By: Diego Melita I am sitting on my bed, looking out the window. It is raining outside and the greyness of the sky makes everything look gloomier. I watch the drops slipping fast as they collide with each other. In the background, a long line of cars advances and stops to allow pedestrians to…
‘It was a summer of endless dust storms and long cool drinks. I walked in and there you were. I wanted you from the beginning…’
‘Nervously, I climbed out of bed and pulled the curtains aside, looking out into the night. Beneath the streetlight at our end of the road, I saw what I believed at first to be a stout, shaggy dog.’
‘It was frightening how easily it could all be taken out with one fatal blow. He had lived in the city for most of his life. He knew how it was. And it could all be summed up with one word. More.’
‘I believe you don’t know a city until you’ve been sick on it; that moment in the evening where you suddenly find fresh air and the drink hits you and the most important thing is to immediately navigate blindly home, walking your memory so as to vomit on a quiet street, away from shame like a cat disappearing to die.’
‘The landlord was keen to sell this burdensome apartment and Olivier was excited to buy it. Upon buying it and gutting it of all its debris and the previous tenant’s crumbling affairs, he had discovered the decomposing remains of the previous tenant’s wife in a bin bag.’
‘With Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium and the Cereal Killer Café just around the corner, there was no better niche location to place their pompous artwork, taught to them exclusively at some unaccredited art college they attended two years ago.’
‘Arriving at Leadenhall, while the flashes of fire rush flickering above my head, I think that London is a damn Peruvian piñata on the point of pulverising itself.’
‘He had said that city life could break you down if you weren’t up for it.
The crushing hordes of people,
all of them in a hurry,
all of them bracing against you.’
‘His hood, pulled way down over his nose, gave him just enough air to smell his way to the stairs. Up, up, up he went, past drunk strangers and easy girls and their silent amused stares. His hands were buried deep in his pockets, clenched into fists, sharp nails cutting into the soft tissue of his palms.’
‘This is why tonight I had to start my explorations so furtively, stepping over barrier tape to duck down a damp, wheelbarrow-wide alleyway strewn with litter that reeked of stagnant water and misdemeanours. New to the city, I had set myself a task. On Friday nights, after work, I explore a new area, perhaps only a few streets, to discover what’s around.’
‘Fifty odd students stood about the tiled floor, the excited murmurs of their minglings reverberating in the high ceiling. My tardiness, at the very least, allowed me to observe how easily the surface, the skin deep, attracts and binds; groups here and there of large male students demonstrating how athletes congregate, while other groups consisted of only the most physically attractive.’
‘He is a faceless presence that’s haunted my life since… well, since the day I was born if we’re going that far back.
God, he made me angry.
But he also made me scared.’
‘The city lives in us
Selfish whorish lustful
Amazing beautiful new
And we spin stumble and move’
‘Years pass and the winds of my heart have frozen. But then, when I had given up hope and maggots had chomped down the chalkboard, things just started to happen. I stumbled into Arcadia, and I’d only been trying to get to Stokey.’