The Angels are reflected in the water. Dirty faces with sad eyes. Their wings are broken. Their hair matted. When they are close you can smell their decay. Try not to look into the water, it will only remind you of kinder times.
An inexplicable indoor wind whips litter around my feet and bags. A newly docked Coach, it’s hot tyre smell reminds me of the roads back home in Summertime. Though we are deep in November, nearly December. Coaches smell of Summer, years of my childhood on a tourist island where Coaches abound, and their wheels are taller than a young lad till he’s Four or maybe Five. So Summer and Fifty Seaters, forever linked in my mind. This coach ride to Portsmouth Quay side then a boat ride before home, any journey back home for an island dweller a little more of a chore. I remember years ago, I was a little worse for wear. An excited tourist said, “It’s this boat journey that makes the trip to the island special for us” I remember answering, ” It’s what makes it more of a pain in the arse for me” I immediately felt terrible ,I had burst his holiday excitement bubble, but he was ok he laughed, even wished me a good day. In my defense I worked in Portsmouth in those days and took the boat twice a day, by then familiarity and how it reduced my wages had bred contempt. So, when I was taking any longer haul, bloody hell, that bloody boat was the last bloody straw. Well, I say that but the if you didn’t have a car lived not near the bus then you had the opportunity to take the strain of the Train, the opposite of the then current advertising campaign. The island had one Train, a 1950s ex London Tube. It often won the Punctuality Prize, hardly surprising since it just went up and down one line. But that Train was an experience, it lurched around like a Pit Pony let loose in the light, luggage and passengers thrown around it made women and children cry and on occasion grown men scream. From the moment it was mobile it felt like it was coming off the line, but it hardly ever did, it was merely ‘quirky’ the word the guard used to describe it. I hear it’s been replaced now which seems a shame, because for islanders the expression on the faces of the tourists riding the train was often a joy to behold , especially if it was a group of ‘hard’ lads with their ‘birds’ that had swaggered on board.
In 2025 the United States as we know it will cease to exist.
In 2042 I will die, alone and impoverished, in a shoddy facility set up, quickly and haphazardly, to house the elderly and terminally ill.
Between those two events, my wife will die of a medical emergency.
In 2070, or thereabouts, humanity as we know it, the world as we know it, will end.
All of us, in some way, know these things, know of our own deaths, the deaths of those we love, and the inevitable destruction of humanity. Yet we continue to live, rise, eat, work, watch television, follow politics, read novels, play at sports, enjoy music, love and laugh, hate and suffer, as though it really matters. Because, after all, the day-to-day is the only thing that really matters.
Although the day-to-day doesn’t matter in the least. Not in the cosmic infinity of the universe. Not in the cosmic infinity of time.
Cosmic infinity does not matter, does not actually exist. All that exists is the here and now, which, however, do not exist as they are over the instant they can be contemplated. I do not exist. These words, ghostly flickers on a page, do not exist.
I am the only thing that exists, along with my words. I write some kind of record, some kind of meaning, because I have no choice, even though it will all vanish by, or long before, 2070, or thereabouts.
My only potential children were miscarried away in the early aughts. I thought they ought to live. These writings are the closest I have to a child, or children, but will be quickly disappeared.
I cannot stand the thought of the end of humanity, although it is of less concern to me than the death of my wife. I cannot stand the thought of my wife’s death, although it is less final to me than my own death, which I cannot comprehend or actually believe.