Simon Smith's Autobiography
(words & music by Rodgers)
If time were not a moving thing
* * *
I stood at the door way to the isolation unit. I looked through the high security two panel wire mesh glass door. Miss Lovelight's body lay upon a theatre bed, the ventilator moved up and down making the sound of waves.
A nurse sat on the other side of the door, reading. An orderly, was cleaning the floor whilst a further one was doing something in the background. All of them wore masks. I pushed the intercom and the nurse who was reading put down her book, picked up the receiver and without even looking at me said “Hello” in a slightly pissed off “not you again” tone.
“You ok?” I said
“Yes” she said, as if I was asking a stupid question.
Miss Lovelight's finger twitched. As I glanced the nurse said “it's nothing, just an involuntary action, we have to shut the blind now sorry”
She put the intercom handset on its cradle, stood up and reached for the blind at the top of the door. I looked in to her eyes and they were Miss Lovelight's, the cleaner looked up at me and the other nurse looked round with the same eyes too. She pulled the blind down so I ended up staring in to the reflection of my own eyes.
I picked up the receiver and pressed the Intercom buzzer.
“She loved me once” I implored
“She loved being with you, that's not the same thing”
“I have a message here, on my phone, look! It's from her and it says: “I'm trying to tell you I love you”, AND when I told her I was hers and asked if she was mine she said she was”
“Well there are different kinds of love”
“I think she must love me still, somewhere in side her”
“She may have loved you, but she's gone away. She doesn't love you, She really doesn't”
I go quiet. I hear a single tone emanating from the receiver and put it down.
* * *
When you walk away from me
* * *
The story of the relationship
Memories of a lost love affair get captured in slices of time, some are stationary some flicker in the light of a bedside lamp. If I put the months that we spent together, then maybe the film it'd make would neatly fill a 5 minute slot on MTV, but if I could I'd stretch every moment through eternity.
* * *
Ok you've got a choice, you've found someone you love, you're wrapped around each other, the feeling you have inside is just right. You can “emotionally” stay in this moment, or you can live life normally with a high risk that the relationship may flounder and I can guarantee the good feeling won't last. What will you chose?
* * *
When I picked Miss Lovelight up for the first time, we found each other using mobile phones. I pulled up in my convertible car and she laughed, called it a “babe magnet”. I took her to the beach and we sat there chatting. At one point I lay down and asked her to cuddle up to me. She looked over her shoulder, stared in my eyes and said no.
The next time we met it was different, I didn't ask her to come to me, instead she sat right next to me, snuggled against me, our faces rubbed against each other and then we kissed.
For weeks we met up and kissed and cuddled, then one day I asked her to stay the night and she did. But when we started to make love it felt wrong. The next day I drove her to the station. Both of us thought that would be the last time we'd see each other. But it wasn't.
The next time we met, she walked through the door and we kissed passionately, we realised it was just the beginning.
We spent many hours sitting on the sofa looking out of the window, completely at peace. When we were together I couldn't help but want to kiss her, she'd tell me how much I loved her body and I did.
When friends would visit she'd snuggle up to me, she'd want to look after me. Whenever we'd pass each other we'd touch, reach out and gently caress each other.
When we were apart I'd always feel secure she'd be faithful.
One day she sent me a text saying “I'm trying to tell you I love you”, and the next time we made love I looked in her eyes and said “I'm yours are you mine?” and she looked deeply in to my eyes and said “Yes”.
As she slept I'd look at her tattoo on her back and kiss it, I could see the merman looked like me, and I felt happy that one day we might marry. I felt comfortable and happy with Miss Lovelight.
* * *
If you could choose to spend the rest of eternity held in a moment from your life what would it be?
What if you could either choose to be held in a moment of your choice or experience life as a process of beginnings and ends, of acquisition and loss, of discovery and immobility, of love and heartbreak, and finally the death of those we love and ourselves? What would you choose?
When Keats wrote his famous poem “Ode To A Grecian Urn” he was circling around the same issue, the couple pictured on the Urn had been there for over 2000 years held in a moment of tender yearning. They hadn't had to suffer the ravages of time or a real life relationship. They were caught in a romantic moment of togetherness, a glorious illusion.
Some people believe that as we die we experience a feeling of being drawn in to a light which is filled with a feeling of complete love. Many of those who experience this not only no longer fear death but feel hard done by in terms of having to continue to live.
Inside most of us is this quandary, do we accept loss and live our lives full of joy and pain or do we try to escape it either through experiencing nothing or trying to avoid pain at all costs.
At the heart of this is coming to terms with transience, and in turn losing our dreams and accepting this loss.
* * *
The tattoo hung in my mind, it was like a sign from God. The couple, Miss Lovelight and I would sit in an embrace until one day Miss Lovelight's funeral pyre would fade it to black.
* * *
It had been two weeks almost since I had last seen Miss Lovelight and I was beginning to feel that maybe she wasn't interested and when I told her as much she went quiet and we didn't speak for a few days. I could sense she wanted to split up and when she called me she said she did. I told her I thought it was the wrong thing to do.
A couple of days later she came to visit me and I asked her to deny that she still felt deeply connected to me, that what we had was very special and she said she couldn't deny it. Once again we sat on the sofa in each others' arms and after the daylight faded she walked off.
Each night we'd talk on the phone for an hour or more and some days it'd be up to three hours, and in time we both felt the damage was healing and that in a matter of weeks she'd come to live with me.
On the second of January she said all her feelings for everything had disappeared. During the previous two years she'd lost her home, her last boyfriend, had had to care for her mother for 6 months, and recently found she had a tumour. All of it had seemed to catch up on her and now she'd closed down. When I spoke to her it was as if I was speaking to an android, the connection and person who loved me had gone.
* * *
The Anatomy of a heart break
In the first moments of heartbreak a cold fear rushes through my body but within seconds I am numb. I can see what is going to happen and though there's an element of panic still bubbling along with the numbness I go in to logical over-drive, I try to argue my corner but if there's no hope a sad resignation sets in and I say goodbye.
There is calmness at first, but this soon gently becomes a restlessness where I can no longer focus on anything properly and in time all that becomes important is firstly the sense of loss and secondly what I can do to either regain what I have lost or to distract myself from the pain. If there's a chance of re-capturing the person's heart then I become obsessed in that pursuit and may spend months doing so. Unable to let go I become a slave to my quest. During this time I may also wish to dampen my pain or try to find someone else to love me and become involved in finding intimate encounters to distract myself, but most often I end up thinking more about the person I don't have anymore than the person I'm with. At this point I am trapped in the grave of the relationship.
Every car that pulls up outside may be them coming back to me. This denial is sometimes known as “the condemned's reprieve”, a prisoner who's just about to be executed will hope right up to the last moments that they will be reprieved.
* * *
If you knew just how I really feel
* * *
The symptoms of heartbreak are extremely painful. Firstly a sense of meaning seems lost, and pleasure in previously enjoyable endeavours is no longer there. The day becomes a void that's better filled with sleep and dreams than living. The physical sensation of heartbreak is overwhelming. A lack of appetite, a painful feeling in the chest and throat, aching legs and arms and an overall weakness sets in, and this may last for days or weeks
The obsession doesn't just remain an internal issue, my poor friends hear constantly the same story of woe, the repetition of how I feel and other reflections on the issue, but it's as if I'm in a hall of mirrors and it's hard to find my way out.
In one way I feel quite lucky, I rarely harbour a great amount of anger and normally in time I see the separation as “one of those things” rather than an act of malice towards me, but many people don't, and end up spiralling in to a cycle of vengeance. If anything the quickest way out is through understanding and forgiveness. Accepting that people's feelings change and their fickleness has little to do with us normally makes forgiveness easier.
* * *
During my time in care I had dreamed of coming to live with my mother. The times I had spent with her had been full of attention and her behaving well, but when I came to live with her full time my dream was shattered. We'd moved to a rough estate, her boyfriend was violent, and she had foul moods which I felt hammered beneath. If I had a dream as a baby to be looked after in a certain way, then that dream was shown to be an illusion, and then this 7 year old dream that was shown to not be true either.
If I dare to dream of anything I feel it will end in disaster.
* * *
I had looked at Miss Lovelight's tattoo and thought that we would marry, but it was not to be.
* * *
So I turn my back,
* * *
The result of the smashing of dreams is a great anger, and the result of this great anger is the smashing of dreams and the creation of nightmares.
Somewhere along our journey we hold others responsible for our loss and for many of us we end up taking ourselves as hostage in order to get back at our oppressors. We make ourselves suffer so we can look at them and say, “see, look what you did to me, you ruined my life”.
If at any point we feel we're on the verge of happiness we throw a spanner in the works and either directly or not bring the world crashing down around us.
There's only one way we're going to allow ourselves to be happy and that's if we find a way to forgive those who trespassed against us – and for many of us we feel it's God “himself” who did so -.
So if I have waffled on about love and the loss of love and the shattering of dreams it's because much of my life and what will unfold in the following chapters revolves around these two interrelated losses. Not just for me, but for nearly all of us.
* * *
I'm standing on a stage in a pub, it's karaoke night, and I mournfully sing:
“If time were not a moving thing
I look at the audience, some of whom are touched, some just carry on chatting and I wonder why music no longer plays a big social part in our culture.
A man tells me it's because we've become too comfortable, that cultures where there's great social disharmony still get together and sing, but we've sorted out some of our general woes and now our main suffering is an inner feeling of disconnection, a sense of loss, a lack of love and a general demeanour of dissolution. And for that it's easier to stick some headphones on and suffer in silence
* * *
End of chapter 15