The Journal Of A Disappointed Man
I slip and slide through my life, trying to get a grip on the rail. I’m grasping in the dark for a switch that’ll turn on some almighty bright white light and thus, illuminate the way, the path, make everything clear as day. And every breath I take seems to be quickly rolled up behind me and filed away in memory. Only a particular scent or dose of weather can pinprick the past and even then, the drawer opens flirtatiously for just a moment.
I have lost touch with everyone I went to school with, everyone in the village where I spent most of my formulative years, everyone I went to college with, everyone I ever worked with. They too, are filed away, often angrily slamming the drawer behind them, over something I said or something I didn’t say.
My lovers cannot be traced. I know. I’ve tried. I’ve taken trains to their cities and stood on street corners in the miraculous off-chance that they might wander by. But each time, I have returned home, defeated and had to force myself to sleep so that my heart didn’t kill me.
I began my autobiography at 23 years old, with the intention that I wouldn’t live ’til 25. But I’d done nothing, loved no-one, said nothing of any great importance by that time. The journal of a disappointed man.
I took a position at the Natural History Museum but left after only 3 months due to allergies. Whilst deluding myself that I could reinforce the scientist’s power of detached analysis with a poetic intensity, I would cough up my guts on the glass that held the giant stuffed man-o-war. I had a gift of incisive and candid comment, but I failed to ignite it when faced with the apple-cheeked Irish girl who served the tea in the basement canteen. Drunk most nights, in the Black Swan on Canal St, I would attempt to put my own complicated nature under the microscope of a beer glass. I walked home alone, opening the air with bolshy, slurred dictums against religion, ethics, love and life itself.
Lonely, penniless, paralysed by the guilt of never having told my father I loved him, I wander hospital corridors, posing as a visitor. I have wept, enjoyed, struggled and overcome but I remain disappointed.
(Words – GA Johnson)