Tuesday 13th March 2018
I’m weeing while seated on the toilet. Just one of the many compromises I’ve had to make in order to “fit in”. The thought of leaving urine marks (even after wiping both seat and lid) s too much to bear. Moving into a new place and sharing it with two other people brings the paranoid out in me. I still remember the first two nights here were constipation-driven.
In the midst of this — still mist-covered — existential conundrum, I spot the unmistakable sign of spring’s upwelling of life through the half-opened bathroom window. The sight of blossoms, mixed with the warmth generated by the heated bathroom floor, makes me forget for a second the destabilising, late-winter cold snap we’ve just had.
I put the weekend newspapers and my subscription-only magazines in the blue-lidded recycling bin before going to work. That’s another change I wasn’t prepared for: no newspaper/magazine hoarding anymore.
Friday 16th March 2018
D and I went to see Phantom Thread at the ICA tonight. It was my second time watching the film. I had already seen it with M before. It’s a magnificent movie with remarkable performances but unfortunately the week’s slog caught up with me and I dozed a bit. Strange that in those moments when I nodded off, I had a recurring image flashing up in my head: I was directing both Daniel Day-Lewis and Jorge Cao on a joint British-Cuban stage project, combining texts from different plays, in both English and Spanish (as far as I know Jorge Cao can’t speak English and Daniel Day-Lewis, for all his thespian talents, is not known for a mastery of foreign languages). However, somehow the project worked. We were able to create the magic needed to make the audience forget the conspicuous language barrier. In my dream, both actors played to a select crowd in a small fringe theatre. The image that got stuck in my head was actually rooted in reality. A Jorge Cao at the Bertolt Brecht Theatre in early 90s Havana, wheelchair-bound, his back facing the audience, swirls around to utter the immortal words: All quiet on the western front!
P.S.: In days to come, will a future chat-up line be “Kiss me, my girl, before I’m sick”? I hope so. At least that would show me that romance is not dead.
Saturday 17th March 2018
I go pick up my bike from Cycle Surgery in Islington and pedal my way through Tottenham to get home. Snow flurries begin to fall horizontally making my ride harder. The effect is like what I imagine a fish pedicure to be; only this time is of the facial type. A thousand toothless carp-like flurries leaving a tingling sensation on my visage. Tiny bites that bring no pleasure but discomfort.
The house is eerily silent by the time I sit down to have my brunch. The ubiquitous Radio 4 (J always has it on when he’s home) has been muted and the only sound is the rustle of the pages of my Saturday Guardian. The front page of the sports section advertises a St Patrick’s Day-flavoured clash between the Irish and English rugby teams in the Six Nations tournament.
Whilst this accidental solitude is welcome (nothing against the landlord and my fellow lodger, both of whom are great cohabitants), the experience leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, full as it is at this very moment, of scrambled eggs, toast and beans. I am reminded suddenly of the reason why S and I are no longer together. I am reminded of the reason why I am here, on my own. I unconsciously sought out isolation all too often and killed our relationship as a result.
I remove a bean stuck in between two teeth with my knife.