Living with the Truth Stranger than Fiction This Is Not About What You Think Milligan and Murphy Making Sense

Wednesday, 28 June 2017


A Voice to Need

(for J.)

I lay on my bed last night,
grafted your face
on a past we could never have

and filled it with memories –
only good ones –
where all the rows ended in love.

But the images were stills,
just photographs
of a dream waiting to happen.

I miss you so much.

10 July 1994
How did we get here? I could’ve asked that question more than once over the years. Mostly I wouldn’t have been able to answer it though. I don’t think you can put it down to not paying attention. I don’t think that’s it. I just think it’s hard to isolate the key moments that lead up to whatever “here” we’re on about. I have no idea how J. became so important to me. She was always… well, not “always” but for a long time… there in the background, on the periphery of my life but when did she take centre stage? When I can answer. It was 1994. How’s not so easy. Even with the gift of hindsight it’s hard to answer. We were just suddenly there for each other. When I think about who she was to me prior to 1994 “stills” is as good an expression as any to describe it. She didn’t have an active part in my life. I can picture her there—“picture” as in “photograph”—but that’s it. 

I find the choice of tense in the third line interesting. I don’t write of a past we never had but of a past we could never have suggesting that the present we were experiencing would never turn into that kind of past and, in truth, it never did.

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