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The End of Study
The End of Study
The End of Study
20 08 03
Scattered broken chairs, ripped pictures and paintings that had occupied his whole life for the past three years lay like a winters morning snowfall upon the room. Over the broken wooden structures, shelves, tables and the broken neck of the guitar. All around the chaos of inner collapse. The implosion of the discarded being; lain in this carnival of destruction, a body outwardly undamaged. Inside only the vague glimmer of a false self-respect, taunting the dying consciousness. But the weary tiredness that follows a manic out-burst crouched beside him, gentling his last moments. As his heart finally stopped, the traffic outside stirred, the lights had changed and the world went about it's business.
Five years ago I went to one of the few funerals that I bothered to attend, in a small village in Cumbria. Pretty enough but as is the way sometimes, wet and desultory over that weekend. Driving down from Glasgow I was surprised by my reaction crossing the “Metal Bridge”, I felt a surge of Patriotic fervour. To be understood in the rich inflection of 'Essex man' again like taking a shower to wash away a days work. Crossing back into England I felt some kind of mild euphoria. It hadn't been a great year but the weather as I drove on was fine and mild. The gentle strobe of sunlight through breeze driven, almost Autumn leaves. Turning off the motorway and rushing through country lanes, over ancient stone bridges, I was shaken by the sound of the Merlin engine just over my head. An American P-51 Mustang screaming tree top, across the valley. It came and went before I fully registered it. Child-hood stories of America, at my fathers knee and the vague dissatisfaction with modern life in general. Swathed in un-thinking momentary envy I thought of how it could feel to fly one of those planes . What was it really like to be at war? Still the emotion wasn't entirely in keeping with the nature of my journey. Phone ringing while the nervous systems automatic pilot drives the the car. Paul had booked several of us into a good pub. Where was I ? An hour ahead of them.
The next day saw a cold prying wind pushing rain around your collar, irritating and profoundly in keeping with the coming event. In fact the rain took on a vaguely sinister aspect . As the mourners and the priest were beside the grave, just as the coffin was being lowered it really came down. Hail-stones in torrents, bouncing off the coffin sounding like a gatling gun. There were several people I recognised. Used to move in similar circles. I couldn't entirely avoid speaking to them. Its either a pure bloody embarrassment or pointless reassurance. The time could much better be spent walking in the surrounding hills or shagging or reading. Just about anything other than that tedious dissection of an already wasted life. But all these rituals have their place. Sitting in a small english church, surrounded by the minute care of five hundred years of faith, the desolation apparent on the faces of Clive's two daughters rung the rites of passage for each generation. On the edge of the adult world betrayal! Despite the care and attention to detail with which the priest summoned memories, facet of the man, to each of us he served up the slow seeping erosion that is reality. Music, snatched from a youth once livid, carnal and secure. Friends who really did suffer the stinging rasp of loss. The fatuous nature of security in this nation being bequeathed to 'Thatchers children' in the year 2000!
'Will you just put the phone away and off!... Now!' he thrust out the phrase into the turmoiled adolescence that surrounded him. Nearly twelve and the end of the lesson in sight. These children who know so much and are allowed to care so little. I t would never be an easy job as some thought, over-seeing these transitory stages, trying to engage the intelligence against the currant of biological experimentation and social change. Clive felt something like pity suffused with annoyance as these poor souls who scratched the surface of their society with inane chatter, warding off the conclusions they couldn't yet understand. This from a cynic of the lost generation. “ Sir, did Socrates really kill his-self” Maria looked as if she were moving, with her mind an awkward and heavy object. Dismissing the class to general enthusiasm, on everyones part he begun to pull papers into his brief-case. He was still doing so, moving down towards the staff room for the sorely needed infusion of coffee, his phone rang. The silent movie cliche. Papers, in cascading arc across the corridor; the phone oiled un-grip-able slips earths gravity and sheds its case and battery on impact. “Is that a practise for a Mr Bean video Sir”. 2b's comic genius on form and in the right place. “Connor! I need coffee, where should you be by the way?” “And this weeks homework?” A wonderful biological modification, selective deafness. The day over, the next hurdle was arriving home. His wife wouldn't be back till later that evening. It was collect the kids, feed them, referee their tectonic adolescent interaction and try and remain calm for the further adventures of a dysfunctional family. Secretly the on going bet with himself as to whether or not he would be getting a shag this evening was the main underlying theme.
Jeanette worked as a senior housing officer, in an office in South Lanarkshire. She was a competent caring preening woman, attractive lively and very neurotic. She had worked for the local authority for eleven years gradually ne networking her way through staff meetings and reorganisations until now she was a senior in the management team.
5/23/2006 9:21 pm
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