And, finally, we talked about death. And it seemed fitting as it was the end of the conversation. We had talked about death before – about how he was living in the flat of a woman who had died not twelve months earlier and, whether it was true or not, how he had hoped that she may not have died in her bed – the very bed that he was now sleeping in. We came to the conclusion that it was less likely, these days, as everyone seems to go to hospital or an ‘old people’s home’ to die.
But here we were, at the end of a very pleasant afternoon, saying goodbye, in that stretched out way that one does when, in reality, one doesn’t want it to end but is unsure how one can keep it going, one of us having already said we must get back, as if that were really important, which, of course, it really wasn’t, but how one doesn’t want to ruin something that has been going so well and, in order not to ruin it or run out of conversation or say something that will annoy or upset the other person, although neither of us would have said anything, I’m sure, we cut it short but then linger over this goodbye, by adding some question, which, of course, is normal and innocent enough.
And, it didn’t start off as death at all but rather holidays and then drifted into one of those conversations; a conversation that had been going all afternoon, through life, through love (both now and past), through politics, through everything, in a flow that was not forced or stilted and rambled on, much as this post is doing because we were busy (or, rather I was busy) finding out more about a person that I liked (and here, I thought about the word a lot because, in reality, it was a person that I had fallen in love with, not in a way that I was in love with V but only for the words that we had between us because, until this point, there were only words and, like being in love, I have found, over the time, a strange yearning, like I would have for a lover but, instead of this desire being for the body and a physical thing it was the yearning for more of the words and I eat each one as if I haven’t eaten at the table of literature for many years just like the insatiableness (I don’t even know if that is a real word) one has for a lover’s body and so, in the end, love would be better than like but I didn’t want you (my dear reader) to get the wrong idea) and wanting to say things that I don’t say to others because he knew me but in a way that no one else really does, since he had a perception of me that came only from this, this here, and wanting to explain myself (as if, by explaining myself, he would quickly see the things that I may have missed or, even better, that others may have missed) and the reason I was here and not having enough time and rushing through explanations in a terrible way.
And, holidays led to one thing and another (but quickly so that it wasn’t something deliberate) to death and, in the main, other people’s deaths, or, rather, lingering deaths that, because of the health care and drugs and such-like, is now more common than, perhaps 30 or 50 or, certainly, 100 years ago (see the link above) but, as a conclusion, we decided that a quick death was preferable, like a heart attack or a stroke that was so debilitating that death was swift and, one would hope, less painful. Worst was the death of the mind, since the mind is the person and that is what counts.
And that is what counts.
And, lest you misunderstand this post, the hours we had spent talking and laughing and so on, about the important things and the trivial things was, and I hesitate to use this word as many people consider it over-used, nice but I will as it fits. Again, I thought about the word a lot. I wanted to say wonderful or fabulous and they fit too but, again, it gives the wrong impression when, in reality it was comfortable and made me feel warm and was, well, nice (although I could have added ‘really’ in front of it).
And, even though I know that he will probably read this and may be disappointed that, given all that I said during the afternoon, what I did fail to add, was that I understood (or, at least, I thought I did) the person who was convinced that they were going to die, as I have and have had the same feelings except that, in my case they haven’t yet come true and, perhaps because I don’t have anyone to tell them to, I’ve never mentioned it and, in any case, it seemed crass and presumptive of me to say anything, like someone who knows you’re gay and says things like, oh I have a friend who’s gay, as if that makes it alright and gives them a green ticket to understanding me, which, of course, it doesn’t and is what I hate people doing to me and, therefore, there was no way that I was gong to do it to him.
So, just in case you (my ‘word lover’) read this rubbish that I have written, please don’t think that I was being disingenuous or secretive or closed. It just didn’t seem right. And I didn’t want to spoil an afternoon that I had enjoyed and felt so comfortable with, in a way that I don’t often feel and for which I want to thank you and have found it so difficult to explain using words which is what, after all, we both love.by