Ambitions on a Friday.
track: John Mayer – not myself.
Ambitions on a goddamn friday were always useless. A thought on the tube on the way home in the middle of the crowded suits will never lead far. Never.
When my feet hit the inside of the tube and the smell of sweat floods my nostrils stronger than before on the platform, my friday feeling slips into gutter. People stink, but I probably do too. We flicker into darkness and the yellowed lights glow and show the people all around me with their hair in my faces and coughing against my shoulder crush into me, and I scowl. People make me sick when they're so close sometimes, so sick. Shouldn't think about it much else you start seeing them - like actually seeing them. Their spots, and dandruff and all that right my your face, all squashed in and everything. All you'd need is another cart.
And there's the kids. Half term or summer or whatever it is and they're here like flies, and that's sick too but not as bad. If an old person stands next to me on the tube I have to move else I start seeing their dirt, and I have to move or get off. Boy, I even have to get off sometimes, and that's stupid, I know it.
The District line in the middle of goddamn winter stinks, and in June now it stinks. To tell you the truth. Sweat and the platform smelt to high hell of piss, but it's not on the train, or I might walk. I'm not kidding.
Adverts flicker past outside and I reach into my pocket to raise the volume on my ipod, white earphones in my ears declare my anti-social mood as ever. I get a scowl and people shuffle in true British annoyance; no one ever goddamn complains. I decide the volume's high enough, strong beat and beautiful rough voices in my ears. I stare at the ceiling opposite, sloped sides and the map with one stop to go.
The stop comes; Monument to tower hill and I've never been to glad to get off as we slow to a screech. Beautiful underground air and up the steps. Goddamn district line without escalators. I trot the steps and I'm tired at the top. Tired of walking, and working, and I need my weekend. I turn off for the northern line at the top of the steps and hit northbound. Cleaner air invades my lungs and I breathe in the northern line underground air. I'm pretty early when I get there, out of the walkways and onto the platform. Doesn't smell like piss thank god, and I do thank him, mockingly. Bastard of a day, bastard of a journey. I love fridays.
The idea comes to me later than usual. I get it everyday - it's nothing new - and, staring at the signs of King's Cross tube slipping away, I wonder why I don't phone him. It'd stop me thinking about it on every commute home. Four stops of a daydream to Euston station, five on the train and then some more when I get home.
Anyway, some woman on the train interrupts and asks whether she's going to right way to somewhere. I nod, though without looking up and make an affirmative noise. She clears off and I'd hear her asking someone else, but I'm ignoring everything around me but for him in my head. Beautiful. He's everything, but I cut him out like a damn drug - though it wasn't my fault - these things never are. It was a mutual thing the moment he left and I didn't do a thing. But it wasn't his fault, I swear. We're both as innocent or as guilty as each other. And I'm lost in this until my train pulls out of the station before and straight into mine and I realise I'm home, and nothing'll be as bad once I'm home. But it is.
When I do get home I'm burning with the idea of it, more than usual. I slump through the door and pull my jacket off before I make it to the sofa, slouching into it. It damn near slides. I push my hands into my eyes, feeling sick with it. I want to phone him like never before. But it's been months, and I've counted them all. But caving after only two - and that's what it is, goddamn caving - it sickening. Piss on the wall. After staring at the ceiling I get up, head woozy and feeling light-headed. I see my face in the mirror behind the drinks counter, out of place in the plain apartment. Just my suit jacket on the sofa side, but otherwise, this place looks dead.
So back to now, and I pour myself a helluva drink. I pull a glass and shake small, pathetic bottles to see what's left. I tip the empty bottles out and three bottles in, I've got less than a centimetre in the glass. I scowl and spy liquid inside a see-through vodka bottle, adding it to the glass. I go back to slumping in my chair and flip the TV on lazily with the controller. This isn't because of Kyle, I swear. It's my daily ritual. Drink, TV, maybe dinner and sleep on the sofa by accident or maybe bed. Hangovers through the weekend - or not.
The TV is dull and there's nothing on. I drink my drink and ignore the TV noisily. Change I think. Change is always good. Change of heart right now especially; get me out of this mind-frame. Anything, I'd give. Though we both know that's a lie. I'm still hung up on him and it doesn't feel wrong essentially, I just know he'll have moved on. Independent bastard. But if I was ever in love, the feelings haven't changed. I just know I'm sick with them; they're everywhere in my goddamn body. And phony enough, it's like everything I see is about him. Bastard, putting me off my work. We both know he's not a bastard. To tell the truth, my sweetheart - but not my first.
I shuffle in my seat, holding the half finished glass in one hand and balancing it, leaning across to the radio remote. I can't reach, and stand up again, picking it up and throwing it at the seat. I down the drink, my jaw stretches and aches a millisecond, and I head over to the drinks stand again, filling it up and making it worth my while.
I sit again, hazily, and turn the TV mess off, and hit buttons of the radio control, not knowing how to use it. I haven't played it forever. A slight mad dash around 2 months ago of reoccurring misery music, but I haven't touched it since. It whirrs into blue screen action and I prod until I see the volume count go up.
Noise fills the room and I blink, astounded and aching. I'm in tears before I know it, in my eyes and bright and sick, and oh-so glazed over. I wish they weren't. They start seeping as the seconds tick by and the CD left in the player sings my crooning, beautiful, adoring song at me. The one from the break-up.
Suppose I said I am on my best behaviour
And there are times I lose my worried mind
It floods back to me like a stench in a second. I can smell him in my skin and it's beautiful. So fucking beautiful, darling.
I breathe hard as if I can breath the memory in, but I don't need to. It's so goddam real. This isn't a song; it's a moment of a lifetime that's ruined CDs forever with this reaction. My ears strain and I focus on it, as if I have a choice. I need this song now, my wad of emotion deeper and goddamn sicker than before, damnit. Nasty memory I love. I want to hate myself for this, because I know I don't love him and know I don't need him. But simply, I do.
Would you want me when I'm not myself?
Son of a bitch. I curl, and crunch my fist in anger and loss and everything I can't say. This, I swear, is so sick. I grab the controller, shaking, and hit buttons until the noise stops, and throw the chunk of metal at the radio. It clunks off but I'm not listening. My mind's crushed with pictures and scenes like a scrapbook. Everything in my life in a damn song and a memory. It's everything and disgustingly what I want and need and crave, and I run to the toilet, throwing myself to kneel in front of it and retching but nothing comes.
The bowl stares up, sick too, and I want to cry but I already am so this doesn't make a difference. White porcelain (which it isn't) too clean and I need to get this out of my system. I heave, but nothing but saliva comes up. I spit it at the sink but it's hardly a stain.
This what my evenings come to; a countdown to friday where I spend until the nth hour deciding that I don't need to call him, with the phone in my hands or so close I can smell it and spend the friday evening distracted with it. And then by night, I'll watch late movies of distraction, and it'll become 'too late to call' or that's the excuse, and I'll lie with the phone by the pillow, beautiful. So these two months later – years since I've seen him, but seconds since I touched him – are like a pathetic victory, which I'm sure if I want to have won. Gold medal, baby.
But I miss him like hell, and I'm still trying to throw my insides up in the bowl in a ditched attempt to feel myself. It's like I've forgotten myself without him or this, and I'm waiting for myself to rush back in a fleeting jump, and everything'll be fine. Except it isn't.
And I, in time, will come around
I always do for you
Nothing comes up in the end, though I try and throb, ill.
I go to bed. That's the be all and end all. I can't do anything else, and as I crawl into bed, phone clenched in my hand, I ache sick and sweaty in a mess. I pull the covers around my, up to my ears and way over my neck. The phone still in my hand cradles to my neck and the plastic on my neck is comforting. I squash it to my neck to remember it's there, not that I could forget the way I'm holding it so tight I'd better not loose it.
I feel foul with the song in my head, round and round hours later after I hit the stop button and left the remote where I threw it. The outside's black through the curtains, and my skin is slick and sick and I know something's wrong. I lie, squeezing the remote for god and hug myself up together into a balled up mess.
I look at the phone and punch the number to draw out time, like usual. And I start at it and slowly hit the delete button for every damn number. And I do it again, listening to the deafening beep as each number comes up, so loud that could wake the neighbours. It punches me in guilt and weakness and I stare at it with a wet pillow.
I hit the phone and stare, not moving, and listen for the dial of numbers wired across the air in the dark. I hit off like usual, cowardly. Six later I lie the phone next to me on the pillow and want to believe this makes me strong, though I know it doesn't. I need to talk to him and this is breaking my heart to do this. It's killing me, slowly in my sleep. Dastardly.
You're my new romance, I think to the phone. Lie here for forever and ever with the pillow and the bed, and the dark and the silence in my room but for the beeping. That I could do. Simple truths.
I lie into the pillow and stare up at the phone through half closed eyes, though I can't really see it. My fingers work the number and I hit the dial and take my hand away. It lies seconds away from my head. The ring comes and I tense, adrenaline static in the air in the room and I freeze, dead out and cold. It rings thought I don't count and I stare at it, eyes awake and unable to move in case I miss a thing.
Suppose I said
You're my saving grace?
It takes an age but not a second and he comes, "Hello?" So everything. I stare at the phone, almost mortified, gleeful with myself, aching and burning inside.
There's a silence. "Hi," I whisper, reaching out the pull the phone on my ear and holding it like it's the earth.
"Hi," comes the reply. There's silence, stretched static again through the air. It bristles, and I don't breathe should I miss the world.
"And this is…?" It flickers through the air. I blink.
"Me," I say. And then pause and regret saying that, and wonder whether he'll know me is me anymore, because it's two months and it might just be me who cares.
"Hat?" he asks. He knows. I smile on tenterhooks, desperation.
"Yeah," I say sadly. After all, we were never angry.
"What do you want?" I blink, and remember I'm calling at - I look at the red figures of an unused alarm – 2:15am.
"Sorry," I say, uselessly. There's a pause.
"See how you are?" I say, a little pathetically. I hadn't even though on calling but I have, and this is everything and I feel this is make or break, optimist in a second I could be.
"Mmm," he sighs, and I feel like a desperate little kid. My world seems to plummet in a flash; this going nowhere.
"Sorry," I say again. "So.. how are you?" I ask.
"Peachy," I repeat.
"Hang on," he says, and I hear movement. The glasses going on I guess.
You're my saving grace, I think – like the song says. Last ditch attempt at hope.
"Jeesus Hat, it's 2:20," he says, almost exasperated, and I feel like a little kid.
"17," I say softly. Like I said yesterday - hours ago, even – ambitions on Fridays are dangerous with a weekend to consider them. I feel awkward sick and I want to bolt because this isn't what I thought it'd be.
I don't know what I thought; whether somewhere in my head I thought I'd phone and we'd fall in love again, or whether we'd shout till neighbours and police banged, but I didn't know. And I almost regret it because it's a pot-shot, one-shot and it won't come round again. Else that's harassment, but it's OK before because all I did was type the number. And that's not harassment, I know. That's just obsession.
"17," he agrees to fill time and space and matter, I guess. I want to ask him if I can talk to him, but I am, though I don't mean like this. This is nothing. This is sadness falling far away, and I need to him here. Even if just to give back the heartbreaker CD. That reminds me…
"I have to give you your CD back," I say.
"No," I say, bluntly. I don't want, won't have this thing in here with the ruined CD collection and welling of everything.
"I'll get it this week," he says.
"I know," I can see him rubbing his forehead, tiredly. I'm not tired. I zombie at work, but that's OK cause no one notices. They've not very perceptive.
"So don't get it during the day." This isn't about a damn CD, but I can't start to say what I want to say without finishing.
"Ok," he says.
"Sorry," I mutter again. I feel very sorry, and sick because this not how anything was planned.
"Me too," he says, softly, and my heart's out my head and thumping for sure. I don't breathe again in case he says he loves me too and would love to move in, yes please. Because I could miss that with one breath.
"So how are you?" he asks.
Breaking, I think. "Peachy," I say.
He smiles down the phone at this in his breath; a short exert. "Peachy," he repeats. We've been here before. I wonder if his peachy meant my peachy.
"Yeah..." he says. I say nothing.
"I'd better go," he says.
"Yeah," I agree. My body aches and I pray he doesn't. I physically need to force my voice to work and spit it out, cheesy like the song that means so much.
"Bye," he says.
"Bye." I make my mouth work, try to force and spit the words out. The silence before the phone goes down I whisper it; "You're my saving grace," like the song. Because that's all it'd take. Just to say I'd heard the damn CD; the last line said down the phone. To say I'd sat there and ached and hurt and maybe, that'd do something. Because that was always his favourite. Though whether he'd thinks that would mean anything is nothing I'd know. Two months; I hardly know him.
And there's a pause and a click and I wonder how long it takes to put a phone down as I hit the off button and leave the phone by my pillow. I lie and stare at the sky and think that could have gone better. But in all honesty, what was I expecting?
I stare at the ceiling, black and dark and invisible here. And I don't know how long I stay there, but there's a slam that shits me out of my reverie, my beautiful troubled reverie, and I bolt up in adrenaline shocks, listening. It comes again, this time repetitive and I realise it's from the main room. What fucking banging. My mind plays stupid tricks that it's him. Kyle – the one – but luck is a bitch with a sharp stick and I pull myself out of bed to go to the door in a half dash from anxiety and apprehension.
I stand behind the door and peer through the peep hole but it's black with a finger over it and I feel sick, because every time something stupid happens like this, I think it's him come to rescue me. And it's a bastard thin joke my mind's running for the public, because it never is.
I pull the door open and crane my head round. And it's him. There's silence and he looks up at me. And the look on his face says it all, everything,as he steps into the apartment, always invited, and kisses me. And god, by god, do I kiss him back.