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Itís a hard city, I realise. But sometimes itís good to have somebody looking out for you, to take you into their bosom and provide shelter when all the emotions get profound. These things have to be subtle, otherwise itís really overbearing, I understand, but not so subtle that they are not even there. Anyone can pretend to be strong. And I suppose we are all strong, in our own ways. That doesnít mean we shouldnít give Ė or be too proud to Ė accept hugs every now and then, itís how we nurture forgiveness and clarity and calm. I hope that there are people looking out for me like this, as I know I will look out for them at the right times.

Iíd sort of love to be here after everyoneís gone. To miss what used to be, in a way. Did I really just think this? Maybe I did. Maybe it would be a decent experiment. But I get so sad on the roadsides in Brixton now Ė pathetically sad. Watching the clock tower and picking out the dead spaces we used to move in. Our laughter is other peopleís now, and they donít even know how lucky they are. The movements of the buses through the rain seem sadder than usual. Every action leaves a time-bending slow-motion trace, a very quiet trace, of the near-past, a near-past that creaks but is gradually diminishing, and becoming precious, becoming separate tiny images of realities that are life-shaping but more and more unbelievable as they are hazed out and overtaken by life as it goes on. Dreaming of getting closer to the river again. See it in snippets like tantalising prizes slipping away, hazy snips. Iím slipping away from the river. To have been young, near the river. I see the map and I draw the lines and Iím too far right and too far south and not close enough to the source.

Iím getting the feeling again. Maybe a tiny chink of solace, and Iím not even sure what it is that I miss. Possibly I miss that feeling of the winter cloak gradually slipping off, January turning to February, February turning to March, the hopes stored up in the 18-hour-lights-on, four-hour days, those hopes blooming when the snows melt away and the streets are cleaned by that icy residue. Radio spoken-word quotes warm the yellow rooms. SBTRKT and Chilly Gonzales. Watching the towerblock silence through the curtains with the lights off. Itís been housed in my head like an impeding dead-weight for uncountable months and with each day I recognise the significance of it Ė the clarity I crave is based on reigniting that hope and allowing myself those feelings again, even though itís dawned on me that I have lost something that becomes a tinier dot each time the sun sets and I go to sleep looking out over the naked trees. And the ambiguity that that might even be a dead thing; nothing left to pursue.

**

I ask a favour of you. Please don't do anything else with your life until you read Steven Hitchins' relentless narrative on Rhydyfelin. Hitchins is my hero; this series is a luminous jackdaw-heavy diary that'll blanket you with the Coke 'n' Dai Tango valium.

It appears Hitchins hasnít been active for a while, so youíll have to find something else to do. I recommend going round and round on the Circle Line or painting your window bright blue in the bit exactly where the sky sits above the houses on the other side of the street, to give the impression of endless summer.

© Copyright 2017 John Maher

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