It is dawn again. Dawn in the desert. The smell of the earth and the dew. The sounds of the chirruping birds.
The pervasive silence of the long black night coming to an end.
The days get hotter and hotter. The sun beating down relentlessly. The lawn toasting, the dogs roasting, the mountain tightens around us as it bakes.
Coffee, editing, read the daily news. It sure looks bad in Syria.
We cruise down to the beach and play in the surf. We are tangled at night in the white linen sheets. We read side by side in silence. A familiar smell, a beating heart, the man I want but do not need.
He asks what we are. Nothing. We are nothing, I say. He struggles with ‘what it means’ to love another man.
My struggle is over. I am too old to give love a second chance.
He sees me thinking. He will read this and tell me to talk to him as if talking will solve everything. Just shut up and make love to me. Stop asking me what it means. Don’t expect me to know anything. Work it out yourself.
I don’t really care.
For all the terrible, meaningless cruelty I am still besotted with him. And, like the parent of a missing child, I wonder daily about his safety. Even though he is undeserving of my worry and considers my concern an intrusion..
I continue to fret about him, however violently I have tried to expunge the memory.
I am mostly happy. I know you don’t believe me. I know that you think I am lying to you about my happiness.
Well, if you could see me… if you were the one laying beside me… you would understand.
Island Wall. The tiny cottage there. It was enough. It was perfect.
Now I lay my head down and it is enough.
Perhaps, you say, you could be happier? How much happier?
Facelifts, apparently, make women happier.
Then I realize that you are confusing your own thoughts about getting older with what you think happiness is. How can anyone be that old and be happy? How can anyone have so little and be happy?
Then, you try convincing me that I should want to be young again. Forgetting, of course, that I was never young. Always old. Always.
I have a spectacular ability to get on with what I have and be happy with it.
I don’t want more. Even in the jail. I found comfort. I found solace.
So, you think I am unhappy because you do not know what happiness is.
Could you imagine a happy person killing themselves? I could.
I had another dream about the DA. This time my thumb was in her mouth. She was sucking my thumb. Pressed down on her tongue. Like a calf. Her big brown eyes looking up at me.
I am writing my screenplay. Finishing it. I am enjoying a social life. I let the man beside me massage my neck.
I understand that I am in love with struggle. Struggle is sustenance. It feeds me everything I need to live. I am alive when I fight to survive. I am alive when I feel myself emerge victorious. Even though you could not imagine what I experience as victory.
I dream that I am walking by my primary school in Whitstable. The black, tarmac playground is always empty. The lawn is green. The classrooms, I assume, are full.
I remember the boy who ate coal, the butcher’s son. He looked like a pink pig. Fat, pink, bespectacled. He drowned you know. You knew that… didn’t you? When he couldn’t take it anymore.
Hush, the babies are sleeping, the farmers, the fishers, the tradesmen and pensioners, cobbler, schoolteacher, postman and publican, the undertaker and the fancy woman, drunkard, dressmaker, preacher, policeman, the webfoot cocklewomen and the tidy wives.
Young girls lie bedded soft or glide in their dreams, with rings and trousseaux, bridesmaided by glow-worms down the aisles of the organplaying wood. The boys are dreaming wicked or of the bucking ranches of the night and the jollyrogered sea.
And the anthracite statues of the horses sleep in the fields, and the cows in the byres, and the dogs in the wet-nosed yards; and the cats nap in the slant corners or lope sly, streaking and needling, on the one cloud of the roofs.