I woke up today with Philip Glass' Metamorphosis in my head. It's apt really as it was part of the music chosen for your service and you always celebrated our anniversary over this weekend.
Eight years ago, we met in that car park in Holt. If I had written what my perfect first date would have looked like, you managed to tick every freaking box without even meaning to: steam trains, good coffee, literary bollocks, walk on along Sheringham beach eating ice-cream, supper at Byfords where we needed double bowls of olives, and for dessert you had mango & passionfruit pavlova and asked for two spoons. When we'd been given menus and you looked at me and laughed when you handed over your reading glasses, I realised I really was getting older. We went back to Voewood and enjoyed the live music.
My memory being what it is now, I think it was when Sam Amidon and Beth Orton played. Beth Orton in a parka with a cup of tea; it was such a good gig. The problem is, the memories flow into each other. Was that the same year at Voewood when we poggoed next to David Gilmore and his wife, Polly Samson?
Or was that the year when Hendricks sponsored the event? Does it really matter to have things all lined up properly? The Hendricks year, I know was when I took my most favourite picture of you. We'd been lying on the grass in the sunshine watching the Marketing Director of Hendricks chase after his pet chicken Henrietta. Gods that was such fun. That weekend, I learnt to like gin. Helped enormously by the session we went to: Gin - a tipple through literature. You were driving, which was just as well. The session was supposed to be 45 minutes, it went on for a rather hilarious hour and a half and included Henrietta the chicken settling on the chief mixologist's trolley, singing the Song of her People until she was picked up and taken away. Gods, I was pickled. Actually, so was everyone else. They'd brought around examples of all of the gin mixtures/cocktails that they talked about during the session. I chose F. Scott Fitzgerald as my sobriety test. I failed it miserably.
We rubbed shoulders with people who if they weren't the movers and shakers of the creative world, certainly looked like they should have been. You chatted awhile with this little old lady and came away with the weirdest expression. When I asked you, you said "I think that was Margaret Atwood." I did have to stop you launching yourself at Rowan Coleman, the former editor of the Erotic Review. And you helped make David Gilmour warm to the idea of taking a picture with me. None of these people will remember you now, fleeting encounters with a fan boy. They won't know what they've missed out on. How wonderful you were, your quiet contributions to science, to the music and coffee scenes in Norwich.
I didn't miss out. Oh. Hell. No.
On an aside, Zoë included ears of wheat that grew in the garden from the chickens' food, to dress your coffin. It marked your contribution to the selenium study you were so proud of. Birgit, your ex-long-time partner, appreciated that touch when I told her about it.
How am I doing? Good question. I seem to have got over the pre-Dave phase I've gone through. I'd been living life like I did before I met you. Re-visiting old patterns of behaviour to re-discover why I'd left them behind.
As you aren't here, I won't be able to stop smoking like I did when I had your support. I am now pre-rolling my cigarettes and I will follow Henry's example and cut down a fag at a time. My lungs clearly do not have the patience to put up with my bullshit, and I really don't need COPD or lung cancer in my Life. I have things to do.
The Grant of Probate came through. Thus begins the dismantling of your Life before we sell your home. I have people to call on to help me with this monumental task. It's one of those things that my pride says "it's only pain, you know you can do it. Get on with it." My heart replies "I have nothing to prove to anyone, there are no gold stars waiting for me by doing this alone and pretending to be big and brave." I'm taking things a half a day at a time. I can cope with that, just about.
Oh. The Words are coming back. Driving back from work a poem came to me. I rushed home and wrote it down on the back of an envelope. I'm not sure it's one to share. Until I sit down with it I won't know, and in truth, it doesn't really matter. I'm still at the stage where one out of twenty poems is reasonable. I'm still writing the crap out. It is good to write again. It's the piece that's been missing from me for three and a half years. Arting can't replace them. They have to learn to co-exist. It's going to be an interesting time as I try and figure things out.
I have decisions to make in the coming twelve months. The thing is, I won't be able to make the decisions until I take the steps. Until then, I can only run them through as simulations in my imagination as I try to find the best fit. The first step will be me filling out an application. Ahead of this I'm trying to gather together the disparate pieces of my brain; I'm currently working my way through an idiot's guide to critical thinking to start herding my thinking into more of a coherent process. My ability to assimilate and analyse information remains woefully poor. I deal with my frustration by reminding myself that the brain is like a muscle that hasn't exercised in quite some time. Getting back to a more intellectual mind-frame will take some time and I might as well get on with it now, than leave it to atrophy.
Anyway, I'm in charge of the Fort this weekend. I've got chickens and cats to feed.
I am consciously sitting in the middle of the bench in the garden, instead of to the left as you won't be coming out to join me. Is this progress? I have no idea. I miss you.