When I look at pictures from my past, the snapshots of life right there in front of me, I try and reassemble the happiness that was once there. I can't do it. No matter how hard I try, it doesn't seem to come back. I put some coffee on the stove and realise that there is no soya milk left in the fridge. God I hate that feeling. Why don't they sell soya milk in the corner shop? I don't want your blue or your green top. I don't even want the red one. Just give me some non cow milk please.
I look out of the window and notice little icicles forming on the edge of our rotten guttering. That plastic tube stuff that gets browner everytime it rains. I hate this weather, especially when the backdrop for it are pebbledash walls in the ever-so fashionable grey shade. Grey is the new colour this season apparently. Light grey, dark grey, mid-grey, grey with tones of blue and then of course, the ultimate of grey's, grey. Swansea loves that colour. As I gaze out of the kitchen window, it dawns on me that this could be a moment that you tell those omnipresent grandkids that float around during thoughts like this. 'When I was a poor student, icicles used to grow on the guttering! What? You haven't read H.P Lovecraft? You're missing out. Y'know, I've been thinking lately that it might make a lot of sense to vote Conservative.'
I want to avoid those conversations at all costs. Maybe I won't have children after all. At least then I won't have to have the "thats one to tell the grandkids" conversation in my head again.
No soya milk. Black coffee it is then. I walk the short walk back to the sitting room and park myself once again on the two seater. The photos are still there. For once in six months I don't have that gut wrenching feeling I used to get when turning the thick black cardboard. I don't care if I see his face. I couldn't give a rats ass if his face appears again in the same pose with his arms around the imbociles from number 18. Honestly, I don't care.
I would like to recapture those moments though. At least for a second. Or two.
I'm bored of the sitting room. I consider for a moment sitting in my room for a while. I find my space quite inviting. Small, yet big enough for me. I think my kingsize bed is rather oversized for the space however, but I deal with it. Its nice waking up in a sea of bed every morning with the radiator's heat searing through my two duvets. Its nice. But most of all, I like my desk. Cluttered full of books, odd stolen pens, paintbrushes, papers, letters and postcards. I feel safe there. There's something curiously comforting about the presence of books. Sometimes I go in to the university purely to sit in the quiet study area of the library. I don't study down there, I look and watch and smell that intellectual aroma that oddly enough resembles nutmeg and my mum's bubbling pot of Sunday semolina. I like the atlas section best. Huge books full of old thin maps of exotic far away places that I could only dream of visiting. I sit and read and look and smell.
No. I think I'll stay in the sitting room. I just washed the throws so I feel like they should get at least an hours worth of my backside sitting on them. I flick constantly through the old photo album, almost obsessively, until I come to his picture. I wonder what you're doing right now. Right at this very minute. Are you sleeping, washing, walking, cycling, talking, eating, drinking coffee, fucking her? I don't really want to know. Or do I? What I should really be thinking about is making that cat for Sarah. Its her birthday tomorrow and I have no money for a gift, but I had an excellent idea from The Guardian newspaper last week. My favourite supplement, The Comic, illustrated a novel way of recycling an old T-Shirt. Why, make a cat out of it of course! All you need is an old T-shirt, a needle and thread, two buttons for the eyes and lentils for stuffing. Genius! That's what I should be doing, but instead I'm staring at the picture of him. Again. I can't even bring myself to think of his name.
What pains me the most about him, is the way he used to smell. It wasn't nice, but it certainly wasn't bad. It was comforting, homely. Like freshly washed sheets on a summers morning. OK, maybe it was never like that. But recollections are never reliable. Just like war memoirs, I never believe them.
On one of my many reflective days walking back from the university, I began to think about what he might be doing. Not in a 'I miss him, please come back to me, you mean everything to me' kind of way. It was more of a 'I can't imagine what he's doing right now, so does that mean that he doesn't exist in my life. Is everything just an illusion?'. OK, I was having a relective philosophical moment. I began, in a rather impromptu way, to think about my life as a box. There's this box right, and in the centre of that box is me. My life. The present. Then, floating around me inside this box is the rest of my life: family, friends, work and school. Outside the box are snapshots of life. Motionless snapshots of people and places and history and events. When I think about him, he's motionless. Unable to move or breathe. Without life. For that reason, does he really exist? I can't see him, I can't feel him. He is dead to me. What I really want to do is walk from the centre of that box, past all the shit around the outside and walk across that boundary between my life and the motionless world beyond.
Someone once told me that I think too much and all that thinking makes me unhappy. Maybe they were right. Sometimes when I think about things, they digress so much that they create an unhappiness that grew from an unreliable source. My mind. Fortunately, if that thought creates a sour taste in my mouth, I forget it. You know what it is like when you get a bad taste in your mouth? Like when you take a gulp of ice cold milk only to find out it is sour, or bite into your scrambled eggs only to have the unfortunate displeasure of finding out they are rotten? Or even brushing your teeth and then drinking orange juice? Like most of us humanoids, some will drink milk again after tasting sour milk, sometimes right away, sometimes after a period of time, and some will never drink milk again. I think too much.
Right now I'm standing on the threshold of wanting a simple life or wanting something far more interesting and complicated. Should I contact him and make my heart flutter in writing that email, or making that phonecall or writing that letter?
Perhaps I should forget about drinking that milk again. But I do love milk. Soya milk of course.

The End

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