Monday, March 7, 1983


I was up very early, six o’clock, after a troubled half-sleep and I felt lost, lost for what to do. At eleven Shelley knocked on my door for our planned trip into Watermouth.

It was a brilliantly sunny spring day but I felt very distant and unwilling to indulge in conversations. Shelley even commented on this as we headed for the train. As we rode in we could see for miles, the city basking in bright sunshine, and as we slid into the station past the marshaling yards just beyond, there was a hint of stagnant shimmery days in high summer. The air was hot and dusty and dry and the rails glittered silver in the light.

We had a drink at a café nearby and then hit Sainsbury’s. We grabbed litre bottles of whisky and vodka, packets of biscuits and a pork pie each, and headed for the beach. We had to tramp quite a way before we found a suitably sheltered place away from the stares of the groups of holidaymakers who now dotted the prom. Finally we found a concrete breakwater where we could nonchalantly recline amidst pebbles and beach debris.

I didn’t really feel like drinking but I forced it down, burning my throat in the process, and soon enough we were gripped by the warm haze and blur of drink and I was at peace with the world, temporarily at least. Suddenly everything seemed unimportant. I just didn’t give a shit anymore. To our right the sea stretched away to infinity. There’s something endlessly fascinating about the sea. I wonder why? The waves frothed and hissed nearer and nearer, until we were finally forced to retreat back up the beach.

By now Shelley had eaten her biscuits and I'd eaten my pork pie, and about half the whisky had gone, so we staggered to our feet and headed back into town, where we rang Penny from a call-box. She sounded none too impressed at our drunken laughter and bleary statements. We went and bought a bottle of wine in Tesco’s, and this we consumed in a little park near the Cathedral. I fed the pigeons and Shelley calmly decimated a flower bed of daffodils, much to the annoyance of several old women who watched her with hard eyes.

Shelley was feeling ill. I felt fine though pissed, so we made a decision to go back to the station. Shelley was sick on the train. Barry joined us for more drinking after we got back and from this point on I don't remember much: a vague sensation of lying down, of spilling my drink and licking my hand, of Barry crawling insensibly on all fours out in the corridor, and then a blank nothingness.

I came round at twelve midnight fully clothed in bed, my coat blathered in vomit (I was told later I’d passed out with my body half-in, half-out of my room). I didn’t remember a thing: I must’ve actually blacked out.

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