The man sat in his room and wondered. It was Saturday night and he knew the great cabaret of life was being played out on stages as he sat there looking at the walls and contemplating the ifs and buts of his next decision. He doesn’t realise that he is on his tawdry stage just like the rest of us. His one man show may not have pizazz and his monologue, should he ever choose to speak, might be môntone, but he is stripped bare and dazzled in the footlights of existence.
Some people take three hours to get out of the house. The minutiae of each step weighed and analysed with mentally generated flow diagrams to plot the possibilities of an action. If that is not a conceptual piece of performance art worthy of staging then life is not a cabaret, old chum. Life doesn’t pass us by, but it comes in a lot of different shapes and sizes.
Like each of us, he only lives once, so he needs to be certain. He finally makes a decision, certain that his choice is valid. Semi skimmed not full fat milk. Now, shoes or trainers…
He says he is my friend and I want to believe his sweet words. However, his words are not always so measured or kind. His actions too, can be somewhat chaotic, and I am beginning to think this friendship comes at a high price.
He is Prince Charming. He is interesting and interested in everything around him. He comments astutely on the issues of the day, and I find myself in the company of a man who makes me think and ponder. I see new perspectives through his eyes but am never left feeling my own perspectives lack value. Hours pass and are barely noticed as we rally back and forth. Wit and charm married together in one man who seeks out my company. So what's the problem!
He is a drunk. Sometimes, by ten, the conversation is already a little muddled and a few times recently I've found myself in heavy waters. His patience wears thin and I feel blamed for his loss of concentration. With reduced focus comes a loss of veneer and, when the charm disappears, what lies beneath is not too savoury. A short temper is the most noticeable. Never directed at me, yet, but skulking in the background like a surly dog, he snarls at the people he loves. He becomes more negative about life and will cut people with a tongue that seems to sharpen in alcohol. When he is like this, I keep a metaphorical eye on exits and I am on tenterhooks.
So I have a rarely seen friend and an often times worrying companion. It's time to let this friendship slide into the cool waters of acquaintance. A kindly nod and a friendly hello with a distance kept. The next time I am texted beseechingly, I will remember that it is Lady Alcohol and not Prince Charming who is seeking my company. I will miss my friend. I do already, for I haven't seen him sober for a while.
He says he loves me. He says it when no one can hear. I know he loves me. He shows me when no one can see. Love should be so simple but life is so complex.
He wants to keep me away from the public eye so that my very existence cannot taint him. Yet the thing he is afraid of isn’t me. It it inside of him. It goes where he goes and he cannot escape himself. These feelings he wants to suppress overflow like lava and each eruption confirms that he is not who he wants to be. So he has placed our love in a cage. A well defined place with limits and boundaries. He puts me in purdah behind a rainbow screen and, because he can’t deny himself, he denies me.
At the moment he hates himself and by seeing all that he hates in himself reflected in me, he hates me. He could start down the long road to self acceptance. If he could learn to love himself as he is, our love would be so different. I cannot tell him what to do. He needs to make these decisions for himself.
I am what I am. I am my own special creation. But so is he.
Once I lived in a beautiful town on the bank of a river. Kind people and happy faces were in no short supply as I pottered about. My life was built around casual conversation and good coffee. I was living in paradise. Why did I leave?
Well I suppose the main factor was that I lost my job. My employer pushed me into getting a diagnosis of Aspergers and then seemed unsure what to do with it. That uncertainty sat over me like a cloud and brought a great deal of unhappiness. I locked my heart, steeled my soul and tried to protect myself. I was told that I wasn’t wanted. They were guilty of disability discrimination and they knew it. My silence was bought and paid for but the hurt and the shame came at a higher price than money.
I ran away. I travelled to the other side of the world and kept moving. For now, I am living in a beautiful town on the bank of a river. Kind people, happy faces and good coffee percolate my soul. Having lost paradise, I am not trying to regain it but it seems to follow me. I am a traveller now. I don’t want to settle and build a life. I want to keep moving, keep changing until eventually, the fear of losing is lost. The shame will subside and the hurt will heal. Then I will find paradise for I know where it is. It’s locked away safely in my heart.
So a man decided to attack Parliament in London. The man was a Muslim. This was a terror attack. The logic is very simple. However this simplistic logic can be quite dangerous. There are extra police on the streets of Britain. Sadly what is feared most now is not another attack on the highly protected mother of all parliaments, but an attack on ordinary Muslims living in the U.K.. Why would anyone do that? Islamophobia apparently, but surely its just good old fashioned stupidity served with a dash of post-imperial racism. A Muslim man attacked Parliament so let’s should attack someone with the same religion. Or even more ridiculous let’s expect someone of that religion to explain the motivation behind the attack and a solution to ISIS and Syria while they are at it.
I know what fills me with terror and it’s not terrorists. I see people, scared people, not terribly intelligent people, who are filling themselves with hate and anger. This vitriol is then hurled indisciminately at people who are in some sense, other. It could be Muslims, gays, the disabled, blacks, Europeans, Asians or intellectuals. There are a lot of people in the world to hate and ironically, the narrower the mind, the broader the hate spectrum. We need a war on that kind of terror. We need to educate the ignorant and reduce the threat of prejudice. So let’s choose a phobia and start to gently wipe the fear from the minds the scared people.