hands forming a love heartThough I still think of her, we’re all going to be there eventually.

I’ve been having this dream for a while. That I am wandering the streets and everything is closed.

I can’t find any people and when I find something to eat, it turns to ash before me.

So here I am at this nameless bar. I want to have a cigarette but there are no ashtrays, and my bottom is wet from the recent rain. Sitting at this bench is better than inside though, which looks akin to the montage of ancient faces in that Cranberries video. You know the one. But my family is not here, just old men. One is wearing a Hawaiian shirt.

I have to admire that. But he looks agitated, angry at me for not believing his story, though he hadn’t told it yet. We haven’t even spoken. In the end, all cats are grey.

I had this flipbook of a cat running. You know the kind. Where you draw the little stick man and he comes to life. Well, this was a cat, leaping more than my dear arthritic pussy ever will again. The book belonged to her, so I hope that she will forgive me for having left it on the seat beside me on the tram.

It was a gift. But now a token; of romance lost and ties severed.

I wandered about finding empty faces and empty spaces that day, and I kid you not, at a different place to where I got off, I boarded the tram home and the very seat that I chose had upon it the cat flipbook.

I couldn’t bear it. It was meant to be symbolic; leave it behind. But it found me again. And I it.

That is what led me to this bar. I couldn’t be on the same tram for that thing a minute longer.

I haven’t opened the cigarettes yet. Ashtrays give you a license. They are tailors which is a touch better because it’s not the kind I would choose. It’s the kind I can afford. Just.

This bar is not closed, but it should be because I feel a void inside of it. What is this sense of urgency? Perhaps I am closed.

I didn’t feel it in the melancholy; the love of six years, though we slept together much like siblings. Except at the beginning, and even then it felt like experimentation.

There was no urgency, just a brooding resentment after a time. But at least the bars were half full. And now, without the cool touch of her skin against mine – just minimally, I have lost reason.

I am not reasonable, and that is why all of the bars are empty.

I’ve always had some girl around. Even if it were one that wanted me but I wouldn’t consider. It was still something. A chemical reaction in the brain.

If you want a nest, this bird will build you one. All you need do is warm her eggs. That’s you sorted. Never mind that they were never fertilised. She doesn’t like roosters and nor do I. Nesting does not always preclude breeding for two members of the ‘lesser’ sex.

I reek of desperation. I’m masking the scent with tattoos and piercings; clothes with too many buttons, and stylish shoes. I mask the scent with smoke.

The cigarette says, ‘That’s right. I’m your main squeeze. You don’t have to share me with anybody. I’m yours until the end of time. My time. I’m yours until I die in the dirt, extinguished by your stylish boot.’ A noble life.

I’ll smoke in a non-smoking zone one day, though I’m too scared to even jaywalk. And when I do it, it will be like that time as a teen, when I made out furiously in front of that preacher in the city square. He waved that Bible about like a fan – sweating passion, dripping down as someone filmed.

I wonder where that footage ended up. There’s always the possibility that he kept it. But I’d prefer to think that it ended up in the bin, like the love I shared with that particular girl. Though I still think of her. Because we’re all going to be there eventually. Together.

We are made of stardust. I’m inhaling stardust and it is burning me up inside. It’s killing me slowly. But I will say this. I haven’t had a cigarette in three days. And I may never again.