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A young man's need to know his town

In my younger and more tenuous years,

I thought myself different to most.


I could not love,

Did not love, truthfully,

Could not live truthfully either,

I had an introverted voice,

A precarious self esteem,

I did not think, nor feel,

Nor behave in a way that was real to me.


Shadowed over at family parties,

Talked over at gatherings,

I was spoken for,

Not spoken to,

I had nothing to say, and they knew that,

I was uninteresting,

But I always wanted to prove myself to be more like other people,

So maybe I played the fool,

And maybe I did lie about things to seem interesting,

But I was never anything more than a surface level voice.


And I did okay in school, I got by,

I was never a shining example of a model pupil,

I lazed,

I put things off,

Procrastinated and forgot,

I had an idle brain and the ability to match,

It seemed the good life was out of my reach,

You see, politics bored me,

World events didn’t resonate with me,

I’d never read a book,

Actually I’d barely read anything,

The words weren’t there yet to put down,

And the art had already been done years before me,

It seemed nothing was there to be done, it was all already over,

Nothing at all, was there for the taking.


By 19 I had passed by the teenage drunken nights,

I felt myself falling behind, again,

Unsure on if I was missing out,

Again!

I was ready for a new way of living.


Then, I started working,

I met people who were all into the ‘normal’ stuff,

So finally, I started going out.


Turns out I was out in the streets more than I was at home,

There were people out here,

Bright lighted people,

Old souls like mine,

That had their fires lit by the host of a younger body,

People my age, who thought like I did,

People of all kinds,

Hundreds of people,

They were all feeling disinherited with their upbringing,

I saw that I was no more unlike them,

Tattoos, dyed hair, talking of art and philosophy,

Everyone had a story,

Everyone was alive,

Everyone wanted to stay for one more song,

For one last drink,

Just for one more conversation,

I felt that I could fit in here,

The clothes that I kept in my head I could now wear,

The stories I wanted to share, there was now an audience.


The alcohol,

The people,

The powder,

The music,

And dance,

The laughs,

All a sign of the times of my life at that moment.


And I thought myself unconquerable,

It was not all totally a falsehood,

Although it’s true, powder like this does give life to the lifeless,

(If even just for the night),

It still gave us that spark that we needed,

To be who we wanted to be…

Finally.


And as I went on with my drunken nights,

The 3am songs,

The brief candles and connections,

And as I passed through any number of women,

I felt myself to be complete, in a funny way,

It was a backwards thinking perhaps,

A shaky empire,

Rocks built upon the sand,

It wasn’t really tenable.


But it was mine,

So I was satisfied.


I wasn’t cornered,

I didn’t feel myself pigeonholed,

I felt immersed,

I was ready for it all,

So we all took what we could get and bathed in it.


Before this, I had the uncomfortable task of looking into a mirror,

Whereas now, I rather enjoyed who I was,

And I thought to myself,

‘Well, what if they’re all wrong,

And we won’t all die at the end of our story,

I mean, I could live forever if I wanted to’.


It seemed to me,

Super self importance isn’t uncommon,

Especially not, in these years of life.


So I carried on, I lusted,

I fell,

I made up for my lost time,

(And then some),

As my heart ran quick each night.


(And none of the women were ever without affection,

They were never just a number counted,

Like those stories of pathetic male triumph,

Men mounting the meek,

Or exploiting the addled,

But what I was into was pleasurable enjoyment,

I didn’t do anything because I thought I ought to do it,

I loved them all for the time we spent together).


Like there was this one, a friend of a friend,

I was invited to her house by the guy who knew her,

She knew of me, but by that time I didn’t know her,

She was a year older,

We talked of Keats, and her university course,

And we drank,

And shared stories,

And we kissed,

And later fell upon the bed,

But afterwards, as we lay there…


She asked of me,

“Will you still be here when I wake up?”.


And as fast as it came, a moment was now frozen in time,

It seemed at last proven that time moves at different speeds,

Because I was stuck in that second for a lifetime,

And my heart, in turn, broke for hers.


She wasn’t trying to get rid of me,

But rather ghosts of her past crept into her head at that moment,

A remembrance of a deal gone bad,

An apple turned sour,

She’d been messed around too many times,

She said that they’d leave come the morning, and she’d be alone,

Laying or sitting there,

Crying,

Asking herself am I really so bad,

Am I not worth even just the morning,

Even the few minutes of conversation granted to two people,

I then said to her I wasn’t going to leave.


I told her,

“One night like this with you,

Is enough to sooth the soul of the most weary”.


(There was more than one night with her).


And she smiled back at me,

As I wrapped my arms around her,

And in that moment,

As her eyes looked into mine,

I had never seen a more beautiful woman.


But anyways, I yearn not to go back to those days,

I myself have now a serious relationship,

Prospects,

Other hobbies,

Other clothes,

The words have finally come to me,

But every so often, there will be that glint in my eye,

That certain smile that turns in that certain way,

When thinking about those days,

Because I remember them, as the time I was reborn.


I let the life enfold me and never looked back.


Now, I’m 24, and this morning I left for work,

Allowing the sunlight to wash over me and my own,

As I got out of bed,

Leaving my girlfriend there to sleep,

I felt more at peace than I ever have just having her there,

Having herself and all that she is,

Just there,

She doesn’t need to do anything,

We don’t need to be doing anything when we’re together,

Just having there, is enough.


I feel myself so in love,

With her,

With myself,

Not with who I use to be,

With who I am now,

With who we are, when we’re together.


If going out taught me something, it’s that we’re all always searching,

Searching for another one,

For that moment,

For that feeling,

For that job or holiday,

Or that big break,

Life is constantly a waiting for other things to come.


But above all,

We’re all searching for that one person,

The one who makes going through it easier,

For the one of whom you do not need to do,

Or to act,

But rather that you act together,

Someone to take the pitfalls,

Someone for you to support, so you have purpose,

Someone to blame for life not going the way you had planned,

But no matter,

Because you got to where you needed to be,

Rather than where you thought you should be.


That’s who she is to me.


Love is not who you may love at the start of the day,

But rather who you love at the end,

After the trials of each day weigh upon you,

And an effort to comply with them has been done,

You are changed, each morning to each night,

And then, the day is over,

And if you can come home at the end and love that person still,

Even after everything,

That’s when you know they are the one.


So I left my girlfriend in our bed to sleep,

Got up,

Got out,

Left the room and went downstairs,

Then just before I left the house,

I looked at myself,

Standing tall at the mirror in the hall way.


My own eyes looked back at me,

I smiled.


And it was beautiful.


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