It’s on days like this that I regret the fact I frequently go full days without eating. My stomach just hasn’t got much flex. I had to shove food up my neck. I still feel a bit heavy and I’m not particularly inclined to lie down and I probably shouldn’t turn my head. As soon as more room for food is created by the slow working of my stomach acid, I put more in. I’ve consumed the best part of a chicken, and huge amounts of cheese and meaty sausages and coconut potatoes and orange juice carrots and heavy gravy and a thing I improvised with a cabbage and an onion and the Julienne – when I wasn’t even drunk. It’s the first time I’ve used the Julienne since I mangled my thumbs, and it felt like I was a different person. I was wearing a chainmail glove, sober, and using the special handle I usually ignore. It’s actually pretty useful used with respect, rather than just a shortcut to A&E.
I ate most of a tiramisu, apples, saucisson, cheeses, cold cuts, salmon, strawberries, mince pies plus so much more – all in no particular order – just when it occurred to me. But it wasn’t easy. I’m feeling it now…
Even without the belly flex, in previous years my stomach pH has been high enough to cope with the intake owing to the fact that my blood has been mostly alcohol by now. At this time on an average Christmas I’d be slurring benignly having spilt half a bottle of red wine down my shirt and the rest down my throat. It’s twenty past ten. I’d be at the “espresso martini sounds like a great plan” stage – trying to work out how to make the coffee cold as quickly as I wanted it inside me, mixing it in a mug after I had all the gin in all the martini glasses and subsequently lost them on all the windowsills half full.
It’s just me and Hex and the fish, although Brian came round on the bike for a responsible attempt at human connection. He also brought cheese and meat and goodness with him, which we consumed and shared. In fact I’m going to top up my neck with some of his cheese now.
It was really good to just … be with Brian. He met Hex, my little snakey family, and the fishies. We enjoyed the companionable winding down time that we used to find when he was living here in BarclayHook Towers. We consumed the five new Rick and Morty episodes along with all the fatty foods and good chats. Finally, conscious of the fact that I’ve been watching nothing that isn’t animated, I got stuck into the BBC’s His Dark Materials. It’ll take me months to get up to date with it but I’m already finding that it helps me recover from the trauma I experienced having exchanged money for a ticket to “The Golden Compass” in the cinema. Up the BBC, making great telly soon. Nice to see James McAvoy and I’m loving the cast across the board. A good mix of old favourites and less familiar faces, all of them doing sterling work. It’s funny though, every time somebody hugs somebody properly on screen I feel the psychic screaming of this world of shattered intimacy we’ve been dealt suddenly. How long to recover? How long? Sure, nobody will put a hand on your ass unexpectedly. But all the communication that is exchanged in a real proper hug… They are so rare now. I don’t think I realised how much of a part of my communication they were until this situation assaulted them.
When this is over I wanna hug every last one of you properly. The polite bit, the false exit, the return, the bit where it all gets breathed out, the conscious mutual departure, the happy aftermath. The six stages of a hug. Although if I got to stage 4 right now you’d squeeze a tube of compacted food out of my mouth like it was toothpaste.