Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Full Spectrum Orange in the Sweet Sunny South

It sounds stupid, but a flea brought me to this particular point. Well, the flea is the latest link in a long long chain of events that terminates here, in the present.

So where am I?

I'm in the New World, sat in the lounge, six floors up, with Childrens BBC playing.
Hannah is asleep beside me.
Outside, I'm watching an intense sunrise through the leafless trees.
Bands of pink, a thin band of, ahem, sky blue, and then up, up, up, into a shifting exploration of blues, purples, and grays, smeared together.

Hannah suggested I think about exactly how it feels to be here. After all the car chases, the cartoons, the sit-coms, the novels, the news reports, the Jerry Springer Show, the songs... just how does it feel?

To sit here in Memphis, and to know that Roy Orbison recorded at the Sun Studios just a few miles away.

To look outside and be in the land of William Burroughs, Charles Bukowski, Paul Bowles, John Fante, Henry Miller.

To think about the seven hour flight back to England, that place I never managed to call home with conviction, despite being born and raised there. Or to think of Ireland, where in a few months, I finally found somewhere I could call home, and had that feeling of belonging to a place. And then, the moment I had found a place where my face fitted (not easy, folks, not with this face), then, to be leaving it all behind, to come here. In search of just what, exactly?

I see myself strapped to a chair, a powerful light in my face, a robot voice asking me questions...

"Mr Unction, just what is your purpose in the United States?"
"Love. Love... love..." I spit out a broken tooth.
"You may want to keep those malformed English teeth, Mr Kennedy, you are unlikely to be receiving a dental check-up anytime soon, and even if you don't use them for chewing, they may come to possess a sentimental value."

But love did bring me here, maybe this sunrise, this, in Hannah's words (the sky has shifted again)

"Full Spectrum Orange in the Sweet Sunny South"

Maybe this is a reward for all those sad days of the last 30 years.

I entertain the thought, indeed, I'm the perfect host. Look, this devastatingly beautiful thought has arrived, immaculately transported in the gleaming limousine of a Memphis sky, it has sashayed through the glass windows, and is now rushing through the disorganised, overwrought, story of my life on Earth, furiously revising, deleting, and making suggestions.

Let it come down

Three years indoors, wearing mirror shades, drinking too much Lucozade, struggling with skin problems and alienation. Listening to Joy Division. Gone...

The shame of fainting one summer at my high school because my uniform was too tight and my family hadn't money to replace it. Waking up in the medical room. My first thought, pointing my left foot toward the floor. I had a hole in my sock. Gone...

Walking through a store in Teignmouth last year, seeing this awful, ill-looking, unsightly lump of lard walking towards me, and then, with a terrible terrible shock, realising that I was looking at myself. I didn't even recognise myself. Gone...

The godawful internet dating. Being knocked from pillar to post by the reactions, non-reactions, of random women. Of crying, not knowing where I was going right, where I was going wrong. Nights of pining for deep kisses, thinking of how I was rushing headlong past 30, straight towards being an old man, and still, no-one on the horizon, no-one who cared about me on a planet full of billions of people. Gone...

And now, in the morning air, a police siren.

And Hannah, underneath a quilt, my love, the reason I'm sat here. The reason I'm truly happy.

I never thought I'd find myself saying this, but...

This is truly a day that even a flea cannot spoil


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