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First person

  Thu 24th November 2016

Wendy rings asking me if I was down the pub, saying she's free for half an hour. As she walks in, Kim rings. I wave to Wendy. "Kim, I'm terribly sorry, but Wendy's here. Could we do this another time?" Almost before I finish the sentence she is expertly understanding. Later that evening, I text her. "I'm sorry about curtailing you so rudely this afternoon. It's just that I lose any semblance of manners once I see Wendy, even towards you."

Wendy gets us a bottle of wine, asks me about London. She's on form, going on a riff in which we are compared to additives in food. I want to put my fingers in her hair. We finish the wine and she goes to the bar, coming back with two glasses of port. We make some arrangements for me taking her dog out two days this week while she's at work. "The keys will be in Kitty's recycling bins. Stay as long as you want. Riffle through my knicker drawer, have a bath..."

Afterwards, she texts me, saying that I really am one of her favourite people in the world, and confirms our arrangement to take a bottle of port up to the park on Monday.

I try writing back but my fingers slow me down, as does my self-censorship, attempting, far too late now, to avoid saying what she doesn't want to hear. I leave it till the evening, so that I can respond in a measured and restrained way.

And you are one of my very best favourites too. I love being with you, I miss you when you're not around, I love your irreverent, unpredictable, bright, witty, conversation. I love looking at you. I think you're utterly gorgeous, newly gorgeous every time I see you, and wish I could rake my eyes over you constantly. You make my life better for being in it. I missed you too when I was in London, because it's you that I always want to share everything with. I am, therefore, for all practical purposes, in love with you, although I must turn my head away from the radiant obviousness of such an inconvenient conclusion.

Thank you for today -- that all-too-short bit of the kind of heady near-delirium that you bring with you was all the more enjoyable for it being unexpected. If I could have written my ideal first full day back here, you would have been the first person in it.

Monday's ours. And in the meantime I look forward to rummaging in your knicker drawer, and Kitty's recycling bins, tomorrow and Friday.

And then the melancholy sets in. I wish I didn't have to go to a sex club in Blackpool. I wish it could be with Wendy, part of the same spectrum of feeling for her that I already have. I wish I didn't find our rare, three-second embraces so thrilling, so opiate. I wish I didn't re-run them in such a viscously slow recall. I wish I didn't remember every tiny ridge and fold and hem of her clothes under my stroking fingers, millimetres away from her skin. I want her to want to stroke me too, instead of her holding me, willingly enough, but without desire. Mine for her is deadened through its enforced privacy, confined within the boundaries of me, expressed only in flat, inanimate, black and white typed words.

4 comments

For goodness sake Looby, have you not made your mind up yet?

Two years I’ve been away, and you’re still prevaricating. Looks though you’re having fun though, so well done.
And riffling through knicker drawers is rife with danger.

You never know what you might find.

Sat 26th November 2016 @ 05:48
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Well, blow me down – I thought you’d fallen down the plughole. Great to see you back in the comments TSB, and I notice you’re back in the blog fold, which is good news.

I made up my mind about Wendy a long time ago. Unfortunately, so did she about me.

Sat 26th November 2016 @ 10:12

I wish you’d take six months off from seeing her. I’m not kidding. You’d suffer for a bit but then all this self-torment would come to an end. And who knows? She might come to her senses. Think about it.

Mon 28th November 2016 @ 18:07
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

She’s perfectly in control of her senses. She doesn’t fancy me, and she won’t fancy me six months from now either. I’m a bit stuck really. The only option is to find someone else but that’s all but impossible to do.

Tue 29th November 2016 @ 16:05


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looby, n.; pl. loobies. A lout; an awkward, stupid, clownish person


M / 56 / Bristol, "the most beautiful, interesting and distinguished city in England" -- John Betjeman [1961, source eludes me].

"Looby is a left-wing intellectual who is obsessed with a) women's clothes and b) tits." -- Joy of Bex.

WLTM literate woman, 40-65. Must have nice tits, a PhD, and an mdma factory in the shed, although the first on its own will do in the short term.


There are plenty of bastards who drink moderately. Of course, I don't consider them to be people. They are not our comrades.
Sergei Korovin, quoted in Pavel Krusanov, The Blue Book of the Alcoholic

I am here to change my life. I am here to force myself to change my life.
Chinese man I met during Freshers Week at Lancaster University, 2008

The more democratised art becomes, the more we recognise in it our own mediocrity.
James Meek

Tell me, why is it that even when we are enjoying music, for instance, or a beautiful evening, or a conversation in agreeable company, it all seems no more than a hint of some infinite felicity existing apart somewhere, rather than actual happiness – such, I mean, as we ourselves can really possess?
Turgenev, Fathers and Sons

I hate the iPod; I hate the idea that music is such a personal thing that you can just stick some earplugs in your ears and have an experience with music. Music is a social phenomenon.
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La vie poetique has its pleasures, and readings--ideally a long way from home--are one of them. I can pretend to be George Szirtes.
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Using words well is a social virtue. Use 'fortuitous' once more to mean 'fortunate' and you move an English word another step towards the dustbin. If your mistake took hold, no-one who valued clarity would be able to use the word again.
John Whale

One good thing about being a Marxist is that you don't have to pretend to like work.
Terry Eagleton, What Is A Novel?, Lancaster University, 1 Feb 2010

The working man is a fucking loser.
Mick, The Golden Lion, Lancaster, 21 Mar 2011

The Comfort of Strangers

23.1.16: Big clearout of the defunct and dormant and dull
16.1.19: Further pruning

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