Sunday, 4 December 2016

2016



Birthday changes to Christmas, with autumn turning to winter sharply; layers of frost seal pavements and tips of noses with an icy glare.
The party was an intoxicated blur; fun filled to the brim; drunk ravenously and held laughing in a loving head-lock.
At work, we find a box of decorations in a cupboard tucked away on a floor filled with empty desks.
In between calls, we complain and drink coffee and stick silver tinsel around our screens. I’ve hung an angel from the tiny branch of a plant on my desk. 
I’ve been thinking for such a long time, 'I don’t know how much I’ve got left to give this place.'
In between calls, I make more coffee and wonder how you're getting on. 
There's a brown piece of tape from last Christmas hanging from the tinsel. Angel’s made of tin and her legs swing.
In a taxi, hungover, the day after the party, the radio spilled a new football abuse story.
The driver said; ‘What I don’t get yeah, is if that happened to me, I’d have been straight to my dad, d'you know what I mean? You wouldn’t wait all this time.’
It’s four o’ clock on Sunday 27th November. Scrolling through Facebook, there’s another tribute; another RIP; another curse to 2016. Taxi races past bare trees, their branches pointing upwards like lots of icy fingers into the night.
I say: ‘They pick the kids that might not have a dad like yours to tell.'
The kids who think they won't be believed, so they just wait, I think. 
The taxi is loud with nothing but dark and hang-over and waiting to get home. 
In Topshop, I’m in the mirror, holding a dress that costs more than I want to spend. Holding it against my body like it's mine already; feeling the fabric crush in my hands, guiltily. I'm imagining other nights; nights I'd dance in this; nights I'd wolf down hungrily.
Nights that would be full.
Outside, a guy selling the Big Issue has so many decorations on his hat he looks like he's wearing a Christmas tree on his head. City Hall and the castle are emblazoned with psychedelic projections that make the cityscape cartoonish. The projections follow you wherever you go, like a TV in the corner of a room that never gets turned off. 
There’s the tunnel of light. There’s a sleeping-bag hidden in an alleyway and someone bedding down in a doorway.
This guy’s weighted to his spot by a heavy back-pack he never takes off. He gives me the magazine and says keenly, ‘You know, this dark, there's a lot of people been saying it’s getting to them.' He taps and then shakes his head. 'Lot of people saying, it’s making them feel all funny.’
I agree with him. He laughs and says, ‘I’ve been telling people, you know, if it wasn’t for all these lights, I don’t think you’d even be able to see me out here selling these mags.' 
City Hall glares and flickers above the market, like the warmth of a television screen.

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