The proud little soft-blonde-haired boy in the photo. Bronze skinned and tropical eyed. Football medals and trophies glistening in the summer sun, the dark blue national shirt an item of precious obsession. The idea of accomplishment was already cast and set. The world presented no danger or complication, only stratospheric layers of infinite opportunity. The future was that precise moment and that precise moment was a brilliant surging rainbow flash of interminable possibility. And I was that boy, smiling straight ahead towards all the years with the fluttering green leaves of life as my background. But now, after all those years, the roads and rules, words and deeds, after the smear of lipstick and slash of a silent goodbye, after the people started off on their own ways, after all the little victories, the damning defeats, and with every new day; I wonder with increasing doubt whether the boy can ever be the man.

It’s like the point on acid, when you’re sitting with edgy, nectarine-faced accomplices, in a fuzzy room with the TV fizzing away and spitting shards of morning light piercing the weak resistance of the near-opaque curtains held together with a wooden clothes pin which itself appears peculiar, distorted, rubbish and pointless. The mind has become an enemy and you’re tetchy and restless and bored and boring and you’ve had enough, several hours more than enough, when you just want it all to go away – them, it, everything. But instead of going away, the artery pulsating clamminess, the buzzing chemical noxiousness, the brain cell incineration and sullen no-man’s-land nausea, it hangs around for months, nine whole months to be exact, in that same stagnant and torn-clothed prison of growly cynicism. Long enough to kill yourself, long enough to be born, long enough to… Anyway, that’s how it’s been lately.

So save the eleventh-hour deal of salvation, I’ve given up on the two million dollar health plan. This is not to say I will shun or disparage the efforts of others, and especially those in the fields of medicine or honest charity or clarity, but merely, there has come the time, and I accept that I at least must die in this relationship and expect nothing more than a great sigh for a greater good. Ultimate peace, partial admonishment, absolute completion of all paperwork and monetary scuff dramas, a derailment of some friendships and feuds, the termination of once-Love and its incomparable rush of Life, and the eventual dissolution of thought itself. But first steps back, there is a party to attend –drinks to be had, pleasantries, whispers and one-liner laughter coalescing, louder chuckles and cackles and the more sensitive to the liquor drunk after a sip or two; intrepidity and shortcomings to be revealed simultaneously as the weight of the day and the week lightens. And soon you’re confidence worn smart, fractious knowledge dispensation heard as valiant erudite opinion, emerging triumphant and you’re good at it back then, damn good for a man of less than average height and a history of volatility. And with an hour, and hour or two, so It arrives as a pink crystal glass in a moonlit garden and she’ll steal you right there and then, the perfect heist, the perfect hatching of a perfect plan to which you’re perfectly in awe of. And what’s impossible at this moment is to even consider the transgression of such a mesmerising free-flowing abstraction into a laborious contract, a leash for a lion and a steady and stern, realistic lie: you need two million at least for retirement, at least. That’s what she said, a year or so later.

I don’t know if there’s a ‘real’ trigger for such depraved periods of life and learning as in this recent onslaught. If it were a car accident, a knife attack, a terminal illness, or a spousal infidelity, such events, with the possible exception of the last, second from last, second, and first, may well be triggers, but in these instances the trigger is not usually pulled by the subject of direct and immediate consequence or devastation. No, a trigger must be pulled by the person committing the suicide, otherwise… So to chase a trigger, and to cut to the chase, the trigger must be pulled in the first person or it is not so much a trigger but mere bad luck or incompetence at the game of survival or its euphemistic allusions. What one does once the trigger has been pulled may also involve bad luck or incompetence, assuming that the objective remains to see flowers and suitcases and children and sunsets and food eaten through a mouth, and in fact the odds are stacked in favour of that. But equally so once a ship of last sail has moored and anchored there may be a trigger to be pulled to change that luck for the better (don’t be so dramatic), or, more likely, the worse. Still, it remains, the two are separable. Whether the choice is to believe in the trigger as an event of choice or an event of consequence, the fact is it’s almost wholly irrelevant, which itself is of course also impossible.

But as she said, you create your own luck, and even if she was right in full, I had to find a counterpoint. She had been too right, too often, and only because I had been too strung out, too often, and perhaps only really because I didn’t have enough money to be strong but that’s another issue. You create your own luck, good or bad. You sure as hell think you do. So I opened my mouth: Remember those dot-to-dot pictures that we’ve all pulled a pen across at some stage, the lucky ones of us that is. It might have been a kangaroo, or a dinosaur, a Wendy House, or a soldier in battle. Well, what happens, if you’re drawing the lines and shapes, dot-to-dot and eventually you finish the drawing and it turns out you were actually drawing a gravestone. She walked to the fridge door opened it and took out a half-finished bottle of white wine, walked over to where the garlic was chopped finely and the red peppers were sliced with equal dimensions, poured herself a large glass of wine and smiled at me lovingly while concluding our marriage in her mind.

I didn’t even have to try hard to imagine, it was all there: seven billion humans, talking, off-key smatterings of chatterings, loud and high-pitched in a big old hall with loose acoustics. All this noise was within my head and although, such was the overlap, (one hears little besides the jet engine and sees only body language and weather and a door which promises a release from the noise and the elements – all of which, funnily, are at that point undesired). And the big old roar of the jungle feels discriminated against as it is so the animals burst down the doors two-by-two and roar and bark and squawk and squeal amid shotgun fire, handgun fire, humans screaming before that trigger again. The trigger is always one of silence. A trigger itself makes no noise, only suggestions.  At this point, at the point of the inaudible trigger, I knew there was either a way back, or no future worth living. I didn’t know which one was more realistic or controllable even – this being more disturbing than the bullets and the sharpened tools cutting live flesh all around me – and I chose neither because the choice was no longer my own.


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