Diary 52: All about Susan

Diary 52 pic

[CLICK ON AUDIO BAR TO LISTEN INSTEAD OF READING. POST COMMENTS AT PAGE END]

I’ve been sleeping with Susan for, um, lets just say for next to a while. So, we’re kind of steady. I have to dash off to London for two days, one night. For work. Jeff talk. The phone rings; I ignore and keep telling it ‘I’m not here’. Its Susan checking up on me. Then, in the dead of night, at 4:08am, a text message wakes me.

 

‘I just woke up. I was dreaming of you. I looked at the bed and you were gone. I’ve started reading your stuff. I confess that I never read it before. It’s torture reading about your past and the stupid girls you had. I’m sooo jealous. And I feel distant from you. I’m greedy for your past. For the years I didn’t get to spend with you. It’s like grieving over a dead person. Then I feel pressure. I feel I knew you but now I feel that I don’t. It’s like going back to the start – day one and finding out who you are. I would ring you only I’m shitless you don’t want me. And then beneath all of this I fear that I might stop wanting you. But….

 

I kill my curiosity over the ‘but’ bit and think what to do for a few moments before dropping back to sleep. From bed, the next morning I play kind and send Susan a text:

 

‘It’s riveting, us, we are. It’s like we’re charting a course through the Suez canal to get to the ocean, going through various locks, the key to us slowly turning, creaking under the weight of expectation, waving us through to the next phase, two steps forward, one step back, and all the while nearing the vast ocean that one day will hold us together through the wildest of storms. Life with you. Huh!’

She doesn’t care to respond; perhaps she doesn’t know how to. Still, it suggests there are undercurrents. Demons.

 

We have history – histrionics – with dreams. Susan once dreamt that I was laughing at her. Oh, her precious ego! She said her subconscious was making a valid point; that our predicament was hopeless. There were other dreams but I’m not going to bore you with them. Well, I’ll just tell you this one as its weird: Susan dreamt that I was jerking off while I was asleep beside her and then, when she woke up, she actually accused me of it! Yes, she can’t figure out the difference between dreams and reality.

 

To be fair, not all of Susan’s dreams were bad. In another dream she asked her mother if it was normal for her tits to keep growing while she was in her mid-20s. Her mum hugs her tit-heavy daughter and tells her that she’s knocked up. Susan relayed this dream to me the next morning and said that in the night she woke up and there I was, my sleeping face looking right back at her. She kissed me and wondered if I felt it as I slept. I didn’t.

 

But I’m wary. I can’t rely on her feelings. They’re erratic. She’s up; she’s down. And I’m stuck in the middle. Being either loved or hated.

 

How to bear the responsibility of being tied to another? Girlfriend or wife, aren’t they  terms of capture? Don’t they mean being settled, of having homes, of having order, of conformity, of comforts? Me, I feel cheated just being here on planet earth. An accident years ago should have whisked me from this mess. Life, huh!

 

Back to the now: I urge calm, futile though it is. Her moods are uncontrollable. Anyway, its always the same when I go away; Susan always thinks I’m running around with others.

 

‘In the bushes!’ I joke.

‘Well?’ she asks.

‘Susan, come on, I’m more refined than that. And how many times must I tell you, there’s only you?’

 

She glowers.

 

When I return to Lisbon, and just as I’m wondering how a man might spend the day, and our little saga has moved on. There was me thinking that Susan might be tending to the chores, all mother-like and cooking, but no, the girl-child lingers. My head-shot is pinned to a wall and she’s throwing darts at it; yes, at a photograph of me. My mouth is the bull’s-eye and a hole is worn through the photo where my mouthpiece should be.

 

‘Is it your period?’ I ask.

‘No, it’s you.’

‘Susan, stop imagining problems.’

 

Only there’s no stopping her. She’s made of vitriol. It’s odd as when she’s asleep she looks like an angel. But now, fully awake, and she’s crying like a baby.

 

‘Why are you crying? Stop crying, Susan.’

‘I like crying. Really. It doesn’t mean I’m sad.’

‘Crying makes you happy?’

‘Kind of, ya.’

‘Well, I don’t know that I like it.’

 

They say, do what you love and let it kill you. I am and she is. Still. They also say there’s only a handful of girls in the world you can understand. Susan isn’t one of them. She’s hysterical, a contrary depressive. What’s natural for her is a worry for me: crying, whinging, dissing. For her, to smile is work. She says I’m a moron for always being happy without just cause. Me, I feel a grave sympathy that she can’t just be content or, at least, like me, to fake contentment.

 

I thought ours might be the story of life; the stuff of love. Alas no and I tell her so.

 

‘Susan, you want to love a different me!’

‘Like it or lump it? Do you think things are supposed to be easier because I’m a woman?’ she rants.

 

It dawns on me what this is about: sex. It’s a conspiracy; my cock and me. I want to do it even when we’re fighting. Susan says it means that I don’t love her. It’s true; we fuck like bunnies. We do it like it’s the only way to get oxygen and the last day on earth. I tell her it’s my heart she’s getting. But the sex versus love argument goes on and on, happy never-ending after. We’re back to the old chestnut: she imagines there’s another. It’s her insecurities; paranoia running rife. I go to quench.

 

‘Susan, you know that you’re all I’ve got.’

‘You’re all talk’ she huffs.

 

She storms off to the bedroom. I follow behind and find her lying face-down on the bed. I steal up behind her and kiss her neck. She doesn’t move. I feel compelled to make a statement.

 

‘Susan, I would hate it if I could never do that again… forever.’

‘Go away. You got your milk.’

‘What milk?’

‘Not real milk!’

‘Ok. What metaphoric milk did I get?’

‘You’re not human. I just don’t know why I’m masochisting myself with you!’

 

Ours isn’t a maturing relationship. She’s all about small details whereas I’m keener on big-picture stuff, the broad strokes. She turns over on the bed and fells me with a line.

 

‘The empty words of a writer!’

‘Writing is all I have. And yet it’s everything.’

 

I’m jailed by her jealousy; she lets outside things come between us. If I so much as hello a girl, she’s imagining congress. It’s ludicrous.

 

Another truth emerges. Back home, in Ireland, her cat has to be put down. Apparently I don’t show enough compassion. The near-dead cat demonstrates that we only know how to push apart but not pull together in times of stress. We’re reactionary, incendiary, both having the same kooky yet explosive ki energy. Of late, I’ve started keeping her under scrutiny. Ok, she knows there were two world wars and is tweaked enough to wonder about another given all that’s happening in the Middle East. Thankfully she also has a few views.

 

But there’s a problem.

 

Susan has stopped respecting me. Or at least she’s tired of listening to me, of hearing my factoids. Man-sense rather than nonsense she calls it. Although she rarely, if ever, utters a jewel of wisdom herself, she polices everything I say where once she was in awe. In fear of boring you, you the reader, I overlooked telling you things. See, I have theories about illnesses and things:

 

  • hiccups may indicate the on-set of a stroke;
  • girls don’t eat mushrooms as they remind them of flaccid penises or peni;
  • farmers in Japan get Kobe cows drunk before jumping on them with stiffys.

 

Anyway, lets back to us.

 

Questions mount. We’re competitive, unsustainable, and only look for flaws in each other. Bizarrely, we have serious conversations about who is funnier! Then we have a fundamental imbalance of world views: she’s down; I’m up. She sees problems where I see solutions. We’re polar opposites; a cup half-full versus half-empty thing.

 

Then there’s this: she’s not generous. It’s her round at the bar and she leaves me standing drinkless as she gets herself one. What’s mine is hers and what’s hers is also hers. She isn’t into sharing. She says it’s because men must be superior (and money-bags). And then, all because Susan’s piss-hole in the middle of Ireland has a few hundred more people in it than the piss-pot from where I hail, it implies that she’s enlightened whereas I’ve a mountain-man’s mindset. It’s too much.

 

‘Susan, it’s not like I’m from the bush. _________ is a town and not a village.’

‘But you don’t even know bananas or electricity’ she teases.

‘I’m a real normal guy.’

‘Real – yes. Normal – no!’

 

Why?

 

Oh, it’s because (and she screams this bit):

 

I’m stupid.

I’m a loser.

I’m a pervert.

I’m cold.

I’m moody.

I’m weird.

Me?

Yes.

Me.

It’s what I hear. I’m this, I’m that, I’m never perfect. God help anybody who tells her what she is! It’s to my credit that I’m able to laugh at myself while for her, her biggest fear is being humiliated.

 

We go through a ceremony; a ritual of sorts: we burn my published work.

 

‘It’s old-fashioned having a real book. Caveman!’

 

My out-moded life! Susan hates paper. She prefers technology. She says reading from a sliced up piece of wood (aka paper) reminds her of Moses writing on stone tablets. Books are finished; physical objects passé. Touch, or sensory perceptions, is redundant; its only an online sense one needs nowadays. The library doesn’t feel the same way about it. It’s where Susan borrowed the book that I wrote. I’m embarrassed having to explain that I mislaid it. They frown when I give them a new copy signed by me.

 

‘Books aren’t for writing on’ the librarian says.

‘I autographed it!’

‘But you’re not the author!’

‘You know what, fuck you, that fucker named on the cover can’t even write His own name. And anyway, what would you know about who really wrote it!’

 

Security are called. I’m turfed out of the library in the same manner a wino was minutes earlier. I tell Susan about the library saga, imagining she might appreciate the irony.

 

‘Louis, relax, its only a book. It doesn’t matter.’

‘Nothing seems to matter but at least I’m trying to.’

‘History won’t remember you’ Susan snaps back.

‘And hanging around is never going to make you somebody!’

‘It’s a recession Louis in case you hadn’t noticed. There are no jobs.’

‘So adapt. Change. Survive. Darwin!’

 

The thing is, Susan and I, we’re getting domestic but I’m unsure how I feel about this. It’s touch and go. To reconcile or discard, that is the question. After all, it’s no easy task guessing who might and might not be in their right mind. I study her closely and wonder if she might be the one. But I can’t discern if the things I learn about her are positive or negative.

 

For example, she has lost all her inhibitions. Ever since she and I went carnal, crudeness followed. There’s road-works! Once day over lunch, she pulls down her panties and matter-of-factly asks how much she should leave behind before having her pussy lazered. She’s become mad about herself, the nymphet. She thinks I know about grooming because I keep a bonsai tree. Giving it a seconds thought, I suggest that she leaves a tiny landing strip and return to eat my sandwich.

 

Then she soaks her white knickers and bras in the sink. I spot the shit stains and almost comment. I can’t figure out how she progressed straight from being a virgin to lazering her cunt and without going through the standard post-pubescent phases of getting a Brazilian or vagazeeling. She even lazered her asshole! Is it for a smooth entry or exit?

 

Then there’s this: something or someone always makes her nauseous. She’s fixed with a malaise where she can’t understand optimism and less still joy. It gets me thinking that people come in strange packages, Susan being both a beauty and a crack-pot. She wants to play the survivor. But of what? Maybe it’s the same thing I noticed back in our shared office days where she became frustrated trying to be someone but didn’t know who to be.

To follow the next instalment, insert email in the sidebar at the top of the page.

 

Diary 53: the Overhang

Back in Lisbon and I’m on the roof. I’m bent over. Susan watches from the balcony below as I toy with the TV aerial. I’m puffing, I’m out of breath and wearing only Speedos. It’s hot and flies galore. I’m pawing at a fly that won’t go away. Once done with the fly and something else is on my mind: the overhang. My overhang; my belly. It sags a little. Ok, sometimes I’m grossed out by myself and a self-loathing motors through my head. And I’m thinking all this as I balance precariously on a tiled roof, four floors high, while sucking in my belly. Call it my age angst; it always arrives at the most unexpected moments. Fuck it, I’m going to die in a pair of Speedos! Splat. Jam on the pavement.

 

‘I just hoped you wouldn’t fall’ Susan says later on.

‘Me? Not a chance.’

‘But the way you were all twisted on the roof.’

‘Honey, I’m a resilient old fool. I’m always fine’ I smile.

‘And your smile! You must do something about it.’

‘Come on, Susan, you barely notice it. It’s not like I’m a toothless pirate.’

‘But you always knew how important teeth are for me.’

‘If I only give a small smile you won’t notice the gap. Susan I’m in agony. I’m a little down over it all, its like I’ve a phantom tooth. And that dentist was a fucking psychopath.’

 

It’s not long since my tooth was pulled. I still feel punch-drunk. My cheek is swollen and I’ve a chink in my smile. Susan isn’t happy. I wonder if a bigger bra size might loosen her up!

 

‘Susan, I went through all this pain.’

‘I didn’t ask you too.’

‘Still. A bit of empathy isn’t an unreasonable request.’

 

She’s bewitching.

Beguiling.

 

There’s no acknowledgment of my pain, pain for her sake. She’s disgusted kissing me and it makes me self-conscious. I fear smiling. Anyway my sense of humour has become a problem. She wants me to think before I tell a joke. She’s the joke police and controls humour.

 

All that remains between us is sex. She says I’ve lost my determination, that I’m no longer hungry while I almost tell her that she’s killing my will to live. Sure, she’s good-looking but so too are a lot of people, and anyway, life is more than a beauty contest. The more I think about it and I’ve a sinking feeling that I’m talking to no one, that nobody is at home. She’s hard work. Maybe I’ll have to give her up. Sure, she’s incredible with her clothes off but she’s impossible to be with when they’re on!

 

I take a step backwards. Mentally. There are other things that precipitate our slide. If you’re keen on inspecting, there’s a little bit more.

Diary 54: Shooting the Breeze

Diary 54 image

So now you know how I got to being here. To being with Q, the Hollywood star, in LA.

 

I’m working around Her, trying to get under Her skin. She resists in bursts. It’s the stalker reflex. He’s still fresh in Her mind. She has been holding out on the things that matter so I go to close.

 

‘Q, I was wondering if I could drop in on you at work. To experience it. Maybe I could come on set and see the workings of the movie business.’

 

I’m on the phone the day before leaving Los Angeles for Europe. I hear the wind in Her ear. She’s driving. She tries to change the subject.

 

‘What a day, Louis. I told you the rain would blow over.’

‘Don’t get sunburnt with the top down! So, what do you say?’

‘Louis, it’s impossible. Sorry. It’s a closed set at the moment.’

‘What does that mean?’

‘You can’t come. Nobody can.’

 

It’s the usual. Closed doors.

 

‘How’s that? Are robots shooting the film?’

‘You Irish joker! Only those who are absolutely necessary to shoot the scene are allowed watch.’

‘Why is that?’

‘Cos I’m naked.’

‘Naked? Oh, come on, I promise I’ll close my eyes.’

‘Nice try, big fellow.’

 

Big fellow! There She goes, wafting her fanny in my face. I’ve seen her pussy on-line from the photo hacking saga and from back in Her porn days. Everyone has.

 

‘But Q, everyone is going to see You naked. It’s a movie and people pay to see it. To see You.’

 

She accepts the point. Kind of.

 

‘For sure, but the actor in Me might get nervous seeing you on set.’

‘Oh, the inner actor!’ I say. ‘You mean Your nipples might go hard.’

 

Q laughs. We’ve become like this. We’ve found a way of not taking one another seriously. Crudeness is key as is laughing at serious things.

 

‘Q, I’m supposed to be writing a book about You, about Your life!’

‘But you promised to take care of that.’

 

She wants me to lay my heart down on Hers. In print. On page. We agree to hook up later that evening.

 

‘Downtown’ I say. ‘I’m choosing.’

‘I don’t know’ She equivocates.

‘And I do.’

 

I’ll walk Her down to earth. Only Q is a strong woman when She wants to be. Still, I make a point of holding my own. Of sticking. It’s the only time I’ll ever get to dominate Her.

‘Louis, I used just drop in on places but…’

‘No buts’ I interrupt. ‘So what else used you do?’

‘I used to be more outdoorsy – canoeing, hiking. As a kid, I loved swimming.’

‘I get the picture – a lot of “used to” in your life?’

‘Things are different now.’

‘Q, you can’t go around living in safe corridors. Show a little faith in me.’

‘Ok, where to?’

‘Nope. I’m not telling. But it’s going to be someplace not special for a change.’

 

I lead us to a low-key bar between Hollywood and Santa Monica for an aperitif. [1]

 

‘No way’ She says.

‘Yes way. This way.’

 

She’s protesting; I’m insisting. I win. I get physical. I have Her by the elbow. I’m leading Her. Dominating. I have control.

 

‘It’s bad news.’

‘Trust me Q. It’s fine. You need a dose of reality. Normality. And a little truth serum: booze.’

‘You’ve been talking to Jade!’

 

Jade is Q’s oldest new friend, whatever that means! Q met Jade 2 years ago. All Her past friends from before then Q has blanked. They met on set. Jade did Q’s make-up and became an instant friend.

 

In we stomp, Q and I, ordinary strangers in a nothing bar and both of us unrecognisable. Me because I’m nobody; Q as She could be any pretty girl in a baseball cap and jeans.

 

At the bar a guy pushes in alongside me. It’s unnecessary as we’re the only customers.

 

‘Cigarette dude?’ he asks.

 

He’s talking to me. To my back. I swivel about.

 

‘Sorry man, I don’t smoke.’

‘Be charitable and start’ he says. ‘Or else buy a guy a beer?’

‘Hard times?’ I ask.

‘Benny, leave the guy alone’ the barman jumps in.

 

Benny lopes off to the end of the bar and fidgets in his pocket for coins.

 

‘Freeloader’ the barman excuses. ‘I’m sorry if he’s busting your chops. He’s a harmless Irish drunk. Typical.’

‘I’m Irish’ I say.

‘What can I get you?’

‘Two Buds please.’

 

The barman does the needful, fetching the beers. Q whispers in my ear.

 

‘How do you know what I’m drinking?’

‘Jade.’

‘What else did she say?’

‘Not much.’

 

I like that we’re jokey in a boyfriend-girlfriend kind of way. Q goes to the bathroom.

 

A girl walks into the bar. At least she looks like a girl but with her higgly-piggeldy make-up its like she never painted her face before. She’s wearing hot pants and a yellow boob tube. She approaches the bar straight on and I think she’s going to ask me something. At the last second she sidesteps me and leans on the bar, giving me a fuck-me-from-behind pose. Her sickly perfume invades my nostrils. Up close I notice she’s old and only dressed to look young. A prostitute maybe. Probably. At a distance, on a poorly lit street, she’ll attract custom.

 

‘Buy a gal a drink?’ she asks without looking at me.

 

I go to snuff her out.

 

‘No. And for your information, my girlfriend is in the bathroom.’

‘Who’s asking?’ she quips.

 

It’s a seagull visit: she flies in, shits all over me and flies off in a matter of seconds.

 

She ships her ass down to Benny at the end of the bar. There’s a grunt of recognition between them. Maybe they hustle the same area. From behind I notice her hair is patchy; its like she has mange. I’m downcast that I’ve brought Q to a bar for losers. I run a hand through my hair for some hair comfort.

 

When Q returns we receive a conspiratorial glance from Benny and the prostitute. The whore stands up, takes a few steps towards us, stops, and calls out.

 

‘Ah, your girlfriend.’

‘Who is that?’ Q whispers.

‘Life’ I reply.

 

We turn our backs to them. Before I can crack open a new conversation the hooker is on us.

 

‘Don’t I know you?’ she asks jabbing a finger at Q.

‘I think not’ I say.

 

I have Q by the arm and we take a table. The hooker zig-zags her way out of the bar like a fly wondering where to find another shit. Q is mumbling; She’s irritated.

 

‘Don’t I know you? You hear the bitch?’ Q rants. ‘Fucking seeing me does not mean you know me! Sorry about the cursing but it’s your influence.’

‘Method acting?’

 

Moments later and another guy pushes into the bar followed by the hooker. Her pimp? He makes like he’s looking for somebody but acts like he’s not. He’s a bad actor. The hooker has less tact and points to us. Q is quick to read the situation.

 

‘Ok, we’re gone’ She says.

 

Q is up and out the door with me on her heels. It’s a freeze-frame moment as I finally understand the downside of living in the public eye. Fame is a prison. Wherever Q goes people flock and die for Her.



[1] There’s a legal fallout involving our visit so I cant give any clues as to the establishment

Diary 55: Digging

Diary 55 pic

 

Ah yes, the mountain climb. I knew something was tickling Binho, the world famous football coach, but I thought it might have been more to do with misinterpreting His life’s philosophy. I mean, a mountain; get over it!

 

Approaching twenty and Binho has a new round of doubts. He’s incubating. Pondering. Cooking up questions. Philosophising. His curiosity burns. Fortunately He has an answer for every little niggle.

 

‘I wanted everything’ Binho confesses.

‘Nobody can have everything.’

‘It would take time, yes, Louis.’

‘To have everything?’

‘To live in the real world.’

‘Don’t ask me’ I say, shrugging.

 

Binho looks at me, cocking his head sideways like a bird. These discussions, Binho and I, our trial run, there are no ground rules or protocols and so nothing restrains me. The way I see it, everything is fair game and so onwards I push. I’m mildly surprised that He doesn’t resist my probing and fails to build walls between us.

 

‘Louis, to earn a living I had to study with my eyes. We are not a rich country.’

‘You didn’t want to make mistakes, sure.’

 

Hang on: did He say study with His eyes? What the fuck! I think He means that owing to His circumstances He had to be careful not to blunder or make things irreversible until sure of His life’s direction.

 

‘I look for answers, Louis. So I read.’

‘To understand yourself? Your life’s possibilities?’

 

I haven’t a clue what Binho is whittling on about. The whole interview long I imagined I’d be fighting boredom having to discuss the monotony of football.

 

‘I changed my life.’

‘How so, Binho?’

 

Self-mutilation?

 

‘You ever heard of Homo Ludens?’

‘Homo who? No.’

‘Louis, I never knew I could read that kind of book.’

‘Dirty? Gay sex? It’s not unusual’ I say. ‘Some folk love a good rogering.’

‘No, Homo Ludens is philosophy!’

 

Binho foot-stamps while revealing His irritation. I sit bolt upright and act alert. I am. Alert-ish.

 

‘Louis, Homo Ludens is a book about the philosophy of play. Reading it becomes an important experience in my life.’

‘To put play in perspective?’

‘Realising how central play is to all of life. Maybe it was chance, finding this book,’ He says.

‘Finding the book…this homo thing?’

‘Homo Ludens. Ludens means ‘play’ in Latin.’

‘So it was fate?’

‘Reading it, yes. Perhaps, perhaps. Although remember that I direct my life.’

‘Ok. But finding this book was like anticipating events in Your life that were yet to occur? Like, the Mr Coach in You?’

 

I’m getting caught underneath my words. I don’t know what I’m saying. He doesn’t either. I think I’m confused. I think He knows that I am. I hedge.

 

‘Binho, can you describe this glorious feeling?’

‘I begin at the beginning.’

‘Ya, that would be great – from the start’ I suggest.

‘No, the book! I begin reading the book and I didn’t think I will get far. But I do. The opening line I always remember: “play is older than culture” because, you see, culture involves humans but animals – who exist before man – are not taught how to play. It is a remarkable find, no? And this makes me excited. It gives me purpose.’

‘The discovery that play isn’t limited to mankind? It gives you meaning… as a young man?’

‘It’s like reading magic.’

‘Casts a spell on you?’

 

His eyes are wide. I see his amazement, the boy in the man. He’s wonder-struck. It belies His intense adult desire for self-improvement. I realise that from this moment onwards – taking the non-serious serious, making work out of play – that He became grounded in the belief that leisure is a legitimate life’s philosophy.

 

In two moves Binho struck upon His life’s path: first, He walks up a stupid hill and then, later on, He stumbles on a stupid book of philosophy. These discoveries He funnels into the present-day football magician that He is.

 

It makes me sick. I envy His certainty. I try to get back on track; to steer away from going heavy while not being a spoil-sport.

 

‘This book makes You like games so much so that You dedicate Your life to football?’

‘There may be more things in my life’ Binho smiles.

‘Other greatness?’ I catch myself asking.

‘For now, yes, only football. It’s art – chess on grass – but, as the cliché goes, it’s only a game of two halves. But its also a game of players and managers.’

‘And then there is You?’

 

I want to get back to it; to His uniqueness. To Him. To greatness. The reverence isn’t lost on Him. He knows what I’m driving at. His face parts, smiling.

 

Ever since back then, when He found that stupid book, when He fastened His life to play, it’s His clarity of purpose that astounds me.

Resolute.

Unwavering.

Certain.

 

Knowing His destiny.

 

I can’t accept it, that He’s in a class of His own. I won’t let Him away with it. I wonder about obligations, family commitments, about taking child’s play seriously as an adult. After all, He’s from a respectable family so being a doctor must have been more on the cards.

 

‘What about ramifications?’ I ask. ‘Was there any resistance in Your choice of football?’

‘Football – it’s innate. In our culture we know this. You can’t go against the grain. Either you’ve got it or you don’t. In my country we have it!’

 

Binho lumps himself in with the football greats with ease. I don’t mention that He couldn’t kick a ball. I don’t even bother asking if He feels it necessary to have been a good player to be a good coach. Clearly not.

 

‘I suppose much can be taught’ I wonder aloud.

‘Yes, it’s the FA’s current argument – step up. Start teaching kids or else step aside. If not, it’s game over. The foreign players: they come.’

‘No hope for the English then?’

 

He sees the loaded question.

 

‘Playing games is biological not only British!’

 

I think He’s back to the Homo Ludens book. Then, thankfully, time is up and my lesson over. As He walks me to the door I’m thinking about the man who invented the wheel. Is Binho on a par? Binho with the crystal ball.

 

‘Binho, its curious, given all your deep thoughts, how a ball became your symbol.’

 

He laughs politely. There’s so much left to ask. I wonder about depression or if He’s morbid. Just give me something negative. Anything. All the greats have a tick, imprisoned as they are in this small world.

 

‘Binho, you know all that stuff you were saying: the homo play book. But culture is all that makes us different from animals.’

‘Where did you get that?’ He asks.

‘Out of my head. I was just thinking.’

‘Louis, culture is not all that makes us higher than animals. It’s having a soul.’

‘No, it’s just culture. Soul-schmol bunk! Having a soul is optional. Culture is about knowing things, things that animals don’t know, things like art and being a polyglot.’

 

He looks at me. Yes, I’m challenging Him. How to appease? Easy. Get back to Him.

 

‘Binho, You act alone but are there other greats who impress and inspire You? Influences maybe?’

‘Sure. Many players.’

‘But who do You model Yourself on? Do You follow anyone?’

 

There’s another probing glance. Binho’s eyelids are half-drawn, downcast. He’s scowling beneath His long lashes. Slowly He uncovers His teeth. Where am I going with this He smiles? I’m under suspicion. Am I a spy? Things roll and gather momentum. Conspiracy theories do. There’s no rowing back. Binho holds a silence. Thinking. Judging. Me.

 

I’d like to level with Him: what does it mean, the look that He gives? What does He expect from me: commitment, adoration? Is that what this is about: lionising him? Or is it simply big cheese little cheese stuff? Or then again it might be more of an elemental thing because I don’t so readily back down or fold?

 

Binho settles the question.

 

‘Louis, I only learn from me, from my life.’

 

Really? There are no other designers! Only He works on His self-image? We’re at the front-door, shaking hands, saying goodbye. We joke about adoration and laugh off celebrity. I get a pat on the back even though I know that Binho has bees in His bonnet. You never know, this might be my last chance. I lunge in.

 

‘Binho, do you feel like God?’

‘But I’m mortal’ He instantly objects.

 

But I catch a grin!

 

He doesn’t exactly spell it out but I know that He’s trying to tell me that He has infinite wisdom. That He’s Superman. A messiah. Binho gives off airs of someone with premonitions of things to come. Of life hereafter. But, you know what, His singular conviction, it’s all baloney.  He only talks a good game

 

He’s only pseudo-smart, acting all numinous [1].



[1] Wikipedia: “Numinous” – describes the power or presence of a divinity and tends to invoke in others fear and trembling as well as fascination. A numinous person is said to feel in communion with a Holy other.

Diary 56: In Bed With A Psycho

Diary 56

 

I don’t see this coming. This fight.

 

‘But honey, I was asleep.’

‘You didn’t hear me crying for the last 2 hours?’

‘Come on Susan, it’s 5am. I heard a blocked nose is all. That’s what woke me.’

‘You’re so inconsiderate. You made me sleep on the wet patch!’

‘What’s wrong?’

‘Go away. You wouldn’t understand.’

 

It’s post-coital hysteria. Hours earlier we reached our pinnacle and now I’m paying the price: there’s an inexplicable frustration. I go to quench.

 

‘Susan, this was supposed to be our recovery sleep after so many nights without.’

‘You mean after you orgasmed.’

‘We both had fun, right?’

‘Ya, but then you threw me off… and almost out of the bed.’

‘Hang on! After you climaxed you fell asleep on top of me and what with the heat, your body was like a heavy blanket. I was suffocating.’

‘I’m not a blow-up doll.’

‘What does that mean? Susan, we have sex, we sleep and then you wake up crying.’

‘Because I was thinking about what you did.’

‘What did I do? Sleep. That’s my crime! Un-fucking-believable.’

‘It’s not that.’

 

Yesterday we went to the beach. Two friends – Joana and Elena – came along. It’s how it played out and anyway I thought it would be good for Susan to mix with some locals. Joana had just broken up with some guy and Elena, hitting forty, was desperately trying to get hitched.

 

‘Is that what this is all about?’ I ask.

‘You know bloody well.’

‘If I did I wouldn’t be asking!’

‘I was thinking about what you did.’

‘What? When?’

‘Maybe you didn’t know you did it’ Susan says.

‘Ok, what did my subconscious do to get me in trouble?’

‘I saw you looking at Joana’s ass.’

‘No I didn’t!’

‘You did.’

‘No, I didn’t. You’re crazy.’

‘I’m not stupid.’

‘Hang on Susan, you’re saying that my subconscious had a gawk? Did you ever think that maybe, just maybe, Joana shoved her ass in front of my nose? This is ridiculous because Joana is just a friend.’

‘It’s the male brain’ Susan says.

‘Is that a fact?’

‘It works differently. Testosterone kicks in and you can’t think straight.’

‘Susan, it seems you got a dose of it too!’

‘I’m serious. I read it in a magazine.’

‘Great! Is this the same magazine that doles out wisdom about how many litres of water we should drink a day or for how long we should brush our teeth?’

‘It makes sense.’

‘What does?’

‘After three minutes brushing the bacteria breaks down and…’

‘Susan, spare me please. It’s 5am. Did you wake me up for this?’

‘You don’t care.’

 

Susan turns away. She’s crying again. If you think I need a bulldozer to get over myself then Susan needs a fleet of them. My head is scrambled yet I go to cuddle.

 

‘Honey, you’re overtired. It could be your hormones.’

‘What’s wrong with my hormones?’

‘Full moon; your period is due. You’re overreacting.’

‘The bitch ate desert for you.’

‘What?’

‘Joana. The crepe. She ate it for you.’

‘At lunch yesterday?’

‘You said you liked a girl that eats. Joana even had a steak for main-course. Christ, she ate more than you.’

 

Befuddled? Yes you are; me too. I look for logic. There’s none, right? Then, a revelation.

 

‘Susan, now that you mention it, Joana did eat a lot.’

‘See, you can’t see the obvious signs.’

‘The sneaky cow – the way to a man is through his stomach. Next time I see Joana I’m going to hate her. Ok?’

 

I’m joking only it’s no joking matter. There’s a flood of tears. Susan is a mess. I don’t know what to do; how to lighten the situation. It doesn’t matter, I’m not in control. Susan is. She gets up, stomps across the room, and leafs through yesterday’s newspaper. She rips out a page, balls it up, and flings it at me.

 

‘What the fuck!’ she roars.

 

I’m miffed. I flatten out the newspaper and look for a clue. Centre-page is a finance article about Hermes. Ok, she knew about the Hermes bag fiasco between Q and I. Susan is jealous of any female interaction. Ok, she’s jealous of Q and I.

 

I try cutting her some slack; to understand her insecurities. A new avenue opens in my mind. Maybe I like Susan because she has so many complexes. After all, nobody has ever tickled my brain and balls before. Unsure how to proceed, I play dumb.

 

‘Susan, come on. I didn’t notice anything at the time – the steak, Joana’s ass, the desert. Maybe I should start trying to understand people’s motives for doing things. Fuck being innocent; Joana is guilty, the bitch. Ok?’

‘But what about you?’ Susan asks.

‘What about me? I eat because I’m hungry. Honest. It’s what men do. There’s no subterfuge.’

‘But you don’t like sweet things!’

‘So?’

‘When Joana got the crepe you decided to have an ice-cream. You never eat ice-cream for me.’

 

Reciprocation is my latest crime; that I eat to make those around me feel comfortable is worthy of the guillotine. It makes me a bad person in Susan’s book.

 

‘This is crazy. I didn’t think. I just decided – oh, I think I’ll have an ice-cream!’

‘With your coffee? Liar! Your subconscious urges responded to her. Why don’t you two just go out together? Then she can buy you lunch more often.’

 

It’s true that Joana paid. I thought it was just a way of saying thank you for including her in our plans.

 

‘I’ll pay her back’ I say.

‘Ya, you said you’d take her out and buy her drinks.’

‘Oh shit – I get you – that’s a trap too!’

‘Can’t you see, it’s what she wants. Joana wants you to pay her back but in a different way.’

‘Come on, she wouldn’t try to steal me from under your nose.’

 

I receive a sarcastic look. It’s the look that says: what would a man know; only girls know girls. Is it true? Am I misreading signs? About? Who? What? Joana or Susan? Fuck, fuck, fuck. Fuck girls. They’re wrecking my head. Priests and gays have it right, stay away from pussy.

 

I’m wide awake now. There’s nothing I can do. The night is fucked. The day too. Probably the next week also. I’m starting to realise that we’re not preparing for permanence. Heck, we’re not even good to one another. All this courses through my mind as I stand before Susan bollock naked as she remains cosied up in bed.

 

I get back to thinking how much simpler life might be existing on my own, me alone with my self-absorption. Not wanting anyone is a good way to live. But its hard.

 

‘Susan, I’m going to have a shower and then lets get breakfast out.’

‘Ok. But Louis, remember the other thing.’

 

She’s looking at me, inspecting me. I feel another bout of disapproval.

 

‘Is that what this is all about?’ I ask.

‘What?’

 

I’m pointing at my equipment. She pauses to think.

 

‘No, it’s not.’

‘But it is, right?’

 

And it is. Male grooming is the new thing. The politics of hair. Nobody can know I descended from the trees. At Susan’s insistence I started shaving my chest.

 

‘I prefer skin on skin’ she says.

‘Rather than skin on guerrilla?’

 

It’s a timely complaint. It’s not long after Susan lazered her nether regions. She’s less tropical below. I give a sigh of acceptance. I’ve come to realise that being with someone means giving up things. Plus, my shaved chest is almost worth it for the stubble rash she gets on her tits. J

 

A clean chest says I’m not a monkey. Shaved balls will announce the androgynous me. The vice of the day is that nowadays everyone must be pre-pubescent and the sexes sexless. The ills of our age: man-scaping. And if I won’t plug in, I’m old-fashioned and old. Or a hairy old wise man.

 

‘The youth today’ I say. ‘You should be ashamed that you’re conformist clowns, puppets to gay fashion designers who determine your body image.’

‘What about the street riots in Ferguson, USA?’

 

I’m miffed. I don’t see any connection. But I think of eating a peaceful breakfast.

 

‘That’s my point, Susan – the riots are to register our disgust at being overly-civilised. They want to go back to their roots and that’s not being racist as I mean all races.’

‘Back to having hairy balls?’

‘Susan, you really think that by cleaning up my cock I’ll be making a stand, a fashion statement?’

‘Who cares – it’ll look good. Your dangling thing will have more symmetry with your legs. It’ll make you seem taller…. and bigger.’

‘Really?’

 

And the sausage being spoken about retreats as best it can, trying its best to hide from being under the microscope.