No melting hearts today in the blue snows. Just the aftermath of the winds. The kind of winds that re-enlighten your belief in the coming apocalypse. A troll stomping over rooftops and chasing down to you in the damp street. He bellows in your ear leaving a damp splattering of spittle quickly iced by the cold air. Stray twigs torn from trees crunch under foot. You step around them until they become too many, filling the pavement and road in piles and piles of insignificant broken limbs.
“Did you laugh together more than you argued together? And if not do you know why?”
Mazzy flipped the record to it’s forth side and teetered among the clutter in the tiny flat. Immunity by Jon Hopkins. Something stronger was needed to block out the catcall of teenagers in the street.
“We always laughed. We were always stupid. That’s why it lasted so long. I don’t know how to be any other way anymore. All that bickering about things that don’t fucking matter. The most efficient way to load the dishwasher? Nah.”
A quick shake of her head and eyes that strayed into a distance that wasn’t visible beyond woodchip and the first feint patterns of damp. I was persistent though. I knew how he could be.
“But the moods. The dark moods. How did you cope?”
Mazzy looked puzzled. She picked up a mug of tea which had turned tepid. A softer wind was tapping the window. If yesterday he was an angry troll today he was mischievous sprite.
“There’s a tiny bit in the middle of this bit of the record which reminds me of Diamond Mine, just a few bars. Do you know what I mean?”
I waited. Knowing she would settle and answer my question when she’d dispelled these important thoughts.
“I don’t notice them. I didn’t.” A shrug. “You know my family, if nobody’s hitting the roof you enjoy the peace. It’s just grumps with him. I could still make him laugh, that’s the difference.”
Mazzy settled in a beanbag and looked at her tea disappointedly. “What about you, now? Do you get lonely?”
I faltered at the question and rubbed my forehead, trying to work out the creases. It seemed a stupid question. I nodded.
“Everyone does. Don’t they? We’re all alone.”
“But you’re really alone.”
“Like a troll.” I tugged at troll hair which seemed to sprout like dune grasses.
“This bit.” Mazzy pointed to the record spinning on an axis of melodic refrain.
“What?” I’d zoned out of the music. She’s better at multi-tasking than me.
“Reminds me of…”
The scene dissolves in history like all others before it. The young march on into the morning. They know all will not be well, but there’s nothing to do but evolve, grow, be something society didn’t expect it was capable of. You are your own hero, your own catastrophe. Failure doesn’t lie in your bed. You only fail when you hold others back with your backwards mindset and bullying ways. Your poison is malice and you drink it straight from the bottle.
Back to the whispering hum of the dehumidifier removing tears and mould from stained walls. No music or the voice of Mazzy to break its hum drum sound. The lack of television keeps the brainwashed society at bay. Adverts and pop music filtered out. Shelves stacked with more books, music and films than they can hold. Stuff that has fucking meaning. Stuff that draws a portrait of a life before it’s lived. Brain supplements to keep the rot at bay. To help us keep writing. Because writing is all we can do to survive our own minds.
I tear open a letter from Mazzy, out in the Hebrides. I saved it two days because I knew I would need it today.
Although you are not dear.’ She begins….