Thursday, 2 March 2017

Requiem For A Broken Friend On A Night When I Think I Can't Write

I am not up to writing this evening.  I feel like I'm flat-lining.  Tomorrow will be better.

This was free written in a cafe a week ago.  I found some relative safety there after shutting down and failing to function in the wild streets of Sunderland city centre.  It was a very unpleasant experience.  While in that cafe I suffered another unpleasant experience.  As I started to climb the stairs to where the toilets were to be found somehow my chain bracelet got caught on something and it broke.  In such a way that it would be hard to repair.

I wore that chain on nearly every day for eighteen months.  It wasn't meant to be jewellery.  On August 21st 2015 I arrived at Autscape, a conference/gathering for autistic adults.  My first Autscape.  It was there I saw the chains.  In a pile.  Designed to attach to name badges and "interaction badges" worn round our necks.  I wouldn't have dared to use them otherwise.  I wasn't free.  Then I saw someone playing with the pile.  It must have felt so good, not only physically but in pretty much every way.  Later I saw her playing with one of the chains and I felt very jealous because it was what I would have wanted to be doing had I been able to allow myself.  At that point she was told off for stimming with the chain.  Far too much of an autistic thing to be doing at a gathering for autistic adults.  Ooh, I'm a cynic!

Later I played with the chains too.  She led by example.  I followed.  Still later she became a completely awesome friend.  And I wore that chain nearly every day.  The feel of it on my wrist helped.  Playing with it helped.  A lot.  Chewing it helped too although chewing bits of metal isn't advisable.  Fortunately she has since given me plastic bracelets that I wear most of the time.  I chew them everywhere.  At home.  When shopping.  In cafes.  On the bus.  In social situations.  Such stimming is a massive aid to me getting through the days.  I wish I'd discovered it sooner.  In addition to the chewy plastic I also wear a bracelet she made.  It bears the inscription "Autistic Pride" but all in capitals.  I didn't use them here.  Didn't want to be seen as shouting.  My metal chain was a security and a source of relaxation.

And last Monday it broke.  I was in a bad state that day.  I wrote about it that night and a few days later posted what I  had written.  What a day to lose that chain.  I'd improved somewhat by sitting in that cafe.  I had a quiet spot and had already written a piece that I actually think could stand up in performance.  To an understanding audience who don't mind me swearing at them.  And not as a single piece either.  Part of a set so something lighter can be performed afterwards.  Something about happy bunnies and sparkly unicorns.

What follows is not good writing.  I was a right mess when I wrote it.  The writing helped me but that doesn't mean it's good.  However, I am not up to writing tonight so I'm posting it.  It's better than the alternatives.  Something free written in another cafe about philosophy groups.  An atrocious thing written in that same cafe filled with more atrocious dog puns.  Or the five prompts free written from in a cafe today, none of which are in presentable form.  Yet.  Five prompts.  With instructions to write about each for five minutes.  I didn't quite stick to five minutes!

The prompt "garden furniture" turned into some words about garden furniture.
The prompt "Marilyn Monroe" saw her had she not died, playing Sheldon Cooper's mum (although the age might not be quite right) or making cosmology documentaries.
The prompt "Marilyn Monroe" then saw me think about needless possessions, hoarding, and how crazy we are.  Perhaps I'll return to that and transform it into something worth reading.  I don't know what form it will take.
The prompt "The Earth's Core" turned a little strange. So crazy it all went a bit mantle.  But it did explain the earth's rotation.  Incorrectly.  Perhaps I'll return to that too.  A short story seems possible.
The prompt "eagles" turned into a blissful child and adult memory that I recreated when I got home.  Perhaps I'll return to that writing too.  I think something to perform could come from it.  With a prop!  And no swearing at any audience.  Perform it at Edinburgh.  Do the fringe.  Have an audience of one.
The final prompt was "fireworks" and I wrote down seven memories but didn't expand on them at all.  Did not speak of the teacher who had never had a car accident but had witnessed many.  Did not speak of being able to see thirty illuminated red crosses.  Did not speak of Jean Michel Jarre's London concert, or the New Years of childhood, or the time I saw someone hit by a firework at a public display.  I wasn't able to write about such things today.  I think I was worn out from the efforts of prompts two to four.  In any case, I'd run out of drink and my body was informing me of the nearness of lunchtime.

If you do read what follows please don't be worried by the ending.  I was having a bad day and you shouldn't be troubled one bit by the fact that the next day my GP surgery decided to raise up a flag and say that I am at moderate risk of suicide.  Really.  I'm not.  I want a long life.  In any case, more chains are on order now.  And they're different colours.  Deep joy!  Honestly, I'm okay.  Nothing to see here.  Move along.  Move along.

Read on at your own risk.

Requiem For A Broken Friend

Farewell dear friend,
I will try not to weep.  For me.
You died in my hands today.
My fault, my clumsy fumbling,
And you shattered.  Fell to your death
As I walked to a toilet
In an unknown cafe bar.

Farewell dear friend,
Killed so young, by dark tragedy.
Just a day before we two
Might have celebrated together.
Drank a toast to your birth and
The many meetings and meaningful relationships
Begun the moment you breathed
For the first time.

Farewell dear friend.
Eighteen months is too short a life.
But you lived it well
And comforted me through hell
Had wild tales to tell
Then you shattered, fell.
And we, more unfortunate, left behind
Will never hear your metallic voice again.

Farewell dear friend.
Just a cheap chain, or so they said
But my daily companion, continual solace.
My playmate of playmates
Safety of safety
And he who gave me strength.

I wore you.
Four times wrapped on right wrist.
Regaled in your off-colour love.
I wore you.
And in your touch was peace,
The certainty that you would
be the same each day as the last.
I wore you.
And centred around you
The world shrank to coherency.
I wore you.
What now? What the hell
Am I meant to do?

So farewell dear friend?
I killed you. I am to blame.
Not manslaughter.  Chain slaughter.
Have I inadvertently
    killed myself too?
One death leads to another
I can't live alone.

Farewell dear friend.

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