Joanna Newsom- This Side of the Blue
More journalling. I don’t like myself for using that word.
Yesterday, after months of easy eschewing, I smoked. I didn’t fully realise it until after I leaned forward, the cigarette paper sticking to my lip, for my friend to light it. The movement itself is a habit. I don’t have many cravings for nicotine itself, but if it’s too hot inside and I want to stand outside, what am I going to do while standing there? There are a few other things I could do, but it’s as though I trained myself to stick to one. The smell is something that I never thought was unpleasant until I decided to stop. And now I chew gum when I’m bored instead of rolling cigarettes for later.
“I haven’t smoked in months,” I said, to my friend. “I can’t believe I just did that,”. I was slightly despairing, but not really.
A while ago I went on a really good date with a woman who teaches young children how to swim. She’s older than me and seems to have her life put together in a way that I always thought would come to me by now. She told me about the shallow and brightly coloured pool that she teaches her classes in, what it’s like to spend the majority of your day in water. “That sounds so good,” I said. I meant it. She spoke as if teaching children how to swim was the best thing she could do with her life. We were leaning in close to each other, as if we were conspiring. I was perched on the edge of her couch. I wanted to tell her that she seemed so genuine and it made me feel more tender towards her but I didn’t. It was as if she didn’t have that feeling of being secretly fraudulent, “the feeling of being an adult”.
Later on she touched her lips to the splodge of freckles between my collarbones. “I don’t think I saw a person with freckles until I was twelve,” she told me. She’s Japanese and came to Australia at that age, so it made sense. She slid her palm along the base of my skull to pull me in for a kiss. I felt like tissue crumpled against her. I let out a sigh that travelled to my toes.
In October my Mothers youngest brother committed suicide. It was something I kept meaning and meaning to write about but I never found the words. Or rather: I’d write something, then sift through it so much to the point where it was reduced down to nothing. He was older than me and quite a smart person but in many ways I felt older than him. He felt more like a friend that I took care of instead of my uncle.
Whenever we saw each other we’d talk about mood disorders, which run in my Mothers side. He was a librarian.
The last time I saw him we spent some of the day together- him, my brother and I. I took them to a slew of different galleries. At the flat he just hovered near my bookshelf quietly while I wondered out loud what I would cook for tea. I stuck my head in my bedroom to check on him. He was leaning sort of coltishly while he looked at the titles I had. I watched him for a moment. “I could make pumpkin curry…?” I suggested. I knew what his answer would be but I felt the need to make conversation. He made a non-committal noise in reply, waving his hand a bit. My brother was on the phone in another room.
The last time T stayed the night he chose a book to read before we went to bed. I saw him lean in front of the bookshelf in the same way that my uncle did, months ago. It jolted me more than I wanted- it’s the little things, always. I took in a breath that finished as a sob. I don’t think he noticed I was crying until he turned, book in hand. I was ready to bolt but I stayed.
Drawception! (A drawing within a drawing.)