a confessional piece I have been working on.
He had always reminded me of Thor- If Thor had been a pissed up Manc with a fag on, wearing an adidas jacket and a half smile, unabashed and all consuming, a confusing tumult of quiet stoicism and good humour, ease, and anger at a world that had written him off. He shone in all his unedited brilliance, a loud parody of a parody, symbiosis of all that was good and kind and crude. We first met drunk, Young, full to the brim with expectations for 3 years of distinction. Alcohol was to be a running theme throughout this time and those short moments we shared together, were never fixed, but suspended delicately, infinitely breakable, fragile, mesmerizing.
The first words He said to me was that I had the biggest tits He had ever seen. The second? That He had just been in a fight. He would later tell me that He was scared of the passing of time, of growing old, of life and its innumerable complexities, of being left behind, alone. But, in that moment, I smiled faintly, laughed at His complement. He captivated me.
He was vacant. Often vacant and when I’d see Him sober, the words would not come out, we both struggled to make them flow, it were as if mine were clinging tightly to my vocal cords for fear of judgment, or being put on trial, and His were dancing on the tip of His tongue, caught in the tide, only to be crushed to death mercilessly against his teeth. He was awkward, even shy, hulking. His voice broad, rumbling like the infernal sound of the industry that had shaped His hometown, the factory, the mine, the mill.
But as soon as the alcohol coursed our veins He would loudly declare that He was the king of the North West and I his queen, with His arms draped around my shoulders, my waist. He would laugh and sing into the night. There was little not discussed then, except us, and that was fine by me, as we were both too stubborn to take that leap into the unknown.
Sometimes, He repulsed me, we wouldn’t talk for days. Sometimes we would be up all night, sinking deeper and deeper into each other, only the multifarious Gods would know which would be the fate of that week. Sobriety meant texting, countless messages, the sonnets of our generation. hours, days, weeks even months passed, drowned in whiskey, rum, carling and confessions. The feelings came at this point. it was not just silly, fickle attraction, lust or desire. No. The myriad of feelings were unexplainable, sometimes painful, headache inducing, sickening even and absolutely technicolour.
Flash forward. The scene changes, picture Him sat on my sofa drinking gin from the bottle at 3am, smirking at me in the half light. He looked away, swaying, nearly swaying off the seat, far too drunk to see or act or think straight.
‘I like you’
He murmured, swigging deep from the bottle. A pause.
The blood rushed to my head, those three little words were more powerful than the two litres of cider and whiskey that festered in my belly. They shattered the ceiling, the walls and made all crash down around me.
It was at this point the words escaped me. ‘I’ve never even been kissed’ I declared, rendered stupid from His admission.
‘I could give you a lickle kiss if you like, I could be your first’ He replied, barely a whisper in the night.
We moved closer, I shook, too scared to touch His lips with mine, to let Him in, to show Him my core vulnerability. A millisecond passed. We barely touched, fear had taken hold. He smiled at me again, ruffled my hair and called me a stella lass, taking another swig from the bottle.
The night faded.
Flash forward, through tears and rash life decisions, and I was stood in a stupid outfit, with a stupid haircut, attempting conformity, respectability. Pale skin, a false smile, black on black.
‘You scrub up well’
That familiar Manc drawl ruptured the silence around me.
A couple of smiles, laughter. I met his mother, pleasantries, about 15 minutes worth to be precise and then I found my seat.
When I look back at graduation now, It was a blur, but in that moment, when He took to the stage to collect His degree, His face flashed with an intensity of burning pride, and any fears to which He had held merely vanished,
He was beautiful.
We parted then. I wished Him all the best, and all of those small meetings fuelled by chance not circumstance whirled savagely, and fell, never to flourish again, the gossamer thread that held them in place snapped, they shattered. Light danced across the shards.
I think about Him often, and if we shall meet again, all I know is that somewhere in the North West , There is a street soaked in Piss, Blood, Sick and Tears that would only remind me of Him, where I would stand, and watch a pair of alcoholics raging into the night.