April 9th 2015 – East Belfast
The next time someone asks me if I believe the Devil is real, I will not quote the Bible or fall back on personal experience. Instead, I will point to a hole in the back of my lower left molar, so sleight and insignificant the human eye would struggle to pick it out with binoculars, and I will say, (quite loudly, even if the room be quiet), “you bet your bad mouth soul I believe the Devil’s real. There’s a hole in my tooth no bigger than a pin and the man himself’s been using it as a swing door these last three days; entering and leaving this world as he sees fit through a gap in the back of my tooth. And that, my Friend, is proof enough for me; it hurts too bad to be any sort of metaphor.”
April 10th 2015 – Bookfinders Café, Belfast
Every March, at the end of the Financial Year, all the country’s unused emotions are gathered up in large, insulated containers and transported to the Scottish Highlands for safe disposal by properly trained experts.
During the six quick hours which form a boundary between March and April, extra Scottish lakes bloom between the hills, entirely comprised of unshed tears. The ghost children or every unborn laugh go howling across the glens and, in the spaces where one rock meets another, wasted love nestles down like clumps of prehistoric lichen and waits to meet its own extinction.
The next morning Britain will wake to an untapped reservoir of grand emotions and ruin itself afresh with all the possibilities available.
April 11th 2015 – Craigantlet Hills
After some distance they came upon a clearing in the forest containing a kind of house or shelter made of smaller trees positioned against a larger tree. String, of the sort usually kept for binding parcels, had been used to tie the various branches together.
“Do you suppose it belongs to someone?” she asked and he, employing the logic of all those who find first and subsequently keep, tossed their rucksacks through the door and clambered inside.
The space, once entered was deceptively large and contained a single sleeping bag, a toothbrush and a copy of Moby Dick, unread.
“Someone lives here,” she said.
“Someone used to live here,” he corrected for the sleeping bag was damp to the touch and the toothbrush feathered with fine spun spider webs.
Loneliness, they concluded, had driven the owner out the door and into the forest beyond. They were not as yet lonely in their togetherness and wondered if they might stay in this shelter forever, or an equally long time.
April 12th 2015 – East Belfast
Which reminded her of camping, and that one evening in 1988 when they were not going on a proper holiday. So, instead, packed their tent into a duffel bag and walked three time round the housing estate to mimic distance. Then, camped for the night in the back garden, between the greenhouse and the bigger of the two flowerbeds, with a gas cooking stove and airbeds for all. And, upon waking the next morning heard the sound of next door’s cat, jingling, (for the neighbours kept Christmas bells strung around its collar like hazard lights), about the guy ropes, nosing for a way into the tent and the blue white cool box and the bacon rashers they were saving for breakfast.
April 13th 2015 – Albert Bridge Road, Belfast
At the junction where the Ravenhill Road meets the edge of the Albert Bridge, a well-dressed gentleman falls into step beside her. Heel to toe, heel to toe, lunch bags swinging like jealous metronomes they shoulder each other across the bridge and past the station. They do not speak, but she glances sideways from time to time, anxious not to fall behind his proud nose.
Reflected in the bus shelter’s gaze they are condiment bottles, cutlery, chess pieces; two items different, yet paired through association. People driving past in cars and buses will presume them a couple. She has not yet seen enough of him to decide whether this would be a good, or a ridiculous, thing.
They part ways outside the Market. Her cheek is cold and dry where he has not kissed her and later, at her desk, she wonders what she has not packed for his lunch. Tonight, she will couple another man across the Albert Bridge, or perhaps, if the lights are unduly cautious, a woman instead.
April 14th 2015 – Lisburn Road, Belfast
There was a child in the dentist’s waiting room. A boy, she presumed, for its hair was cut close to its head like a kind of fitted lampshade. She was too preoccupied to be sure. When she began to cry, because dentists scared her more than anything in the world- even God or the possibility of God’s absence- all the adults turned away from her purposefully like so many spoilt daffodils, straining into the sun. Only the child stared and the look on him was judgment, and the way a face will fall and then deliberately rise when it has won a thing it does not deserve.
April 15th 2015 – Ulster Hall, Belfast
Once a month, on a Friday, David Bowie takes a day off and is just a normal person. He drinks coffee for breakfast, vacuums the hall carpet and watches a few episodes of How I Met Your Mother on E4.
David Bowie values his days off. They make it much easier to continue being David Bowie for the remaining thirty odd days of the month.
In the past David Bowie often took advantage of his days off to visit the shopping mall or catch a movie at the cinema. However, the possibility of overhearing one of his own songs, and thus being reminded that he was still David Bowie, even on his day off, soon came to outweigh the enjoyment of leaving his house.
It was easier not to be David Bowie, he found, when other people weren’t looking at him.