Wednesday, January 12, 2005


How to sleep, after this:

Midnight, and finally the doorbell rang. Did it wake Alexa? Creeping down the stairs I think not. And it rang again. Longer.

“Adam,” cried the weary voice of the confused, beautiful Greek from her bedroom. “The door’s binging. Thomas at last.”

“Got it.”

No need to creep down now.

“Thomas,” I said answering the door to the unfamiliar face of my cousin – staying for a few weeks (no longer) with me while he finds his feet in London, if not his watch. “Welcome!”

“Thanks, Adam. Sorry I’m a bit late.”

“Three hours late. What happened?”

“O, you know – trains.”

“I was worried, but didn’t have your mobile number,” I went on, lugging loudly up the stairs a heavy bag of his stuff. “Neither did Mum.”

“O, I don’t have a mobile,” he said, slumped in the lounge now, in my favourite armchair. “They destroy conversation.”

Text me, phone me, someone, I thought, distract me before there’s a murder. No-one did. Go to bed Adam, now, I told myself; then told myself I’m hardly calm enough to sleep.

“Speaking of conversation,” on went Thomas, “I’d love to catch up with you. It’s been – how long?”

“Since we were kids.”

“Since we were kids. I don’t, to be honest, remember anything about you, Adam,” he went on, as though smiling brashness made for humourous charm.

“Me either,” I lied. Had I remembered the fat, sweaty eight year old at that wedding, who ran around and around and around, then glooped down glass after glass after glass of wine some bridesmaid fed him, then puked and puked and puked in a plant-pot, perhaps he wouldn’t be here now. That was Thomas, I realised, looking over the plump, red-faced infant spread out uncomfortably all over my chair.

“So man to man, family being family, we should get to know each other. What are you – what do you do?”

“Well,” I stumbled out. “I have an admin job at—” and go on to explain it’s dull, but pays the bills, just about, but not enough to buy a place, but enough to have fun on the weekend – that kind of waffle. Twenty-something London stuff. “Er – what about you? Where are you at?”

“Well, actually… I’m a poet,” he said. “A poet. My influences are Allen Ginsburg and Ted Hughes, mainly. Your Mum said you read a bit of poetry – so you know what I mean. I’ve been published in” – and I forgot the few, obscure names he listed, on purpose. “And while I’ll have to work for now in London, it shall not be for long,” he stated. “I hope – I dream – of course, because who really knows,” he added, falsely.

And then I knew how I could get to sleep: type out his crap for this blog. Exorcise the stupidity and rudeness and irritation of it all, by making a mild joke out of Thomas; Thomas, my companion for the next few, two, three, eighteen, nineteen, no more than twenty-one days. Twenty one days!

Hardly days: brief corridors of passing contact, between coming home and going to bed, nothing much. And soon he will be gone. And soon it was time to sleep. And soon breakfast and the beautiful fact that Thomas is slow, quiet and dull in the mornings. And too soon the post; to expel the night before, grim-faced for grim-time tonight.