‘Wherever you are I hope you’re singing now’.
It was the early hours, and it was dangerously dark and cold. I was alone, I was hurt, I was in shock, and I just wanted to escape from the pain and for someone to rescue me, resuscitate me, hold me and hug me and for once – mean it. I wanted someone special to pick me up and place me in another place, or to place me below the earth to cushion the crushed heart.
My screams had teamed up with my stifled streams of tears and, as the fear grew, I felt this was it – my time was now up. I was on the floor with a view of the window which was open. As the curtain escaped outside with the wild wind, I whispered for someone to please stop the pain, for a special someone to please stop the patronising pain………………. this pain of banging my knee on the f***n bedroom cabinet!
An early hour trip for a drink to the kitchen had clobbered me with a clever 3 am mauling. I crawled back to bed and lay down and tried to forget and I actually forgot who I am, which is a good thing – so I must do this again.
I felt more inept than usual and told myself a few home truths. The first being that I can’t truthfully manouvre around my own home. The second home truth – was a lie, so not worth repeating. The night had held a plethora of panic. I had calmed down by the time I covered my calamity carcass with the quilt of shame.
The morning arrived and I woke to realise I was bruised. The scene of the crime had etched a white marking around my shame and shambles. However, the day stretched ahead, and I thought about my options. For once I decided to catch up with the things I needed to do – household nonsense, bills, emails, emails about household bills and emails to bill – basically a no-frills day. So, I precariously pushed the past behind me and placed a plaster on my scuffed kneecap to provide a reminder of the night’s disaster.
To be honest, I was scared to move in case I fell over again. So, as I showered and then ironed my clothes, I painted the “To Do” list in my head. Within minutes, I had painted over it with a new list, the “Not to do it today” list. I flicked the television on and, as usual, off again and then decided a walk, or a hobble with the knee – was for me. I picked up my jacket and headed out; the door shut behind me as the city opened up before me.
I walked and walked and contemplated the week’s work; the day-by-day slump, the hourly and minute-by-minute hump. At least this sugar-rush Saturday had provided a much-needed lift, even after the night before. As the reminder of doing the bills scheme popped in my head, I completed the next step and nipped into the nearest pub.
I’m not too sure why, it was only midday. I hadn’t really had breakfast and here I was at the bar, a bar with four customers and seven drinks across the tables. I thanked the barmaid for my drink and made my way to the seat opposite the bar. I thought maybe I shouldn’t be there, and then I sipped my drink and thought the opposite. The plan: a couple of quiet drinks and then I’d head home.
I opened my notepad and looked around for some inspiration, motivation and thoughts that would leap from a battered brain to perfect paper pages. In the distance, I noticed a television; no sound but it showed flickering and flashing adverts for the evening shows. I etched into my notepad – “the world without creativity is Saturday night television” and before I could write anymore, I felt an emptiness – so I headed to the bar again. This drink had gone quietly but quickly, and the barmaid looked at me as if I had dropped the drink. I ordered another and headed back to my seat as a gentleman passed me and ordered a pint and a short. I noticed he was dressed smartly but brightly and bold. He was garrulous and bonhomous and full of spirit as I was, of course, the opposite. He was a stranger, and he was looking at me.
With his arms out wide, he started the conversation:
“Look at me, look at me” he said, “I’m the IT man I am” …
I replied with a smile “I’m the isn’t man”
You could be me, eeeee, I am charm personified”
“I couldn’t pal – I don’t have any charm”
He laughed and then leant in and whispered:
“A Gin for your sins son?”
I replied “I don’t sin mate,well not that often, in fact all the time, so yes, make it a double or treble , on top of the other – no its ok, I’m fine but thank you, very kind of you to offer’’
“I’m being picked up in 25 minutes and it’s all systems go, the IT man is looking to meet a lady and I’m dressed up to dress down, look at the hair, the shine on my shoes; I make my own headlines, the IT man is a charming choo choo train, heading to destination…..”
At that point he couldn’t think of anything but continued…
‘Withering flowers drop when there is no sunlight my friend, but I am the sunlight…
I am pumped up, powered by a petroleum of promises and I’m looking to meet a….”
“Good luck”, I said. “I wish you well.”
With his hands on his hips and lager heading to his lips he shouted,
“I don’t need luck son, just look at me”
“Another time?”, I said.
“Look at me, I’m all or nothing.”
“Well, I think I’m just nothing.”, I said.
“Let me buy you a drink?”, he asked. “One for the road, avenue, close, park and Riverside view?
Let’s talk – I can see you need to talk my friend.”
“No thanks mate, honestly, I’m fine. I’m good, thanks… I’m ready to go after this drink but again, thank you, you are ever so kind.”
He looked concerned, “Everything’s better when it’s shared.”, he said. “Trust me my friend, trust me.”
“Sorry pal, I hope I don’t sound rude.”
“You don’t my friend, you are just in another world to the IT man. I am the super-IT-man.”
We both laughed.
“Is it really time to go?”, he quizzed.
“Soon, yes, it has been a pleasure to meet you. Enjoy your evening.”
“I will do my friend, I will. I will be dancing all night… dancing so much all night. And remember son, you can always join me in my world!”
“I’ll be there one day”, I said “as this world isn’t great, is it?”
“That’s the spirit son, that’s the spirit!”
He punched the air with passion and pride in my words!
He then turned and started singing Delilah, loud, very loud and he started dancing. I listened to him entertaining the barmaids, barman, and the few customers across the room. He was full of charm and charisma and didn’t look like he had a care in the world. I am sure he did, but for now, he was living in the now, and that now was the most important thing in the world to him.
I finished up my drink and gathered my belongings. As I left for the pub door, I turned and he waved.
”Goodbye my friend.”
I waved back.
“Goodbye IT man, stay safe, stay happy“, I said.
“Always my friend, always.”I shut the door behind me and headed home. I thought about his freedom and living in what seemed a carefree world. I will never knock that; at the end of the day, he seemed much happier than me.
Matt Jacobson – @drunktankphoto
At times, the shadows of sun traps keep us all pinned down, one by one. Pinned down with our heads facing the floor and worries shoved and shunted into a world full of corporate gobbledygook language and let downs, ensuring the days pass quickly as time kills us slowly. Life is sneaky and swiftly pulls your pants down. It mocks and can quickly ensure you are soon measuring your own box for the long sleep ahead. Living in the now is my past, and maybe I’ve forgotten I should find the now more often.
My door opened and I was home. A quick scan of the rooms ensured the chores chimed out crappy reminders to me and I thought I’ll tackle them head on in my usual style – so I sat on the couch first, had a cup of tea and listened to lots of music and then went back out to see my oldest of friends.
But, even now, as and when I pass that very pub – I will always associate it as his pub. My dear IT man. “Wherever you are , I hope you’re singing now….”