So… I’ve spent a year chasing Naoko around the globe, and finally have to admit defeat. It’s not going to work, as much as I want it to. After some mourning, and heartache -which continues – I’ve decide that no, it’s not all forlorn, and I may indeed meet someone again who I love like I love her. After all, like the man says: once you break a knuckle, you’ll always break it again.
I am thinking of coming back here. shall I? what do I have to talk about? In no particular order [note: this is a lie]:
fighting, I’ve been at it again.
books, so many books.
some things that I have been told by people who care about me.
depression, in small and uncertain ways.
happiness, in a few big ways, but no less uncertain.
how, by kings cross st pancras, I sat down and wept.
Naoko. who I still can’t let go of. Apparently distance does not diminish love. Who knew?
‘They call it’, she said, ‘the desire-for-I-know-not-what. They will find it one day when we are dead and all things that live now are dead. They will find it when everything is dead except the dreams we have no words for. It is not chocolate, it is not cigarettes, it is not cocaine, nor opium, nor sex. It is not eating, drinking, flying, fighting, loving. It is not love’s delight, it is not bearing children, though in that there are moments like jewels. There is one taste in us that remains unsatisfied. I don’t know what that taste is, but I know it is there. Life’s best gift, hasn’t someone said, is the ability to dream of a better life…’
She forgot that there can be something even worse: to have that taste, but only fleetingly.
I am going on a trip.
No, don’t worry, I’m not following Naoko to the Other Land that she’s gone to. It crossed my mind, because I have been a shell recently, not helped by not being able to train or fight – my injury is worse than expected, and I may be out for months, not weeks. The crucial week or rehab comes up now: if the injury responds, I may be fight-fit again within a month. If it doesn’t – not till next year. I don’t know how I’ll deal with that. I’m hoping I won’t have to.
Anyway, I’m on the move. I’m off to relax, rehab my leg, read constantly and hopefully take my mind of Naoko for a while. I shall be mainly reading Patrick Hamilton and listening to Dave Brubeck Quartet playing Blue Rondo a la Turk.
p.s. It’s National Poetry Day. I leave you with Wendy Cope.
Lonely Hearts Can someone make my simple wish come true? Male biker seeks female for touring fun. Do you live in North London? Is it you? Gay vegetarian whose friends are few, I’m into music, Shakespeare and the sun. Can someone make my simple wish come true? Executive in search of something new – Perhaps bisexual woman, arty, young. Do you live in North London? Is it you? Successful, straight and solvent? I am too – Attractive Jewish lady with a son. Can someone make my simple wish come true? I’m Libran, inexperienced and blue – Need slim non-smoker, under twenty-one. Do you live in North London? Is it you? Please write (with photo) to Box 152. Who knows where it may lead once we’ve begun? Can someone make my simple wish come true? Do you live in North London? Is it you?
So, Naoko’s gone. And contrary to every promise we made ourselves, we spent most of her last few days together. Saying goodbye was probably the most difficult and painful thing I’ve done in years. We spent thirty minutes holding on to each other, as trains went past in either direction, kissing and being stared at. Neither of us cared.
To make matters worse, I’ve got a training injury – it’s bad, and I may not be able to fight for a while, unless my body does something special in healing. This is robbing me of the only thing that can properly block out my sadness and spend my frustration.
It’s going to be a difficult month or two. I’m (re-)reading london books to remind me why I’m staying, why I didn’t just get on a plane with her and follow. I belong to London, and London belongs to me.
At least for now.
So, I’m thinking about going back on internet dating. How do they do this on Twitter? #Failure?
Naoko flies out in a couple of days. Not feeling so much up to blogging, and instead am still comfort reading at a furious pace. Up next: Lucky Jim, again.
It is also possible that I never did any such thing, for I am fairly certain that in a snapshot album I have lost track of there was a picture of the house taken in the circumstances I have just described, and it is possible that I am remembering that rather than an actual experience. What we, or at any rate what I, refer to confidently as memory – meaning a moment, a scene, a fact that has been subjected to a fixative and thereby rescued from oblivion – is really a form of storytelling that goes on continually in the mind and often changes with the telling. Too many conflicting emotional interests are involved for life ever to be wholly acceptable , and possibly it is the work of the storyteller to rearrange things so that they conform to this end. In any case, in talking about the past we lie with every breath we draw.
So much of this blog is my recollections of past relationships (with people, with books). William Maxwell makes me question everything, as only great writers can do.