30 October 2015

Back and forth

Today, I walked through St Peter's, through the cemetery surrounding the church and school and looked up at the walkway that comes through the cricket greens and into the town centre of Harborne. I thought I might take a picture. The leaves are coming down and the path glows from above with the orange light. You feel something. I walked up to the town to get £50 for Naomi for her school trip and £20 for Yoko to have curry tonight with some friends and £10 for myself, in case I needed cash. I got free coffee at Waitrose and 3 for 2 Cox Apples. I walked home, opened and shut the door and went back to work.

That is the day. Walking up and back. Money in and out. The kids to school and back. Yoko sitting drinking tea and another Skype meeting or job application sent out. All this talk of the precipice this last month and nothing. No one wants to hear about my visa.

So I plod on and find myself in silly, disastrous situations. I tried stand-up comedy in a club, but got a minute into the set and realised I didn't know what I was doing. It was palpable. I said, 'I don't think I'm supposed to do this' handed the mic to the organiser and walked out. I still don't believe it happened. Maybe it didn't.

If there was anything else to say, I would say it. I don't think there is.

08 October 2015

One night

Yoko and Stephen

The kids are going to school again every morning in yellow polo shirts and black jumpers — the summer rolled up like a rug you and the man with the van hoist on your shoulders. I am standing or sitting in front of a class again. After the crises of wondering what's next or why we are on the path, there is less time to reflect when you're working — you just have to go forward with all the things you need to do. It's not will or desire, although you need both will and desire, but it is habitual and ritual and seasonal.

Yoko and I have been together for ten years now. The anniversary of that night in September, walking towards the Sea of Japan, when I spoke English out of the blue to her. We sat on the beach that night and looked out into the darkness. I put my arm behind her and she rested back on it. That place where the Agano River came out into the Sea. What was this really: just two people smiling at each other and joking about my bad Japanese. This will be fun, at least for a little while. 

Then, ten years later: I am trying to iron my shirt this morning and the breaker keeps blowing. The washing machine has stopped — I know, I know, Jesus Christ. I wait outside the toilet door as Mei finishes. I rush through the shower, the baby pigeon that Yoko is nursing back to health looking at me with disdain. Naomi's Korean friend — Korean by way of Germany — comes in the morning now and we all go to school together. It's a rush, 8:25, we have to go now, ladies, now, and I kiss Yoko and Naomi hugs and kisses Yoko and we all rush out, up the hill, towards St Peter's, politely, smiles, greeting all the women dropping off the kids.

And then it starts raining. The real autumn has come now. I'm in London again.
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