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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

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Local Author Matthew Jacobson reflects on a long, long day in Liverpool

“With your standards so high and your spirits so low.“ 

The end of the journey was in sight as a delightful darkness was etched into the wallpaper of the sky. Nighttime was on its way as I was on my way home. The bus approached my stop with a swagger and arrogance and seemed somewhat annoyed I was due to leave, so much so, the bus started slowly chugging down the road and quickly bugging me to death as I wanted to leave its colourless insides and remove myself from the uncomfortable couch for two. The window wipers wiped mud into more mud as they continued to zip across the windscreen almost laughing in my face. But at last, this marathon mauling of the mind was nearly over.  

The day had been a long, drawn-out day that drew everything out of me physically and emotionally. I was losing energy by the minute and at one point, a short sleep had transported my sadness into some other midbrain. So, as we approached the final bus stop, I could see the ticker tape celebration and congratulations bunting spread across the road. Yes, of course the ticker tape celebration and congratulations bunting were in my head, but I was ready to celebrate leaving this large metal machine. As we finally, and thankfully, crossed the busy junction to the stop, I stood up and dragged my heavy heart and heavier legs to the front of the bus. I was ready to depart and to start the brief downhill walk home to lie down on my bed and to hide under the covers for the evening.

I was fifth in the queue to leave the bus. The first two passengers stepped off the bus with a leap off the step and they both marched away quickly from the bus. But passenger number three, the lady in red, wasn’t dancing with anyone but taking forever to say goodbye to a bus driver who wasn’t interested in moving his lips or head in acknowledgement. The last passenger to leave in front of me was a man in blue who skipped off the bus but then stood on the curb blocking my departure. He adjusted his jacket and then tossed his crumpled-up newspaper into the plastic bin and shouted across the road to his friend who waved back. He then walked into a teenager who didn’t look too impressed. But at last, it was my turn to depart and I stepped down off the bus – it was a giant leap for mankind and a bigger leap for a man dressed in C&A. 

I took my place on the pavement and headed home on the streets where I was raised and on the very streets where I ran. These streets contain snippets and snapshots of time gone by and as the tick tocks, the clock rocks towards an unknown future. Sometimes it moves forwards with wobbly fingers towards a new world and it may even be out of synch – who knows what the future holds, who cares? I do, to be honest, but not on this day. I was exhausted and heading home, but I still felt my input to the neighbourhood tales in the tarmac.  

Local Author Matthew Jacobson reflects on a long, long day in Liverpool
Matt Jacobson – Photograph, Michelle Marshall

I crossed the road and noticed a bicycle without the capacity to cycle anywhere was lodged against the wall. With no seat, no brakes, no point, no owner, but it still looked like it was missing a sultry 1960s film star next to it. A sad and lonely streetlight greeted me by dropping droplets of water onto my shoulder. I overheard giggles from the drops as I wiped my shoulder and launched the water to the pale moon in the distance. The fight continued as rain then sprinkled heavier drops onto me as well. I could feel the uninvited raindrops slide down my frown. As the rain became heavier, the drops bounced off my head and smashed on the temple with a volume of noise. It felt like an army of tarantulas with truncheons for legs were living in my ears. A regular, out-of-breath ‘ugh’ slipped out with a pop song of sighs.  

I then walked past the local shops as the shutters were closing. Metal eyelids crept to the floor as the shops wanted to sleep for the evening. I was nearly home, and it was my turn to join them. I turned and carried on the tour of this wondrous place. As I moved down the street, I recognised my neighbours across the road and with a friendly wave and a friendlier smile, I managed to avoid speaking to any of them. I respected them but, on this day, I didn’t respect myself. 

At last, I reached home, I opened the gate and made it to the front door. I took my key out of the pocket which was tucked in between a cashcard, change and receipts. I opened the door and walked into the house; placed my jacket on the rack and then closed and locked the door. I turned and looked at the mountain of stairs in front of me. Well, there were only 12 stairs, but it looked like 412. I waited for the cable car to take me up the mountain and then realised, there isn’t a cable car. Of course there isn’t; it’s a house but I wanted a cable car to help me as my energy tank was empty – I was eroding and imploding.

Matt Jacobson – Photograph, Michelle Marshall

Usually, on the way to bed, I find the stairs friendly and poetic, an uphill stepping stone to a night of dreams. Where sleep could save me, rescue me and recharge me and where sleep can dilute fear and bring the forgotten near. Each stair would guide me and bring me warmth. The first few stairs always said to me: 

Stair 1 was always won 

Stair 2 wanted the few 

Stair 3 was never for me

Stair 4 never provided more 

Etc., etc. – but on this night, I told step 1 to f**k off and to take its little mates, stairs 2, 3 and 4 with it. I ignored the other stairs because I could. Then I opened the bedroom door and there was my bed – loving, giving and inviting. I flopped down and lay on my side, placing my head on the pillow.  I thought about my disastrous day – a fuzzy Friday of failure. I hated every minute of this day, nothing felt right, but I had no energy to fight it. I didn’t seek advice from anyone because I didn’t talk to anyone. The early rise in the morning, work and the journey home had cruelly brought me to the point of no return. I knew I wanted peace and just wanted to sleep; close my eyes and forget about everything. Just before I drifted off, I contemplated everything about my life. I questioned everything but returned no answers. However, I managed to put together conclusions and as I did, I whispered to myself …. 

“This is the worst hangover in history – I am not drinking on a Thursday night ever again” 

Love and Peace,

Matthew Jacobson

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READ MORE: Local Author Matt Jacobson reflects on a visit to a cafe in a village on the Merseyside Coastline

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