The sound of snow, melting in the dark, dirty, trodden with earth, is so quiet that you can hear its eerie crystalinity pouring, drip by drop, away.
In the darkness is a standing breath with shadows fogging under the moon of the unorange sky. Give me hope, the letters shape in twisted airs. Only the still swinging stars respond: I am the sky, I hope to die.
From the shadows, you can see these things; that is why I can tell you this. You are in my head; we cannot divorce, even though no one says we should.
Snow drops will get trampled underfoot before I and I and I get home, or at least to bed. It has been a weekend full of long hours; I have spoken to nobody.
In the morning, when I walk to work, I think it is a small mercy we have run out of oil. The wind is from the South West, but every day the drift of sound, the strumming hungry hornet’s buzz is less by your roaring ear. One day I shall be able to stroll along the M4 for a few hours peace, like an abandoned railway track. You think this is ridiculous, but I know that you would like the exercise.
The bandstand plays loud in Victorian silence, seen and not heard. The ironwork, painted white, is not the brilliance of blue snow, but has an elegance, the elegance of man. What other virtues can man create, but the geometry, the symmetry, the eightfold straight line?
Do you think there will be crows? I don’t see crows. Perhaps there have been people scaring them away. I don’t see people, that would be unfaithful. They blend into the doorways and pavements. Their voices are just part of the traffic, honking pointlessly. I don’t have time for people; it is time for getting to work.
I am at work. One day I would like to be the CEO. I look at how things work in terms of the Business Model. I learn the nuts and bolts. I can tell you how to do your job better, who should be fired, which computer systems are holding us back.
There is a thick layer of dust on my desk and my colleagues are rude to my face, but today they are ignoring me. This does not affect the Business Model; so, I think it is not so important that my boss tells me he takes their view. I don’t like to upset him by saying that when it comes to the Business Model: They take my view.
You should not argue unnecessarily with your colleagues. I know these things; it is why I would like to be the CEO. I would like to do a good job; then I would like to walk along the M4 staying in B&B. This is vision. A good CEO has vision.
I sit on my own in the corner of the canteen for lunch at 12:15. I look out of the window. You cannot hear the snow melting and the carpet is mocha. There is less snow. Either it is being removed, or it is draining away, or both. People make assumptions. You make assumptions. I look at the framework of the existence of the snow and examine its logical possibilities. If I don’t have time, I let you decide. A CEO needs good instincts – so we need each other.
I have finished all my work for the day by 3pm. Trying to look busy for three hours every day is very dull. I ration my work so I have something to do every day. Being insane is not the same as being driven bonkers. I think this is why senior managers work from home.
When I am a senior manager I will work from home. I won’t even have time for pointless meetings. I shall go to the bandstand and phone people on my vintage Nokia and tell them how to optimise the Business Model. I shall ring them up and tell them what their hourly productivity is and how many hours useful work they do each week. Computers can tell me all these things. Perhaps I will edit their diaries from home and cancel all their pointless meetings where they chat and drink synthetic coffee and say the earth is flat or that perhaps we could sell trifle and paperclips together. I will do it while standing on one leg and they will call me the Balanced Manager.
It is dark outside. Nobody will be able to see me walking home alone. The black is different; it will smell of ice and taste electric; it will spit glacier water into the smooth oily car park, over the historic bitumen, into my face. Walking alone unseen is less dirty.
I write a letter to the governor of the Bank of England. Dear Sir, Why do you set interest rates? Surely you should let the market do this and stick to managing the money supply. You can control rates by money auction or just give up on money and use energy credits.
Although I am right, I have decided it is not prudent to send a letter. If it were prudent to tell him he was wrong, he would already have been told. Instead, I should prepare to take advantage of more crises and prepare the company. You order some stationary: I am not sure if this is because we have run out of pens or because we are building up the company’s balance sheet.
Every evening I wash my cup and put it in the bottom draw of the desk. People don’t talk to me after I start to do this. They must know I am discreetly leaving.
I did not talk to anyone today. This morning, behind me, there was a conversation about nursery. Not having seeded a child, I did not say anything. As I exit the building, as I enter the darkness, I am allowed to be a little sad. I am sad that I will never know, or need to know, anything about nurseries. A gust of wind flings damp drizzle over me and the moment passes away like the solar dome glow of my cheeks.
I struggle home unseen with hunched steps. Do you look pale if nobody sees you? I walk the walk of dark pavements, wet leaves, and puddles where snow once was. The scene dances and twinkles in your rain speckled glasses. The street lights sway and truncate like broken ribbons of molten light. Then power saving kicks in and I walk again in the dark.
My upstairs bedsit is cold. I open the door to be greeted by the never quite familiar smells of darkness and mice, old laundry, cheap trainers, and unaired boiled bedroom. You are not impressed, but I wonder if it is romantic, Dickensian. I suspect you of thinking I am a dickhead, so I say nothing. I switch on the light.
The curtains are still drawn, so I get changed in front of the magnolia walls. I wear my sleeping track suit. You hang the work suit up in the pine wardrobe. When you close the wardrobe door the structure gyrates before settling like a cheap date that you might see if you went to a television show.
For supper I boil pasta shells for eleven minutes in the therma kettle. I add a jar of tomato and basil sauce. Even as I am eating it, I realise I don’t know what basil tastes like. It is from the depot and it tastes like a depot. There is utility and starch in equal measures.
I would like to wash up, but I feel too bloated and too tired. When I am CEO I won’t have apathy, but I will have a dishwasher. You think about how old I am and feel alarmingly unconvinced. This is because you lack vision. You lack vision. I lack energy. You sat me in the chair with a glass of ginger wine. It is my moment of weakness.
I sit and remember the bad things that have confused me. I chase away one thought, but another comes. This is me time. I need it to relax. I need to remember who I am.
I switch off the light; clothed, I get into bed. The duvet sleepsack entwists me. The air is hot and stale. My joints burn. I cannot breathe. You get up and open the windows.
I lay in bed with the windows open, listening to the rain. It grows heavier, swishing with the wind. I wonder if it would be beautiful for me to masturbate, perhaps to stand at the window and look out at the rooftops, a jisming scowling half gnome demi-god. You stop me, you are too calm. Nowadays you need it to be desperate, repeatedly after tears, your face hidden by the duvet. This is not that moment. It is at times like this that I realise how far apart we have grown.
The bliss is chased away by sirens coming to arrest it. Perhaps I have been asleep. Distant police drift off into a far reality. You close the windows and we return to a warm bed full of unremembered dreams.