DOUG’S TALES
IT’S JULE’S FAULT!

*warning - Adult content*

“It’s Jules’s fault”
Through the covers.
The gap-toothed whining prostitute has woken me up by screeching outside my window for Bruce, her drug dealer.
I know it’s about half past two, because I’ve just heard the plastic splat of the daily newspaper being thrown over the gate and onto the bricks

I’ll be awake for a while now. That’s how it works with me. Ginger cat is covering my chest and rumbling with all her weight. Her tail is lying across my face. I blow it off but its pointless as she just puts it back. She’s lain like this practically every night for about ten years now. I rub my fingers stiffly across the top of her head, and it’s easy to picture her flattening her head and ears, as she always does, and her rumblings get even louder.

 

The gate next door is opened, and I can hear her talking with Bruce through his window. I try to hear how’s tricks, but I can’t, so my thoughts just run loosely.

 

I’m wondering if the person you think most about is a fair description of the person you love. She’s lying next to me.Just like she has, since before this cat, and even the one before that, whose name I can’t remember. I’ll tease her in the morning. There’s a noisy wind outside, making the leaves sound like rain, and every so often there’s a cold touch that slips through the curtains that the blanket would negate. But she’s taken them all and wrapped herself up, and from somewhere inside her cocoon, and once in a while a gentle snore escapes.

 

Perhaps love means that you lie quietly and still next to that person, until finally they move, and only then can you quickly ease out some more of the blanket. It must be. Also, I know her work’s been exhausting, her best friend is emigrating in a week, so I think I can afford to just quietly lie here for a while and don’t even chance waking her up. Also her quiet little snores make me smile.

 

My thoughts roll on, and now I’m thinking about an old friend of mine. There’s things about his life that have made me jealous but lately I know he’s been trying to face some difficult things that have made him uncomfortable and unfairly judge himself. I care about him, and I know he’s struggled for some time now. I know that a few of us have tried to just remind him that we’re around, that we care, we’ve also not so subtly tried to get him to come out with us, to try to relax, and escape his demons for a while.

 

Earlier tonight his expressions had made me react, and that reaction now led my thoughts. The phrase ‘to reveal is to confront; to confront is to release;” i’m not too sure about the next bit. I’m thinking maybe that to release your restrictive thoughts is to then rebuild them, but I think I might be missing a step.

 

I’ve followed this train of thinking and similar thoughts very often now. I’ve tried to self-analyze and reveal to myself the moments that have shaped my behaviors, and the behaviors which have shaped the pivotal moments.

I often find myself thinking that all i need to do to find a blissful inner nirvana would be to accept my failures, and just let everything slide. But those memorable hooks are dug deep into my metaphoric psychological flesh, and like Hemingway’s beautiful, majestic, destructive fish, this old man can’t escape. The Hemingway reference is sparked by a slightly deeper rumble from her, which makes me suddenly wonder how loudly his mighty chest and many cigarettes must have made him sound when asleep.

 

I’ve even tried to confront my own demons. There’s the slight, easier ones that just scratched, but there’s too many that come to me in moments like this.

Most of these hinge on past partners; some lovers-some not. There’s some I’m okay with what happened, or what was said, or what was not. But something still sticks. There’s several that I’ve built these defining narratives around, like what I’d do, or say If I ever met them again. Even though some have long gone, there’s some that are frighteningly close, and I know that it won’t be long.

Many years ago I spoke to a very deep, very sharp hooker. I said what I thought I needed to say, and she said the things I hoped she’d say, but that hook still hurts.

 

Ginger cats got up, and I can feel her and hear her licking herself. As usual I’m amazed at how heavy she is. I stroke her, running my hand along her spine, until she gets up, stretches, walks over my legs, jumps off the bed and thuds onto the wooden floor. Graceful she’s not. I know she won’t be gone long. She’s always back on me when we get up to make coffee and breakfast each morning.

The various streams of thoughts have joined, and I’m now thinking of how the fantastical narrative of how I remembered her, shaped how I wanted to think of her, which then shaped the way i described her, which then impacted how I remembered her, which began the cycle again. I know that, by now, most of what I say or have said about her, and us isn’t true, I’d still automatically repeat those myths.

I’m thinking of her now, and how there are two distinct stages of our time together. One close, the other apart, both naive, passionate, and ultimately doomed. I can’t actually remember much of our time together. It must mean that that period has happily slid away, the deep snags bit in our time apart. I lied and abused what we had and destroyed what we could have had. I make my excuses. I know that many of them aren’t real, but I still try to make myself believe them.

 

My fantastical narrative has me travelling to her country. It has me attending one of her performances, and after the show, after waiting in some dramatic corner, I’d step out. Her face, just like I remember it of course, wouldn’t quite recognize me, then there’d be an open mouthed, wide eyed, sparkle of surprise. A warm, tight hug, and then friendly coffee with an even deeper, warmer hug goodbye.

 

But that’s not true. I’ll never see her again. And if i did, I’d hide, and try to avoid her looking at me, and avoid any chance of recognizing me. But if we did actually meet, the hugs would be strained, with a little more than a slight distance between us. I know I’d cry. I know that I’d try to explain the reasons I’ve thought of over all these years. But I know she’d just look back at me, and she’d simply know that it’s all just bullshit, and that I was simply a stupid and insecure liar, who had hurt her, when she was probably at her most vulnerable.

 

Our conversation would be stilted, stiff, our sentences short. We’d shake hands, hug even more awkwardly, say something about how good it felt to hook up after so many years, and how we’d definitely keep in touch.

 

But we both would know that we wouldn’t.

 

She moves a little and i gently ease a little of the blanket out. She grumbles a little, but almost immediately I can hear that she’s fast asleep.

 

Another thing I learnt a long time ago how important it is to realize that you can’t actually do anything about your past. Because it’s made you who you are now. And if I’d said yes back then, I wouldn’t be here now. And here, right now, is the only place I can ever be, and I want to be here, even though the gate next door is rattling again as Joey’s mother comes out onto the road, and she starts arguing with the whining lady about some cigarettes, and now Denzil’s started shouting at them, and they are shouting back at him to shut up so that they can sort out who stole the last two . And even though I can hear Ginger Cat clawing loudly at the couch in the lounge, and even though I’ve only got enough blanket to almost cover my leg.

 

My thoughts don’t end with a snappy full stop of course. Now I’ve got a line from some song stuck in my head, annoyingly endlessly repeating the words: “It started with a kiss, how did it end up like this..”

My trick in moments like this is simply to mentally practice my batting. I work through the full 360, off front and back foot. I normally start yawning when I start to tuck rising balls off my hips down to fine leg for two. I don’t think I’ve ever made it to a scoop over the ‘keeper for four yet.

I’ve just put my pads on, when Ginger Cat jumps back on the bed and as always slumps heavily onto my chest, and starts rumbling almost immediately. I don’t want to wake her up, so before long her soft tail is lying across my upper lip, and my efforts to blow it off simply are not working. Sarah rolls over and pulls the blanket back onto her. Denzil’s yelling at them about making him yell which will make him wake up the baby, and they should just go up back to the road and leave him alone.

Me? I’ve just taken guard, i’m leaning forward, weight on my front foot. my chin’s tucked into my shoulder.I’m telling myself to get forward. It’s not going to bounce. My bottom hand barely touching the handle. It’s sunny, not much of a breeze, there’s a nice grassy covering, with just a little sparkle of dew.

Dale Steyn’s getting ready to bowl from the Old Fort End. Just relax, keep it simple, I’ve faced him hundreds of times.

This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events, is purely coincidental.

The author

Nick Miles has produced an extensive body of work over more than twenty years of work in various areas of creative writing, having worked commercially as a Copywriter and Editor in for Advertising and Marketing Agencies, through to having had several of his fictional works published.

Nick counts his studies within the fields of Psychology, Philosophy, History and Classical Literature, coupled with his love for travel to be his greatest source of inspiration.

He lives with his partner Sarah, and their dog Nandi.