Euro Whore

Sitting on the bonnet of Someone’s car, talking to Her like we used to, not even noticing that we’d been there for two hours and She still hadn’t given me the key, I realised something: I’m a complete an utter Eurowhore.

For a good thirty minutes, we spoke about nothing but cars – almost extensively European. We spoke about the Ferrari She’d sat next to in traffic, admiring the way it’s engine note rebounded off the vehicles around Her. Moments later, it drove by us, blinding us with its gorgeous lights. I’ve photographed that car so many times, I’m surprised he still drives by my house.

I told Her about the Rolls Royce Ghost I see at work and the smug driver. We talked about the Mercedes G55 AMG and how sensual that engine sounds, and discussed in detail what straight six turbo could be blasting past my house every afternoon.

I also told Her I still love Her.

I told her about the Danish girl (who’ll get annoyed if I call her Dutch) and how Someone seems almost sane in comparison. She told me about Her new hangout. I got annoyed that She spends time there, but never spent time with me.

She told me She thought She was happier where She is now. I told her I am happier single. I told Her and She told me how nice it was to not say “I’ve just seen such and such and I’m going here now” and we both said how much we missed getting those texts. I told Her I missed Her annoying “Hey hun how is work?” texts and how I checked for them every half an hour. She told me She missed having someone to call at 2 in the morning.

We both agreed we dated too soon. We both agreed breaking up was a good idea. And I think we both cried once we said goodbye.

I told her how drunk I got; She told me how sober She stayed. I told Her how sorry I was for the things I said; She said it’s ok, but She can’t get my voice out of Her head.

I will fall in love again – often, repetitively, with broken European girls. Hopefully, I will grow. Hopefully, I’ll learn to love myself first. To soothe myself first. To not need someone to care for me, but to care for myself.

And I’m going to hold on to Her. Because the fights were epic and the conversations eternal, the sex was magic and the love was open, and there’s a part of me I’m locking away that says “I belong to Someone” and that won’t change.

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I’m ok

It took me 10 minutes to pile all of her things on one side of the room, ready for her to pickup. I didn’t feel a thing. There was nothing as I picked up her collection of perfumes and nail polishes, nothing as I piled up her books,nothing as I took down her clothes. I knew she wouldn’t take long to get here. Once she was here, she could take her stuff and be gone. Out of my life. Nothing left. Just me – free.

For some reason, I couldn’t quite read the words on the cds. I couldn’t work out which where hers and which where mine. I just kinda stared at them, trying to classify them – if they’re about cars or movies that make me cry, they’re mine, otherwise hers. But I couldn’t remember which ones made me cry.

She arrived whilst I was still bent over them. And she just kinda stood in the room, staring at the growing pile of stuff in the corner. Her eyes sprung a leak.

It’s not like either of us have an easy life. It’s not like either of us is worse off than the other. It’s not like either of us is not giving their all.

But there is so much fucking anger inside of me, I’m struggling to forgive. I’m struggling to see another side of the picture. All I see is my view, and my view is all that matters. Everything else is an excuse, a reason to not love me, a reason to not want me.

It’s so hard to keep trying when you feel you’ve given your all, and the only thing left is your anger and you don’t want to share that at all.

Her stuff’s back where it belongs now. It stayed sitting in the corner for a day. It made my room lonely. Where before there’d been little essences of femininity, there were now simply stark walls. So I returned it all from where it came, I replaced those touches that sparked off memories and thoughts and good ideas and my room is mine again.

Am I happy?

No.

Every day is the same day with different spelling. Every day, the same patterns, hopes, dismays, dreams and anger blaze through. I’m slowly being crushed under a weight I can’t hold.

I’m not fucking giving up. God no.

There is no going back. There is no “it get’s easier.” It fucking doesn’t. don’t fucking lie, it never gets easier! It only ever gets harder, there’s always more to add on, there’s always more to do, there is no quick fix, there is no point, there is no attainable dream.

The only options are to give up or to get stronger. Stronger and stronger, till what was heavy is light and light is unnoticeable. Stronger, until what took everything takes nothing and smiles are easy once more. Just keep fighting, keep pushing, keep holding on. The only easy way out is death, and that comes eventually so I may as well keep holding.

I don’t know if it’ll be enough. I don’t know if I can make it through. But I’m going to try. Though it hurts and every part of me is telling me not to, is asking what’s the point, I’m going to try. Just in case I can.

Autumn Dyes

Chef was nice. I’m talking about a movie by the way. A movie about a chef, surprisingly. It has the worst starting dialogue in a movie ever. I was considering falling asleep when I heard it. Then it ended. So I stayed awake.

I was glad.

It is – quite simply – the story of a chef who quits his job to do what he loves. And that’s pretty much it. There was no conflict. There was no critical point. It was simply the story of someone who gave not a shit about money, did what they loved and accepted help from those who offered. It was the story of being genuine.

It was the absolute perfect antithesis to a tumultuous weekend.

Nothing in particular went wrong. There were just things. Little, insignificant, immemorable moments that – on the face – seemed positively average, yet added up to a desecrating anger.

Anger is often described as a fire, as something hot that burns or smoulders. It feels more like a stone to me. A sharp, heavy boulder that weighs everything down. I scream and pound it with all the energy I possess in a futile attempt to budge it and it simply remains, holding me down. Immovable.

For the last month, it’s been ever present. And every time a stress or complication adds to this ginormous weight I flail uselessly against it, daring it to stay, begging it to move, crying for it to disintegrate. It simply remains.

And I don’t know what happened last night. But something in that simple movie chipped a little sliver off that mountain and it dipped infinitesimally in weight. It was just that little bit lighter. Something cracked, something fell and I suddenly realised that, actually, it’s going to be ok.

I love winter. If I could choose for every day to be one season, I’d choose the fractured skies and broken temperatures of winter. I’d choose stark trees and warm jackets and fires in the early dark. I’d choose the answer “Brr, cold” to the polite asking “how are you?”

But Autumn is my absolute favourite.That sensual little nip in the air, the abundance of sweating scarfs and the burning trees. It is beautiful because it is fleeting: everything is but a promise of what is to come. The scene before me will not repeat for a year. Tomorrow is completely different from today.

I know everything will be ok because today I stopped as I walked and stared at the burgundy fire that fed upon a tree. And though the dog pulled in the direction of tantalizing smells, though people hit the grass to walk past, I stayed and stared and I smiled. I hadn’t quite noticed it’s autumn. I hadn’t quite noticed the fleeting beauty around me. I hadn’t quite noticed just how lucky it is to be me.

Entered Title Here.

It’s the softer words that strike me the hardest. The hidden meanings too. The words behind the meanings behind the squiggled lines of pen.

I’m struggling to write.

It’s not a block; it’s the problem of choice. There are so many options – so many words to write, so many stories to tell, so many feelings to deal with, so many things to do….just….so many.

I’m floundering in sea-sized waves. I don’t know where to turn. What to do first. How to even start.

This is so hard.

I’m not for a moment going to pretend it’s nothing but hard. Some moments are fucking awesome. I’m still laughing, still smiling, still finding joy. They’re just tinged with a guilty sadness.

Guilt is such an easy word to malign and misunderstand. I’ve been told so many times that it’s not my fault, I shouldn’t feel guilty. But that completely ignores what I mean.

My father is in jail. Not a sentence I’d have thought myself stating honestly. But he is. I don’t feel guilty for him being there: whilst his intentions were inadequately pure, his actions were stupid, counterproductive and harmful. I felt fury when he claimed he’d done it “all for us”. Because I never asked him too. But I apportion no blame at me or my family. The fault is solely his. Forgiveness was mine.

I don’t feel guilty for decisions that keep me at home supporting and stressing. If I’d have left, the only thing I’d have learnt is that I should have stayed. It frustrates me, it annoys me. But it keeps me dreaming. It keeps me hoping. Because it’s just one more year. And that’s exciting. I have no idea what will happen. But simply being free of obligations to myself, to be proud of standing by the people who matter most…that’s exciting.

No, I don’t feel guilty of my dad’s crime. I don’t feel guilty over my feelings toward him.

I feel guilty because my sadness overwhelms me.  Because, seriously, it’s not like he’s dead or anything. He’ll be out soon, really. And all I have to deal with are life things. They’re not that difficult, it’s all manageable. Other people manage it everyday. I have all the ability and skill to do all of these things – there’s absolutely no reason why I should find it all so hard.

Right?

It really is just like drowning.

Indescribable

The car trip felt inescapably long.

I sat in the back, tensely watching traffic. We couldn’t be late. I wondered if we had enough time – I didn’t want us to get there too early, waiting was not an option. I surreptitiously withdrew my phone, patiently feeding it information, agonising over its delays as I waited for it to tell me how long the trip would take. I tried to keep it quiet in the deathly silent car.

“Head East.” said my phone, the strong, feminine voice making all four of us jump.

The silence broken, people rushed to fill it. And they aimed their questions at me.

I couldn’t cope with it. I was unravelling, these questions were inane, irrelevant, I couldn’t handle them. My answers were snapped off, my tolerance extended by the situation we sat in. Eventually, the silence returned.

We arrived early.

We filtered out of the two cars, one member at a time. We stood for a fragile moment in the dirt-packed car park, and then strode off.

Dad lead – fitting given the scenario. He held mom’s hand. He wore his darkly handsome suit.

My sister, her boyfriend supporting at a brief distance followed.

Me and my brother dragged out the rear.

Shame simply flooded me. Given our location, our dress, the way we walked, every person who passed us by knew where we were going. I dared not look for the condemnation in their eyes – I was too scared of finding compassion.

We marched down the road, stopping only to wait for the traffic light. As we waited for the little red man to change his mind, as other marchers ignored him and simply walked by, as police officers broke stride only to check for cars, I realised how ironically legal our waiting was.

He changed. We walked. We turned right and marched quickly into Manukau District Court.

We found a computer screen with the fifth page of today’s court displayed. We surveyed the waiting data, finding it wanting, and waited patiently for it to change. Page one flickered into being, A brief perusal revealing yet more wasteful data.

An indefinable amount of time passed. The screen flickered again. Eagerly, our eyes rasped across the names, disappointment and frustration dulling our senses. We waited. Finally, screen three, and there, a third of the way down, our surname, dad’s name. Court Room 8.

The simple signs dictated our direction. As one, the six of us turned and headed for the stairs.

My steps rang through the vacant foyer, every second step muffled. Petrified of setting off the metal detector, I’d removed a safety-pin that had hiked the hem of my jeans off the ground. Now, the hem frayed beneath my left leg, stifling the loud clap of shoe on tile.

With each step, a small realisation whispered through me.

Whatever happened, whatever came today, I couldn’t – wouldn’t – face it with my head aimed at the ground. Doubtless, I’d cry. Doubtless, emotions would fail to be described. I couldn’t change that. But what I could change was how I stood. Was how I looked. Was how I strode.

I raised my head and rolled my shoulders, a familiar strut sliding into my steps. I straightened my lips and unclenched my fists and looked at the five people around me.

We’re all so beautifully weak.

Cracked lines of support run from member to member; a little glance here, a touch there, a sniff here, a smile there. Little ways of letting each other know “I feel it too.”

We settled onto benches beside the court room doors. And began to wait.

The sentencing was supposed to start at 9. For reasons known best as “technicalities”, it was delayed till ten. For just short of an hour, we sat on those seats and watched as the court-house filled up around us.

People passed in varying states of dress, decorum and drunkenness, the first and last seemingly synonymous. We watched in complete befuddlement as a squat little lawyer of a man stumbled by, following an ellipse only he could see as he muttered loudly about how no one ever bothered to tell him where he was meant to be. He stumbled haphazardly into a court room, then burst back out, cavorting toward some other, distant room, his mutterings profane.

Police officers bedecked in smartly useless suits appeared and huddled, forcing laughter as nervousness showed. I don’t know what they were doing, but some were young, barely new recruits. They seemed more scared than me. Lawyers dazzled by, proclaiming loudly for their customers or targets, disappearing in a swirl of black tails. An official stumped up and down the path, demanding tetchily that people remove caps and glasses.

We talked. I don’t know how, but we talked and we laughed and we turned that time from treacle to honey as it oozed by. And finally, he was summoned.

We wouldn’t have stood faster if lightning the chairs. We convened by the doors, and he turned with reddened eyes and grabbed us one by one for a hug “Just in case.”

With each hug, he left words and imprints. Mom. Sister. Me.

“Stay strong. Look after them for me.”

And I let go. A rush of anger, of hatred, of selfishness, of remembered words, of broken spirits, of defiance, of loss, of pain, of acceptance blazed through me and I turned away, knowing my mouth contorted out of sight. Why must I pay for the crimes you commit? What about me?

We walk in to a scene vaguely reminiscent of tv.

We take our seats. On the other side sit the victim and his lawyer.

My dad is angry with him. Blames him for what happened. But I’ve read his victim impact statement. I’ve stolen glances at documents secreted away. I know where blame solely lies. And I feel so sorry for him.

I’ve imagined over the past few nights what would happen when I see him. Loyalty might seem to demand aggression, a belief that his actions caused us to be here. Whilst true, his actions are a reaction. He hasn’t done this against us. He’s done this for him. And given what dad has put him through, I cannot blame him.

And as I watch his reflection in the corner of my eye, I know that I want to tell him I’m sorry. Whatever happens, I want to talk to him and tell him I am so, so, so sorry for what dad has done.

And here begins the sentencing.

God it’s tedious. TV series imply that lawyers are eloquent, smart, dazzling and loud. But this one ums more than stutterers in the rain, engages in silences that I swear are meditations and unambiguously details the fraud my father committed. He lays out, in no uncertain terms, the states legal response: for a crime of this nature: 4 to 5 years. Finally he sits down.

And now, our rebuff. A rebuff that is more hesitant, a rebuff that screws up one vital and meaningless fact, a rebuff that pleads “look not at the crime, but the bigger picture.” And he too sits down.

Behind him, before us, in his smart black suits, my father stands. He does not shake. His left hand clenches and relaxes, I see a twitch race down his right arm. Beside me, my mother sniffs, tears breaking free. I’m crying too.

The judge is a kind looking man. Headmaster, perhaps, of an old English Christian boarding house. He shuffles papers and with a posh lilt I can’t place, begins to summarise.

I don’t want to listen, I want it to be over – please let it be over, I’m so tired of waiting, I’m so tired of delays, I’m so tired of not knowing, I’m so tired of this purgatory, I’m so tired of feeling guilty for something I didn’t do – but once it’s over it can’t be changed, until it’s said anything is possible, please don’t end, keep talking, so long as you talk my father is free.

“…and, in accordance with what the Appeal Court has decided in similar cases, I must sentence you to prison. As [first lawyer] says, this should be a term of four to five years…”

Before him, the judges aid scrambles for her phone. I can’t watch. Her low voice murmurs across the room. She hangs up. A few seconds pass as the judge details what reductions he can make. There’s the sound of running footsteps, a key scraping a lock, and a door is flung open.

A policewoman bursts through. I can’t bear to look, but my soaking eyes are drawn. She is pretty. She glances rapidly around, surmises the situation and realises she disturbed the peace. Mortification reddens her face and she sinks into a seat, the handcuffs clinking merrily.

“…and so I sentence you to three years and eight months imprisonment.”

The rest is just noise.

I rise as requested. My father turns and looks my mother in the eyes and mouths “I’m sorry.” And all I can think is “I love you.”

Somehow, we’re downstairs. We’re waiting for the lawyer. We’re all crying, we’re all shocked, we’re all broken. I look up the stairs and I see the victim, laughing with his lawyer. Hot, unfair rage floods me and i blink it away. I need to talk to him. I need to say sorry.

But I need to phone Someone first. Sick and fevered, she couldn’t be with us in more than thought. I walk out to the atrium, gulping fresh air. I tap on my phone, Her blurred name appearing. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a handshake and a body move toward the stairs. I press her name and my phone freezes. Angrily, I tap it again. He’s coming down the stairs quickly, and my phone won’t connect, it won’t let me select Her name, come on you stupid thing I need to tell Her but fuck I need to talk to him.

I take a step toward the doors he’s about to walk through, my focus still on my phone, but what do I say what if he’s angry with me what if he blames me No I can’t I can’t risk it I’ll talk to him another day I need to phone Someone I need her right now and this stupid fucking phone won’t fucking connect and his hand is on my shoulder.

“Gareth, I…”

I don’t know what he said. I honestly do not recall it. But compassion, pain, sorrow, support blazed out of his eyes and I was humbled by this man, by this man whose wife cooked us macaroni cheese and pretended to ignore me as I surreptitiously moved my least favourite meal out of my way, who gave my dad a job on just one interview, who would come and talk to me when I visited dad at work, who made dad go home when he worked too late, this man who has been completely ruined by my father is making sure that I’m ok.

I gather my wits. I take in a breath as I see my mom stand and head toward us. I hold out my hand and I apologise for what my dad has done. I tell him how sorry I am. And then mom is there, and she’s repeating me, and he’s hugging her, and telling her how the people who knew her are thinking of her and are there to support her.

And then he is gone.

I turn and look back at my phone. My favourite name is highlighted. Finally, it calls her. It rings. I walk to a pillar. It rings again. My eyes have a puncture. It rings again. My body is shaking. It rings again. I lean against the pillar. She answers.

And I can’t say a single thing.

Superficially Waiting

“Don’t be sad.” She said, pulling her skirt straight. I shuffled over and She cuddled down on the edge of the bed. “I want you to have a happy day.”

I love shoes.

Last night, She wore heels to heaven with crystalised blue and purple dancing amidst bold black. They stretched Her frame to the star and made Her body sway as we waltzed the streets, Her dress a melodious expansion.

I don’t care how I looked; She looked amazing and everyone stared. Sad Fuckers.

We’re mean. We criticise everybody we see.

“Oh My God, what the fuck is she thinking?”

“Don’t you wanna just walk up behind her and…unclip it? Like, what’s the point?”

“He’d be cute if he wasn’t smoking. And wearing different clothes. But I love his shoes.”

“Is he seriously going to town in…those?”

“Those are pretty dresses.” “Yeah, but they’re on the wrong women.”

I think we might be a little superficial.

Superficial is good. Superficial is easy. I love superficial things. Clothes are superficial. Shoes are superficial. Wine and whisky are superficial. Maths is superfical.

They’re so easy to deal with. There’s nothing really to them. We pretend there is – we add so much meaning, but it’s just shadow and light, taste and quality. There’s a specific sort of complex beauty in superficial things, an appreciable beauty, a beauty that seldom causes friction, a share-able beauty.

Love isn’t superficial. Love complicates things.

I lay last night with Her wrapped in my arms and – as she snored unsoftly in my ear – I wished and longed for the night to never end. To just be there. To be cuddled close with the covers heating and the facades gone, to be raw and human and completely simple. She wore no make-up and a too large tshirt and she snored and stole blankets and she’s never been more beautiful.

I drifted asleep.

I woke, and I couldn’t help being sad, for the night had ended and I hadn’t watched it go by.

There will be another night. Another time. Another moment perhaps where I grumble blanketless, or cover ears with pillows, or sleep on the edge. Another night where I sleep so peacefully, or wake so rested. It will come, it will be here.

Just like everything else. This will change. That will get better. Those things will end. This stage too will pass. I’ll get through it. It’ll be easier then. Just one more step.

I know that. I believe it completely.

I’m just so tired of waiting.

Sex Matters

Apparently, men think about sex every seven seconds.

Personally, I think this is because women think twice as fast as men. But I may be wrong.

Regardless of how often we think about it, I haven’t had sex in four weeks and two days. I could give the hours but that would be a bit…pedantic.

This is not through lack of trying. I’ve got this gorgeously sexy, ex-gymnast Russian girlfriend with looks to cause a Trojan war.

I’m adequately interested.

The issue? Simple really.

She’s not.

(I’m not blaming, I’m not demanding, I’m not feeling entitled. I’m simply stating, because if I can’t state the facts, it’s impossible for me to deal with the repercussions.)

Given the amount of fucked-up-ness in Her head (No, she doesn’t get any sympathy. Just support and love for every part of her) I accept entirely where she’s coming from. And I’ll help her work through it. But it has no impact on what I’m feeling.

There’s a belief that sex is dirty. It permeates everywhere. It’s cheapened by advertisement and used as an insult. It’s used as a distraction – I’m bored, therefore I watch porn. Visiting a strip club is considered exotic; being a stripper is considered low-level. We say “sex sells” but what we mean is “men buy from women”. Desirability is equated to sex to the point that a lesbian admiring a well-proportioned woman is considered acceptable. A straight guy doing the same is considered “pervy”.

Women are considered “odd” if they’re sexual; men, “dirty old men”. Neither are “partner potential”. It’s like it’s wrong to enjoy – or, god forbid, desire –  sex.

It becomes taboo. To the point we can’t talk about it. To the point that “gay” is an insult. To the point that “being gay” is only acceptable if it’s loud and brash and in your face. Where every movie and tv series has to show a gay couple to “keep with the times”. Yes it’s real. And yes I really do like it. But I wish it wasn’t so noticeable. I wish it was the norm instead of the new.

We have this innate desire to be desired. Not the object of an orgasm; to have someone be so comfortable with you they touch you and say “wow, your skin is so soft!” because every other sentence in their heads is “wow, they’re so…wow”.

Sex isn’t about orgasms. It’s about boobs and tummies and legs and thighs and cocks and pussies and bums and mouths and noses and fingers and feet and toes and arms and backs being completely irrelevant to the simple act of loving and being.

Cause there is so much more than just the physical. We define ourselves through our clothes and when they’re gone we’re just lumpy sacks of feeling. We’re so vulnerable. We’re trusting someone to let us in. We’re trusting to someone to come in. It takes a different sort of bravery to say “this is all I am, love me.”

People do treat sex as a conquest – though I think the conquest belongs to whom lets in, not who takes – and they treat it as a badge of honour. They can also buy it.

And then sex seems meaningless.

But it’s not. Because they’re not on about sex: they’re on about orgasms. The difference they’re missing? The emotion.

And that’s why I don’t blame Someone for the situation we’re in. It’s been 4 weeks and 2 days and it’s been hard because all I want in all the world is Her. But I want Her to want me to. Because I’m not after an orgasm. I’m after that deeper, better, fuller emotion, that little four letter word that leaves me breathless as I smile and say those three little words:

“Did you cum?”

Because the answer doesn’t matter. Because I know the stresses that enter Her life and I know the troubles that I face. I know what stress can do to you. I don’t ask for the answer. I ask so that we can talk. I ask because the barriers are down. I ask because those stress and troubles are too big to be faced alone.