This week my ex-sister-in-law-person texted to see if I was OK, as I had been “very quiet”. I assume she was referring to my temporary blogging hiatus. One of the plus points of blogging is perhaps that when it slows down or disappears, then people might get a clue that all may not be well, a bit like when bottles of milk start to accumulate on peoples’ doorsteps.
I talked a couple of weeks ago with my best friend about the sudden incidence of people I knew dying and his response, or one of them, was that it only when your peers start to reach the end of their span that the reality of your own mortality starts to hit home.
Maybe that is true of others but for me, actually, no.
In my early twenties I fell in love with a dying man. Or at least we thought he was. He was HIV positive. It was an awkward situation because my sexual orientation is entirely straight (although perhaps I was not certain of that until after these events), but we made the best of things. Nevertheless, it was doomed any way up. My critical awareness of my own mortality hit me like a brick 25 years ago. It sits in everything I do or write. I get frustrated by people who refuse to deal with their own.
My second wife and two of my three internet girlfriends were sufficiently narrow-minded to make this fact of my history about them rather than about me. It became a source of judgement, rooted in their own insecurity, and was often considered a suitable subject for piss-taking. I was not allowed to talk about it.
I fell in love with a dying man.
At last month’s poetry night we were in the back room of the pub as usual, but in the front bar there was a darts match in progress. So as people stood up to share the things they had written, the poems were occasionally interrupted by cheers and shouts of “One hundred and twwwentyyyy.…” in their best Sid Waddell voices. My friend commented that perhaps it was a decent metaphor for humanity, this division between those who like to scratch the surface and those who do not. He said he was going to write a poem about it (if he does, after my offering last time we may get a reputation for writing poetry about attending poetry nights…).
Fled now that music.