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Home Truth

by Bee 

Posted: 04 November 2003
Word Count: 1019

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It was the smell of rain that I missed the most and the sound of a lawnmower and the waft of cut grass. It was being out in the open and standing bare foot! Blue skies part and parcel of it all; the thunder that would blast over and leave the coming of a tropical sundown, an evening of barbecues, of warm pools, beer splattering on concrete. The bed a-waiting, a vest, a body glistening from perspiration and a sleep of pillows constantly changing sides, a mosquito in the ear. Sleepless nights that were all you knew. And then, one day I left it behind. I moved to a city, to grim faced pallid movements, and there I became with them a ghost on the sidewalks. Dimly, ambling along with my face down, watching my steps and hurrying towards my quotidian activities.

Winters I spent indoor in solace. My flatmates the friends I had - worked day and night. They were accustomed to leaving the soul behind, the need for money was so official. I would spend nights in the strange house, with creaks of a wall I did not know, and sit by the phone that our landlord had locked, and think of conversations of the past, of my mothers voice ringing, of my best friend whom I would lose contact with, and I would write letters, letters I would never send, letters that clutched the truth that only I knew. I would cry, tears staining the ink, a smudged idea of love. I was temping then, doing mindless data entry, tapping words into a computer, and moving on wondering what worth there was, and how to find it. My flatmates would come home just before midnight Mark and Craig, my two best friends. I would smile inwardly and outwardly and make them tea, a sandwich, sit with them and live their lives, hear their stories, flourish in company. Sleep would be eschewed, I yearned for comfort, and company eased the etching of loneliness.

I drank a lot, I had a job and I met people, and I continued my ambling in a city that was not mine. Every Friday my work offered free drinks and I catapulted towards the bar, I sipped ferociously at the wine, the beer, I got horrifically drunk and so the person that I was not, but so yearned to be would come out. She, loud, vivacious, articulate would spend the evening conversing with strangers, laughing and sometimes, flirting! I seemed to step out of myself and watch in amazement. After drinks, I would stumble to the Palladium to meet Mark and Craig they both worked there as ushers. I would arrive as they were finishing work and we would sit in the bar and I would continue, I would drink.

One night we fell drunk into the house. I lit a cigarette; I sat down and my mind triggered off dull thuds of depression. I went to the bathroom and in a mode of translucent mania I took out a razor blade and in numb motions slowly cut at my wrist, tears streaming down my face, I stopped as soon as I started, my aim was wrong it was in the name of attention, except I would tell nobody, the attention was all to myself. Quietly, I wrapped my stinging arm with toilet paper, walked to my room and put on a jersey so as to cover the threat, the childish self abuse. I lay and quickly wiped my tears as I heard the friendly footsteps of Mark and Craig. They stood and bantered and eventually I followed them downstairs, and listened to Bob Marley, and Redemption song, my favourite song Sold I to the merchant ships
And so, I stood on the tube, Dollis Hill to Marylebone and I stared at the scars on my wrist. The scars of stupidity that only I knew of, I was entranced, as though it were not me its never me. I swayed to the motion of the train, the city was corrupting me, my soul was slowly bitten, I wanted to yell out my mind, but it all seeped inwards, I was boring myself with my own pleas.

It got better, as it does get better, as you know no better and I sunk into my life, I slowly enjoyed its offerings, I adjusted to the climate, to the people and one day as I walked outside my new flat not mine of course, but my temporary abode that I rented, as I took out the garbage on a autumn Saturday in my pyjamas, with the TV and the glow of comfort, I looked at the grey, I sucked it in and I quite enjoyed it its romantic quality, its throes to tea, its gloom appealed to me, as it would eventually with my nature. I liked it, I went inside, and shivered a content chill, I enjoyed the cold and the idea of being able to get warm and I lay on the couch with my toes under a cushion, an inane program keeping me entertained. It all grows on you.

I went home, eventually. I spent five months appreciating the beauty, the climate the content natures surrounding me. I ate healthy food, I listened to a language I had forgotten about, I roamed on farms that were not mine, went to wine harvests, put on high factors to shield out the sun, spend days lamenting the heat. But, it was not time, I was unable to indulge as the city, London, was still with me, my love and loathing relationship was still continuing, I was still meant to be there, whether unhappy or not. I could not explain it, its not the city I suppose, its me I need to be content. I left, I left what I love so much, no great epiphany, just not at that moment. One day home will come to me, or I will go to home and I await the knowledge in peace.

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Comments by other Members

Richard Brown at 18:49 on 04 November 2003  Report this post
Bee, powerful, powerful stuff! There's so much that's elemental yet ephemeral in this piece; feelings that are very difficult to evoke. You express alienation, loneliness, lost-ness so eloquently. I have met many in my life who would seize on this as, in part at least, an account of their lives. It's courageously honest. I read it and then read it immediately again. (By the way - have your read Rebbecca Ray's novel, 'A Certain Age'? Rebbecca wrote it when she was 17 but it describes some of the same perverse life forces as does your piece. There's an interview with her on this site)

Just a couple of technicalties. In the penultimate paragraph, fourth line, there's a triplet of 'it's' which should, I think, be 'its'; and, even with the apostrophe taken out, I don't understand 'its throes to tea'.

Is this a one off episode or part of an autobiography? If the latter, do post some more once people have had a chance to take this in.

Thank you.


Bee at 19:44 on 04 November 2003  Report this post
Thank you Richard. I wrote this a while ago, on a whim at work overcome by a sudden emotion - but truth be told I can't quite remember the mood I was in at the time - whether it was pro or anti London (it changes so often!). I would love it to be a longer piece, but I am quite appalling in structure and would have to think of where to go and where to end and so on. I do assure you that if I am able to develop it that I will post here for comments. I am on my way to have a look at 'A Certain Age'.

I am glad you enjoyed it, I feel inspired somewhat.


miffle at 11:16 on 12 May 2004  Report this post
Bee, been enjoying browsing your 'back-catalogue' (for want of a better phrase!) this morning. This is rhythmic and brave and contemporary and yes, as Richard suggests I do 'seize on this as, in part at least, an account of my life'.

I think it was C S Lewis who said that we 'read because we do not want to feel alone' (?) and this is, on one level, what this piece is about to me. I have also often thought that the same could be said of writing i.e. why to we write ? Well, I think in part we write from loneliness and we write to 'connect'... Especially if you write and you find that you can almost feel the presence of your audience...

'Home Truth' it is interesting to me that you do not make this a plural here... In the plural, certainly, the phrase suggests ideas to me of things that are bitter to swallow perhaps... (see Fearless poem 'Unpalatable Truth' - I think this is in a similar vein). And, there are many 'truths' that are bitter to swallow in this piece... In the singular it also connects perhaps to ideas of your formative years / first Home and suggests the wholesomeness of these. It also alerts the reader, I think, to the fact that you will explore the theme of 'Home' in this piece...

I too am intrigued by ideas of 'Home' and belonging and because of this I very much liked the phrase 'One day home will come to me...' I have experienced a sense of Home / or perhaps 'Coming Home' in my life but it has always been fleeting and mostly it has not been connected to the idea of a physical structure, bricks, mortar etc... but more to company, to people, to animals, to smells, to small things, actually...

I do like so many lines/ phrases here. So much 'stingy' writing, real verve! Like 'They were accustomed to...was so official' and '...what worth there was and how to find it'. Thoughts from a questioning mind eager to find its own truth.

Re. your descriptions of self-harm I understand that in part people self-harm to feel alive (?) I also understand that on a solely physical level the act of self-harming releases opiates in the body which are calming (?) and addictive (?) rather like a drug (?) Am I barking up the wrong tree !! And, one thing that strikes me about this piece of writing in this light is that the speaker is in fact so very very gloriously alive - although perhaps they do not feel it...

Just some thoughts. Write on, Miffle :-)

Bee at 09:00 on 18 May 2004  Report this post
Miffle - thanks SO much for your comments. With regards to self harm, it is indeed to feel alive - a call out for attention perhaps with no desire to die but to know that you can feel.


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