And so, back. Down. To Earth. Where I belong? This, my home? This desert wilderness of beauty and voluptuousness, this abundance of colour, vegetation, insects and beasts; these cities, these people, these civilisations? This art, these quantities of stuff and rubbish; these tears, these cruelties, these abominations? This joy? These excellences, these wonders? These tastes, these smells, these flavours, these sensualities, these sweet transgressions, these experiences? This catharsis? This messiness, these quarrelsome foibles; these imperfections, these obstacles? And this weather? 

This air that I breathe, this need to do so; these urges, this hunger, this thirst for immersion, this drowning, these rocks on the road, these symbols, these signs? These abstractions? These metaphors, this poetry, this song and this dance? That we make? About what? This love.

Everything suddenly feels disconcertingly real again, and I’m not sure I like it. I’m sure I don’t dislike it, not as such, but I find these certainties confusing. These obligations to respond. These figures of speech, these formulations. These competitions for superlatives. These hyperboles. These headlines, these star-ratings, these ceremonies, these awards. These absurdities. These traumas of rejection or attraction, of interpretation of behaviour of looks and of glances, these whispered words, these games I refuse to play. These rules. These obediences, these categories, these schedules, these expectations. These parochial wordlinesses. This world.

This world perplexes, awes and bewilders me. Here I am, stunned to find myself on it, in it, part of it, and I am momentarily paralysed. This will not last, I feel sure, though why I should feel so I don’t know.

For a long time now I have felt like wading through treacle, slowly, cumbersomely, glued to the ground by a sticky morass that would not let go. There is no escape from gravity in this place, except perhaps on aerial silks or on skis. The former are not for me, the latter very much so. I think me on the mountain, gliding down the glorious white with the Alps in the distance and the molecules in my lungs, and I know what it is to be free. That I know; that, I can relate to. Everything else does not quite make sense. Which is strange: I’ve been learning and trying to understand, but it still is mostly as alien to me as the planets from which I’ve returned, richer in mind yet not much the wiser. At the end of the day there is always the here and now to make something of, and now that I’m here, I might as well make the most of it. Thus I tell myself, over again.

‘Most’ meaning ‘best’: meaning all I can do. What could that possibly be? If I allow my youth up to say about eighteen, nineteen – why not twenty-one: if I allow that to be my formative phase that doesn’t yet count as my adult existence, then I’m now halfway at least through what my adult existence can reasonably be expected to be: I can still look forward, but as much can I, must I, look back. That frightens the hell out of me. That I’m here on Earth, effectively halfway through—way over, if you’re counting from birth—feeling pretty much as I felt right at the beginning, and not having made any impact at all. Not having really moved from the spot. Not having done more than tried, but without ever really succeeding, to take flight. Does that mean it’s too late? Is it ever, can it ever be simply too late? But for what? For some sort of attainment, of what? Of acclaim, recognition, notoriety, ‘fame’? Or even just love? Can love be attained?

“Be not afraid of moving slowly, be only afraid of standing still.” I want to know what the soul is. At a quantum level: the science, the understandable, perceptible, conceptualisable part of existence that is not material, not intelligent, not rational, not emotional; intangible, insubstantial but essential and real. A Quantum Philosophy. I want to know what that is.

That part of me that I can’t see when I look in the mirror and that I can’t choose one of my names to put an identity to, that I can’t express in words—and if I write another million or ten—that I sense is forming and taking shape (without shape, of course), that is there and that others, some others, recognise in an instant (others, of course, never will): that is what interests me, makes me curious to go further, encourages me, yet to delve.

And so I take my cue, once again, and affirm: I’m here now. I might as well make the most of it. Whatever that turns out to be: it probably really doesn’t matter at all, but for my soul—if nothing else—it’s better to sense me alive than just there; more joyful than to reject, to embrace; more gracious to receive what is given with thanks; and wiser to do what I can, but leave for someone else or another time what I can’t; more courageous to take the challenge, than to say no; more human, altogether, after all, to say ‘yes.’

< Mars

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6 Domesticity

Why would anyone not put their milk in the fridge? Is this a male thing; do men, as a rule, not put their milk back in the fridge, whence clearly it came from? It bothers me.

Maxl drinks green milk, semi-skimmed. I don’t see the point of anything semi, let alone -skimmed; the green cap is not for me. I abhor the idea of milk that is skimmed of its fat of its taste of its goodness of its milky nature, as I abhor decaffeinated coffee, artificial sweetener and non-alcoholic beer. They are, as far as I’m concerned, abominations. They are, if not abominations, man-made oxymora. They are the kind of contradiction in terms that I, at the risk of sounding judgmental, find wholly unnecessary. And necessarily unholy…

Maxl pours over his muesli green milk, it actually looks green, the colour is all wrong. It looks wrong it feels wrong it sounds wrong. The word ‘semi’ sounds wrong, as does the word ‘skimmed’.

Maxl pours green milk over his muesli and then leaves the milk out of the fridge for the rest of the day. Although it bothers me, I don’t strictly mind, as it’s his milk, and being green it probably won’t go off as it’s basically waterlike cow juice that has nothing good about it. This milk is no cheese in the making. Also, I’m hardly someone who uses his kitchen in a sanctified manner. I am no chef. Things lying or standing about in my kitchen are generally not in my way.

I don’t mind, but it bothers me, and I wonder what makes a man leave his milk out of the fridge: is it an innate desire, a need to mark your territory with some liquid, signalling your existence?

I’ve never known a woman to leave out her milk; women know how precious milk is, they don’t care for milk that turns yellow and rancid. Men don’t mind yellow and rancid, it’s part of their being.

Maxl leaves his milk out and sometimes, too, his salami. I read nothing into this, I just note it and wonder: what is it that makes men leave their milk out, and, occasionally, their salami. That is all. That, and the fact that it bothers me. That fact bothers me in turn, as I like to think of myself as the kind of person who would not be bothered by anything near so trivial. Does it mess with my sense of territory after all? Or with my sense of order? Or my sense of propriety? It may be the fact alone that it’s green milk, not real milk, that he leaves out of my fridge: I probably deep down feel that my kitchen is being sullied by the presence of fake, pretend milk. Perhaps, even though rationally I know it has absolutely no meaning, it deep down offends me. The way it offends me, deep down, when I find in my fridge bottles of Coca-Cola left by house guests, although they invariably turn out to be useful, as Coke is an excellent liquid for clearing the drain.

I resolve to leave things be as they are and not trouble too much about matters so insignificant such as these. At least, I think, I don’t have to put up with this kind of behaviour for any length of time and I certainly don’t have to own it: we are not in a relationship, we are not cohabiters, we are not even flatmates: he is a guest and the law of hospitality stipulates that he can do with his milk – the top any colour of his choosing – whatever he likes, for as long as he likes, just as long as he doesn’t expect me to endorse or approve it. Which clearly he doesn’t: he’s completely oblivious to absolutely any of this, and he doesn’t even notice if I put his milk back where I think – inadequate and green though it be – it belongs: in the fridge.