Maybe I will just be tired by the time I die.
From 36 to 43 is 7 whole years. But from the outside, they may as well be the same, 36 and 43.
In only 12 years, I’ll be 40.
From 28 to 40. 12 years ago I was 16— I could literally be 23 right now, where 16 isn't far off.
But actually, 16 is 7 whole years ago from 23.
In only 7 years I’ll be 35. Which is very different from 28.
Hopefully by the time it’s time to die, one whole year really will be one whole year which, actually, I won’t want anymore.
"See" implies judgement. "Hear" offers a way around that.
He knew about my tap. And my bed. The leaky one and the one that constantly had to be fixed. He experiences my wifi every night, and he saw my legs whilst I stretched my hips this morning. He knows what it means when the rickety of the drawer rolls, that drawer in that green wicker chest— that I am getting undressed.
He knows— that when the sound of that tap becomes louder and more consistent that the brush of my mouth is to come. And the sound of my spit. He hears the splashes of my nose blowing bubbles in my hands and infers that’s me washing my face. And my breathing muffled and pronounced by some material— he figures is me drying it.
He knows the sound of the bath here. The bath with the green and white tiles. He knows because last night I accidentally kicked it. How could that even happen he asked. Because I’m positioning my leg on its side. To rub my oil on my body.
I tried to make that sound extra loud.
I switched off the light for another night. The light to the bathroom. I moved over to my bed and swept my hands over the sheets (to fix it). My whole followed. I tucked myself under the covers
and put his voice on my chest.
Thinking, reassuring, as usual, that it won’t be long until he hears the sound that’s underneath.
I knew the moment I had done it
that it was stupid to ask the question.
I had spoken the statement with an upward fluctuation at the end, as if to imply rarity,
"It told me to leave it.... unopened (?) "
Everyone’s instructions will say that.
He gets asked that as a question multiple times a day,
The DHL guy.
Even the phrase ‘takes her in his arms’ is romantic.
But it’s rarely like that.
A lot of the time it's just you situated, in their arms.
You get mad at "art" and people that make it, or say that they do.
and you don’t want to hear it anymore, you don’t want to hear it from anyone else. You’re tired of hearing it (from other people).
I had to tell her I had an eating disorder. It wasn’t that I was being wasteful. I was too embarrassed too ashamed to admit to myself that I had eaten them all and thus I had to say that I had thrown them away. It was the first time she had sworn because she was angry at me. It was the first time she was bonafide angry at me. It’s such a fucking waste. And what about us we like to have biscuits when we’ve worked all day (even though she had told me she never buys them (or chocolate) because then she would eat them).
It was the first time she had sworn at me, actually at me, it’s such a fucking bore to go back in (to town, to get (new) things for tea). Why should you have to go. I’ll go, I’ll obviously go and the image of me being faced with cake and endless biscuits all over the shelves, on every shelf, shelves all around me, was in front of me. She actually slammed the door. And then the other one.
She was in the car. I went out there and ended up positioning myself in front of it. Please let me go. Biscuits and cakes and chocolates and fudge and little (big) me in front of them. Please let me go. Flora I’ve got the rest of the lawn to do before Nanna comes. She was serious behind her glasses.
She’s just come back. She’s hurdled up the drive, the gravel under the car. And I have to tell her. That I have an eating disorder.
I just told her.
Auntie I need to tell you something I have an eating disorder.
She had rolled her eyes at me and said of cour—- you think I don’t know. I’ve lived with people with eating disorders. Eating disorders. I lived with people with eating disorders.
I know you know and I’m trying. I’M REALLY TRYING. You think I don’t feel bad about it I do. She began to speak. I can’t speak. I know but I don’t want you to berate me. I’m not going to berate you. I knew what was coming, I said I don’t want you to berate me. When you have the urge to eat something think of all the children in Africa— I know, turning, that doesn’t help (I TOLD YOU NOT TO BERATE ME I WAS TELLING YOU THAT DOES NOT HELP).
As I was going upstairs she said not to spoil the time that was coming (the tea, with Nanna). I shut the door and she walked upstairs and I said I need a minute. I genuinely, for the first time needed a minute, I, for the first time did not want her, as in a person (that was her), there, trying to comfort me. She lingered truly for a second, still moving around, and said “now don’t worry, just don’t worry about it.”
She kept saying “now don’t have a hang up about it” as she walked back downstairs.
The lawn mower is going outside.
It would be a placebo if you didn't have to say decaf.
Life gets harder but it gets easier
It gets easier to get up out of the chair
but it gets harder because the components pile up and you become aware just how many components there will eventually be.
But because it's become easier to get up out of the chair it's easy(ier) to brush off another component.
But I wouldn't hold up the sky for him because I wouldn't believe that he needed it held up.
I understood her-- looking at him, asking to be held while his back was turned to her in bed.
Yes, it does mean something that I felt this way, the need to be held while his back was turned toward me in bed. A "problem", like any others I had before the fact of having him.
But these kind of problems are "normal", relationship problems. And therefore they're negligible. Or rather, less than any of my others that aren't because they're obvious or normal problems to have.
She told me I would just have to go to the later gym class
Because I "had to" be there for the package
But gym classes aren't my priority, you idiot
The transition from breakfast to work. That horrible little time in between. So small, yet still thought of the night before. Afraid. Afraid of what it might do.
I suddenly understood why all the writing is always about love.
Because love actually makes people write
Whereas before, before love, one "wouldn't be bothered" to write it down, whatever it was. that feeling. and thus a lot of that writing doesn't exist.
but love makes you (write it down)
because you can't not.
He began speaking more quietly to his friend across the table because now, I (someone) was standing up.
I could hear him in a way I hadn't been able to before, was his thinking.
One night he didn’t text goodnight flora, his usual undercapitalised way. he had told me he was with his friend and that he would get to the previous later. when he had been with his friends last time he had texted me goodnight flora and included his poem which told me he was thinking about me when he was with his friends. or just thinking about me in general. last night i stayed up later, watching the same thing for a second night in a row. i had loved the feeling it had given me the night before and it seemed with the feelings that have so dominated me (as a result of the texting). a domination that made me long to crave the consistent insides of another. and texting was enough. enough to feel i was with him. but always feeling i missed him. i had a late night and slept for three hours. arriving me at the time he probably would be coming down from his high or maybe still in it but would be going to bed. and he would text me goodnight. i walked out of my room and into the next one to look at my phone. i sat there. and looked at earrings i liked. i found a pair i loved. and i changed everything i was going to wear for that day when he would first see me. as in in real life see me. i brought my phone back into bed with me. and did i don’t know what. on the side table it went and i texted my aunt not to wake me in the morning because i had gotten a very bad night’s sleep and needed to rest. 0945, 1100, 1200, 1314, 1330 , 1347, 1400. i was making lunch. i wasn't hungry even though my aunt was eating hers. i chopped and i felt sick. “i feel nauseous” what does that mean “like sick” well then don’t eat. are you hungry? “not particularly.” and i knew i wasn’t at all. i actually didn’t eat it. i put everything away meticulously, taking my time. the most i’ve ever truly taking my time while doing it. i washed every bit and cleared up all the crumbs. i would leave that one though, the bigger one, for my aunt, she put that in there. but why should i i have nothing else to do. so i cleaned it. i felt as though i tremoured slightly as i did it all. when i had finished i told my aunt was going upstairs to get dressed. and she said to me i thought you already were.
I didn't even think about him anymore. He was just there. In me.
I had made that decision. But it didn’t even feel like that at the time— to go to Laura’s on Friday night. Of course, chances of catching “the global pandemic” didn’t necessarily increase that much by going, and by having gone, it didn’t mean I had it. But it was a way to justify my worry, my worry that the second test might come back positive.
I re-thought that kiss that Laura’s boyfriend had given me on the cheek. Both cheeks. Twice. Once when I arrived and once when I left. I knew going in (for the kiss) that I shouldn’t. Or it wasn’t necessarily that— I was aware that it was “wrong,” “in these times,” and that I was a rebel by participating.
But I genuinely didn’t think of it in relation to my upcoming holiday. The one that I didn’t want to go on. The one I didn’t want to go on because “I am fat,” “my fattest since university”— in my head I speak as such. And I hate that I speak, as such— I sound like such a girl. Saying how I had put on weight, that I didn’t want to be like this anymore, do really well for a week then slip for a night. Or rather, for a moment or a couple of moments, that was how it was now anyway, mostly.
My steadfastness of attitude towards “the global pandemic” had been so predominant that considerations of anything else weren’t considered like, for example, the fact that it would ruin the holiday that I didn’t want to go on. That a positive test could be a reality and that regardless of how much I wanted to fuck the system, the system in this case would fuck me.
I was always noting how little the chances were— that the virus would be on that corner of the table or that the person before me in the queue had touched their mouth, hadn’t sanitised unlike everyone else was doing every 15 minutes AND touched the exact corner of the screen that I was touching. AND had the disease which only a fraction of the current UK population had AND had it without any signs of symptoms (self-isolation is practically a given if experiencing symptoms). So truly— what were the chances?
And thus, what were the chances that any of those that I was going to see had had the chance AND happened to have it without showing symptoms AND were seeing me at that exact time AND that their kiss on the corner of my cheek would reach my mouth before it died or got wiped off or equivalent.
(On the last point, in hindsight, the virus can be airborne transferred, hence the 2m rule).
Anyway, I knew my test would be negative.
But it could not be.
I mean I had done those things. I had also eaten lunch in Victoria station, in the station, next to others eating their lunch. I bought plastic packaged containers from M&S, didn’t sanitise and though debated not doing so, used one of their disposable forks in the dispenser WITH ALL THE OTHER DISPOSABLE FORKS. I had told myself oh just do it Flora, you’ll be fine.
I have been feeling some ailments like groggy head and congestion, a few sneezes and have been very tired. I resisted and resisted and then I did it. I looked up the symptoms of Coronavirus— nasal congestion, headaches, tiredness were all listed.
I had that— I had had a stuffy nose, a very congested one, during the night on Friday after Laura’s. I woke up to blow my nose, which I never do.
But I had had a slip, a big one this time, which entailed lots of chocolate DAIRY and sugar SUGAR. So of course I was congested.
I had that— I had had a raging headache since Saturday morning which lasted into the first day of the trip, and now being on the third, it has lessened into a dull heady feeling.
But before departing on the Sunday, I had 1. been drinking basically since the Friday night (after not having done so in months) 2. continued my sugar spree (which then included some wheat as well), AND 3. only slept for one hour the night before departure, awaiting for the results of my first test which were delayed. And then when I got here, on the trip, I spent two afternoons drinking rum punch. But not yesterday— I didn’t drink yesterday. So of course I had a headache.
Diarrhoea was also listed as a symptom.
I even had that— I had two little spouts/bouts. BUT I had taken a laxative, two actually, due to extreme constipation as a result of my doings the days before— probably the gluten in Ollie’s gingerbread house on Saturday night.
And if it was positive, maybe it would save my life. I would lose the weight— I wouldn’t drink for the next two weeks, I would not be in situations where I could fall into temptation of food, of sugary drinks. I could finally write that article “COVID saved my life,’ but this time as a result of a different premise.
I hadn’t been like my brother. He wanted to go on this holiday. So he was probably sanitising every 15 minutes and not seeing anyone at all, like the rest of the world.
And then. It was negative.
If nothing else, he'll be a godfather
Falling in love was like realising Christianity wasn't real.
08:11 on a Monday morning
"Flora, what are you ("YOU") doing today?"
It angered me. It angered me that he asked me who handled my residuals. And it angered me even more that I didn’t know what that meant.
my fantasy, my giant cork board, is being erected today
and it's just as exciting as the prospect of sex.
the handy man and his mate are coming round round lunchtime to mount it
to my wall.
I told him I was reading the FT Weekend all afternoon. He asked if I was into the stock market. I laughed out loud and looked in the mirror. I could see my big smile clearer than I had in weeks. Even though I was wearing a mask.
Yoga and the Doorman
I arrived in America and immediately looked for the toilet seat covers when I went to the bathroom at the airport. Not because I wanted to use one, but because I wanted to remind myself that I have a greater perspective-- more so than any normal person my age, or any age for that matter-- toilet seat covers are a 'thing' in America, I know.
I went to yoga this morning. I arrived early. I was more aware this morning that every girl walking through the door with a yoga mat looked the same. The way they act makes them look the same. More of the same. They all dress the same. Even the edgy ones. I regularly comment on this in my head, but was hyper critical in this observation of others this morning.
Probably because there was a doorman who let me, and all the other people coming in that morning, that was black. I was instantly aware he was doomed to do nothing but observe the deemed rich white yoga mat women walk in. And then come out an hour later drenched in sweat (it was hot yoga). In dry out wet. Forced to observe his differentness and their differentness to him. And naturally he would criticise it. And be allowed to do so.
I went to the bathroom and looked for the toilet seat covers. I hadn’t consciously done so since my first few days. But I did this morning. There weren't any. Almost as if “everyone is pure and clean in this space” was being used as an excuse to not have to deal with toilet seat covers.
I had hoped the doorman would notice I was drinking a coffee from McDonald's. In hindsight, it was that I would have liked him to see I had bought it from the McDonald's directly next door. Which, seemingly, only ever contains homeless people and people that are not white.
And he would clearly deduce I had gotten it from that McDonalds because it was steaming hot as I walked through the door.
What others are thinking
I saw a film on Sunday night. The fact that I was sitting one person away from a beautiful male made the film more jarring. He has the brightest skin and the highest cheekbones and the sharpest jaw line. The light from the screen bounced off of each edge and was thrown back in the screen’s face. He is very thin though. But he’s tall.
At almost every turn I was having heart palpitations. Dead naked bodies on a red sofa transitioned to naked bodies on a red bed. Red, my favourite colour. There were fluorescent lights and LA lights and cowboy hats and the middle of nowhere and gold clothes. There was a score that played with my insides; the heartbeats that came from the speakers actually licked my own.
He mentioned the heartbeats after it was over and we were standing outside in the cold. He said it was the best scene.
‘Why don’t more people do that in film?’
‘I know it’s such a simple concept’
‘No it’s not simple, it’s powerful’
‘Exactly it’s so simple and that’s what’s so powerful.’
I felt dazed afterwards; especially as he hadn't even been able to look me in the eye when we said goodbye. I watched him give our friend a sloppy but cleanly done kiss quite close to the lips. I thought, what is he thinking as he is about to give me a version of this. Mine was very much on the cheek. He was uncomfortable. Or I felt he was. Just as uncomfortable when our friend left for her car and we were left together. Or I felt he was. I was searching for the tube station on my phone and he was sorting out his music for his upcoming cycle home. He said… well I can’t even remember what he said but it was a bye. He didn't look at me.
I walked and I started crying. I can never know what anyone is thinking.
My boss was rude to me in the office yesterday. He is supposedly dealing with family whatever. But this is not how it is. He is rude because he is the boss man and thus has the power to be rude. His justifications for being rude, his “problems at home,” are meant to distract from his real motivations of being rude. Which are that he is the boss man.
I have learned that through falling into this role. I know what he is thinking.
Anyway yesterday he was rude, condescending. I hate working in Events and you’re unclear you moron. How am I supposed to know that your request for a room with greater capacity than 200 means that the reception will be for exactly 200 and then the dinner will be for a capacity greater than 200? So no you don't have to take me to the separate room with my notebook to explain your Christmas drinks Event. Just tell me clearly the first time. In the office. No, you're not being kind, you’re being condescending. Don't try to show the others in the office that you’re thinking of my wellbeing and ability to understand.
Because you're not actually thinking that.
Getting off the plane I found it even sweeter-- the men going in for the hi-five-clasp-hug and speaking their language to each other.
As I approached the three men in the booth, I found the interaction in the small space even more romantic than I usually would have. More romantic than usual because of "the situation." And there was no way I was going to ignore it as I might have in the past, "normally." When I might have been showing that I as well had to get through all these people, showing that I was a knows-what-they're-doing, resourceful one.
When I exited the terminal out onto the airport tarmac pick up drop off circular it was completely empty, as expected. As in line with the rest.
I saw the sign for taxis and seeing no taxis or signs of in that direction, I looked elsewhere. I saw little green lights and went to them, in the opposite direction of the signs. I'm resourceful I thought to myself again.
As I approached the taxi in the opposite direction, I was even more bewildered by the fact that I spoke absolutely no French or understood absolutely none of it. More so that if I had been in Saudi Arabia not knowing anything of Arabic or in Nepal and not knowing anything of Nepalese. I learned 'marche' when the taxi driver then said walk.
Having left the UK young, I was familiar with none, as would be expected from an English speaker, an English speaker with an English accent (i.e. "Europe" implied).
He told me number one, walk to the number one. I was being told he wasn't the number one, as I had so cleverly sorted out moments before.
So there was nothing else for me to do but trek back in the direction of the arrows that the word 'taxis' was next to.
A Brief Encounter
A brief encounter, the film. About a brief encounter which came from a brief encounter.
We had a brief encounter. I didn't know anything about him and I didn't for a whole week. That was how long they waited to see each other in the film as well, a week. They met on thursdays, we meet on tuesdays.
Last year’s brief encounter, Bertie, had never walked me to my platform. I always walked him to his. Yet he had invited me to stay at his on our first date— purely out of a ‘means to an end,’ he indirectly assured me.
This year’s brief encounter, Will, walked me across the bridge to my station even though he didn't need to. He walked me to that station the week afterwards as well, though it was farther away than the one we passed. He hasn't invited me to his house.
When I left them, I did walk on air, I did not care what others thought around me. I did need time to think. That’s what she says in the film. How does this span decades? And not just in consistency but consistency over developments in technology. Trains, platforms, thinking, imagining in different places, being silly.
We were in a fight. Or at least i felt we were. She had been mean to me. Or i felt she had. And i didnt want to speak to her. In hopes that she would realise her mistake. But i knew she wouldnt. And for that whole day following, our difference had been revealed
I had a dream about you last night
I had a (motherfucking) dream
It’s happened before
But this time it’s September
The mindfulness reader self help man told me it would happen for me in September
I’ve felt disgusting, though
So I’ve come away for a quick fix with the sun
To get a tan, to detox (hate that word)
Because it’s September and it will happen in September
In August, I had had a feeling about white reeboks
So I had asked you
And you said you were wearing white reeboks these days
That was just in August
So you must be wearing white Reeboks still, as it’s only September
Could (can) you be Loved? Bob Marley asks me over the speakers
And yes, the answer is, yes
I can be.
After I get a tan and detox
what is it to be stupid?
Is stupid understanding that you and another are playing each other for your own benefits, yet going along with it anyway? Because that does not make life fun. it makes it shit. that is stupid, making your life shit.
or is stupidity being ignorant of the games in the first place?
It would seem as though you have to be very confident to have sex. Such an exposing thing.
But then how do so many people in the world having so much casual sex? are even the most timid people actually fucking confident because they fuck?
last night was the first time I got drunk because i wanted to get out of it. i am even more in it today.
so I stepped out onto the street of chirping birds and soft hazey sun to go to Sainsburys to do my shopping.
Yoga and sex
I was looking up at the fluorescent lights, square box ones that are in schools. The square boxes and the grey ceiling with popped bubbles all over it was what I was staring at. Hardly emotional but maybe that’s why it was more emotional. The sheer fact that I felt like a romantic in the most unromantic setting. It was actually quite cold and I could already feel that my back would be stiff tomorrow. I felt fragile. I was fragile against those harsh lights, the stern ceiling, the air-conditioned room and every time I moved out of a pose breathing would increase and the area around my pelvis felt well, fragile. This is how films visualise sex really. Heavy breathing, fragile curvy pelvis-s. Probably because I haven't experienced it in a film-like way, when my body was mimicking how I have pictured it, I realise how I lack it whilst others have it. Sometimes I have an orgasm while I’m sleeping. Like last night I did. After yoga. It’s actually hilarious to put that on paper.
Un Hombre con Grande Hombros
un sentimiento de miedo
un hombre con hombros grande y sentimiento de miedo en mis ojos
Large hombros create that flat plane with which to nestle your face. In its most purest intention, how scary how wonderful it feels. How beautiful to have access to that everyday.
Closeness is required for everyday access to such a plane, to such beauty.
So how does one attain something one finds so profoundly beautiful. As profound beauty is novelty, not usual. Because its novelty reinforces fear, fear that it will always remain a novelty.
INTENTION OR DIE. CONVICTION OR BUST.
a broken heart implies that there was someone that broke it, someone that is outside of where the heart is housed. But in my experience of broken heart, there hasn't been another person to break it. sometimes i wish I had a breaker other than myself. I wish I had experienced a broken heart in the way that is immediately thought.
The ball was in an old barn, with the lights strung up. There was lots of dust though and towards the end people complained of sore throats. Especially my partner for the third dance, Richard.
I had seen Richard on the train hours earlier.
The first glance I got of him was his suede boot sticking out in the aisle— I had to step over it on my way to get a coffee. My eyes followed up from his boot along his long leg to his green-and-maroon-checked-on-cream shirt. He spoke and said, “oh, right, of course.” The predictably was intriguing. He moved his leg so I could pass. On my way back I made sure to hold my, ‘where have you bean my whole life’ cup in my left hand so he might see the gold ring on my little finger. I hoped my predictability would be intriguing.
At the bus stop at the destination station, I waited, wearing my high tops and red coat, holding my suit carrier, and sport(y) backpack. I must be intriguing to him. He got on the bus with me, carrying his suit carrier and wearing his beautifully curly hair. He really was tall.
When we got to the town centre, I saw my friend Henry and ran to gave him a hug. Richard didn't greet the person I knew. A disappointment. I will have to drunkenly tell him at the ball that we shared the same train. He would say oh yes I loved your red coat.
Henry and I got to his flat. ‘Everyone’ as Henry told me was sitting in the sitting room. ‘Everyone’ was predictable but not intriguing. I said hello I’m Flora. Maxim said, “red, what a statement.” I said, “it’s my favourite colour.” I put my things down in the bedroom. I moved back to the sitting room.
Ah I didn't see Jasper there.
“Hello, Jasper, how is university?”…“Yes, I really do miss it.”….
“No I’m in London now actually.” Jasper said “Oh I see” Then he said “Oh, there’s the door” and left.
Then he said “Richard!”
I turned to talk to Ned and Alasdair who both wore glasses. Purpose-built glasses.
Richard stood by the cheese board. I went over to open the smoked salmon.
Hello, I’m Flora.
Hello, I’m Richard.
And there it was— his singular, perfect…….. ear piercing.
give me lots of salt or give me none at all.
My favourite place
My favourite place is somewhere between home and away
England or Scotland-- no its English
Incredulously self conscience. skewed understanding of my motivations for saying things or not saying things. Am I saying this for them. Or would I say this anyway.
It’s because they’re English, posh English, that this questioning comes. Papa was posh English, posh English. Papa was boisterous, loud, hilarious, didn’t care. He went on holiday with the them. He had great chat, didn’t care if they liked him back. Or did he actually. In his twenties maybe he did so then was it in his 50s was when he truly didn’t care? The only stories I hear of are about when he was in his twenties and he dated whoever's mum and a double barrelled whoever. He always had those people at his disposal. They knew him from the beginning— he didn't have to prove himself. He had been shoved in the nursery with them whilst the parents were downstairs.
You have to come off as not caring, to be liked, but actually I really do care because I want to go on holiday with them. To themed dinner parties. To their house in the country. Because I want to be English. Scottish English. Papa was English, Scottish English.