Happy New Year, people. It has been many days since my last instalment. I haven’t really known what to write. There’s a whole lotta life going on out here, all the bloody time in fact; the stuff never seems to stop and it’s hard to keep track and get it all down. So fuck it! What’s gone is gone and there is only now, this brand new year. 2014. I hope to turn 31. What a hilarious and worrying joke that will be.
Oh, hang on. Actually, there is also Earlier On. You know why? Because earlier on I had A Moment. Oh yes. And you get to read about it. Lucky you. Here y’are. Try not to strain your stomach muscles by guffawing too hard, K? Less lofty and ridiculous service to be resumed shortly.
06.01.2014 – Monday – 14:52
Something just happened. I had A Moment.
I was sitting on my balcony reading Anansi Boys by my arch enemy, the loathsome (no, definitely not because I’m jealous, I don’t know what you’re talking about) Neil Gaiman. My laptop – open, turned on, idling – suddenly caught my eye. The screensaver had switched on, a slideshow of random photos, the change in brightness making me glance over. Filling the screen was the blackboard in the kitchen of the old house on Cliff Road, and on it was this quote, written up in my own angular capitals:
I couldn’t help the grin. There was a sudden soaring of the heart as I read it, this uncalled for message of support from the past, from someone I had known and someone I had been, unconsciously yet keenly needed. One minute you’re reading a book and the next it envelops you, an utterly random photograph transformed into a reaching out, a message seeming sent by past selves through time and space in an otherwise inconspicuous moment.
It gladdened my heart.
Then the photo changed, paused, then continued to change and to pause between changes. Snapshots of my life rolled past. Things I had forgotten or not thought about in an age were suddenly right there, brought back, remembered anew: the locket from my brother holding scraps of paper – on one scrawled “love”; on the other, “you”; a beautifully overexposed shot of a friend on the beach at Filey, sand and sky equally white, interrupted by Rob’s dark shape, the grey arc of his footsteps, and the faint line separating land from sky; the lounge at Cliff Road a bright, cheap wonderland and full of laughing people in fancy dress; Bronwyn on her hen night holding her mouth wide open as an unseen person holds up a cock-shaped straw; a roller derby shot, on track, Shell and Philly with their heads together, helmets touching, all sweat and smiles; a dry stone wall and the rolling Derbyshire countryside beneath a blue-washed sky; the moody polished-wood library at Chatsworth house; a row of cows from a walk with my dad in Norfolk; the house on Etling Green; the scoreboard from Stuttgart, all blurred; my mum one Christmas day…
The things I have done. The people I have loved and still love. All the places I have seen and lived and been. I welled up, happy to be reminded. And a thought came into my head and lingered there and made me still more glad, more tearful – these are my best bits. And not only that but it’s ALL my best bits, all of life, and it’s happening now. And now. And now.
And it’s still true. My best bits are life and life is happening now and all life is my best bit. Every moment is a best bit because I am alive, and Doing, and safe and well and LIVING – I have those privileges. I EXPERIENCE with every passing second, and it demands to be appreciated – the good, the bad – because it is all evidence that I am alive and not in pain and that I have more than I can ever need; and even when I am in pain it reminds that pain can happen and you can still exist and experience and when it ends – because all things end – it will just be pain that happened but that did not last for all your time, and if it is gone and you are there to contemplate it then it did not kill you, it was not the end, and nor shall it be the next time, unless it is in which case you won’t BE in order to contemplate it and so it will not matter anyway.
You are overcome with an immense sense of perfect balance and wellbeing. You didn’t realise you felt worried or sad until you saw a photograph, by chance, saying what you didn’t know you needed to hear; and it is followed by other photographs – more and more – that remind you how good life can be, of how much you have already done and how much there is that you can still do. Everything feels like opportunity. Your worries no longer hold you back. Being is all that matters.
You realise, by which I mean that something which has always been true and real slowly or suddenly becomes true and real for you, and you understand why we use idioms that involve light brightening – it dawns on you, a light switching on – because you feel lighter and brighter and broader of mind: things have been uncovered. It is not like a light switches on at all, in fact, but it is as if you only now realise that the light has been on all the time but you never before thought to notice.
It lingers, the Moment. It is quiet and calm and happy. I wanted to write about it, to try and keep the feeling as long as it will last and, when it fades – for “everything fades in time” – to remember.
In other news, Bangkok is in cold season and is seasonably warm, the ants are biting and the cockroaches are frisky. NYE and Xmas have happened and work is happening again. I have mangoes ripening on the table and water cooling in the fridge. I ate all the chocolate. My foot is not broken and hardcore rest has been prescribed.
Three Greek men like the beginning of some joke – a scientist, an ophthalmologist and a gynaecologist are at a streetbar in Bangkok; a campervan that plays only Shaggy music; a Skybar overlooking the city; a restaurant decked in fairy lights; a long, cool pool; your littlest brother telling your mum You’ve got beautiful bunions… All these weird things really happened and keep happening. Who can understand it? Happy new year, folks. Let’s have another good’un.