Saturday, April 9, 1983

Before the moon falls

In the afternoon I started Demian by Hesse. Grant has read it and said he found it “naieve.” I found myself identifying with Emil Sinclair’s experiences at the hands of the bully Kromer; I had no Demian to save me.

I went to Grant’s last night. We listened to his bootleg of the Fall gig he and I went to a year ago and then we wandered through the darkening woods, slipping in the thick mud, clambering over tree roots and drinking the whisky I’d taken with me (the bottle I’d bought for that Friday’s festivities). I'd toyed with the idea of giving it to Dad and as I put the bottle to my lips for the first searing gulp I thought of this and felt oddly guilty.

We emerged from the woods and walked up to the Albion in Ashburn, but stayed for only a short while, sitting on the stairs and remembering last August in London. We decided to go to the Hare and Hounds down towards Lockley, near the great bulk of Hardwick’s Mill. There we had quite a good time sat in a corner with our shabby enthusiasms, Grant occasionally breaking into frantic jigging parodies of the trashy jukebox hits while the local youth gave us looks of sneering, smirking contempt. I had a cigarette, went to the toilets to hastily gulp at my bottle, and then went and sat in the pool room with Grant while he scrounged a couple of fags. I had another, hoping to myself this was not the beginning of a long, habit-forming succession of night-out smokes. Acid smoky taste in my mouth. Yeuch!

What more is there to say? I tried in vain to tell Grant about this idea of the willed act, the intense moment, but I couldn’t convey it with the same force with which it had struck me and soon I was too full of drink and other things to bother.

I want to meet new people, this Hilary he’s always talking about and walking distances in the hopes of crossing paths with. He seems to get around a bit. Out of the pub I lobbed the empty whisky bottle away and heard it smash in a heap of rubble. Back at Grant's we spent a sleepy hour listening to Dragnet before I walked home through Ashburn and over Bethany Road.

When I was younger I used to lie in bed and think about dying and about how one day I wouldn’t be here, about how I was going to die. It was a frightening thought and scared me so much I’d sit up in bed, my heart pounding, looking round wildly until the familiar forms of furniture, curtains, and posters dispelled the reality of death. I tried to conjure back that same feeling, that same fear, but I couldn’t, and somehow it seems as if I’ve accepted death. But no doubt if I faced it then death’d become terrifying again. Or maybe it’s my imagination’s failing me?

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