Is your father daft?

Being at Uni felt like a whole world away. A time when I boldly went where no Greek had gone before me: outside of palmers green. Way way beyond the north circ. To a land where there was no Yashir Halim, no deli’s whatsoever in fact. No streetlamps, no 24 hour shops, no nothing. ‘Cept the odd fish and chip shop and a pub.

Rolling hills as far as the eye could see. God’s country.

Fuck knows how I ended up there: with my poor attendance and my 2 lonely a-levels. But I did and at times it felt serendipitous, like all meaningful things.

So the people talked funny around me, stoned I smiled and smiled. So pleased with myself that I was finally there. Calculating my time like orange segments, divided between the places and people that made my heart feel alive. And yeah for a time, he was one of them, that hippy fish can’t be arsed man with the turtle green eyes. And I tried not think of my mum, back home crying over the baked beans and freaking out that she didn’t have a touch tone phone. She had my dad, and I had my freedom and that was all that mattered in the world to me.

Aside from the obvious differences in vowel pronunciation, the language was bejewelled with new and exciting treasures. Phrases and words assigned new meaning and a new context, intonations sweeping high up into the sky and I couldn’t fucking wait to rush back to London and share all I’d learnt. ‘Is ya father daft’, ‘it’s as near as damn it’ and despite how it may sound, ‘are we havin out for us tea’ doesn’t mean ‘are we going out for dinner’, it meant ‘make me some dinner bitch, I’m starving’, or there abouts.

Travelling between South and North England relentlessly on the Dad-express, we learnt every service station between here and there. We talked and my dad measured the road in spliff-miles. On average 8 between here and there. And I tried not to get stoned from the fumes but failed because the draft from the windows reeked havoc with my dads neck.

It was a time of freedom. Both geographical and emotional. Something about there being so much sky to see that’s restful. Something about the stretch of the green hills dominating the view that heals. It’s fair to say that I was an entirely different person then. I was afraid and death plagued me sure, but it was more a premonition of who I was going to be and not the actuality. Did I dream myself up and then become, or did I dream of the woman I knew I would be? It’s hard to say. All I know is the anticipation was far better than the actuality. When I think back, I love the girl I was. Deceitful and duplicitous and daft.

But now not-far-from-forty and how do I like the new view from the mountain? It feels less safe than when I was lower down that’s for sure, less certain. Being both wary of the bottom and the top is a really strange headspace to be in. Perhaps in the panning out of our existence we become invariably less distinct, less definite? Does the sea fear it’s own depth? And the sky it’s height?  Will I ever get used to how big my hair gets in the humidity? Will I ever be able to handle these curls?

Was my father daft as well?

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The spark that saves

Image result for a spark

It wasn’t just that she nearly killed a grasshopper on her windscreen, it was that I was hellishly miserable. Casual murder everywhere I look. And it’s no wonder I dreamt I was working in the library again. I told my boss that I’d come full circle. A complete back-track to the past. She smiled and showed me a courtyard that hadn’t been there before, a jungle of abandoned bed frames. It’s not just the meat, that I too have started eating, but the newspapers too. The radio interrupting my peaceful cooking time with a forced injection of panic. And why doesn’t the news come with a forewarning. Nudity and extreme language in films aren’t going to affect you as much as the random massacre on a beach full of sunbathers. It affects you deeply. This darkness, like a tumour, spreads until it’s stage-threed every last shred of your happiness, shattering the illusion of safety.

And now I’m blindfolded with the image of a man pointing a gun at a tourist, the image of the grasshopper getting almost crushed to death by the windscreen wiper. All this horror and I can’t bare it.

For all those of you ready to pounce on me that terrorism isn’t quite the same thing as bug death, I’d like to say yes I know. I appreciate that. I’m not comparing the deaths of many to one insect. I’m speaking from the perspective of my own feelings. And now I’m pissed off at all this self editing, too much awareness of my audience and who I could possibly offend with my words.

As with everything, it makes me think of Dylan. How much more I would have feared the world he would have inherited. I’d like to say he’s safe now. But who knows if that’s true. When I buried him my mother in law at the time said something to me which was barely audible. I think it was this: he’s beautiful now. It saddened and angered me all once. Provoked something in me that rebelled against the acceptance and peace she was trying to share with me. But it’s stayed with me, why? Because I think I want the sentiment to be true.

It’s an argument I have constantly with myself but I wonder why people breed when the world is so frighteningly dangerous? But then I see something a friend wrote about his son on social media: ‘what do you want to be when you grow up? A little tiny woman’ and I know why people do it. I suddenly know why they all would given the chance. Why I would if I wasn’t so riddled with indecision and fear. As simple as that. A new life. A little growing person who takes the world outside of itself and reinvents everything. It’s not Disney sentimental, its the spark of something brilliant in a haze of heavy shit.

Why do people hate so much. What is the impetus to kill when our days are numbered anyway. And why is it always the people who have nothing to do with the quarrel that end up losing their lives. Why must we sit in fear of our flesh being penetrated by the bullets of emotion sprayed like tears from dulling eyes? I don’t understand the horror that most have suffered, but I guarantee it’s enough to have ruined them. To have made it seem right to pick up a gun or a bomb or a sword and to lash out at the world, as it has done to them. And who am I to judge when I have never seen war from the wrong side of a TV screen. I feel for them too. I really do. And at the risk of sounding like a fucking idiot, I want the killing to stop. I want the aggrieved to heal, as we are all trying to do. I want armies of compassion to run bravely onto the path of war and disarm and diffuse till everyone realises what a prick they have been. Till every war monger looks themselves in the face and decides there has been enough killing. To see they have made their point loud and clear. On both sides of the fence. From all religions and governments and walks of life. Lets stop fucking killing each and take on the much harder task of doing a little good.