88. A Sort of Homecoming

“There are two kinds of people in this world.” I say, exaggerating my hand gestures, to emphasise complete certainty, in front of my five-year-old nephew. “Those who like marmite and those who don’t, and,” (dramatic pause) “you can’t tell which, just by looking. I think it’s in your DNA. Your uncle hates kissing me bye if I’m eating this.”

His little face lights up at this new, vitally crucial information and he spends the next half-hour interrogating everyone who enters the dining room about whether they like marmite. His cheerfulness catches them off-guard. Their unashamed reactions of revulsion and horror, are an absolute treat for the boy. Wide-eyed in wonder at the adults in his life, repulsed and showing fear for the very first time. Taking centre stage, he is the star of his very own Roald Dahl book played out in real life.

“No, it’s blah. How anyone can eat that… that GUNGE, is beyond me.”

“I’m completely addicted. I love it. I have to take a little jar with me on holiday.”

“I’ll find you that YouTube video of Japanese people eating it for the first time. They’re being polite but you can tell they hate it. Their faces!”

“Marmite is banned in Denmark because it’s so disgusting. No lie. You can google it if you don’t believe me. It’s only a matter of time before we come to our senses and catch up.”

“Me and you have to stick together, kid. Like BTS fans. There’s not many of us out there.”

Between giggles at their utter contempt, he boldly crunches his toast, hamming it up with “mmmmmms”, looks them right in the eye and licks the butter knife, and even once kisses the jar. Relishing with glee the power he has to effortlessly own the room.

My other half walks in, starts to greet us, halts, wrinkles his nose and sighs “oh god, not another convert.”

I nearly forgot…

Come on England!🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 🦁 🦁 🦁

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33. Can’t Get You Out Of My Head

pexels-photo-216630.jpegIt seems like the memories of my most enjoyable moments from my life fade the quickest. Their brightness dimmer with every recall.  Each pang is quieter until I cannot even remember the expression on your face. All that remains is a fading ember in my chest and a slow, sad, smile. These are happy tears for times we can never have again.

Yet, that seared scar never fades. I can still feel your spit as those words shock and rob me of my future plans. They pressed a permanent imprint into my brain. That energy has not subdued over the years. The photos of us look like our younger siblings.

I was grabbing at a popped bubble of smoke.

I’ve written wishes for witches and prayers for nuns. Cheek resting on cold tiles, or curled, tangled in white sheets with nothing to look at but pure blue sky, wondering whether you’re looking at that same sky right now.

I’ve left the back door of my mind open on a spring morning, so you could wander around and leave when you’re ready. Those sleepy barefoot Sundays; marking the end with routine preparation, readying ourselves for the new.

I’ve skimmed all the pebbles we collected, sung out loud on stage and ridden my bike hard down steep hills to let you go. Travelled to far away places, terrified by crazy taxi drivers, sick with strange water and paid over the odds for things I didn’t need, to try to overflow new memories in. I tied a tiny bag of your possessions to a crossroads in a place I’d never been to before. I feel grateful to ever have known you. I’ve been blessed by someone dedicated to a cause I care not for, to cleanse my spirit of you. I thanked you. I asked you to leave. I’ve forgiven you; permission to go granted. I’ve slammed the door in your face every time you tried to get in. But you keep coming back. You don’t belong here. It’s limbo. A ghost from my past who won’t let me live in my present.

A woman with jingling wrists, smelling of woodsmoke, grabbed my hand in the street and said, “he’s sorry he hurt you”. My yoga teacher said our souls had unfinished business from other lives and we would meet again in the next. I read that it was all down to mercury in retrograde. Time heals. Have you not had enough of mine?

So, I have no choice but to give in. I have nothing left to lose. I have to find a way to live with you, as I wait without you. I grow older, while you will always be 27. You wont let go of my hand; the ache from my phantom limb.

6. Sunday Brunch

fried-eggs-breakfast-toast-food-50600.jpeg

The boyfriend does not like this playlist.

“It’s full of 80s music.”

“That’s because it’s my playlist, and I like 80s music. I hate some of that Gangster Rap crap you play but you don’t hear me going on about it all the time. I’m open to new stuff. What is a bag of dicks anyway?”

“You think you’re funny don’t you? If you’re so open to new music, why do you keep listening to this old bollocks then? 80s music is shit. And it’s called Hip Hop.”

“80s music is not shit. There’s The Smiths and New Order on there. You were singing that Talk Talk song a minute ago. The Stone Roses are your favourite band of all time, and they’re an 80s band.”

“Yeah, but you’ve got A-Ha and Duran Duran on there and I’m bloody sick of hearing Kids In America. That time she was pissed and sang it on the tube was funny though. This is like one of those all-hits-all-the-time-no-song-repeated-in-a-single-day radio stations that people with no ambition listen to.”

“Put something else on then.”

“No point. These eggs are nearly done now. I don’t want any of that avocado crap anywhere near my plate though.”

“You like avocado. You loved that crab mousse thingy that time in that restaurant.”

“Yes that was good that. Does all avocado taste like that?”

“Nah. You wait for three days for it ripen, then you get a half-hour window when you can eat it, then after that it tastes like shit.”

“I’ll stick to restaurant avocado then, if it’s alright with you. I’m guaranteed that it’ll always be good.”

Just then The Unforgettable Fire comes on and he says,

“I fucking love this song.” He says.