Vanity

I wanted to write about intimacy, about my ambivalence towards it. My sometime ambivalence. Sometimes I yearn for it, I find myself cleaving towards friends and family members just to belong to them, longing to be part of them, their life, their warmth, them. And at other times? Well, other times I want to run and run from it. The knowledge of them, the too intimate knowledge of them, like the smell of her sometimes. But that was so long ago. I connected the scent of her with my horror of her, they became indivisible. I wanted to write about intimacy, they way I long for her to want to know me, to show me something like specialness, but she does not, cannot, will not, who knows? And I cannot and should not ask it of her. It came to me yesterday, just let it be. It is good enough. We want more from her than she does of us. Is it so unusual? It is a fantasy, either way. And now we have this gift to share, it is a way in. It was the same with her, she was soft then, less bitter, less razor-edged. I wanted to write about intimacy but my printer has broken and I am thrown. Technology does this to me, always. I try to reign it in. To pull back from the fluster. All will be will. I’ll sort it, he says. And he will. But I will have to set it up. Can you get the same one? Am I alone in this panic. Richard Sennett writes about how we have to work with and drive machines we don’t understand, haven’t made or built. Yes, and I truly struggle with it. I want to know why they break, what am I doing wrong?

No rain when I walked. Coming back down Llanbadarn Road I saw a road sign lit up red, reflecting the back lights of lorry that had just driven past. It stayed red for minutes after the truck had gone. Blood red, it had absorbed the hue and was sharing it back. A sign warning of temporary lights for a school. Red pulsing in the darkness. The rain has now come and I have to go out to work soon. Soon.

Comfort. I crave it in this dark. The smell of bread is enough. I walk back past the bakeries. Two of them. Slater’s and Pelican. I peer into the steamed up windows and see the blue light of the fly traps hanging above the doors.

He tells me of an article by a writer in the I where she has to say which character from fiction she is most like. She chooses Dorothea Casaubon. She calls her do-goodiness vanity. I didn’t see her as vain, he says. No, me neither. But perhaps she is right. Perhaps she is. Does it matter? Really?

I’ll sort it. Don’t worry.