ANOTHER SUITCASE IN ANOTHER HALL (Part 10)

March 4, 2018

 

So here I am on my second full weekend without the kids. And it’s the Labor Day long weekend too, which means an extra day without them. They are at their Dad’s and while I am enjoying the quiet time and space to write, something feels amiss. I worry about what’s really going on in their heads about Darrell and my split and pray they are okay and won’t grow up resenting me for breaking up ‘what seemed from the outside’ a relatively perfect life.

 

      I’ve never made good choices in men. Andy was just the start of a string of them. I seem doomed to follow a bizarre pattern of falling for men, who tire too quickly of my devotion, dazzled at first by the bright beacon shining off the lighthouse on my sleeve, but all to quickly start steering a course for a safer, less treacherous harbor or back out to sea in search of a more exotic shore.

 

      If I were to pick a song that reflected that time it would be Neil Diamond’s Love On The Rocks. It was one of Andy’s go-to songs at karaoke and even now I can see him up on stage, melting hearts and inducing eyelash batting from his female fans. The world was at his feet. I was the duff chord being played in his otherwise perfect symphony.

 

Love on the Rocks

By Neil Diamond (from the movie The Jazz Singer)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MK5N6iPLrEs

Love on the rocks
Ain't no surprise
Just pour me a drink and I'll tell you some lies
Got nothin' to lose so you just sing the blues
All the time

Gave you my heart
Gave you my soul
You left me alone here with nothing to hold
Yesterday's gone
Now all I want is a smile

First, they say they want you
How they really need you
Suddenly you find you're out there
Walking in a storm
When they know they have you
Then they really have you
Nothing you can do or say
You've got to leave, just get away
We all know the song

You need what you need
You can say what you want
Not much you can do when the feeling is gone
May be blue skies above
But it's cold when you love's on the rocks

First, they say they want you
How they really need you
Suddenly you find you're out there
Walking in a storm
When they know they have you
Then they really have you
Nothing you can do or say
You've got to leave, just get away
We all know the song

Love on the rocks
Ain't no surprise
Just pour me a drink and I'll tell you my lies
Yesterday's gone
And now all I want is a smile

 

      At this point in time, the sequence of events after the Ibiza trip feel a little mixed up. I guess it’s understandable; it matched my state of mind.

 

       Because I want to get this right, for my reference more than yours, I’ve decided to get off my bum and do some research. That’s what good writers do. I don’t want someone reading this one day, saying ‘That wasn’t in 1991, it was 1992, because I remember we were doing Pirates of Penzance etc…’

 

       Unfortunately since I’m in a temporary limbo between houses, my research material is all taped up in boxes. However, I found the box labeled ‘old diaries’. Now don’t get excited, I’m no Ann Frank, or Bridget Jones for that matter. All my diaries started the year well, but somewhere between January and Valentines Day, I must get bored and stop writing anything.

 

      A few years ago, when we moved from my house in Centre Street, Queens Park to our house in Helena Valley, I did one of those ruthless culls. The victims of this cull were lots of old diaries. Everything between 1988 and 1994   got chucked. FUCCCCCKKKKKK! Why did I do that???????????????????????? I did it because they weren’t diaries with screeds of entries about what I ate that day and how I felt about world events. They basically just listed what I had penciled in to do that day, like Crowded House Concert or rehearsal for some show or fly to Ibiza. Man, these diaries would be so bloody handy right now.

For some reason, I saved one from 1994, so hopefully when I get to that year, it’ll be helpful.

 

        Then I had a light bulb moment. My old passports! I thought, they’ll be able to tell me exactly the dates when I travelled to different places. Hallelujah..something solid to go on. But do you think I could find where I packed them??? No sireee. I’m praying I didn’t leave them back at the Helena Valley house, Darrell’s likely to chuck them out in spite, knowing how much I prized them the way other people do sports trophies.

 

       Without any proper documents to work with…I’ve turned to the people who were around back then. I’ve messaged them on Facebook and asked them what they remember of that time. I’m actually a little excited to hear what they have to say.

 

       In the meantime, lets get back to the UK and post Ibiza.

 

       As 1991 drew to a close, I spent Christmas Day with the Panthers. We watched Noel Edmonds 12 Days of Christmas and after the Queen’s speech we all crashed into a food coma on the couch.

 

       I had been working at the Royal Society of Arts for nearly a year by then and I’d made some good work friends outside of YOG. One of them was Sharon Walsh. Finally I had a friend with a wage, who was keen to travel. We used to sit in the work canteen, eating whatever meal was on the menu that day and dream up destinations to go to. Eventually we settled on America.

 

      Around the same time, I was telling her one day how I needed to find somewhere new to live. I was kind of over living alone in that dingy flat and for what I was paying in rent, it really wasn’t worth having no proper bathroom facilities. Plus after going to see Silence of the Lambs at the movies one night, I was convinced Hannibal Lecture was going to come find me and cook me up with some fava beans and enjoy me with a nice chianti.

 

        Unbeknownst to me, another worker sitting behind me in the work cafeteria overheard this conversation and came to find me at my desk.

       ‘Hey,’ he said ‘I hope you don’t mind, but I overheard you talking at lunchtime and I believe your looking for somewhere to live.’

I didn’t really know this guy, I’d seen him around. He was one of the buildings maintenance guys. The only reason I’d noticed him was because he was the spitting image of Billy Idol. Peroxided flat-top in blue overalls.

      ‘If you’re interested,’ he continued ‘I’ve got a room for rent.’

      ‘Right.’ I said. ‘Thanks, I’ll think about it.’

 

        I didn’t think about it for long. I found him at work a couple of days later and asked for the address. I told him I’d be over that night to check it out.

 

        His name was Ritchie Hunt, he lived at 78 Mulliner Street, Stoke Heath. I was not attracted to him in a sexual way, but he had an air of protectiveness about him. I kind of knew I’d be safe with him. It was that gut instinct that led me to his door.

 

 

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