I read books until my 18th birthday. After that, the “have to”-ness, made the process attractive as anchovy pizza.

There are opinions. Trustable ones, solid like second hand furniture checked for furrowing woodworm. And the ideal is ingrained like Corinthians and the Fresh Prince theme or the yellow M. Mouthwatering down to each tooth root.

I undercut myself completely from 12 and the damage is not reversible. But ours is, which is a fuck-up luck advent calendar second life shot jumble. Rare as Impossible Princess.

No matter what happens, there’s no banter like it. And that’s a compartmentalised important sort of novel detail that mattered pre-diagnosis, before any off-switch, was theatre director fact. She said, “Is he coming? Can he see it? Will it be a bit fucking weird?”

And I can’t change all opinions, of the part I family play to each of my well-worn peoples. But updating operating systems is time-wise lengthy, and maybe we won’t blame others for changing our minds on this one, for how were they to know? How were we?

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In the back alley by the bread shop I saw you. I pivoted like they taught at band camp, netball, shuffle walked like a sixties’ zombie. You were out the shop quick like an alarm was going and everyone forgot to pay. I caught your eye as I thought I wouldn’t when before I’d been sure I would, like magnetic leads to laptop connectors, asexual. Your nod was condolent, like someone asked if a film was good and politeness forced an answer. I asked your back if you wanted coffee but you were past me, heading to work or your wife’s or a girlfriend’s. You were plumper like a first generation iPod; I don’t know if you are, as you’re pieced from hearsay, other people’s photos on Facebook.

I thought that was it. The agonised chance slipped like trying to spot myself as an extra in the background of shows on terrestrial. But I saw you later. I found where you worked as they led me. You weren’t unhappy to see me; you kissed my cheek like we were family. If we’d fucked, we would be.

But we didn’t, did we?

It was nightclub busy. I met colleagues, you were happy like when we watched 300, the bus station kiss, solidly better than daydreams. You were complete like a charity shop jigsaw: surprisingly, and I couldn’t be happier for it. If I’ve one wish that won’t be it, but it’s the second or third, the back-up present if the one I want is out of stock, continually.

We said we’d get coffee, drinks. Your friends talked like I’d seen them last week and five years of shit, regret collecting like junk mail behind the front door in immovable heaps, or social network friends’ lists, hadn’t happened.

I came back and we kissed like forever. Commitments since were interim roles in other films which didn’t make a top 100. And I’d made it my mission to watch every Allen, Brief Encounter now duffle coat marred, impossible to separate from you, like food cans when the ring pulls snap.

This was the start of a series, season, a show which would run for five years, six, or four, its cancellation creating online petitions, campaigns, and Bible pain in which hope’s there but cracker thin, wavering like an ombré dip dye. And I love.


How Fast Do Glaciers Melt?

One day I’ll be gone. And I don’t mean savour each moment because we all die or accidents happen but I’m going to pack up and you’re not going to expect it. You won’t see suitcases because you’re not allowed in my house – your dad banned you – and my office could be empty days before you find out, and you’ll not know. You can’t come close. Jackie works next door and if she saw us for coffee, drinks or a meal, she’d shop us like children shoplifting magazines, sweets in supermarkets. Everybody pays.

So enjoy car drives. Remember the world ends around us. We watch it degenerate and any thoughts of kids, continuing this, only adds to it: would you want to destroy resources we hardly have enough of?

Relationships end. We’re romanticists, the both of us, raised to believe love is core and everything else follows. But what if our parents were wrong. This ‘what if’ tells me we’d be bad parents, or I would be, and it’s a begging question: what will we do when our teenage daughter takes up with her teacher. What could we say about it?

I’ll love you until the glaciers melt, start melting. Oh. Shit.

Be My Friend

I loved Jack and I loved books before we met and now we’ve met I love Jack more – the curve his spine makes, his crooked big toe, his translucent teeth, enamel-less, almost. And I love you too.

You were in place of him, so many evenings, mornings, days, and he didn’t text or have a chance to interject really, but he’s been quoting Nicholas Sparks at me, knows my weakness for Steve Martin, romantic comedies, Charles Bukowski. It feels like nothing connects when everything’s a version of something and everyone’s only a shade off another person and sometimes in name they’re a letter off: Chuck, Buck, Bick, Stick, Simon, Jimon, Jack, Mack.

I measure your outlines when you sleep with tape from my mum’s sewing box and you’re both exactly the same, not a millimetre out, in every dimension and I ask what you thought of The Notebook and you say, “The Lucky One’s better,” and I say I’ve not seen it and you say I should read so I read and I read and love Jack.


They Just Played a Miley Cyrus Song and Everyone Knew the Lyrics!

Jack judges books by covers, isn’t into movies if posters are altered, have the names of the actors above the wrong people. Says he won’t watch a show called Cougar Town, or Covert Affairs, and I still can’t make him watch Twilight.

“But you see Busy Philipps in her bra,” I tell him, “And she’s never looked better. I mean it. I watched Dawson’s Creek from the start and I like to imagine this is Audrey’s second life, and she landed on her feet, and she’s on fire even walking down the street, her one-shoed shame-walk is hot.”

Jack takes some convincing, so I compile clips, I bombard him. Because when you break it down a town’s a place people live and shop and eat and a cougar’s a puma, a mountain lion, a cat, or a panther, that’s dominant, and fierce, and more than capable of surviving this climate. And Laurie’s the friend you learn to love, the one that’s smart through her stupidity, who’s hopelessly in love and will try anything even if it ends in crushing defeat. And what’s not to like about that?

Might As Well Die

Once Jack’s seen it too he says, “I guess that’s pretty subtle. And small towns are hard to go back to. And Patrick Wilson’s tough to resist, clothed or not wearing anything. And I’ve felt that way too, about a tonne of people, so to insinuate someone’s crazy for stalking an old flame, well, that’s kind of offensive.”

Jack and I met at school, messaged online in the nineties, reconnected later on Facebook. And if it hadn’t been him, it might have been somebody, because I’ve got lists akin to black books of the people I’ve seen, of the sins I’ve committed.

“Charlize Theron looked hot in that top,” Jack says.

“Charlize Theron would look hot in anything,” I tell him. And we’re far from home. And we don’t know what home is, because our parents moved so home’s a floating concept, one we make up, that changes, and the people we pick to go in it, be a part of it, the equivalent to the friends in sitcoms who sit around daily discussing, cancel, aren’t replying when they’re supposed to, and you’d think it’s easier now than ever, but the more texts you get, the emails, the calls and the updates makes you wonder what people did before TV when all you had to look at were books and walls.