You know what I mean. The time you fucked up. The time you fell. The time, as you’d say, you dropped the ball.
We thought you were something more. We thought you were different.
I know there was more than once!
But I think you and I both know what I’m talking about.
You can remember it very clearly, like a cold day on the beach when the stinging water is warmer in than out. Running out of the waves, onto the beach – it’s sharp, it’s not so easy to blur, I think you’ll find.
So we’re on the same page?
Good. You’re there. I’m there. She’s there. They’re there.
You blamed it on her. You said she was crazy, a stalker.
You took us all along for a ride. You regretted it – or, at least, you pretended to.
There were your tears, on the side of the bed, landing somewhere in the no man’s land of your conscience. God, what a dark place that must be.
Crocodile tears. Strange, that. Do those prehistoric beasts cry? Ha!
Come back. Yes, good.
You’re there, I’m there, she’s there.
The radio played the one you like. You know the one I mean. We danced when you met her, you tried to impress her with it.
Remember when you broke my nose playing rugby? Your knee, supporting something far less empty back then, slammed into the crunching bridge.
Two black eyes… It bled, hell, it bled for hours. Dripping into milky, sweet tea.
The iron, the bitterness, the warmth.
What did you say to her when she left? What made her fly? Did you ever ask when she’ll be back?
The ball bounced, egg-shaped, awkward, drunkenly lurching, left and right, off the pitch, down cobbles, bumping. Steeper, faster.
A tree branch, a rock, half-submerged in mud. A beer can, faded and rusty. A tangled root, torn, soft, weeping, pale golden flesh exposed.
It fell. And it fell and it fell and it fell.
It passed them all.
You didn’t stop to pick it up. You didn’t even try – it was too far, you said you couldn’t reach.
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. And you – you hurt us all.
(2 July 2012)