giorge thomas

KOOL-AID: a cult’s guide to cleaning

 

Didn’t even think about it. Windows were dirty. Normally would not care about this. Am not saying am a dirty person. No. I do like things clean. Is easy in the gatehouse. Not much stuff. Floors are wooden so a sweep and going-over with a damp cloth is enough.

Have not normally been concerned with windows. Not like Mum. She was nuts over them. Our flat was on the first floor and she damn near killed herself trying to clean the outside of those bloody windows. Yes, she could have paid someone. Think it was an Italian thing. Martyrdom. Wondered why she bothered. After all, we were living in London. It rains a lot. There’s a lot of cars. Windows would be washed (mum hanging out the window with me holding onto her legs) and an hour later it’d rain. By the end o the afternoon exhaust dust had stuck to the watermarks. Would drive mum (and me) insane.

So when she died, I didn’t clean the windows. And it never bothered me.

Yet have lovely outlook here at the gatehouse. Lovely cottage box windows looking out to green fields and oak trees out the front; lovely fenced paddocks out the back. Spend a lot of time looking out of windows. And windows; dirty.

Also — don’t have much else to do. Do not have a job, and Landlord not needing my help today. Time enough to clean windows.

And yes, I know what you’re thinking — is her life so boring she’s taken to writing blog posts about cleaning windows?

Well. Yes. But there is a purpose to this, I promise.

So am cleaning windows, actually enjoying self. That’s what my life has come to. Enjoying tasks like cleaning windows.

But then — disaster! Ran out of newspaper.

Which is understandable, because I only had a small stack of newspaper left by Landlord. Am supposed to be starting fires with them. Which I have been. Because do not get papers delivered, though, have now run out.

Thought to self — how the fuck am I going to clean windows now? Because cannot clean windows any other way. Window cleaning is done with newspaper. Is the only way. Well. According to church.

Then that weird mind-click thing happened. Like a clog in my brain jammed. Ex-cult members would know it well. The moment there is a system override when it all clicks and you realise you have been doing something cultish.

Like cleaning windows with fucking newspaper because creator of church was so egotistical he believed was best way to clean windows and wrote it down, thus becoming policy.

There are weird moments like that when you leave a cult. You spend your days questioning every single thing you think. Is this what I think, or is this what the church wants me to think? Do I like what am eating or is it only because have been conditioned to like it?

My mind is a weird jumble of lies and truth and for the most part cannot make head nor tail of it.

Was listening to a podcast the other day when presenter made reference to a friend who grew up in a strict religion. Apparently she has the same issues with her own thoughts — trying to weed out what are hers and what are those of the religion. Is worse for those who grew up in cults, I imagine. Only have ten years of pollution I need to clear out. Not a lifetime.

KOOL-AID: pathetic state of affairs

‘How was your weekend?’

Is it possible to ask that question in sarcastic tones? Because I think Landlord did. Was almost snarky. Cripes, after all this time referring to him as Landlord, do not want to have to change it to Snarky.

He was at the kitchen table when I came in. I have a key so I let myself in now. Saves time waiting in the cold for Landlord to come to the door.

Seriously, have never seen anyone look as proper as Landlord eating breakfast. It wasn’t really a thing in my house. Breakfast was a meal you ate on-the-go — if at all.

But Landlord, he does it in a proper 1950s way. Minus the round table, breakfast nook and tacky wallpaper.

The TV is always on. BBC news or some such. He sits facing the TV with a napkin (real-life ,fabric napkin) on his lap. His breakfast always consists of two courses. Fruit to start, sometimes with yogurt. If the whole scene wasn’t traditional enough, once I actually witnessed him eat half a grapefruit. Without sugar. Crazy.

Landlord’s second course varies. Is either toast and marmite, eggs scrambled or a soft boiled egg.

This morning; the egg. He was dunking his toast into it as I walked in. Turned to look at me before asking how my weekend was. In that tone.

Honestly, prefer Landlord with the wild beard and hair. At east he wasn’t as still.

At least this way I had the time to get self settled. To put all I had learned in the back of my mind. Easier not to feel sorry for Landlord when his behaviour towards me was cold. Goodness knows why. Suspect he’s the moody sort, is Landlord.

I made myself a coffee and faffed around the kitchen, making myself useful. As I cleared the plates landlord finished his egg and came to help me. He was moving a lot slower than normal. Hands shook with extra vigour. Wonder if it’s the weather.

We started around one another between sink and dishwasher until all was cleared. No words.

Automatically we headed off to the study so could help Landlord with his work. Which I normally enjoy. As I’ve said previously — is good to have a purpose. But today was excruciating. The silence just far too caustic. I even tried making small talk about the snow. All I got in return was, ‘yes, was quite substantial.’

At some point, just before lunch I think, Landlord let out an exaggerated sigh. Looked over to him — had been avoiding it — to see he had his face in his hands. I waited, because he was obviously dealing with something. He looked as if he could burst into tears at any moment.

Finally — sighing again — Landlord asked if we could give it a miss for today. Must have looked hurt, because after seeing my face he said: ‘it’s not a good time for me. Too much on my mind.’

The wife. Am wondering now if today is the anniversary of her death. Was not snakiness from Landlord. this morning, was melancholia.

His weekend must have been dreadful. Trapped by the snow in that big house he once shared with her. Cannot help but feel pity for him.

I couldn’t just leave without trying to convey something of comfort. I walked over to where Landlord was sitting and placed a hand his shoulder.

He looked up at me with an expression which plainly read he thought I was being peculiar.

Because I was, I suppose. Patted his shoulder and everything. Like an eejit. Like a fool who doesn’t know how to comfort another because somewhere along the line I have missed the compassion gene.

A rather pathetic state of affairs. If truth be told. But then — I am rather pathetic.

KOOL-AID: 7 stages of snow

Catch up on Kool-Aid now by hitting the link in the menu above

Ah, yes, I remember. This country goes slightly crazy when it shows. As if a natural occurrence in this climate is some kind of cataclysmic event.

It’s snow, folks, snow. Deal with it.

Having said that, am quite like the rest of the country when it snows It’s like the seven stages of grief.

You wake up in the morning, confused, trying to work out why the house is no bright. Then you see the snow and you go into that romantic phase. ‘Ah, isn’t it lovely.’ And it is. Place looks like a fondant sculpture.

You have your coffee (or, for you British weirdos, tea — though how you can start your day with anything other than coffee is beyond me) and you stare at the window, marvelling at the beauty of the snowy landscape. You wish you had thought to dress in a thick-knit jumper with one of those rolled necklines o you can better look the part.

Which is when you go through the whole fantasy stage. In the fantasy of snow you have this amazing wardrobe with Abercrombie Fitch ensembles which make you look cute, yet comfortable, and oh-so-warm. Your beanie actually looks good on you and your hair cascades underneath it in voluminous, soft shiny curls. Your skin is milky-white, like the snow and your lips are pearly red. There’s a slight flush to your cheeks from the cold and your eyes are bright and smiley.

But then — yep, you guessed it; reality. Your clothes make you look like the Michelin man. But you’re still cold. Your beanie looks like your mother’s tea cosy, flattening your heart an unattractive state. Your hair is frizzy and whips due to the moisture in the air. Your nose is red. Rudolph red. So are your cheeks. In fact, your entire face is blotchy. Your lips are dried and cracked — the only redness is the bloody seeping through. And your eyes are watering from the wind. Basically, you look like Jabba the Hutt if he’d spent the last six months crying. Then there’s the whole annoyance stage. You spent forever getting dressed in twenty different layers but hen most of your day is spent removing said layers whenever you walk inside, before having to put it all on again when leaving. You spend the entire day wet from the knee down.

If it’s a work day, you spend most of it frustrated. Traffic is horrendous, they haven’t gritted the roads and it took twenty minutes to try and de-ice your windscreen. Which, you know, makes you angry. And exhausted; going through all these emotions in one day. But we won’t mention exhaustion, because that would make it eight stages of snow, which wouldn’t really work.

To be honest I didn’t really go through that many of them yesterday. There was certainly a romantic, fantasy aspect to everything but given I spent the entire day inside, I wasn’t really affected by the other stages.

Haven’t seen Landlord all weekend. Am kind of apprehensive. After what I found out Saturday I’m worried I”ll find it hard to look him in the eye. To come face-to-face with him and not do the whole head-tilt ‘are you okay’ gesture. There’s also a concern I may hug him for absolutely no reason. Which would be weird for both of us because I’m not a hugger and Landlord would be wondering why am hugging him in the first place.

I guess I’ll find out soon. The moment I’m done here with this blog, my coffee and two more cigarettes, I’ll be heading up there.

Wish me luck.

KOOL-AID: because it’s policy

Why am I so worried about what the church will do? Because it’s policy. Attack enemies of the church. It’s in writing. When they say attack, what they mean is, aggressively attack. Do everything possible to bring down the enemy.

Private detectives are hired, dirt is found. You’ll be brought down, no matter what.

But who is an enemy of the church? Well. Anyone who speaks out about them, for one. Also — anyone who leaves.

Yup. You leave the church, you’re an enemy of the church. And enemies must be quashed.

Is the only way they can try and hang onto their congregation, really. In the same way that Christian religions talk about damnation and getting into heaven and all that, putting the fear of God (literally) in you so you stay, the church uses the threat of attack if you leave.

Basically, anyone who have any kind of independence, intelligence, you know, common-sense, then they are the enemy. Because god forbid you actually know how the world works.

And I’ve been seeing weird shit, too. Like former members of the church who used to be quite vocal in their opposition are suddenly all for the church again. Attacking people who are attacking the church. Obviously, the church has something on them. Whether it’s family, or secrets, who knows.

One of the reasons I’m scared is because they have my secrets. Of course they do. Your secrets are videotaped to be used against you. I guess I should be thankful they can’t hold my family against me. Because I don’t speak to my family.

It’s policy to bring people like me down. And it scares the shit out of me.

KOOL-AID: yes somebody died. but they weren’t murdered

For obvious reasons, did not get a lot of sleep last night. Stayed awake, wondering if they’d come for me in the middle of the night. Imagination went wild thinking of all the ways Landlord could have murdered someone. Wondered who it was. Wondered if was girl he has photo of in his bedroom. (But then, you know, would he really keep a photo of a chick he had murdered in his bedroom? Probably not.)

Wondered a lot of things. Like how maybe Parkinson’s was karma for murder. But then felt ashamed for thinking that. Then felt angry at self for feeling ashamed. Has all been terribly confusing.

Seriously, though, not a good night. Know am medicated now but the whole lack of sleep thing not good. Stress does cause episodes.

This morning, knew had to do something proactive. Couldn’t just sit around wondering.

So went to Policeman’s. He was the best bet. Less likely he was murderer as am sure murderers could not be police officers.

He was outside in chicken coop. Except wasn’t just chicken. Was turkey amongst them.

I hate turkeys. Believe they are evil animals. Dinosaur legs. Sinister eyes. Fuckers.

Though am carnivore, do have pang of guilt whenever I eat meat. Animals cute. With every steak I image those large doe eyes of a cow, with every lamp chop; the cute little fluffy sheep.

But never, ever feel guilt about eating turkey. Revel in it. Those fuckers deserve to be eaten.

Abruptly stopped walking when saw/heard turkey. Policeman, whose hand was all ready raised in greeting.

‘What’s wrong?’ he shouted over to me when he saw my look of concern.

‘Evil fucking turkey,’ I shouted back. Glad to be talking again. How on earth could I have signalled that. Sign of turkey hatred also evident in fact that I mentioned turkey before mentioning that Landlord is a murderer.

Policeman thought my turkey-hatred hilarious. Extracted himself from chicken slash turkey coop while I rambled on about all the things I hated about turkeys, imploring him to make sure was locked away so did not come and peck me to death in the middle of the night.

Told him I hoped he would be eating it soon.

‘You’ll have to wait a couple more weeks. Is for Christmas.’

Christmas. Had forgotten about that. Or maybe blocked it from memory. Knew it was coming. Was colder. People are talking about it on their blogs. But have put it from mind. Don’t really want to think about being alone at Christmas.

Then had a thought. Wished did not verbalise it. A reason for staying quiet for so long. Not knowing when to keep mouth closed. Said to policeman. ‘That’s a lot of bird for one person!.’

Just presumed he would be alone for Christmas. Like the three of us living this side of the village are lonesome folks bundled together in misery. For all I knew Policeman came from large family with a dozen sisters and brothers and twenty or so nieces and nephews. And they all came together Christmas day, a great swathe of red heads cramped around the dining table while Policeman carved the evil turkey.

Before Policeman could reply, apologised for presumption. He smiled at me in a very sad way but said was fine.

He looked back over at the turkey. ‘Suppose it is a bit much for two people but it just doesn’t feel like Christmas without the turkey.’

‘Who do you celebrate Christmas with?” Was curious. An adult child, maybe? There were no pictures in the house. No mention of one before.

‘Landlord.’

Of course, he didn’t say Landlord. He said his real name. Was floored.

‘But you hate each other.’

‘Mmm. Not really. It’s just that we remind each other of something terribly sad and so, if we can help it, we don’t like to be in each other’s company.’

‘Yet you spend Christmas together.’ Seemed very sad.

Policeman shrugged. ‘What causes us pain is also what links us.’

Was time to bring up the note. Had it with me. Evidence.

Policeman was very angry when he saw the note. Face red.

‘Those interfering—‘ He didn’t finish sentence.

wondered how he knew about church. I hadn’t told him. But maybe Landlord did? During period was in hospital?

But no. Was not referring to church. Was referring to village folk.

Policeman thought it a conversation which was better had over tea. Of course he did — he’s British. So followed him inside to the kettle and his kitchen table so he could tell me about the tragic past linking he and Landlord.

Cripes. Is all unimaginable. Is weird when you know about people’s history. Like, all of us, we all deal with shit in our lives. But we don’t wear our troubles pinned to the front of our shirts. And so we forget. We forget and start to think everyone is normal and that it’s just us who are dealing with pain.

But it’s not true. We all deal with pain.

And me, I’m sandwiched between two men with painful pasts. Two men linked by that pain.

And so the story goes…

Landlord and Policeman grew up together. Closer than brothers. Policeman’s father looked after the ‘estate.’ The farming and the gardens. Landlord and Policeman played together as children.

Landlord went off to boarding school. Policeman went to local school. In secondary school, Policeman met a local girl. Loved her. She was beautiful, apparently. Long dark hair, dark eyes, English rose skin.

When Landlord came home form school he, Policeman and the girl would drink together in the gatehouse.

And then Landlord’s mother died. The girl comforted him. Suddenly, she no longer loved Policeman. Was Landlord she loved.

Landlord and the girl were married. They lived somewhere else. London, I think. Was better for Policeman, them being gone. Didn’t have to face the girl he loved married to his best friend.

But then, Landlord’s father died. So Landlord came home to be lord of the manor. Policeman hated being close to the girl he loved. But then he didn’t. He and the girl (now woman, I suppose, but I will continue calling her the girl for continuity) started having an affair.

Landlord knew about it. Landlord knew his wife was unhappy, living away from the hustle and bustle of a city. He withdrew. Became distant.

Landlord then started to drink. Properly drink. Was turning into his father. (Policeman’s words, not mine.)

Landlord didn’t have much love from his father. Landlord senior was abusive. Mummy Landlord (because you just know he would have called her Mummy) was depressed, dulling herself with medication. So Landlord had never known proper love. He thought his wife had loved him.

One night, before Christmas, the girl was enjoying a night with Policeman. (Though am unsure whether he was a policeman at this stage.) Landlord was drunk. He drove drunk to pick up his wife from Landlord’s house. Which seems so aristocratic, reserved, not-airing-dirty-laundry way of going about things. Well, that and he was drunk.

So he goes to Policeman’s house to pick her up, and she goes willingly with him. Policeman regrets letting her go. Could see Landlord was drunk. (So maybe was a policeman at this stage.)

She got in the car, her drunk husband behind the wheel, and in that short distance from he farm to the manor gates, Landlord lost control of the vehicle.

Ice is common on the road just before the gatehouse. A camber in the slight bend. A trickle of water which always seems to be there.

The Policeman, perhaps, trying to give excuses. Trying to not put all the blame at Landlord’s door.

Landlord’s wife died in the accident. He has never forgiven himself. He has been a recluse ever since.

The village still gossips about it to this day; feeding off the pain of others. Some call it murder. Policeman saw it as a tragic accident.

Landlord went to prison, for three years, but Policeman says he is still paying the price. They both are. No matter how much he loved her, he says, he should never have had an affair. An affair which led Landlord to drink. Which led him to driving drunk with his wife next to him in the car.

And so every Christmas, despite the pain it causes them both, Landlord and Policeman come together in a silent tribute to the woman they both loved.

How tragic.

The anniversary of her death is soon. Policeman says am to watch out for Landlord. Apparently he often does something reckless this time of year. (!!)

Can you imagine it, though? Is terrible, terrible story. What I’ve been through is nothing in comparison. Need to suck it up. Seriously.

The only — only — positive out of this is that the note wasn’t from the church. No. Just a gossiping village who can’t let go of the past.

Don’t think Landlord can, either. I mean, now when I think about it, I see it in him every day. Saw it in him all those years ago by the Thames. There was something which immediately connected us back then. I just didn’t know it was misery.

So yes, somebody died. But they weren’t murdered.

KOOL-AID: checkmate

When I was young, my dad taught me how to play chess. In his usual style, though, he only explained half of what I needed to know before we launched into our first game. Whether out of impatience or because he wanted to win, am not sure. Any how, it wasn’t long before I was pawn-less, castle-less, down one bishop and both knights. A triumphant look spread across my father’s face and he moved his queen across the board, declaring, ‘check mate!’

Thought it weird. While overly Australian, my dad had never used the term ‘mate’ with me. Was reserved for his friends and associates. Remember having to listen to long-winded phone conversations pepped frequently with the word mate.

How’re ya doing mate, what’s going on mate, look, mate — that kind of thing. But to call his daughter mate? Never had happened before. Perhaps was his competitive nature coming out. Perhaps was his way of trying to man me up. He would have preferred, after all, if I had been a boy.

But no. Was a chess term. Revealed to me after much histrionics. Am pretty sure ‘checkmate’ is something which should have been revealed to me at the start of the game, no?

Checkmate. You win. You have your opponents king.

They have won. Because now am stuck.

They’ve done their usual thing. They know where I am and have back-checked everything. They know things I don’t. But they only want me to know part of it. They want to scare me.

Checkmate.

Yes, I’m talking about the church.

There is a reason for all of this. Came home today, opening my door to a folded note on the floor, slotted through the letterbox.

As soon as saw it; stomach dropped. Knew, just knew it would be something bad.

And it is.

Note was handwritten:

Your neighbour is a murderer.

My neighbour is a what-now? A murderer? Really? What. The. Fuck.

Quite frankly, am in shock. Obviously, because have smoked an entire packet of cigarettes. I mean, I enjoyed smoking the entire packet of cigarettes, but that is not the case.

Am on knife-edge.

Because — who the fuck are they talking about? Have two neighbours. Yes, have link to both of them. Cripes alive, have kissed both of them. Have shagged one of them.

But here’s the thing (and have had time to think rationally, which, to be honest, I have found amazing): it can’t possibly be policeman. Because can’t be policeman if is a murderer. Is something they check, is it not?

Which would mean is Landlord. The man I’ve been spending all my time with. Now there’s a scary thought.

Not that I’m scared. Okay, I am, but am trying, — trying — to be rational. Church could be lying. Could be, simply, a scare tactic.

But do, of course, have to think (rationally!) if is not a scare tactic. If is actually true.

Where does that put me? Am I at risk? And it just goes to show you don’t know, you just don’t know who people really are.

But if someone is a murderer, would they not be in jail? Have done quick Google search on the matter. According to Wikipedia (and let’s face it, I couldn’t be arsed reading the whole article) murderer’s don’t always get life in prison. Sometime’s are out in 12 years.

Now. Going on whole time-line of things — Landlord would have had to commit this act (hate thinking of him and the ‘m’ word) before I met him. The first time. Because otherwise would still be in prison. So this is something which would have to of happened in his twenties. Although, what the fuck does it matter when it happened?

I just, I just can’t get my head around it. Is so weird! The man is so reserved! Imagine he would be the type that when massive crisis happening, like house on fire, he’d walk in and go, ‘ah, yes, well. Luckily we have insurance. Let’s see if we can still pop the kettle on, then, yes?’ I mean, when all that shit was going on with me, is exactly what he did! Popped the kettle on. And now, when I think about it, when I came back from the hospital, he hasn’t mentioned my episode at all. Keep calm and carry on, as they say.

So to get worked up enough to kill someone? It just doesn’t fit him. It just doesn’t.

Maybe there’s another neighbour. Maybe refers to someone in the village. Would not be surprised. A cesspool of secrets, that place.

See? This is exactly what that fecking church wants me to be doing — going out of my mind with worry.

I could ask Gruff. He would know, surely, if something was up with Landlord? But then, he would never have let me come here if he did. And if I say anything, he’ll just worry. He’ll act all gruff and pretend he’s not worried, but he totally would. Honestly, I love that man.

Right. Here’s the plan. I’m not going to worry. I’m not going to do anything. Yet. Except maybe smoke another half pack of cigarettes. And sleep with a knife under my pillow.

The real worry, though? The church has found me.

Checkmate.

KOOL-AID: taking a stroll

Things are companionable between Landlord and I. And quiet. Like a magnet, am drawn to the house every day, sitting down to lunch in silence, returning home, and then back to the main house for dinner.

Am enjoying cooking. Is the freedom of it, I think. But also, feel as though am doing a proper good thing in cooking. Have been doing a lot of research on what’s best to eat when you have Parkinson’s, and have been incorporating these foods into the meals I cook.

On Monday I got my stitches out. Landlord’s doctor visited the house. Ruddy old man. Knows Landlord well. We talked a lot. Checking to see if am okay. If am doing well on the lithium. Told him I felt like living under water. He said that yes, it can feel a little bit like that. But is probably better under water than living on a tight rope. Yes. Quite.

Bought Landlord on electric razor online. Even with his tremors he can use it safely and keep his clean shaven appearance. Though he does admit to being warmer with the beard.

Every afternoon, before the light fades, Landlord takes a walk around the property. Even if it’s raining. Exercise is important for his condition. Yet by Landlord’s physique you can tell exercise has always been important to him.

Today I joined Landlord on his stroll. Had stayed in the house after lunch, helping Landlord with some of his work, when he asked if I wanted to join him.

Being around Landlord is no longer a concern. It isn’t awkward. It’s not really pleasant; it just is what it is. We hardly talk or converse, we’re just together. Think it’s all that has happened. Personal emotional stuff we’re both witnessed in the other. No longer a need to be embarrassed or uncomfortable — it’s all been laid bare.

Landlord took me to the west side of the property, a side I have not been before. Now when I say west, it probably isn’t west. Have no idea what actual direction it is. Just feel good saying ‘west’ as if know what I’m talking about. I don’t. Clearly. Any way, is the left side of the property.

A lot more trees on the west side. Almost like a full-on forrest. The air is thick with the scent of sodden leaves; musty and sweet. Landlord took me along the edge of the property, bordered by a tall stone fence. You can hear the sounds of traffic coming from the other side. Enough cars for it to be an A road.

We saw a lot of wildlife on our walk. Dozens of squirrels. Rabbits. A deer. Several pheasant-type birds. Not sure if are actual pheasants but are large and not chickens and therefore fall into the ‘pheasant-type’ family.

So we’re walking and it registers with me that this might be my life now. I might very well be spending the rest of my days walking around this vast estate, eating meals with a man I’m quietly comfortable with and not returning to the life I once lived in London. I would never have a career. I wouldn’t marry and have children. And I’ve had to ask myself if I’m okay with that. If this is it, if this is what my life will consist of, will that make me happy?

It’s a difficult thing to answer, yet the response has to be yes. I have to be content with this life because this time last year I was stuck in a life which was so terrible, so destructive, I thought the only way out of it was to not live at all. This time last year I was facing yet another dismal Christmas. It was celebrated in my church, yes. But when you lived on base, there wasn’t much of a celebration.

Not that I imagine I’ll have much of a celebration this Christmas, either. I expect Landlord and I will have a meal of some sort together — we do every other day. But then, might he want to be alone Christmas day? Leaving me, therefore, alone? It is a possibility. Maybe I should think about ordering a turkey roll for myself. And one lone Christmas cracker. Cripes, that’s sad.

KOOL-AID: it’s okay. am not dead

It was what I guess you would call “an episode.” Have read the two posts I made that day and can see may have been obvious to you folks reading this. The dribble!

It got a lot worse. Has been a long while since have been like this. Church will say is because they were helping me but in all honesty think was so depressed my manic side had no air to breathe.

Went to Policeman’s just as I said I would. He wasn’t home but took me a long time to figure that out. Knocking on glass kitchen door for ages, probably screaming out his name though I don’t remember. At some point the glass on his door broke and my hand was soon covered in blood but didn’t notice it — just saw it as a sign to leave.

Didn’t notice how wasn’t dressed for weather, either. Had gone to Landlord’s home and Policeman’s in a singlet.

When arrived back at the cottage Landlord was there; panicked. Saw my hand and panicked some more. Think I yelled and screamed at him. Okay. Know I did. He was trying to get me, the bloody mess, to go inside the cottage with him. I yelled it was just to get me inside to fuck me. Yup. I did that.

He managed to get me on the settee and wrapped a towel around my bleeding arm. Said he fancied a tea and went off to the kitchen to make one. Was gone ages. I lit a cigarette, not caring my landlord was in the house with me as I did so.

He’d made me coffee and brought our two cups in, setting them on the coffee table. Sat next to me. At which point I was like, ah, yeah, I’ll fuck you then, go on. I tried to kiss him. Greatly affronted when he turned me down. But then he said we’ll have our tea and coffee first and then we’ll have sex. Which I thought was fair enough.

And then, to my surprise, Policeman turns up. And you know, he and Landlord were perfectly cordial. Was weird. Apologised to Policeman for breaking his window. He said was fine. Asked to take a look at my arm, saying he thought I needed stitches. Landlord was in agreement.

‘Why don’t we just nip to the hospital and get it looked at?’ He said.

‘Oh, no,’ I told him, (and seriously, this is what I said) ‘after my coffee Landlord and I are going to fuck.’

Now. Think through all of this was actually calling Landlord, Landlord and Policeman, Policeman; instead of their actual, real-life names.

Anyway, the two of them exchange looks and Landlord tells me he’s happy to wait for when I come back.

And then I — the horrors — I say to Policeman, as I agree to leave with him, ‘Is fine, I’ll come with you to the hospital. Landlord probably can’t get it up anyway. He has Parkinson’s.’ Said all of this in a mock whisper.

Policeman looked at Landlord. Landlord nodded.

Was whisked away into police vehicle. After much demanding, he sounded the sirens for me.

Is about twenty minutes to nearest A&E. Good thing wasn’t dying.

Lovely young doctor; Indian, much, much dialogue about cricket. Am so racist, assuming every Indian is a cricket fan. Though this one was, luckily. Thing I regained tale of my crush on Sachin Tendulkar and how was convinced we would be married until realised there was a whole race/religion issue neither one of us could over come. Think I made it sound like we dated or something. FYI — we didn’t. But, you know, there was flirting.

Doctor put six neat little stitches in my arm. When he left another doctor turns up and I just knew, knew by the look of her what she was and I started screaming how it was against my religion to see a psychiatrist. The whole restraining thing happened, and like a scene from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, was given a big fat needle in my bum and everything went dark.

Was in hospital for three days. Dosed up on sedatives and lithium.

Guess am very lucky not to have been committed. Think Policeman had something to do with it.

Policeman visited me.

Landlord visited me.

Heck, even Gruff visited me. Landlord called him after I’d turned up at his house las Friday. Gruff gave him my history.

Was a risk for Gruff to come and see me, but, as he said, the church didn’t know was in hospital and then, wouldn’t know which.

Despite all that happened, no sympathy from Gruff. Not the sympathy kind. ‘Was expected, though, don’t you think? Would have been a fool if you thought you wouldn’t have another episode again.’

Yes, thank you, Gruff.

When was time to leave hospital, was Policeman who picked me up. He took me to Landlord’s. And again, very odd how cordial the two men were. Thought they hated one another but there they were, in the same room, Landlord asking Policeman if he would like tea, though was politely declined.

Stayed two days with Landlord. Policeman visited me there. We took a walk through the grounds — the terraces and fields at the back of the manor which I have not seen before.

Almost expected the conversation. Is weird — now that we can finally converse verbally, there’s no need to do it.

Policeman told me I was beautiful, lovely, etc, etc. But with what I had been through — not just this week, but the last few years — wasn’t right for me to be in a relationship.

Couldn’t be angry with him. Understood it. Am too much trouble to be with. And am not saying that to be down on self. Is just fact. Am complicated and, well, damaged. Have the sense by the way Policeman spoke that he’s had enough difficulty in his life. There’s a sadness I noticed that haven’t before.

When I said to Landlord I wanted to come home, he didn’t object.

Have done a lot of sleeping, but is normal after an episode. At present I just feel kind of numb. Am not sure if is the lithium — has been so long since have been on it.

Dear Landlord — am supposed to be looking after him but lately it’s been the opposite. Wonder if he regrets agreeing to have me stay. Have been nothing but trouble since I arrived.

KOOL-AID: apparently am odd

Went to house and said to Landlord that was not going to fuck him and he said to me that was acting weird and we had a huge argument about it. Treated me like was mental patient. Kept saying name is quiet, soothing tone. Was fucking ridiculous. I mean, who the fuck does he think he is talking to me like that. Fuck him. Of course am now bored. May go see if Policeman is home.

KOOL-AID: does he want to f**k me?

I mean, is only obvious reason, yes? Why else would he touch me? Am not saying am gorgeous or anything like that, am not irresistible but am only woman available so maybe he thought would try his luck.

Don’t want to fuck him, though. Am already fucking Policeman so don’t need to fuck Landlord, too. Doesn’t matter that he’s handsome and all. Would be too weird anyway. Will be weird enough today when I got to help out after all the knee touching. Maybe I should tell him when I go up there today. Thought of not going up there but can’t avoid going there just because Landlord stroked my knee.

Yes. Will tell him. Is only right. Will say straight out I don’t want to fuck him.

KOOL-AID: the dream

So I had this dream last night which was fucking weird. Basically, was wearing the white ethereal gown which is ridiculous because would never wear white and was walking in this slow elegant manner at twilight right into the stream like Virginia Woolf and I laid down and let myself be drowned. Landlord was watching the whole thing but didn’t do anything to stop me but it turned out it was because he was dead, too. Probably because of his Parkinson’s, but I’m not sure because it’s not like my subconscious mind revealed that part of it but it did reveal that he was there and it was him who made me kill myself because he had that power over me. Probably still does. Fucker.

KOOL-AID: a new man

So this is my second attempt at writing this post. My first attempt involved several paragraphs describing the art of cutting hair. I read it back and found self half-asleep with boredom. No one wants to read something so monotonous. Was working up to something, see, and thought the whole hair-cutting process would set the stage.

Ah, no. There is nothing exciting about cutting hair. Unless, of course, you’ve stayed true to the same style for several years, finally biting the bullet and booking an appointment at the hair dressers for a long overdue makeover. Which would be exciting, yes. You imagine the reactions of your friends when they saw you for the first time. You might even start wearing a little more makeup to accentuate the look. But the process itself wouldn’t be exciting. Granted, those few minutes having your head massaged while conditioner was applied would be glorious, but the cutting of what was, essentially, a dead organism would not give you thrills.

Certainly wouldn’t be something worth writing about.

Yes, yes, there is a point to all of this. What am concerned with is the end result, but suppose I should give you some background first.

Landlord, you may remember, has the whole hobo look going. Beard. Long hair. A bit disastrous. Turns out, Parkinson’s is to blame. Part depression, part nipping himself when trying to use clippers due to tremor. Decided to never try again.

Would not have brought it up. Landlord is own person. Can do what he wishes with his own appearance. But. Were sitting down eating lunch. Landlord scratching away at the scab on his head. Watched as he took thumb and forefinger to pick out a bit of his scab. That was it for me.

Right then. Time to cut his hair.

Landlord was compliant. Guess he didn’t really like it long. Set up in utility room.

Cut hair. Quite short with the clippers. Trimmed beard to same extent. Shaved beard. Cripes if that was a process. Close contact. Close enough to feel breath. To see vein throbbing in his neck. Enough said.

Result was a fresh-faced Landlord. Young. Clear skin. Handsome. Eyes seemed bluer. Lips fuller. Took me back to that day many years ago on the banks of the Thames.

Heart fluttered a little. Stomach churned. Wiped remnants of shaving foam from his jaw.

And then, without warning, he placed his hands on my knees. Was sitting across from him, see. His hands were shaking at first, and then firm. And with one slow, fluid movement he moved his hands up along my thighs. Halfway up and then back to my knees.

Way too much. Way too much.

Stood up so quickly the chair fell back onto the floor. Let out an ‘oh’ as it collapsed, but did not fault my movement.

Was out the door in about two seconds, I think. Big, deep breaths. Cripes, was difficult. The look of him. Handsome strong jaw and those lips. Those lips I remember. And eyes which seem to gleam.

Which, of course, brings up feelings I don’t want to fill my head. Because desiring someone for sex is one thing. We have those needs as humans. But when something twangs. When a heart string is plucked, it is desperately confusing. Being drawn into someone is dangerous. Last time it happened, I ended up in cult which ruined my life.

Cannot love again. Will not.

But Landlord – he’s a handsome man again. A new man. No longer looks like he’s given up on life.

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