27 June 2016


This year has been consumed with leaving, or the thought of leaving. When Yoko and I went to sleep on Thursday night, the iPad screen glowing in the dark had said things were going to be okay, but I woke with a start at three and checked again. It was not okay anymore and like instant karma, the pound bottomed out. The truth is, you are never better alone, are you.

When we came to England in 2008, we were following my dream, the one I had chased through Virginia Woolf novels in college to the House of Parliament in 2002, when I sat and watched a debate, the green benches from the television suddenly in front of me. I sat behind a pillar in St Martian's in the Fields, a ten pound ticket to see Mozart's Requiem by candlelight. I went home that next day, a whole idea of the country germinating in me, like the first time I saw Oasis on a Walmart TV screen in Wisconsin.

Then we were here, me and my daughter and my pregnant wife. We stayed in a little cottage in Woolstone, in Milton Keynes, and the woman who owned it with her husband, George, let me keep boxes in their garage and told me about how it had been in the past, before there was Milton Keynes and it was just fields. George had been in the house for his whole life: I asked him how he had dealt with all the things that had changed and he smiled and shrugged.

I've outlived Jesus now. I woke up and felt exactly the same — fat from eating and eating again. I can't stop eating. I went out running in the morning, before everyone got up, before Yoko started hitting the snooze on the alarm. It feels like it just goes on and on.

23 June 2016

Outliving Christ

When I came back from Malaysia, it was cold and I was smoking cigarillos. The taste hangs on to the memory: I bought Hamlets when I was last in London, so I could stand on the corner and look angry. I smoked them too quickly and assumed they would kill me, but they didn't. I'm on the edge now of outliving Christ — I'm terrified. I won't be in my late-early thirties anymore, but my early mid-thirties or maybe just my mid-thirties. You slip into the second-person. Your hair starts to fall out. You go to sleep before the children do. I reach for Mei as she runs up for bed. Hug your father, I love you.

18 June 2016

Promise Hill

The hotel I stayed at in Fitzrovia didn’t have a toilet in the room: I’m not sure how I had missed this when I booked it. It was £49 and the woman who checked me in was European — I say European because it doesn’t matter now where in Europe you are from if you are in this country, we're all in the same boat. My room was on the top floor, the British third floor, and when I opened the door, I thought this will do: what do I have to complain about.

I changed quickly, so I could get a run in. It was the second day of the British summer, which lasts for two or three days at a time before tapering off in August. I waited at the light and then set out into the park, towards the zoo. There was a fat man running in front of me, and I thought that I felt fat too, but in a way that I’ve come to accept since seeing Julie for the last month. We can both agree you’re not fat, she says, and the part of me that agrees with that agrees with her. I ran up the outside of the park, past a fit couple running together and then out the back up what is called Primrose Hill. I know London well enough, but I had never heard of Primrose Hill, which I read as Promise Hill. There, in the middle of the city, a hill looking out over everything.

I ran up it and smelt weed: someone on one of the blankets, the young white and beautiful people, and then past Chinese exchange students with new iPhones, and finally to the top looking out. Yes, London, I thought, and ran back to the hotel.

Dismantling anger leaves you with a void: if you aren’t constantly and selfishly blaming your partner for everything bad that is happening to you, it’s your own fault, or worse, nobody’s fault. My inheritance came from my Grandfather and suddenly I was sobbing like he hadn’t been dead for months now. Why would money be the trigger. I reach for the tissues, and stop to think. That’s it, isn’t it. Stopping to think about it all.

The void, of course. Everything is just looking into the void in one way or another. I sat down to write on Monday morning this week thinking that exact thing. Here are some blank pages. I apologise constantly. I take the kids to school, up the road, in the rain this week. Mia cries holding her umbrella and I yell at Naomi for being insensitive. The new bakery opens. We go to the library and I read Mia a story. It’s okay, of course. You apologise and move on — nothing’s really wasted though.