The first night in the new place is cold. This is nothing to do with the room temperature or the season and more to do with how I am feeling. Powerless and exposed. No matter how high the heating is turned on, a certain chilliness creeps in and sneaks up my body. I feel choked by the bin bags and carrier bags dotted around my room, closing in and yet stationary. My patience, so far so reliable, finally runs out. I end up cramming that which should never be crammed, shoving into drawers that which should be hung instead and leaving items on the floor, only to trip up on them later on in the darkness, when I try to make my way upstairs to the toilet.

Yes, the first night is cold, but not down to temperature or season. It’s the loneliness of the long distance single man.

Fuck. This is real. I’m alone.

I made myself a red kidney bean soup last night. It should last me all week. It’s strange how part-time veganism suddenly appears more appealing and practical than making myself a different dinner every night. In addition to the beans, I added in cassava, yam, eddoes and carrots. The stock was of the vegetable type and the result was a thick broth that should keep me warm on these nights of slow winter-to-spring transition.

I really should credit S for my healthy-eating-focused diet. Otherwise, I would just be another sad-looking, depressed fellow, wallowing in self-pity, scanning the shelves of my local Asda or Tesco for ready-meals or spending a fortune (the fortune I haven’t got) on takeaways.

So, S, thank you.

I now realise that when looking for a room there is a factor that is never mentioned. It is part of a funny (both ha-ha and strange) process. Let us call this process, “decantation”. It happens both ways, landlord to potential lodger and vice versa and it takes place usually at the very beginning.

- You don’t look like an axe murderer.

- You’re not going to make off with my money.

- You are tidy.

- You look like the kind of person who has friends who will not, under any circumstances, go through my personal belongings, or steal my Cookies and Cream Häagen Dazs.

Facial expressions are, thus, adapted to suit this situation. In my case, if I’m on the bike whilstt room-hunting, as soon as I knock on the door, my helmet comes off and with it my balaclava. I put a smile on and wait for the door to open.

Some poetry invites reasoning, some invites pure, unbridled feelings, some, however, just invites savouring the words on the page. Degusting the way verses have been assembled without caring too much about the message. When one reads Ted Hughes’ “Theology” one is presented with a retelling of a well-known story. The Fall, apparently God’s own way of testing his new creations, is “simply corruption of facts” for the speaker. Hughes dispenses with the notion of man as separation from God due to sin and invites the reader to see the events through a different prism. The serpent eats the woman who has eaten the man who has eaten the apple. End of.

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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