Half Moon Lane was beginning to look aghast. I couldn’t bear it any more. Now I was slipping into a middle land, where I partially wanted to be rid of the nauseating calm but where I also harboured a commitment to seeing the drudgery through, plus a violent urge to face and be confronted by whatever was camouflaged in the stubborn fogs. When would night fall, if it wasn’t night already? Some light-responsive lanterns weren’t sure when a sort of sun might arrive and stayed lit, so that, despite the presence of a muddy, murky brand of light, the illuminations created the prospect of a never-ending middle-of-dusk that left birds reeling in their tiny world of confusion. They didn’t know how to respond and it was making me edgy too, not least because I couldn’t see them either. More fractured voices were drizzled over it all, coming on like historical echoes of set-pieces that occurred in these infant lands in some pre-commuter, pre-internet phase a long time ago. A dusty textbook of noises. Horse hooves on the cobbles, endearing calls from the butcher’s under the arches, incensed civilian arguments, cries betraying distress and loneliness. I had a deep-chest desire to immerse myself in that time. The appearance of those days was glowing, and laced with a genuine warmth, even when the scene displayed glacial, wind-bent landspots that offered a suggestion of barren cavernous winters. I held a primal craving to be part of that. It hurt me with an embedded ache, somewhere that my ‘soul’ should sit, and that ache confirmed I had missed those days, mingled with despair that I could not re-establish any of those brittle moments. I was a voyeur, an invisible presence as the life-forming tapestry passed through, little set pieces to make up the collage of the whole. It was as if the landscape itself hankered after the innocence of the past, and was offering up a glimpse of bygone connections to resist the pacy march to the future here. This coating of a reality was infiltrating my mind, the snippets were imposing themselves on and forcing themselves into the more chaotic present. Now I was being treated to papery reconstructions of years’-old arguments and quarrels. Flimsy half-memories of fading acquaintances, water-tight friendships and connections on the brink of being made. I felt a slight madness when I realised that this was a subtle assault on my present: why was I the one dwelling on these interchanges that, more than likely, bore only a partial resemblance to my understanding of them, and that should – only naturally – be resigned to history? No one should be entitled to seek out and replay those intimate events. I was attempting to toy with time itself and if I continued to do so at such an excruciating pace, then surely I would have to admit that I would open myself up to the disappointment that would flow when nothing tangible was forthcoming. In the time that had passed since I had begun to wonder on all of this, the soupy fog had settled and was now casting a slow spell over the fragile terrain; even those things slightly visible earlier now being eroded deeply into the mire, so that they were losing distantly traceable outlines that had been just-apparent. Even semi-reference points were being invisibalised. Everything beginning to get submerged under the tide of events, with the hugeness of time flowing into moments I wanted to be in stasis forever but which, because of the flow, were perma-fledgling, transitory. That time was flooding to another imperceptible spot that I didn’t feel I could ever be comfortable with. I felt a much greater attachment to that shimmering history I’d remixed to feature the exact tone and imagery that I wanted, where I contentedly bathed in glorious bright spots as the sun remained a constant feature, smiling down, keeping the illnesses away.
© Copyright 2017 John Maher