Sometimes, I remember the look that used to stab me between the eyes. When I tread the same footprints, I search for the remains of that day. Blasted from existence, I treasure a bleached fragment of newspaper, as fragile as July ice. The date is faded in ink but not in memory which will always be stronger than the written word.
The old man wanders from his bungalow to the social club; a journey of metres. Tables, chairs and carpets all older than the staff behind the bar. If furniture could talk it would tell of last chance heroes, slamming ivory, papers thrown high into the air. He sits under photographs of himself and his friends in their prime, some dead or worse, some missing or just not found, some disappearing. His scars are getting lost in the wrinkles.
When he walks home, the local youths on their contraptions abuse him. All of his knees are gone but he remembers when he could fight mountains. Once an eagle in a field of mice, old age has left him a crane fly trying to flit away from this pack of dogs. One day I charge in as furious redemption, cold steel between my fingers, and I break those elastic fibres in the neck of the ringleader. The tears are sickening, his warm blood ejaculates over my fist. As he sinks to his arse, I see confusion and terror in his eyes and I see confusion and terror in the old man’s eyes as well. It’s the reawakening of a memory. He stares down at the collection of bleeding twigs twitching below him, lying in a cold puddle and trying to drag himself to safety. He looks to me and shakes his head, shuffling away. I know I’ve failed. So I give the bleeding bastard one more. In failure there is a strange freedom, and I know that freedom won’t be a part of my life.
Later, I’ll remember the goose-bumps on her thighs. I’ll remember running my hands over legs unshaven in a few days, gliding my palms over the little soft brushes. I’ll remember how cold her skin was and yet how hot was her breath, all blood instantly transferring to her heart and her sex. I pulled at her panties so as to make a crude thong and she bit me hard. Her hair falls into my eyes and I can smell her like a pine forest after a storm.
Is it fitting to penetrate such divinity? I didn’t ask myself those questions but I wish I had. It may not have changed those actions but it may have rationalised things. I have plenty of time to think, my forehead pressed against a cold stone wall until warm blood drips onto my cheeks and patters onto the floor like little lunar craters.