Roger lived in a two bedroom bungalow, left to him by an uncle he had never met.
It was only when Roger returned home from the military, when the war was over and soldiers wanted nothing more than the quiet, predictable life, was he truly glad his uncle had willed it to him.
His life thereafter had all been one, particularly long, Sunday afternoon. Until it all became too quiet.
At present, Roger hadn’t left his house in 9 months and 3 days. He hadn’t intentionally become this way, it just happened, very gradually, like to growing of the grass in his now jungle-like yard.
Of course, he enabled it to happy with 2-year supply of food he kept in the basement. But he’d been in the habit of keeping such a supply since he came home from his war and could hardly stop now. Roger was sure that the day he finished off his supplies would the very day that the Russians invaded, or someone else from one of those foreign countries they were at war with nowadays.
And like any good soldier, he also kept a well-varied supply of pornography, for what he like to call, “Polishing off the old soldier”.
Despite his ability to tolerate routine, it only took Roger 9 months to grow bored of himself.
He needed a change. Obviously going outside was an option he wanted to avoid. But what if someone could come to him? Not the Veteran’s Aid people who tried to “help” him. No, a real person with whom he could have a real conversation. It was an interesting idea.
And so, Roger decided to have dinner with himself. He extended the invitation to the reflection in the hall mirror and arranged a time for that afternoon.
The dishes that he had been re-using without washing thoroughly would now need to cleaned. And he set about the task with a military proficiency.
When the clock showed noon, Roger marched to his bedroom to confront his wardrobe. And after a long battle, he decided on his birthday suit.
At the foot of his wardrobe he spotted an old pot of rogue. He had kept it as a souvenier from an encounter of his, with the Parisian prostitution scene.
Opening it, he found the rogue to be hard and caked. So he smeared it across his bare chest and added stripes to his cheeks, like war-paint. It was a symbol of being prepared, to Roger at least.
Like so many guests, Roger’s company arrived early. And he was embarrassed to find that they had both worn the same outfit, or lack of outfit. But he would not let this be an omen for their meeting. Instead, he made a joke of it, “Snap!” he half shouted.
“I see what you mean,” replied his guest, “Quite the coincidence.”
“Well, great minds think alike eh?” said Roger, hoping to appear charming.
“His guest seemed unimpressed, saying, “If we were truly great minds, we would have brought dates” and reached his hand to his pockets, only to find he had none.
Roger at once felt rather bashful, “I did,” he lied, “I did invite a date.”
“I’m not interrupting you two am I?” came the reply.
“Oh no. She cancelled on me at the last minute. You know how it is with women eh?”
“Quite,” replied his guest.
“Well, you’d best follow me into the kitchen, or the old soldier’ll shrivel up out here.” Roger laughed, “Are you a military man yourself?” he added.
His guest replied in the negative, leaving Roger feeling a great deal disappointed. He had hoped to pass the time by swapping stories of their army days. What would they talk about now?
“Would you like a drink? I have whiskey here and brandy in the basement.”
Roger wished he hadn’t mentioned the brandy. He would have to make sure his guest didn’t follow him to the basement and see how he passed his pathetic time.
He thought of General Thornwaite, his leader once upon a time and how ashamed of him the General would be.
Roger loved that man. If he’d been just little bit more sure of himself back then, he could have told Thornwaite how he felt. Roger remember the weight of his General’s head and shoulders, just the two men alone together. He should have told him then, but he couldn’t believe his General would really die, not him.
“Whiskey will be fine,” said his guest and Roger set about pouring whiskey for one.
Of all the things
I have but do not own,
You, are my favourite.
The things I own
are nothing in comparison.
The things I do not have
are unimportant, when I have you.
Of all things,
You are my favourite.
She had three children and she had none,
She was divorced and she was married,
to a man, to a woman,
She was a worshipper of all gods and of none,
She went out to work and she stayed at home,
She was a man, she was a woman,
And they, were feminists.
- Men can be feminists too (kentlabourstudents.com)
Those of you to whom engagement is an act
and not just a marital status,
Those of you who are cleaning up the word feminist
and giving it a public airing,
Those of you who have worked hard to work,
Those of you who entered education
over someone’s dead body,
Those of you who weren’t afraid to be Mrs.
and those of you who weren’t afraid not to be,
Those of you who did the right thing,
not just the expected thing,
And did the right thing,
even when it was the expected thing,
Those of you shaping roles for people,
and not shaping people for roles,
Those who like a quiet revolution,
Those who care for both sides and the edge of every coin,
Those of you who will be and can be
nobody but yourselves,
Those of you who make me laugh,
make me think,
make me a better man
and a happier one,
I am as a broken thing.
No use have I in all this world.
I was to be discarded
as is the way with broken things.
Then She came and loved me
and I said to Her,
“I have only myself and the will to love you”
and She loved me still.
Of all the things
I have but do not own,
You, are my favourite.
Every wave of the sea that separates,
awash with my love for you.
With the urgency of storms,
my love would lap upon your shores
unrequited and barred entry, were it so.
Merely touching the skirts of your being,
the fringes of your fringes.
Better that, than be stranded out of sight,
unaware of the Isle of You.
Every current, pulling to and fro;
the swaying in between of being close to you
and yet far away.
But these drifting, dragging currents,
these endless waves of feeling,
the tidal waves to weather,
only carry me closer to your shores,
to the very Isle of You.