Paper life, diaries.

To stir my memory out of its comfortably inert state, I've been rummaging inside the big boxes where I store my journals and it sure as hell stirs something. Probably a mistake to rake over old coals and yet and yet...There's a tiny literary agent living inside my brain, a cigar-smoking person wearing diamond studs and a loud checked suit and sometimes he turns into an academic-bohemian long skirted lady and both these creatures have their beady eyes on my journals and in silky tones they whisper that I must DO SOMETHING with them because, well because there's a book in there, a REAL BOOK, a big tome with many words and no need for pictures, a sexy bestseller for thinkers. Shut up, I reply, leave me alone. I'm too busy with much more immediate and interesting things and all that stuff is The Past, gone, finito, superseded by The Present which as we all know is almost The Future. I'm just continuing these snippets of online autobiography because I started and now it's my duty to carry on until it comes to a natural stop but don't make me re-live and re-write all of those days and nights and months and years which are still there, goddammit, inside those little red and blue and black notebooks, words in scrawly blue or black ink infused with emotion I no longer feel but which is who I am, whether I like it or not.

Diaries in boxes.

Below is what I looked like, leaving marriage behind. What follows is an edited extract from my journal at the time.

Me, that was then.It should not be so easy to leave. Departures should take place in thunder and lightning, not in full morning glory sunshine and sandwiches and acqua minerale. Just now, holding his hand out of the train window, suddenly I could not bear to go through with this. I close my eyes behind the sunglasses. If there were no outside, no train moving, nothing but the naked moment of departure, it would not be possible at all. The train is moving. I myself have caused this to happen and I cannot see the sense of it. The marriage is finished. The ending began long ago, was dragged out and now the train rolls over it, seals it.

Anguish? This is only a word. I would like to tell about the day of my marriage with that feeling present as it was then but I don't know if anguish is what I mean. A minister saying words over a Bible and I know I'm lying when I say "I do". It's all a mistake I haven't the guts to put right.  Then we go to a restaurant and drink wine and the anguish, if that's what it is, diminishes and goes on diminishing even disappearing totally at times when we are naked, all thought obliterated, and the moment before satiety I feel I can never have enough of this - I don't say love, but the complete sensual awareness, being turned inside out, every nerve erect, and the burlesque motions, the joke of it, the unbidden smile that curves the lips upwards. Yet I go back to anguish regularly and I begin to think that I must enjoy the pain. I don't know why I am leaving. I will run around in cold streets of cities, in and out of rooms, restaurants, shops, lives.

The sky turns steel grey and a scirocco wind suddenly sweeps the trees and grapevines. I have maintained an aloof silence  so as not to be included in the compartment hilarity led by a Florentine square-assed, jowly Cantante Lirico, droning platitudes in a high-pitched squeal to a big country wife and her small apple-faced husband and their thirteen year-old blue-eyelashed deep-voiced son whom the Cantante Lirico devours with his eyes while lecturing him: study hard, develop your mind, ragazzo! Imprisoned in the net of their words my mind flutters a little trying to escape then goes under, tranquilised by fantasy. 

The country wife is enormous. Carnivorous mouth, bulging breasts squeezed into corset balanced dangerously above gargantuan belly, ass like a fortress, two great battlements lurching together.  The little husband is much younger, resigned, worn out. I imagine them in bed together and I look away in case they can read my thoughts. She lies on the rumpled sheets, vast thighs spread open, and pulls him to her with muscular arms. When he has nearly disappeared she draws the rest of him in, belly first. He's like a stick bent in two and gradually there's nothing left but his tiny feet sticking out of her. She puts her hand over them and seals him up inside then rolls about on the bed grunting her pleasure while he flounders in the slippery darkness, looking for something to hold on to. She heaves and comes in a great tidal wave, spurting him out, blind and red-faced. She picks him up lazily from between her legs and holds him up by his ankles, giving him a great whack on the buttocks. He cries out, a small tired wail, and she stuffs a nipple into his mouth. Husband and wife fall asleep, the ritual finished.

The Cantante Lirico is sounding off about marriage. He lives with his mother, doesn't want  to get married, there's no such thing as an honest girl, a simple girl, nowadays. Aha, but when you fall in love you'll forget all that! Oh perhaps but I like a peaceful life, girls these days if they don't have a washing machine, a television. But it wasn't always like this! Excuse me, but you can't trust women, I know, I move in theatrical circles. They're all the same, if you pay attention to them they don't like you, if you ignore them, they're furious, if you look at other women, they make a scene. No, nobody can understand women.  Sophisticated suntanned matron joins in: let me tell you, man and woman are made to put up with each other, you can say what you like about women but what an egotist a man is, if he hasn't eaten well, if he's in a bad mood.....

I follow the repetitious rhythm of their words, click click clickety-click, all said before in exactly the same way in so many places by so many people. I hear some of my many words throughout my life and wonder if they ever had any truth. I couldn't stand living with the silence in the last few weeks, his endless silences - in the bus, on the street, at the table, in bed. A heavy blanket of silence over me. I don't accept that silence. I'll even take the clickety-click instead. The mountains have loomed up, mists and lakes between. Colours are in another key- blue, slate, black, dark green. The softness of Italian landscape, sweetness and smallness is gone. The sky is apocalyptic, on the verge of night.



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