Today it rained in the early hours of the morning awakening me as I listened first to the heavy sounding isolated droplets on my roof and then to the sudden deluge that drowned every other sound. It was the first rain of the year. The mango rains. Listening to the rhythmic deluge is not an unpleasant experience as the smell of fresh vegetation and grass also mixes in. As is the nature of these things when living on a cape seemingly between two weather systems or maybe more, the end came in minutes was as a tap turned off. As is also in the nature of this there were several aftershocks through the drab grey but increasingly humid morning.
I was sat at Sin’s place down at Laem Than with my second bottle of Singha beer and a bucket of ice next to me and my wife’s empty wine glass and empty seat opposite as I pondered why first an old white van and then a newer but not new indiscriminate sleek black had parked mere centimeters either side of my pick up blocking me in. It was not a night that was to have an early ending even when my wife returned with the food to take home for our daughter. Well unless I fancied the conflict of invading the well-lit and fashionably functionally designed Japanese restaurant opposite to search for the owners of the vehicles, which would result in the shattering of whatever calm existed in the crowded place. That was something I just was not going to do.
It was sometime between seven and eight as I walked along one of those nondescript platforms at London Bridge station towards the train that was to take me to Sydenham to my job as a worker, or was I a supervisor at that point, when the noise struck me. It sounded like one of those big electrical breakers blowing but as I turned to the next platform I saw pieces of wood and cement floating through the air and a cloud of smoky mist. At that point I was at the last carriage of the train and boarded. It was ten minutes before the train was scheduled to leave but as I entered I felt the jerk of the carriages and we were soon gliding out of the station. It was the first and only time I had ever known a train leave before time. Later that day I heard that the IRA had bombed a toilet block on a platform at London Bridge station.
Jane and I finished on a valentine’s day leaving me with the tickets for some upcoming film that night and her with my CD player. I guess it was a fair exchange.
Claudia was from Chile. I met her through Debbie. It was at the time of the Pinochet regime in Chile and Claudia on returning to Chile faced the likelihood of arrest on political related activities. I didn’t enquire any further as its usually better if a person tells you what they want to rather than pushing for things that they may not wish to tell. Claudia had been in Britain for a while but her visa was coming to an end. What she sought from me was simple – marriage. Not a marriage of romance or love or passion but a marriage of convenience an arrangement. Claudia had her boyfriend, and quite why he couldn’t marry her I never understood or maybe he wasnt even European or whatever. We met several times to discuss details and to learn about each other but in the end I could not go through with it. It wasnt because she couldn’t pay. There was no money involved in the arrangement. It wasnt because I didn’t sympathise with her plight. I did. It wasnt because of jealousy. I wasnt. I just at that point realised that marriage might mean something to me in the future and it wasnt something I could toss away. I never knew what happened to Claudia after ignoring her last phone call. I didn’t feel good about that.
The smell of fresh grass was all around me and the sound of chirping birds as I lay back into the grass at the top of the cliffs and looked into the vivid blue sky and felt the warmth of the summer British sun on my body. I was alone at the southern tip of the Isle of Man and I liked the feeling of aloneness and the way it set my imagination off. I thought of all the English summers of the past and what I had done in them. The warmth of the sun rather than the heat found further south in Europe and smell of grass epitomised English summers for me in some almost Brookian way and still to this day those feelings bring back all the memories too personal or maybe just too many to record here and now.
I always wondered why I who didn’t believe in ghosts was always the one to see them.