Monday, February 09, 2009


Leipzig, the week before Valentine's Day.

The phone call from her mother, voice breaking on the line. My girlfriend is dead.

Walking under a weak sun, a high-pitched drone in my ears. All the plans for next week. All our 'futures'. Wanting to vomit in a fountain in a plaza. Your body now cold and lifeless. Never get to wear the Elizabeth Arden fragrance I picked up for you at the airport. Whiffs of bratwurst. Never get to hear your voice again. I always delete voicemail.

Your mother telling me that the paramedics did all they could, that it was quick.

Memories? Wanting to vomit right here, jump in front of a train. Never hear your voice again, gently mocking me, telling me that you could think of a hundred better places for a weekend break than a trip to Colditz Castle. But knowing that history was important to me. Just as everything you did, even the bits I never understood, were important to me too.

You are dead and I feel like I've been machete'd in the ribs.

Aimlessly walking around Leipzig, aimlessly chain smoking. A piss-weak sun. The funeral arrangements. Happy Valentine's. Your body in a box. Meeting your family again. Oh God, I feel sorry for myself. I'm the victim here. Nobody to come home to. Your dad will drive down, help me to box away your things. How can I even contemplate going back there? No life left in London. Anywhere on Earth.

I can hear my heart pounding in my throat.

Stumbling on that cafe'. Six hours of walking. Early evening. Couples drinking dark beer. The waitress has sad eyes, is shy but smiles a lot. Makes an effort to understand my order - though I'm just making noises. Gutteral grunts clogging up my eardrums.

I can't eat. I'm starving. Order a beer. The waitress tries to advertise, in clipped English, some dishes of the day. I can't face solids. The sound of a fountain, tinkling away. Everything will be as you left it when I get back. Except you.

Ice cream, that's what I order. All I can keep down. Waitress says something. Yeah, whatever, any one. Can't even look at the menu. She smiles and looks at me, puzzled eyes. "JA BITTE", I hiss. Whatever ice cream will do. Lighting another fag. You'll never nag me about smoking again.

I'll have to buy a suit. Make a speech. Tell your family what you meant to me. As if they could ever really know. Throw out your clothes. Oh Jesus, I don't want your photos around. They'll poison my eyes. That big, sucking, gaping hole. Couples laugh in German, utterly oblivious. Nobody cares.

Staring at spilt sugar granules on the table, eyes boring into them. Counting each one. Dead remnants of somebody else's coffee, someone who'll sleep heartily tonight, having never known you.

Shadow of the waitress to my left. Gazing through the window. Life utterly shattered. My order slides beneath me. Food I can't even bear to eat. The waitress giggles and exits. Is the bitch laughing at my tears? At my sobbing face, reflected in double profile in the window pane? Two pairs of puffy eyes layered over each other against a backdrop of Leipzig dusk? At the fact I've just had my soul slashed with a razor and that, in the space of a day, I've hit depths I never imagined existed?

Looking down at my order.

Looking down at my order.

Looking down at

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