Here’s to a much better year, eh?
Friends, I know that recent times have been tough, what with the blatant disregard for morality exhibited by Donald Trump and his followers’ complete acceptance of him and said disregard as well as the hate crimes that have been committed since his election win. It has been well hard to think very positively about the future, near or far.
However, I am here to tell you today that there is something that can save us. It’s not Jesus, no, nor is it the newest, shiniest product you can buy exclusively from this website. No,
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am in love.
As disappointing as it may be for Charlize Theron, it is a man who has stolen my heart. Of course, appearances are superficial, and far be it from me to be so shallow; however, with this man, his looks are really just an external reflection of his internal perfection (I’m referring to his emotional intelligence here, though I’m sure all his organs are also equally flawless). His salt and pepper hair is sexy, yes, but it also reveals his years of experience and wisdom. His weedy yet sturdy stature is perfect for providing a sense of security while still assuring that one could knock him flat if the situation called for it. His blue eyes, with their gorgeous limbic rings, offer windows to his sensitive soul. He is clearly committed to success in his work as well as in his personal relationships. No one could deny his kindness nor the calm that envelops anyone to whom he gives just one look.
Basically, he’s beautiful.
In a strange twist of fate, this man is Christopher’s Uncle Trevor. Recently, I was in Christopher’s room organising his sock drawer, when I noticed a photo on his bedside table and from that first moment, I was transfixed. You know that my heart is not easily swayed, but, dear readers, something beyond my own logic took over that morning.
Love is often consigned to greeting cards and notes of apology from spouses who’ve been caught playing away with the local slapper. But the truth is love is something that we all need. It can improve every moment of our lives. It reminds us that someone other than ourselves matters, and that the world is greater than our own needs and worries.
Love, of course, does not make Donald Trump go away or keep bastards (criminal or elected) from plying their trades. But love can make those things just a little easier to face, and the companionship and connection with another person that come with love also make those things easier to fight.
So I wish you all the bliss that I am currently feeling. In love and with love, we can all carry on working to improve our world.
UPDATE 10 December 2016:
Unfortunately, I am afraid I must retract the above statement.
As it turns out, the man in the photograph on Christopher’s nightstand, with whom I fell instantly in love, is not in fact his Uncle Trevor. After my pestering him for a few days to set up a chance for the man and me to meet, Christopher confessed all.
Apparently, the picture was one he’d torn from a 1960s Kays Catalogue (I am still a bit confused about why it was kept by Christopher’s bedside, but he assures me there is a valid reason). He claimed he thought it’d be “funny” to play “little joke” on the woman who has offered him free room and board for these many years. It appears Christopher has never even met this man, and (he thoughtfully reminded me) in all likelihood, the man formerly known as Uncle Trevor is no longer alive.
I felt I must admit this to you, after my (now embarrassing) display of joy and hopefulness. I apologise profusely and confess that I am both humiliated and heartbroken. I have banned all mail-order shopping from this household until I have overcome this traumatic experience.
If you’ve ever been stuck in city centre traffic on the way to an appointment with your solicitor, you’ll know that most people walk through their days a bit zombified. They might be obnoxiously staring at their phones, mindlessly stuffing their faces with food, or stupidly listening to the people with whom they are having a conversation. Seeing this with my own two eyes made me realise why our world is so full hate. I’ll admit that watching them pass by my taxi filled me with quite a bit of animosity — so much so I am ashamed to confess that I got a small pleasure when, once the cars got moving, the driver sped through a puddle and splashed some guy with a ponytail (though I can’t say I agreed with any of the driver’s life philosophies which he sadly felt quite free to share with me and which I documented as evidence for when I undoubtedly read about his arrest for a hate crime).
After realising I had allowed such a distasteful vibe to take over my normally quite tasty demeanour, I decided to get my shit together and become more lovely and loving. And naturally my first step in this direction was to eat some toast and honey.
I learned this habit back in my girlish days through my acquaintance with a young man named Humberto Gray Badillo. Hum and I met one sunny morning in a park near my house. He was admiring the hydrangea that grew around the door to the men’s toilet, and as I passed, I heard him whistling a cheery tune. When I asked for the song’s name, he spoke and his voice basically took my breath away. I couldn’t quite place his accent (I’d have guessed either Andalusian or southeast Missouri), but, even to this day, I have never heard the phrase “When The Saints Go Marching In” uttered so beautifully.
Obviously, I was charmed, and he and I spent the rest of the day on a park bench, sharing stories and flirting like all get out. It turned out he was a man of the world, and he kept me entertained with stories of his adventures, though he lost me a little when he started going on about his favourite band’s drummer. Mostly, he was interesting and engaging. Needless to say, I woke up in his bed the next morning.
As I rubbed the sleep from my eyes, I saw him reenter the room carrying a tray, on which was a cup of coffee and a covered plate with a freshly cut rose lying next to it. I slipped out of my Inspector Gadget costume and popped a t-shirt over my head before tucking straight in. When I lifted the cover, though, I was surprised to find only one piece of toast and a small jar of honey.
“Trust me,” Humbo purred.
I slowly spread the honey across the bread and lifted it to my lips. It was deliciously sweet and smooth as it moved down my throat. And a few minutes later, I was tripping balls.
It turns out that Hum’s honey had been harvested near a farm that grew a special crop — mostly oleander, thorn apple, and mountain laurel. He began to explain precisely which compounds were the cause of the psychedelic effects, but at that point, I was much more interested in the fact that his words were coloured and fluffy as they floated through the air and popped like bubbles over my head. It was fucking great, I can tell you.
Alas the honey I had this morning came not from an exotic location but from our local Sainsbury’s, so the magical effects were not quite as mind-bending. Yet the sweetness of both the honey and of my memories lifted my mood and reminded me that there is much loveliness in the world and that I should choose to be a part of that instead of succumbing to the ugliness out there. I mean, that taxi driver was definitely a racist prick, but I’d rather counter that with love than hate (keep in mind that tire slashing can be seen as an act of love in the right circumstance).
The poet Kahlil Gibran wrote “For bees, the flower is the fountain of life; For flowers, the bee is the messenger of love.” Let’s all be messengers of love today. Why not, eh? It won’t give us quite the same buzz as a psychoactive drug does, but at least it’s legal.
Well, today marks sixty long years since the world lost the lovely, lonely James Dean. If I could remember the event, I’m sure I’d remember it like it was yesterday. There were just too many unusual things about his death for me to have ever really properly come to terms with it (which may explain why I will only ride in a Porsche if there are no other non-James-Dean-killing cars available).
However, the truth is that there were just too many unusual things about James Dean himself; perhaps an unusual death is the only one that would have made sense. He really was something else — his beautiful face, the way he became his characters, his cheeky charm, his fluidity (you know what I’m talking about), his hair. I mean, come on, we’re talking perfection here, people. And, of course, his early death means he stays precisely as he was: we never had to watch him grow up to make humiliating professional and personal choices as all other young actors eventually do.
In truth, my admiration for James Dean played a role in my decision to hire Christopher. I realised that if I squinted really hard and totally blocked out his voice when he spoke, Christopher was the spitting image of James Dean as Cal in East of Eden. Sadly, that was some time ago now, and glancing over at him now as I write this, I am filled with a sense of real disappointment. How hard could it be for a man to stay beautiful forever, I ask?
I don’t know. However, instead of squinting at Christopher, I think I’ll spend my evening in my bedroom, thinking of James Dean when he was beautiful and not dead.
This weekend I took an unexpected trip down memory lane when Christopher and I both sorted through some things to take the village jumble sale. Naturally, I felt compelled to have a quick check of Christopher’s sack before we left because I know that, as a younger person, he’s not always able to think clearly about the value of things. I mean, yes, the village hall needs a new paint job, I agree, but there’s no need to get carried away with our generosity.
The first thing I found in Christopher’s donation bag was a little charm bracelet that was in fact the first gift I had bought him (hurtful). I understand why he no longer wears it (the Teletubbies are so year 2000), but do young people have no sense of sentimentality these days? I decided to keep it in my special box in the hopes that one day he’ll show it to his children as he awkwardly tries to describe our relationship to them.
I also found a cigarette case that he bought with his winnings after our first trip to Skegness. Sadly, he never really took up smoking, though he does give it a try each year on my birthday; I also understand that cigarette cases probably aren’t “cool” or “spacey” or whatever the correct terminology is these days. But that case was antique sterling silver — I’m not letting that go for 50p!
At the bottom of the bag was a plate covered in the remnants of egg and beans. I have put that under his pillow to facilitate his learning to tidy up his own messes.
The memory that brought the greatest flush to my cheeks, though, was inspired by a t-shirt. It was the one he was wearing the first night we met. He was so young then and, as he’s aged, I think even he’d admit he’s let himself go a little since those early days. That item I tucked under my own pillow for later use.
The rest of the things in there I was happy to drop off at the jumble sale since the hall is closer than the tip anyway.
I was recently asked to serve as a character witness for a dear old friend of mine. We fell out of touch a few years ago (nothing dramatic really, just a simple, ultimately irrelevant disagreement about Caligula), but now it appears he’s got himself into a spot of bother. While obviously I could not comment on the details of the alleged crimes, I was happy to testify to the quality of the man.
It was a very long time ago when we first met; we were introduced by a mutual friend (well, probation officer) who felt we had much in common. It took a while for me to warm to him, but once I did, we had such good times, some of which, I’m afraid, were on the other side of the law. Well, I was fifteen — what could I know? One often throws caution to the wind during one’s youth, but we also were deeply committed to the things we cared about. We used to dream, we used to vow, we tried to right the wrongs of the world; alas, we tried and we failed. But he taught me a good hairdresser could save my life, he was the one responsible for my liberal use of the v-word (vile or vulgar, depending on my mood), and he used to kiss me a lot. Naturally when I was asked to stand up on his behalf, I didn’t say no, how could I?
I spent yesterday sequestered (I know it’s usually jury members who get closed off but I fancied a little break from Christopher and his relentless ‘holiday spirit’). The hotel was not up to my usual standard (they really took the mini part of mini-bar to heart), but overall I found my judiciary experience quite rewarding.
Being asked to serve as even the smallest cog in the great machine of justice is a responsibility we should all take very seriously, and I can assure you I did. I immediately went out and purchased a new suit. I don’t mind telling you that it was devastating — a gorgeous fit, lovely velvet lapels and cuffs: it really screamed ‘trustworthy but up for it’ (which was precisely the look I was going for).
I also spent hours preparing my testimony. I can’t give away too many details presently (though you’ll no doubt be able to read the juiciest ones in the papers as soon as the verdict’s handed down), but I wanted to make sure I appeared specific, vivid, and certain. As I am a journal keeper of the highest order, I dug out my old diaries just to see, just to see all the things I’d written (and illustrated) about him. Obviously there was much that demanded to be kept private, but in the end I felt my selections reflected his actual character while also keeping the court engaged and entertained (alas, we do live in an internet-based world where people cannot stay focused long without hearing a joke or something about how cute kittens are; fortunately my statement offered sufficient levels of both).
I had been working closely with my friend’s barrister, this charming man with just enough grey at his temples and leather elbows on his tweed coat. He instructed me on how best to word my answers to his questions. We did some role-playing (no costumes sadly): he asked, “What two words do you feel best describe the defendant?”; I answered, “Morbid and pale.” He asked, “How did you first meet?”; I answered, “He spent six years on my trail.” We went over my memories, including a ridiculous twenty-four hour Claude Brasseur film marathon and his rather sweet and tender habit of singing me to sleep. By the time I checked into my hotel, I was feeling quietly confident enough to totally relax during my massage and foot sanding.
However, I was not prepared for the ruthless tactics of the prosecution counsel. Firstly, he was extremely attractive, a strategy surely designed to undermine the credibility of any eyewitness with eyes (I plead guilty as charged). Secondly, he was a little too interested in the more intimate details of my and my friend’s relationship. For example, I do believe even the judge blushed during this exchange:
Mr Crown: Can you recall any instances of violence or aggression?
Miss Whitt-Wellington: No, sir, I cannot.
MC: Are you saying you were unaware that he had killed a horse?
MW-W: Well, no, but it was only because he got confused.
MC: I see. And could you please explain the time he threatened “to smash every tooth in your head“?
MW-W: He was just being romantic — he had a rather unusual sense of pillow talk.
MC: And the same reason explains his belief that “you should be bludgeoned in your bed”?
MW-W: I find it hard to believe that a well-travelled man such as yourself is unfamiliar with that euphemism.
MC: Would you answer the question, please?
MW-W: I could draw it if you’d prefer.
I did my best to keep up with his seductively delivered verbal attack, and in the end, I was dismissed with the phrase “No further questions” (though his slipping me his business card makes me hopeful that additional cross examination may be on the table at a later date). I didn’t stick around for the end of the trial. I was greeted at the train station a few hours ago by Christopher who graciously was not wearing a novelty Christmas jumper.
Sadly, justice these days seems a little hit-or-miss (and by hit-or-miss, I mean clearly racially biased) so only time will tell if my friend will get what he deserves. However, I did the best I could to honestly represent him and am grateful I was afforded an opportunity for a quick walk down memory lane. I will say, despite the years and the possibility that he committed such horrendous crimes, he still looked rather delicious. Yes, he’s older now, and he’s a clever swine and I was happy to be the one to stand by him. As he was cuffed and led from the court, he smiled and mouthed I’m still fond of you so he knows, he knows, he knows I’d love to see him once he’s in the clear. I think I shall go to sleep tonight with a soft voice singing in my head.
On the other hand, if he is convicted, well, eighteen months’ hard labour seems fair enough.