the decay of lying

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Ever Fallen in Love (with someone you shouldn’tve)

 

You stir my natural emotions,
You make me feel I'm dirt
And I'm hurt.
And if I start a commotion
I run the risk of losing you
And that's worse.

The Buzzcocks 1978

 

Yes. Right – next topic, time to move on. There's nothing to see here...

 

 

 

Oh... You mean I've got to elaborate a little. OK... How about this: Yes, frequently.... though sometimes it's just lust.

 

Now play the song.

 

OK. OK... So long as I keep telling myself this is fiction and not a confession it should be alright...

 

There's really not too much point going through every charming young lady who has managed to work their way into my affections – or more pertinently my imagination – over the years, had a good old root around my luxury six piece luggage set and then strolled off leaving my emotional baggage strewn liberally about the place. These days I try to travel light. A lot of that baggage is consigned to a Big Yellow Storage just outside the ring road of my day to day awareness; reached only by a  well worn path of maudlin, self absorbed navel gazing, lack of sleep and injudicious amounts of alcohol. Even then, it is not always an easy route. The sat nav of my mind leading down many a  blind alley and dead end. And so for the most part that baggage rests behind its locked doors. Never quite forgotten but largely overlooked and gathering dust. Pushed determinedly to the back of my mind.

 

Unfortunately, the back of my mind has proved a receptacle for the vast majority of my thoughts. Always having favoured the minimalist design look of the uncluttered space that forms the front. Indeed so much stuff has been chucked back there in the name of peace of mind that I can barely keep my head upright. Often having to seek comfort in a supportive neck brace in order to see what's directly in front of me. And yet, despite all such carefully taken precautions, my world can be turned upside down, those locked doors thrown wide open, by the merest of words, a gaze held, or a half smile shared. So, all those I have fallen in love with, if never exactly loved, please form an orderly queue... I'll deal with you one at a time... Oh dear, I wasn't expecting quite that many. Err... right, perhaps if you could sort yourselves out into two lines. We'll have straight forward everyday fantasy over here: that's old classmates; friends; work colleagues; house sharers; that girl from behind the bar in the White Lion. No names I think, just to preserve others right to privacy and my integrity – though another bit of gaffer tape ought to hold that together for as long as necessary. Let's just call them, She. (Yeah, that one.) OK, and only in my wildest dreams surreal fantasy over here: There's Debbie Harry circa 1978; rock chanteuse Fiona Flanagan in 1985 – lovely to see you; Betty Rubble; Daphne from Scooby Doo; oh, Debbie Harry again circa 1999 – well that shows a degree of consistency I guess, if nothing else; and that rabbit outta the Cadbury's Caramel ads..?. Thanks for that Subconscious Mind... remind me not to let you and Lustful Thoughts go out on the piss again.

 

Right - change of plan: Clearly far too many to deal with on an individual basis; I'll deal with you en masse. There's no particular rhyme nor reason to it. No type. It might have been a stray hair, a turn to the corner of the mouth, a laugh, a look, a blonde, a brunette, slim, less...slim. If you took them all together you wouldn't get an identikit image of my fatal weakness... nothing that could be used to say “She's the one... just his type.” No, what you'd get would be something akin to Picasso's less documented, post-cubist completely shit Period.  

 

Still, what they fail to share in similarity of looks and manner they share in abundance when it comes to my reaction. All of them instantly united by the longing they promote in both my heart and my trousers. When I was younger I would fiercely guard the belief that what I felt was love not lust. There were occasions when I may well have been right. If I could tell you the colour of Her eyes before I could tell you the measure of Her bra then it was true love indeed.

 

The greatest and most disastrous love of all is with my imagination. I am all too ready to dive headlong into the nearest fantasy, anything that just for a short while will stave off the inevitable confrontation with reality.  There, in my mind's eye, She waits, the embodiment of all my desires. Ready to be projected onto the next pretty face, however inappropriate, that walks into my life. It doesn't matter if I scarcely know Her,  a deliberately underwritten character, I can fill in the gaps for myself, there is no need for too much fact. But fantasy has proven a dangerous place to linger. With so much time spent shoring up defences there that I haven't always noticed the walls of my real world tumbling around me. If what I do discover positively condemns the wisdom of any romantic advances on my part, even that is no discouragement, just a greater challenge to be overcome. As an expert in stupidly idealistic misplaced love I can survive for weeks on one smile, knowing that for one moment She gave that gift to me, and I can subsequently interpret the intervening days of total indifference which I endure at Her hand, as a shyness and reticence in Her which alone prevents Her from crying out “Take me. You are my only desire.” To my delusion, I add patience. I try to do my bit and volunteer a “Hello, how are you?” but somehow she never perceives the deeper message in those words, the invitation which they give to share my life and so I am forced to listen to the mundane minutiae of Her traffic-ridden journey to work, the previous evening's TV viewing, and Her latest fashion accessory. All the while my eyes, fixed on Her, tell of a steely resolve, against  the available evidence, to divine Her hidden depths. What to me is transformed into Her Siren Song, in truth might be something more akin to a foghorn. But I can imagine the whispered sweet nothings – I have to. The content of Her conversation is disappointing yet the packaging so beautiful and inspiring – like a copy of OK! magazine that has somehow found its way into the old Reading Room of the British Library. In my coldly rational moments I can see Her faults, everything about us that  should say “No” and yet because I cannot make Her mine it all adds up to some kind of wonderful. And so I listen on when all the while the only words I want to hear that will shake me from my vigil are “Let's get a room.”

 

... great, those first days of Love, aren't they? When your Love is still private to you, not yet announced. Everything becomes that much more vivid. You notice the way your behaviour alters. All those little tell tale symptoms: the way you nonchalantly linger when leaving the building, holding the door open just that little too long, or push through quickly hoping to position yourself to best advantage, so that you might walk at Her side. How intoxicating Her presence becomes, a Ready Brek glow of sexual allure. You delight in seeing Her. In the unfolding drama of your life, She is a beautiful extra... perhaps soon to be given a line, whose role is to enhance your position as the central character of this plot. But as the play continues She assumes an ever greater role, taking centre stage. Before long you are consigned to the role of a mere bit part, grateful for any scene you might share with Her before the curtain falls. And smitten.

 

I admit it. It's the yearning for the unobtainable or even the unobtained that obsesses me. Unrequited love is the most powerful. We've all been told enough times to know the truth of it that the grass is always greener. But somehow that doesn't quite convey enough the geographical gulf I feel in the face of a pretty face. The patch of grass that I inhabit seems to be a flood plain somewhere near Tewkesbury: One sudden shower and whilst the rest of the country is bathed in sunshine, there I am – treading water for all I'm worth and in Love again.

 

I'm tempted to ask: What's it all about? Know what I mean? But if Alfie couldn't work it out, I sure as hell can't. All I know is... boy does it hurt.