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malachite cursive

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(no subject) [Jul. 25th, 2005|05:39 pm]
malachite cursive
I am posting this to all the new people I have added over the past week or so. Since the inception of this journal I have been trying to add people who interest me, but have been handicapped by a lack of internet access. As I have had no choice but to get a temporary job for the summer I've been spending much of the day wandering about the internet researching potential livejournal acquaintances. if I have added you it is because I like your journal, or we have unusual interests in common, or a really good combination of cross-interests or all of these. If you want to ask me why I added you or read my journal before you decide if we should be friends please do so. I would ask that if you do decide that you don't want me as a friend you let me know and I will take you off immediately. Thanks.
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(no subject) [Jun. 28th, 2005|01:00 pm]
malachite cursive
Adam visited last weekend. Friday evening I walked down to the station to meet him. It was stormy and the sky sagged under its own weight. Under the Victorian awning of the station, the paint flaking away, yellow-cream over maroon, I waited for his late train. Everything glistened and it was darker, at six, than it had been at eleven the previous night. Almost an hour after it was due, Adam's train pulled in and a few smudged people stepped off, putting their palms out, turning their faces to the sky, opening umbrellas, putting up hoods. Adam wasn't among them, and momentary anxiety convulsed through me. I heard a shout from behind, my name, he was there, hair in straggles plastered to his face by rain, a wine bottle and a book in either hand, he grinned, he looked terrible. "Where's your bag?" was my bathetic opening gambit, all I could think of to say as he stood soaking in front of me, the last people from the train skirting round us. He sipped from the bottle and offered it to me. I took it but didn't drink. "Don't need one." he said bluntly, "Shall we go?". I grabbed his wrist and pulled the hand with the book towards me, "What are you reading?", it was 'She Came to Stay' by Simone de Beauvoir and a trickle of embarrasment melded with the discomfort of the situation; I didn't even know that she had written novels. "Oh, trash!" Adam yelled, suddenly animated and pitched the paperback hard at the window of the train, causing a dozen pairs of eyes to turn our way. I steered Adam out of the station and under my umbrella which blustered and gusseted in the wind and rain. He snatched back the wine and began walking quicker and quicker, wouldn't talk.

At home he collapsed onto my bed and was asleep within the first ten minutes of 'Heart of Glass' which I had rented on his recommendation. He woke up just before the end and fixed me with condescending eyes, a little more lucid now, and nasty, "Are you enjoying yourself?" he said, "What do you make of the, er, stylization?" the last word he pronounced syllable by syllable, dwelling over it, making it deliberate and crisp despite his slurs. And then fell asleep again. He woke the next day remembering little, nothing of the cruel outburst that kept me up virtually all night, only dimly aware that he had gotten an earlier train, drank too much on the way, tried to find my place but couldn't and so returned to the station where, fortunately, I was waiting. We spent the rest of the day in quiet chatter, I don't think he noticed my guardedness. He left Sunday evening around eight, the sky was blissful and cloudless, it could have been midday. As I was walking out of the little station, a concerned looking elderly man in uniform approached me, "Is this yours?" he said, proffering a book. For a moment I couldn't think of the appropriate response to the situation, I didn't recognise what he was giving me and in my panic believed that he was offering me some sort of gift. "Um, did you drop this here on Friday?" he filled the gap in the awkwardness of our silence and I looked at the book more closely. It was Simon's de Beauvoir, the pages water damaged, like it had been dropped in the bath.

I don't know how to talk to him or to rationalise to myself the problem he currently has with drinking. Admitting it to myself has been hard enough, but I have seen this situation worsen over the past few months. Being at home depresses him terribly, he is alone and argues a great deal with his parents. I can't write about this either. So far, in the few entries I've made, this journal has been a strange kind of therapy, I appreciate that I have been prettifying events, fixing them to narrative structures at times, this helps me I think, though I realise the limitations of that help, it's transience. I can't do that with this situation, I don't know how to confront it. What scares me is that I don't think I am enough of a friend to him to be able to talk about it, I don't think our friendship is intimate enough - and I know that partly this is my own fears and yearnings for attention - but what really worries me is that I don't think he has anybody intimate enough with him to confront this problem. My methods are too close to his own, writing about the incident above, I can't help consider the writing of it, the structure. He is the same, he romanticizes his self-destruction, it's a hero story, it's literature. It's a dangerous delusion. At the same time, for those who want to help him, like me, a more dangerous delusion is thinking, as I am prone to do, that it is his romanticism, rather than the drink, that is the real problem.
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(no subject) [Jun. 20th, 2005|03:42 pm]
malachite cursive
Everyone has left town. The streets around the university are empty, the heat haze comes off them making the distance, the walk in front of me, look woozy. I wander round like the zombie heroine in a Bella Lugosi film, the libraries, the computer clusters, the streets, the shops. There's nobody here. All the people I see wander around by themselves like survivors in a bombed city, they eye me suspectly. I talk to nobody but shop attendants, librarians, occasional homeless. Everyone has a wide stare in their eyes, they are as scared and as lost as I am in this town. A few days ago I walked down past through the woods, down the embankment and out, further still, to where the town ends, dissected by motorway. I sat down on the scrub with an old beat-up tape of Duke Ellington numbers that lurched and screeched in the haze left behind by trucks and cars and vans. Their rumble swished in and out of the piano's glassy, fuzzy drops of chords.

As much as anything, I felt alone again. The people in the cars moving too fast to glance round and see anything meaninful of me. I was a blur to them, as evanescent as a sheep or cow bleating in the unheard distance. All those destinations and all I had to go back to where the green walls of my empty room. Unable to go home, too bored to stay, I am locked in the between-places gaze of those others, solemn, alone, who pass me in the drunken streets, palms clammy with sweat, on tired legs that struggle up the black and white hills, sun over us, white, burning, and buzzing like a broken strip-light.
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(no subject) [Jun. 15th, 2005|06:46 pm]
malachite cursive
I went to see some kind of specialist today. He was someone that the university arranged for me to meet up with back when it happened. I kept finding excuses to put it off as I can think of nothing more dull than talking about my father. Anyway there's very little in the way of distraction and entertainment here, so my options are to divide my money into smaller and smaller parts and plan lean rice based meals flavoured with a little soy, or perhaps a spoonful of honey in a dish of oatmeal, write chapters of my novel down by the lake which is far less idyllic than it sounds,or walk over two miles to the nearest computer cluster that is still open now almost everyone else is back home. As my boredom spreads so my desire for human contact increases and drove me finally today into the office of the doctor. He told me right off that he doesn't believe in mental illness, which reminded me of scenes in peeep show where the two main characters refuse to accept that problems exist. Problems are bullshit to them. Thinking about those characters words coming out of the doctor's mouth made me want to laugh really badly and I was in discomfort for the rest of the session, it was like when I was younger and sat through church on the edge of hysteria when the wobbly red-faced priest would talk about the body of Christ. Being quite unsophisticated in the ways of Catholic doctrine I had the distinct impression that there was some sexual connection between the priest and the naked young body that adorned the cross he held aloft and it made me want to giggle quite badly. We spent a long time in the doctor's office talking about my feelings, my grieving process. I was bored rigid. i told him that My father's death was but a subtlety in the progression that started at some distant point that I can barely remember. He had been a shade to me for a long time and if anything his death brought a relief, as it can following a terminal illness.We had been closer when I was younger, and he was the only one I ever felt close to at all at home. We were all better off I think. Especially my father. I think the doctor was non-plussed, our session was complete in but a few minutes and he wanted to pad it out with a grieving exercise that i can only assume was of his own devising. We sat in the dark and he set a metronome going steadily at sixty crotchets per minute I think though in all honesty I'm no musician. I was to think about my grief as some tangible entity and count steadily aloud until I banished it. He wanted me to sit in the dark for a full fifteen minutes contemplating my father's death whilst counting the time and once that was over I would be free. Sickened by this trinity of doctor, father, priest I thought of nothing for as long as i could nothing but the beats of the metronome that were slightly out of sync with my heart. When i thought it was over and surely the lights would be back on any moment, i vomited right there on the floor.
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(no subject) [Jun. 3rd, 2005|01:02 pm]
malachite cursive
Adam went home today. He packed all his stuff and got driven away in his mum's big station wagon. I suppose it makes me kind of a bitch to stay here by myself all summer even though I could be at home with my mum and Paige. I was waiting for Adam to try to persuade me but he didn't. It probably didn't occur to him. He thinks that dignity is the most important thing and if I wanted to stay here over summer then he wouldn't encourage great emotional scenes or acts of persuasion. I miss him a bit already. If it all gets too lonely here I might just get the train and hang out at Adam's if he promises not to tell anyone I'm there. But it would get out and it would be obvious that I haven't been made summer caretaker of an empty apartment block, but that I am in fact squatting illegally due to the fact my rent and lease expired yesterday. I feel like a character in a novel, not one that Adam decided for me, but one in my own novel. Perhaps this would be the ideal opportunity to write it down. Perhaps I should go home.
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(no subject) [Apr. 17th, 2005|10:38 pm]
malachite cursive
Everyone seems grouchy today in spite of the good weather. I guess funerals are like that. I won't bore you with the details; coffin, crying, dirt, roses. It was as tacky as a chocolate box. I don't want to sound callous but the whole time I was thinking about how much I'd wanted the white room. About how much I didn't want this kind of charade for my death. The priest told my mum he felt uncomfortable with talking about my dad because of what had happened. I think he only said it to make her feel better and to realize how stupid it would be to blame him. But maybe not.
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(no subject) [Apr. 13th, 2005|11:50 pm]
malachite cursive
I didn't expect that everyone would arrive so early and have it all worked out amongst themselves. I think I’ve been stitched up. I was just happy that if we had to be moved and disrupted so late in the year that it was to this beautiful place. It seems petty that we all want the end room, nearest the bathroom and furthest from the kitchen and with the best view of the grounds. But obviously we do. I thought that I might suggest a simple game to decide who moves their stuff into the coveted end room. a dirty white oblong that would be nothing were it not for the skylight that angles in natural light , and the larger bay that affords a view of the lake. We call it a lake but I think it's really a pond. This place has been closed down for ages, and we will get it for these last few months while the building work winds down where we used to live. Apparently students from other universities have sued for damages regarding exam stress and noise pollution in similar circumstances, so they decided on a little damage limitation and shoved us into this rather grand old house that was probably left in a will. Fourteen apartments; thirteen dark rooms and one chapel of light. But as I said, that one was taken by the time I arrived. I had thought a game of skimming stones on the water would have been a lovely diversion for us, and an excellent way to decide on our living arrangements. So much fairer than simple drawing of straws. particularly when those straws were drawn in my absence.

But maybe I’m not being so fair in my analysis. My idea of skimming stones is not such an innocent one after all. it's something I am quite practised in. when my sister Paige was at home with chickenpox at the same time I had mumps ( what a terrible time for my mother, pureeing foods and smoothing lotions onto skin)we had contests in our small garden pond all of the time. She had the trick of it - choosing flat smooth pebbles to my more lumen counterparts. She was a year older and wilier, spending her time doing daring things with boys like climbing trees. My experience did not extend much further than the pages of Mallory towers. At that point I still believed that honest toil and persistence was the route to reward. So, hobbled by my innocence yet advantaged by perseverance I stockpiled any type of small weighty object and spent hours perfecting speeds and distances. Eventually my hard-won technique matched Paige’s cunning and we were even. One day realizing our time at home was dwindling thanks to the efficacy of modern medicine, we decided to round off our time at home with a grand contest of pebble skimming. Paige and I were neck and neck until toward the end when I became distracted by a scrabbling at the pond edge. My shots became increasingly skewed and uncertain as the fun of winning paled beside my curiosity and the promise of further adventure. Impatient to investigate alone, I slid towards defeat and with a hint of cunning of my own let her go giddily into the house, her joyous triumph ringing through to our mother in the kitchen. At once I advanced softly to the pond and discovered my prize.

It was the most perfect tiny emerald green frog I’d ever seen. It was quivering a little with fear, and being a child I had no idea that frogs were seen by some as unpleasantly slimy creatures. I coaxed it gently into my cupped palms, and oblivious to the damage I would cause, paraded it into the house as a shimmering prize for my sister. My mother and sister both screamed and recoiled from my gift, and Paige was also quivering with rage. For she too was only a child who was hurt and felt that I was belittling her victory, jealously stealing her limelight. Before I could do anything the poor frog leapt from the safety of my hands and dashed away. Paige jumped in terror perhaps or perhaps something else, some lower emotion, and stamped on it in the confusion. Sadly the frog did not survive. My mother was glad to get us back to school and out from under her feet, as we quarrelled and cried over the frog's demise for the rest of our enforced furlough. So I did not win the contest, and I lost the frog. I thought maybe it would be my turn to win something and I really would have liked the room. It’s only for a few months anyway, and hopefully when I move in with Adam and Ruth next year we can all have rooms we like. Until then I still have the pond.
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(no subject) [Apr. 10th, 2005|08:27 pm]
malachite cursive
Dad died today. Suicide. The family's great affliction. Mother phoned to tell me. She said that there had been signs. For weeks now. Well why hadn't I heard about it? No calls, no letters, nothing for a month. We didn't speak for long, Mum and me, I mean. She had things to do, relatives to call, that sort of thing. Naturally, my first impulse was to cry, but I found I couldn't. Dad and I were close, I guess, I suppose I should've noticed something. I sat on the edge of my bed and stared for a long timre at my books, not taking in titles or authors, just unevennesses in the way they were leaning, the gradations of colour in the spines. I must've sat like that for an hour or more and the only thought in my head was how nice it would be for me to shelve them by colour and the logistics of such a move. The problem would be the noticeable abundance of white or off-white. I am guessing that I would spend more time sorting out the subtle differences between magnolia and pearl than in ordering the rest of the collection! There would also be a riot of Penguin-brand orange in the middle somewhere which I think would look quite gaudy, too loud for my quiet shelves. Better that they stay as they are, I think, periods and topics all jumbled up, no discernable continuity, a better reflection of how I think about them, anyway.

My thoughts were interrupted by Adam calling, I was already twenty minutes late for our meeting. I raised myself and dressed hastily, so hastily, in fact, that I neglected to bring an umbrella out with me and was caught in a rather heavy drizzle, the kind that comes at from all angles. By the time I got to the river, though, the rain had subsided and the slightest, just the faintest hint of a rainbow arced over the city that fell away beneath me and I cried just a little, making me even later. For you dad, though, for you.

Despite my best efforts, Adam - sat reading, of all things, Kerouac, and drinking a coffee at our usual table - noticed the redness of my eyes and aksed what was wrong. I told him about the books, but not about dad, I found that I just couldn't, not even to him. He was kind and said that I had the nausea, after Sartre, which I must admit it was reminiscent of. Adam has a habit of relating everyone's anecdotes back to literary or historical precedence. On anyone else it would seem grating, even pretentious, but he manages in such a charming, deprecating way that he gets away with it every time. He cheered me up a little, he has ways of making problems, not trivial, but much less of a burden. I guess that's why I couldn't tell him about dad, it would have compromised his position - you can't just laugh that off. The journal is Adam's idea, by the way, he said it would be a good idea for me to write, to relate, but to do it in a public forum so that my excesses might be tempered in the name of legibility, to make me more aware of the sound, the impact of what I'm writing. I said I would try it, on the condition that he would never read it, which he agreed to. I'm not entirely comfortable with the idea, but this is how it begins. Don't be too surprised if, as a reader, one day you click this journal to find that it's all disappeared again and I've retreated back to secrecy, anonymity.
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