiet friendship- punctuated with letters, drawings and newspaper clippings about natural marvels. Patrick didn't make friends too easily. He found it hard to give his heart to people, he didnt know what would be left for himself if he did. Too often did he turn back around rather then keep going, always cutting his hair instead of letting it grow.
One spring Patrick and Michael, tired of daily routines and silence decided to see some of the world. It was a simple affair, the type where you get on the bus at your doorstep and don't get off until you reach your destination.
Michael used to tell me the story at least once a week, i would listen as if it was always the first time.
tiny hearts breaking like muffled church bells. Bread turning stale on the counter. Hands held loosely under tables. And Michael, just a child, watching his grandfather sick with cancer. A summer spent with the curtains drawn, a summer not to be remembered fondly.
A tin of travel sweets that sat by a chair remain untouched, the sunday visits carried on. Money under carpet tiles in the dining room next to a small wooden cupboard full of condiments and freshly polished shoes by the fireplace. A long space full of somebody else's things, rooms that belonged to other people, rooms that you can't even be sure if they existed anymore.
Michael telling me stories. In Whitby, along the curve of the coast, i felt his quiet shame as his brother pushed his face into the mud. I saw his eyes, white and open against the dirt, his knees pulled up tight behind the dustbin. I heard his mother calling him to dinner, and felt his half grown body rocking back and forth in the rain. We watched the sea pull itself back, like an intake of breath, Michael telling me stories.
A gold coloured box that once made music Now whirs and clunks and stops.
Remembering teeth, hairpins, dress hooks, pins and buttons. Laid out like bodies in a graveyard Laid out dead in the sun Pins in the backs of woodlice A psychological warning ignored Waiting always for dad to get home from work Always waiting for dad to come home.
Two of us living in the same steady spaces, seamlessly moving in and out of repeating walls. Two pairs of hands pulling at cotton, pretending we don't see the threads catch and unravel at our feet, pretending that we can hear through endless sirens. How we work, how we don't..... It will always be this way.
This is what happens when you keep writing stuff down.
We are not the kind of people who let go, we cling like limpets to our lives, and there is a distnace that we paw at, we draw maps to pour ourselves into. There are places between water where we can meet.
I want an adventure. I want to fall into the sky. Heavy,hard,slow.
Happy Birthday You are young and you are old And things will never feel like this again Stop wishing you were someplace else And stop looking for the life you dreamed you'd have by now (in retrospect it would never have made you as happy as you imagined)
Keep making the work you want to (it will pay off in the end) And don't worry about the next three years It will totally all be ok.