This is an organised mess, I tell you.
I have a friend who is a bit of a city
I still have to do my best to get the best way to get the best way to get the best way to get the best way to the best way
Please note that the information you need to be a good person
I really do. I want to be a good person. I really do. I want to be a good person. I really do. I want to be a good person. I really do. I want to be a good person. I really do.
Have a look at the floor or the wall so I can think of other people and the sea was an inverted sky. Fell asleep on the couch to some of the pages of the World
Loneliness the same time - around 7
Today I am a beautiful person to person who is a bit of a city
Tomorrow is the best time to go to the one he uses for approval
Next Day delivery of the World
This morning, I saw a dead rat.
It was lying in the middle of the street.
At first I thought it was a dead squirrel. Squirrels are cuter even when they are dead. Its tail was too thin to be a squirrel and it was too big to be a mouse and when I walked past I saw it was definitely a rat. Rats aren’t that repulsive really. Splinter from TMNT was cool.
It looked like it was sleeping. It hadn’t been run over or anything so maybe it had had a heart attack and died in the middle of the road. Poor thing.
I carried on walking.
I came home at about 11pm.
It had rained during the day.
Walking up my street I looked out for the dead rat. I don’t know why I do that. I actively looked for it, even though I knew the sight would disgust me.
It was just where it had been. The rain had drenched it so its fur was matt and a careless driver had run a tyre over its face, crushing its brains and skull so it was altogether headless. A kaleidoscope of innards glinted under an orange streetlamp.
I walked on.
My friend books a study room from 2-3pm.
We want to be Community and form a French study group except actually work.
We enter the study room.
Someone has left their work lying everywhere.
‘Alex Double-Barrelled-Surname’ is scrawled on the top of some of the pages.
We subtly poke and leaf through their work and discover Alex is a biochemical engineering student.
We try to deduce whether Alex is a boy or a girl.
‘The handwriting is quite loopy. Alex is a girl.’
‘But Alex is studying engineering. Statistically speaking, there’s a bigger chance he’s a guy.’
‘Alex has Muji pens and is carrying a bag from Joy. She’s a girl.’
We dispute over Alex.
Finally someone resolves the situation by finding Alex’s Facebook profile.
The profile picture shows two guys at a party: one a beautiful man with a shirt open to his navel, the other with a false moustache the size of a baby albatross.
Another friend carries on stalking Alex.
‘Stop!’ I say. She does not stop. We all find out a lot about Alex and now we feel like he is an old friend.
‘This is creepy.’
‘No it’s not. But if we printed pictures of him and stuck it all over the walls and wore masks of his face and held little voodoo dolls in his likeness, that would be creepier.’
Finally we do some work in silence.
A man bursts into the room. It is the moustached man but without the moustache. ‘You booked this study room? I’ll just collect my stuff and leave, sorry.’
He packs up. I want to laugh but I squeeze my nose instead and think about dead bunnies to stop myself from laughing.
He leaves. Forever. Goodbye Alex.
A coffee cup lies on the table.
‘He left his coffee cup.’
yeah, let’s face it, we’re not that good-looking, nice voices, maybe, but no one wants to see our ugly mugs parading about on television. especially on those HD ones, man, every feckin’ pore on show
beautiful people have it so easy - as for us, we got to make up for our looks by having interesting personalities
I read that news story about a woman in China who’d had plastic surgery and married some rich guy, and when they had a baby, the man divorced her after he saw how incredibly ugly the baby was and found out his wife used to be ugly, so he sued her and won
I met a girl once who resembled a walrus and who was also incredibly dull. she had nothing going for her. (harsh but true.) while she was talking at me, I imagined a bullet slowly piercing the skin over my temple and crushing the bone and burying itself into my brain. it was more enjoyable than the words she was vomiting out her stupid mouth
I guess the worst thing is that beautiful people are allowed to be vapid and dull because at least you can just watch their beautiful faces and they don’t even need to speak. you can’t do that with ugly people
actually no, the worst thing is beautiful interesting charming people. but they’re probably psychopaths
I wear a shit-ton of eyeliner and it’s like crack now, I can’t stop. once I left the house without wearing eyeliner and people asked me whether I was feeling ok
a couple of girls told me I had a nice voice the other day
- I really like your voice, said Long Hair, like it’s really low for a girl, it’s kinda manly
- uh, thanks? I don’t know how much of a compliment this is, I say
- well no, she backtracks, that’s not what I meant, I mean it’s not masculine, but it’s not feminine either, it’s sort of androgynous but I really like it
Bobble Hat tilts her head
- I want you to talk forever, she murmurs, I think your voice is kinda sexy
I immediately stalled and said ‘I’m gonna talk to some other people now’ and shut up
I guess I’m a real superficial piece of shit huh
My friend is going to Canada this winter.
‘Gosh, it’s going to be so cold over there,’ I say, shivering at the thought.
She gives me a look. ‘Aren’t you going to… Russia?’
We sit in the park.
A fat pigeon chases another pigeon.
The one being chased flutters her wings in agitation.
“That pigeon’s gonna bang the other one.”
I feel like those were wise words for some reason.
“Yeah,” my friend says.
The sun is burning. I know in a few hours’ time I’ll be scratching at my face. I’m really prone to sunburn.
I spot this guy I met on a Friday a few weeks ago. He’s sitting in the sun with a beautiful blonde girl.
He asked me out the Saturday after we met and then he made up a lame excuse on Sunday because he’d changed his mind. A mutual friend told me that he’d met some other girl and they made out for ages at this party Saturday evening.
Anyway, I don’t care for either of them because everything ended before it had even begun. Now I’m mad I’m even thinking about it because it was nothing.
We walk past him and I pretend I haven’t seen him/don’t recognise him. My friend says there’s a small party going on this evening and would I like to go. I tell her I need to catch up on Hannibal. I start thinking to myself maybe I watch too much TV. She shrugs and says ok then, and we part ways.
We never really venture south of the river, it’s a real trek and there doesn’t seem much to do down there.
A lot of my family, including my gran, used to live in Croydon.
People associate Croydon with Kate Moss, but I associate it with old people because my gran lived there.
We used to take a two-hour-long drive down there every few weeks but then we stopped a while back, I don’t know why.
Blackwall Tunnel used to seem never-ending - it was like entering the belly of a snake and driving down it took an eternity - but it wasn’t as long now. I used to worry because the song playing on the radio would be cut and I’d be distraught and wouldn’t know what to do with myself because I couldn’t sing out loud for two entire minutes. Blackwall Tunnel’s walls aren’t even black. What a disappointment.
We drove by Bromley, and my dad pointed out this surgery and said that used to be his local clinic, when he lived round there in the 60s. He told me about his “Indian GP”, who went to Spain for a holiday, but his wife died of food poisoning, so he came back to London alone. Five years later, he married again, to a fellow GP, and he bought his new wife life insurance and then tried to slit her throat in the woods to get the insurance money. Luckily, she survived because the cut wasn’t that deep. Apparently he did the same thing to his first wife. It was all over the news. “That was my GP!” my dad laughed.
I asked my dad what his earliest memory was.
“I remember when I was four or five, my grandmother would force me and my little brother Paul to go to church. We had to go every morning every day, seven days a week.” (There’s a little golden story I’ll keep in my pocket.) We drove to the cemetery in silence, only songs from Magic FM playing on the radio.
My dad said it would be a small affair, only forty or so people would be attending. I wondered how many people would attend my funeral.
I thought there was something funny about funerals.
I’d never been to one. I didn’t know how to compose myself so I copied what I learnt from films and TV, minus the histrionic sobbing. There were pretty green funeral service books on the seats and these horrendous yellow paper booklets with the funeral programme or whatever it was. No doubt they used a template and used Ctrl + F and then replaced my grandma’s name.
I read through the funeral service book and they had little speech things for each type of funeral - a funeral for one ‘filled with years’, a funeral for a certain family member, a funeral for a murder victim, a funeral for a long-suffering one and a funeral for a child.
“Ali,” my dad nudges me, “do you have a tissue?” No, I say, I forgot. He’s not crying so I figure it’s hayfever.
My dad, my uncles and cousins carried the coffin in, and I pretended I had X-ray vision for a moment and that I could see my tiny old grandma sleeping in it.
The priest didn’t know my grandmother, and no one made any kind of speech about her at all. I never talked to her ever, and I was hoping maybe someone would give a moving, enlightening speech like they do in films and on TV, but no one did anything of the sort.
The priest recounted his own story about his mother, who’d passed a while back. He said when he was a little boy, he was walking his dog when it suddenly started to rain in torrents, and so he and his dog hid under a tree. And there, coming through the rain, was his mother, carrying an umbrella. ‘Out of sight, but not out of mind,’ he said, and he likened his mother’s love to God’s love.
In the ugly yellow programme, it told us to pray for my grandma, “who in Baptism was given the pledge of eternal life, that she may now be admitted to the company of the saints”. I wasn’t baptised, and I’m an atheist, but I think it’s kind of weird that Christians believe I’ll burn in hell because I didn’t get some water sprinkled on my head.
They put her in the hearse and we walked to where the coffin would be buried. The undertakers seemed really bored and the guy who organised everything acted really fake.
The hearse stopped and we waited while the undertakers sorted some things out. My dad was telling his sister about when he and his brother went to see my grandma’s body after they’d been told she’d died. “It was all shrivelled up, her face was skeletal and she looked like a spider, all fat and bloated, with tiny limbs.”
They carried the coffin to the grave, next to my grandpa’s grave, and the priest did some more talking but I couldn’t hear it, then they lowered the coffin into the ground. They did it wrong, the head and the feet were the wrong way around. They had to correct it.
We took it in turns to throw some dirt on the coffin and it was awkward because there was a lot of us and we kept bumping into each other and stepping on other people’s graves.
On the drive to the reception thing, my brother sat at the front and tuned the radio to Capital, and Lady Gaga’s ‘Just Dance’ played and it seemed entirely inappropriate for the situation, but no one said anything.
‘Delays along the Northern Line Bank branch due to a person under a train,’ they announce, impassively.
The commuters flick through their Metros and sigh as they look at their watches. A show of impatience. Tapping feet and bobbing knees. Everyone trying to get about their day.
Maybe, sardines in a can, we lack heart, desensitised, emotions ironed over, dulled, deadened by a continuous struggle upstream.
People-under-trains is a common occurrence. Perhaps the announcers get bored. Another headline in the corner of a page in the Metro. Family members and friends saying what a tragic loss, what a bright future they had in front of them.
And what of the person-under-a-train? Anonymous person-under-a-train was the reason we got to work late one morning, the reason we missed a flight to Bangkok, the reason we missed a job interview, the reason a crowd of people and a train driver will have nightmares for the rest of their lives.
A little girl asks, ‘Why is there a person under a train?’ and her father is unable to respond.
My dad and I drove to Tesco for groceries
On the way he told me about the time when he was a student and he fainted because he was bleeding internally for no discernible reason
He came round
Three of his mates who were studying to be doctors called 999
The ambulance came and my dad opened the door
The paramedic asked which guy was ill
And my dad was like yeah that’s me
And they were like oh how are you still standing
They rushed him off to hospital where he stayed for two weeks
And he told me how he was really happy because so many of his friends visited him
And that was the end of the story
I know so little about my dad so these stories are like gold
man it really pisses me off when people tell me jokes from the internet as if they made it up themselves
at least footnote it or something
My gran died on Monday
We weren’t close so I feel kind of indifferent
If not for the fact that she was my dad’s mother and I’d be real upset if my own mother died, I wouldn’t pretend I cared
My dad opened my bedroom door sometime on Monday afternoon and I exclaimed ‘oh my god!’ and was gonna ask him why he never knocks but then he announced her death in the same tone he uses to announce dinner and then I said ‘oh my god’ again but more slowly and sadly as if I were upset
My first thought was ‘cool, dad won’t pester me into making me visit her anymore’ and then I immediately felt bad because I hadn’t visited her at the home since boxing day 2008
The funeral hasn’t been held yet
I have never been to a funeral and sort of have a morbid curiosity towards it all because I think it could be a very cathartic process and maybe I might find some sort of emotion in my black heart hehehoho
I know we should respect the dead but that’s out of convention and out of the fact that the dead can’t fend for themselves, for their reputations, but it doesn’t stop you from hating on the dead, it’s the same as hating on the living
My mum, her daughter-in-law, never disguised her contempt for my gran
My mum told me how my gran used to knit me jumpers and then she’d make us pay for them
There are lots of bad stories I hear about her from my mum
I mean I guess my gran was just a woman who happened to have given birth to my dad and I don’t think I should feel guilty for feeling so indifferent. The last few years she’d forgotten who everyone was (but I think she’d forgotten about me long before she became senile) and this might be incredibly frank and callous but everyone was sort of waiting around for her to die
We talk about Paul Hollywood’s eyes.
That man has the most incredible eyes. I like that on the cover of his book on ‘How to Bake’, everything’s done to bring out the colour of his eyes - he wears a blue shirt and he stands in front of a blue background.
My friend compares his eyes to the shallow waters of the Mediterranean Sea. I think it’s closer to the blue of toilet-cleaning bleach.
(I might not be poetic, but I’m accurate.)
look at myself in the mirror
think, yeah, what if I were a little taller, huh
tiptoes, heels a few inches off the ground
yeah, I think, that tall, that would be good
but I lower back down
son, you’re not growing any more
so I brush my teeth and spit into the sink
and watch the gloop swirl away
(along with all my aspirations)
Theme by Lauren Ashpole