Silence and laughter


I can smile
but with a lover
I could hold my head back
I could really laugh
really laugh

Love and Affection – Joan Armatrading

In some ways, the start and the end of love are the same.

I remember, many hours on the phone; we would say nothing ‘ there was nothing else to say; it was the closest we could be.

Even when we had that nothing to say, just being together, in any form, was enough.

Last night was the same only different.

We had nothing to say. More or less, it is done. We have talked the practicalities and the half-baked plan; and now?

We have this silence between us, like it was at the start, except that it is slightly more awkward; slightly more difficult because, in the end, this is not the start but the finish.

He is busy; he has something to do, somewhere to go; I have home to go to.

‘I expect you’re busy’, I say, ‘as you mentioned [meeting me] was a logistical nightmare’.


‘OK, well I guess I’ll see you’.

There had been a long pause before this and there was a long pause after this. The pause was forever. The people around hurried past in their hurry to do something; in their own ‘logistical nightmare’ but they were more like the annoying buzz of flies that aren’t exactly landing on you but might, at any moment. I didn’t hear them or watch them or pay any attention to them. We were in slow motion, in our own world; in their world but not in their world.

He gave me ‘the face’. Now I no longer know what it is for. It is the face he uses for ‘sad'; but also the face for ‘concern'; but also the face for ‘tell me’. Before, I would know what the face meant. Now he seems to use it every time for me but I know, from past sightings, this means nothing; it doesn’t reflect the thoughts he has.

I look at ‘the face’. My brain registers something but I think it is disgust. It is something but I’m not sure what it is, like I’m not sure what ‘the face’ is for.

We have come a long way from the silences of the past to the silences now. They are the same silences but different, with a different outcome. We have different faces to the ones we had in the first silences.

I wonder how we thought we could really remain friends? Then, I think, we shall remain friends but not like close friends, like stranger friends – people you don’t really care about but ‘know’. An ‘Hello’ there, ‘Hi’ somewhere else; ‘How are You?” ‘I’m fine’ kind of friends.  Anything else, right now, would be too difficult.

That’s OK. It’s how it is. I don’t expect anything from him and, probably, him from me now that the Final Question has been answered but the reply is no longer actually required. We don’t expect anything from the other.

But, still, this silence is difficult because neither of us quite knows what to do about it.

I expect that, too, will disappear with time.

I smile.

I say OK, we’ll see each other soon. I say goodbye. I don’t remember if he said anything but I suppose he did. He still had ‘the face’.  I turned and walked away.

But with a lover I could really laugh.

The thing on my finger


Finally it burst, just a few moments ago, whilst I wasn’t really paying attention, all the poisonous pus started to seep from the opening, from me.

I am grateful for that for this poisonous thing was and still is, ugly.

For days and days it went unnoticed by everyone, including me and then, yesterday it started gong quite crazy and I could see that it was going to ‘come to a head’. One could see the poison welling up, coming to the surface. It also hurt like hell.

And yet, it was only today, the day when, although at its ugliest, it was already mending itself, that people would ask me what had happened.

Even for the seepage, there is still quite a lot of poison there. It won’t be over today, nor tomorrow, nor, maybe, until next week. These things take time. However, I know it is over and I know the poison has been/is being ejected and it will all heal (I hope) and in a few weeks, at the most, it will look as it was before.

It was caused by a mosquito bite on my finger which, I guess, got infected and then poisonous and then, like a volcano.

And, as I sat there, watching this eruption of poison, I thought how like real life it is, except that I was my own mosquito and my own infection. But I watched the poison leave me in the same way as I just did with the thing on my finger. This time it took someone else to force the poison to escape.

For which I am very thankful.

Confrontation – no!

Confrontation_no< I watch my MD doing the same things that I used to do when I was in that position. I understand why and realise that, although sometimes the wrong thing, it is the only thing that is possible given that we're talking about a human being. The worst of these 'things' is confrontation. I used to avoid it like the plague. She is even worse than me, having employed someone to do that for her. Worse, still, it's not an uncommon thing. And so, I send an email. A 'loaded' email, I suppose. Another email that, since I'm not actually expecting any response, will be regretted later. But it was necessary. The trouble is that the receiving party may look at it as a 'confrontational' (which is not intended) email and, probably, being even more scared of confrontation than my MD, will just not reply. I came to this conclusion this morning at about 4.30. I could be wrong and hope I am but, rather unfortunately, think I'm not. Another striking moment of bloody clarity, maybe? Although as this is not my thinking but someone else's, I can't really call it that. However, this was an email to avoid confrontation - just a meeting, just a chat, only to explain not to cause problems, not to make it difficult, not to cause anyone any distress or hurt or give them any sense of danger. Maybe it was a stupid idea but if he knew me, he would know I would not be confrontational and, since the thing about the meeting is only to fix some of my problems, I only ask for honesty, frankness and a willingness to do away with any preconceptions.

So now I wait. With bated breath. And hope that my intentions are understood.< >And, since I got home I re-read what I sent and it is a horrible email and not nice and I wouldn’t blame him if he never replied again.  Damn.

In Como with true friends.


Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before

Hotel California – The Eagles

And the conversation over dinner in this rather nice and not so expensive pizzeria, in some square in Como, was a distraction from the current feeling and A was very concerned and, what’s more, I could see it in his eyes. For all that I complain about him, I could tell that this was true and that, even if he thinks I am some sort of alien, he does, really, actually, care about me as a friend. And I am grateful for that.

He has said he will call me from his holiday to check up on me and see how things are going.

I am supported by friends and, even if they cannot take this away from me, it is good to know that if or when I crash and burn, they will be there.

We had been to Fox Town, as I mentioned a couple of posts ago. I had wandered round Iceberg and found a very nice, blue suede jacket/shirt thing. I tried it on because it was so nice. It had the outlet price as half of the original but was just way out of my range and I wouldn’t have paid so much.

I had put it back on the rail and had wandered around more of the store, picking things up, giving a cursory glance, putting the stuff back. Neither caring nor interested, really, in what I was doing.

A came over to explain why they were taking so long. It seemed that the 60 or 70% sticker was the extra discount, not on the original price but on the discounted price. At first I didn’t believe him. But he insisted. So I went round to the rail on which this blue shirt/jacket was and calculated how much it was now.

It’s one thing that V has given me. I know that, this thing, although only a thing and, therefore, not important, can be worn for years and still look good. So, suddenly the price was not only affordable but, for something that will be worn so much, well worth it. I was very happy about it, as much as I could be given the circumstances – and it was the first time I have bought something that I didn’t strictly need for about 3 years.

After shopping, we were to have gone to Lugano but because it was late, we went to Como instead, somewhere I have never visited before (although I have been on a train through the station).

We sat and had aperos overlooking the Duomo and then went to the pizzeria which had been recommended. The pizza was good – not the best – but good. I’m sorry but I forgot to take a card so I cannot tell you the name.

And there, rather than pooh-pooh my story, which, in any event was difficult to explain and posed as many questions as it gave answers, is where A showed how genuine he was; how understanding; how much of a friend he was.

His advice coincides with my plan. I don’t know whether it’s the right thing to do but it is the only thing I can do. The only question now is ‘how’?

However, right now, with this tiredness and the situation, I could burst into tears – which is certainly not a very blokish thing to do – but I can tell I am only a step away from that. Let’s hope I can keep it together until I get home, at least.

I write this post


I get up, having woken early as seems to be ‘the normal’ these days.  The red digits on the ceiling, from the special clock V bought me, had said it was 4.30 a.m. when I first woke.  I try to get back to sleep but the thoughts come rushing in, filling my brain and I know it is useless.  It all seems so dark and I remember that this is how it is, the summer so fleeting, the heat still here, unlike the UK now that I’m living in Milan,  but the mornings so dark.

The light has not come on in the lounge yet.  Since the power cut the other day, the timer should be reset but my laziness means that it is now about half an hour out.

I slip on my T-Shirt and shorts and sandals.  Switch the computer on and we (Rufus & I) go and get Dino from the kitchen.  They are as excited as always to be going for a walk.

There are fewer cars – more car parking spaces.  A & F leave for their holidays today and it seems that most of Milan has already gone.

I notice that the sprinklers, near the dog walk are on.  I had thought that, perhaps, they had been switched off recently to stop the puddles of water that result and permit mosquitoes to breed but it seems that they have turned them on again.

I see the normal homeless people in their normal homes – the benches that they sleep on during the night and I note that the lady who is always by the larger dog walk does actually get wet from the sprinklers although the ones near here have finished already.  I had always assumed that she knew one of the dry places to sleep – it seems not.  I am grateful that I am not in her place and try not to make too much noise as if this is her bedroom and I should not disturb her.  As normal, her fake Louis Vuitton bag securely tucked under her head which is probably, almost certainly, also a way to ensure it is still there when she wakes up at about 6.

There are lights on in some of the flats.  These must be people like A & F, I think.  Leaving early today to go back to their homeland; to their parents where they will spend the next 2, 3 or more weeks.  I am grateful I am not them either with that obligation to spend time there as opposed to somewhere else, although I realise this is a choice and every choice comes with some drawback – as my choice does, for certain.

Walking back, the streets seem a little busier than normal.  A few more cars, taxis – too early for the trams though – just.

We pass the newsagents and I am surprised he is not open.  It must be 5.15 now and he is normally open but, perhaps, like my favourite Saturday café, he is also shut until the end of August.  These are idle thoughts.  I have already been through various conversations in my head (or, when I forget myself, out loud).  I have re-written (in my head) another stupid email that I sent when I was far too tired, hoping that the one I sent was not as bad as I think it is.  Rewind and reset the answer I receive, or no answer, which may be worse or better, I’m not sure.

I see myself, in a few years, like the lady on the bench but worse, one of those people who sit on the pavement, talking to everyone and no one, having those conversations that have no meaning, make no sense to anyone except me, reliving something that had happened before, in the past or some future that only I can see.

I get back and make the coffee, sitting at the computer to drink it and see if there are any emails (checking the one I sent last night and wishing I had not for it served no real purpose and I am scared that it may mean a change to something that I already like – I really should listen to myself more and just not send emails, texts or anything else without doing a draft and sitting on it for a day or two – like the post that I wrote that Best Mate read and said ‘Wow’ but sits there in drafts, me unsure whether to post it or not).

I know that A & F are leaving, by taxi at 4.30.  It is now 5.30 ish I presume and they will be on the bus to the airport.  I text A, wishing him a good holiday.

I glance at the clock on the computer.  It must be wrong.  I check the clock on the phone.

It’s 3-fucking-55 in the morning!  It must have been 2.30 when I woke up and 3 when we went for a walk, the dogs being absolutely useless at telling me it is far too early!  I toy with the idea that I should go back to bed.  It’s now gone 4.  I still have the coffee to finish and, anyway, now, I will never get back to sleep and not because of the coffee either.  I know I will suffer later but there is little I can do about that.

I go back over the slightly strange things that I saw this morning – the sprinklers being on; the newsagent being shut; the fact that it was darker than I thought it should be – and then realise I’ve just sent a text to A at this hour!  Oh shit.  But I can’t send another just yet.  I shall have to wait until it really is after 5!  OK, so they may have been up, but maybe not.  Damn.

I write this post and next I will iron the jeans I need for today.

Hawaiian Pizza in Milan?; Gay shirts!


I have to hand it to A.  He doesn’t understand me at all.  It’s like I’m some sort of alien from some distant planet.  Maybe that’s why I like him, in spite of himself?

Anyway, he rings me and talks about going for a pizza.  Apparently, F really ‘cares for me’.  He wonders why people like me.  Me too.  I think that he says that because he’s also slightly jealous.  Don’t worry, if I understood why people seem to care about me, I would tell him the secret.

I suggest apero at mine – I have some Boursault cheese (both normal and Goat varieties) and I’ve been wanting him to try it and, after F’s love of Stilton, her too.

They come over.  F adores the cheese.  I feel she has had somewhat of a sheltered life when it comes to food and I like to be able to introduce her to new tastes which are not Italian – and she seems to like it too.  I think that this also makes A slightly jealous – but, really, he has nothing to be jealous about.

A wonders if my next love will be a woman.  He just does not understand at all.

‘But, you’ve been with women before’, he states.

‘That was over 30 years ago’, I reply, ‘before I found men’.

They are going to Fox Town again.  They invite me.  I ask F if the cute guy still works in Iceberg.  It’s a kind of joke that A doesn’t get at all.  F says yes so I say I’m coming.  She gets it and laughs.  A can’t remember him at all and he is definitely uncomfortable with the whole idea.  Well, if he’s my friend then he needs to get used to it.

We go to see F’s flat which has been ‘done out’ ready for rent.  Nearby is this pizza place that F likes and they have found in the last few weeks.

We go.  The pizzeria is called La Masseria – Via Feltre, 19.

I look down the list of pizzas and spot Hawaii.  Incredible!  Every Italian I’ve spoken to pulls a face at the idea of Hawaiian pizza but, here it is, on the menu in an area that is certainly NOT touristy.

I order it.  It is even better than any I’ve had in the UK because they have used fresh pineapple and it is really juicy.  The flavours of the sweet pineapple with the good prosciutto is sublime.  F tries it and doesn’t like it.  I didn’t expect her to, to be honest.  However, in all the time I have been in Italy this is the first time I’ve seen Hawaiian pizza on the menu.

I had remarked on A’s shirt.  Unusually, for him, the shirt is rather striking – brown, with a large printed pattern on the front.  F doesn’t like it.  After the pizza A explains that it is because she thinks it is a gay shirt!  I feign shock and horror for a moment but, actually, I think it is really funny.  She explains that she doesn’t like it on him – and that’s probably because he dresses like a fifty-year-old man already!

The Price of Coffee and Plastic People


She is wearing a red dress today. She tells me that it is the first time she has bought a red dress as she ‘doesn’t wear red’. I say, without any feeling, that I think she looks nice. She thinks that makes me a gentleman, which it does not but I don’t correct her, even if I should.

It started with me looking at her fingernails. The new fad of having them half covered in sparkley bits is something she had succumbed to. After all, she likes to think of herself as ‘young and hip’.

She goes on to say that she is tired of this fad now and has told her manicurist that she won’t be doing it any more. She is going back to short nails with brown. I am not impressed. Brown?, I say in that disgusted voice. Well, Bordeaux, she say. OK, so red then, I reply.

That’s why we talked about the red dress.

She then starts telling me about some film she watched last night. She can’t remember the title. But she’s going to describe it anyway. Already, I can tell that I am going to be bored and what I really want is for her to stop.

It’s the price I pay for a ‘half coffee’, which thing I’ve never actually understood but it’s a ritual for her and I benefit by getting the half coffee.

The film stars Kim Bassinger. She starts to tell me the plot from the beginning. I wonder if the price for my half coffee is actually worth it. I want to go back to my desk. I feign surprise, interest, enjoyment, etc. I briefly wonder if she can actually tell the difference. Would she know the real thing if she came upon it and, anyway, if she did ‘get it’, would it scare her? Would it make her ‘real’? Would she become less ‘plastic’?

And I wonder if, by feigning the responses that she requires, I am becoming more plastic myself?

The price of coffee is expensive, I decide.

Colours are interesting


I’ve always thought that colours are interesting in that, what is ‘red’ to me may be an entirely different colour to you. I mean, we all know what red is but that is because, as a child, you are ‘taught’ what name a particular colour is. So, the questions is: when you see red, do you actually see the same colour as me or am I seeing what would be blue or green or something else, in your eyes?

And, last night, Best Mate and I had another lengthy conversation, which was useful for both of us although I’m not certain which of us was more grateful, her or me.

In this lengthy conversation, we talked for a while about feelings. To me, feelings are a bit like colours. Except that they are also like being colour-blind as well.

She was trying to explain her feelings and said, quite rightly, that, unless you had been through what she has been through, there is no way for you to understand.

What was interesting was that, when I was describing my feelings and the problems of how they made me feel physically, she said that she had never had these.

So, are my feelings unique to me? Is it really something I can share with others? I was trying to explain that I was aware that the things that are currently happening to me are as a result of chemicals that my brain is releasing or permitting to be released into my body and why it has left me feeling so crap.

She said she would like to have those feelings. I said I would rather be like her, without them ever. She said they were good (for me). I said that they were terrible and I want it all to stop.

Earlier on in the conversation she had told me to ‘get a grip’. And, the logic side of my brain knows this to be true. The problem, as I explained to her, was/is that my brain starts thinking and then, before I have time to stop it, it has thought the thoughts that it shouldn’t (logically) and off we go again, into this helter-skelter of emotions and almost flu-like symptoms.

I said I would like to ‘get a grip’ and know that I should but I just can’t stop my thoughts, even if I know them to be stupid, pointless and just giving me a hard time for no good reason.

At least, for the while I was talking to her, I felt much better. It would be better if she were physically here although I would probably break down into tears, so, maybe not. I’ve promised to fix this before she comes over.

Let’s hope so.

It’s all about protecting you


I wonder, at what point will the British people rise up and revolt, really, against the changes being made to supposedly protect them?

There has been talk before (depending on where you read, of course) of Great Britain becoming a ‘police state’ and yes, it seems that there are some laws or changes that have been made with do cause some disquiet.

However, reading a couple of the latest stories (here and here), as well as numerous blogs (e.g. here), I find it hard to understand what is going on if it’s not turning into a police state.

From what I understood, the police work for us and so do the government (who make the laws upon which the police act). But something seems quite wrong, really, if innocent people, doing things that should> be fairly innocent, are surrounded by coppers thugs, handcuffed in the street for some time and then told, in the end, that it is for their safety.

I’m afraid (and I mean that in the true sense of the word) that, sooner or later, there will be a backlash. Certainly something has to happen. If nothing happens and no one cares enough then it seems like the terrorists won out in the end, destroying the freedom that we enjoyed in the UK by allowing the government (and their strong-arm boys, the Police) to make the UK resemble an old-style Fascist/Communist/Dictatorship state.

However, I’m sure this only happens in the bigger cities, so that’ll be alright, then, won’t it?

I think I may have a strategy


I think I may have a strategy to get through this. Actually, it was something that someone mentioned over 20 years ago and it has just come to mind – well been sort of hanging in the background for a day or two.

The strategy is to have something, some project, to focus on and to devote one’s time to. Often, this can be work but I don’t do enough here to be able to do that and, unfortunately, the web stuff won’t do it for me either so it has to be something other than work.

And, then it came to me that, maybe, I could do an Italian thing and, using my contacts, help someone else. It doesn’t really give me anything – except what’s most important which is something to really concentrate on.

So I need to check a few things out and then I will have to ask the person, since the plan that would follow can only be with their agreement. This is, of course, where it may all fail but it’s worth a try as it’s something I am really interested in too.

Let’s hope so as, this morning, it was 3.30 ish when I woke up (because of a ambulance/fire engine siren) and no amount of anything would get me back to sleep!