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I came to the conclusion years ago that one of the worst fates one can suffer is total oblivion. Re-reading the opening page of Milan Kundera’s 1979 novel, “The Book of Laughter and Forgetting” recently, validated my theory. One minute comrade Clementis takes off his fur cap to cover the bald head of communist leader Klement Gottwald and thus protect him from the snow. The next minute he is not only edited out of the photo of the event but also of Czech history.

I wonder if a similar fate will befall me when (and it’s a when) S finds someone else. One side of me has been trying to convince the other one that my reaction will be fine and civilised. The other side keeps shouting out “bollocks”. You can’t wipe out twenty-one years, but you can certainly choose to forget the person who shared those two-decades-plus with you. Is there anything more horrible than being airbrushed from history? Whether a country’s history or our own? Hatred is preferable. At least there is acknowledgement. Oblivion, well, oblivion means that people don’t even get to know you once used your own fur cap to cover someone else’s head.

I go back to clipping my toenails.

Hanif Kureishi, in The Guardian’s Review section says that “I haven’t read anything by Jane Austen. My shame is big”, whilst the accompanying photo seems to say “I don’t give a flying fuck about Jane Austen.” Eyes do not lie, Hanif, eyes do not lie.

I drop my bicycle off at Cycle Surgery Islington in the morning and make my way to Camden from there. My plan is to get a necklace from Celtic Dawn. Both design and symbol identical to the item I bought from the same shop back in 2016. A Triskelion. The three arms in motion. Life-death-rebirth, the cycle that represents my current situation, although whether my relationship will be reborn or not remains inconclusive.

Once I complete my purchase I stand outside the shop for a few minutes even though it is pouring with rain and I am without an umbrella. I scan the crowds for signs of distinctiveness. Camden’s human fauna is eccentric, but for some reason when everyone wants to be something they are not, they end up looking the same.

How do you stand out in a crowd anymore? You do not. You blend in. That is perhaps the new “punk”.

After Camden I get on the tube and head for Oxford Street. As I come out of the station I zig-zag through a sea of brollies that offers me intermittent shelter from a rain that seems to have fallen in love with London these last few days.

On my way back home I spot a poster for a movie on the side of a double-decker. It reads “Ghost Storeis” (sic). Is this the beginning of the end of British education? Or merely the final nail on its coffin?

London-based, Cuban writer. Author of “Cuban, Immigrant, and Londoner”, to be published by Austin Macauley. Has written for The Guardian and Prospect.

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