Confessions of a drinker student abroad

Monday, December 27, 2010

Home II

Laying here, listening to the new Augustana album, feeling pretty mellow, but, as promised, it's time to write some more, do some more painting, hopefully better this time.

The Apple Tree

In her front yard stands an old apple tree, not a large one, but one that was around when the house was built years ago. In the winter blues the tree looks naked and spindly, throwing its shadow about the lawn as if to demonstrate its dominance in this small corner of the world. High above its topmost branches the stars scatter across the night sky, Orion in the east, Cassiopeia above, and to the west the glow from the city obscures the western fairytales. On the porch, just on the edge of this scene sit the boy and the girl. She is sitting in the lone chair, rocking gently back and forth, he sits next to the post, one arm wrapped around it to keep himself warm on this chill night. Between them flash bolts of rose colored electricity, riddled and laden with timidity and curiosity.
As the night wears on Orion treads his weary way across the heavens towards home. As he strode past he turned to look down. The girl no longer sat in the chair, but rather on the step next to the boy. His arm was more determinedly hugged about the post, unwilling to surrender to the impulse the set his heart beating quicker, the urge to simply place his arm about her and hold her safe from all the world. Her hands folded quietly in her lap screamed out to be taken in hand and held. Slowly her head wavered, then came to light gently upon his shoulder. Neither one of them moved, simply sitting there, leaning on each other for support.
Orion smiled to himself, and continued on his way. From his elevated position he could see around the bends that these two could not. Soon they would come to comfort each other, they would sit with an arm around each other when the winter winds blew, in the spring sunshine they would run and play, but by the time he came around again in the winter, they would have forgotten what it was to simply hold hands and let the world turn by them. He closed his eyes as he thought of how they would fall apart for the want of that one truth, but thousands of winking stars hid his emotions from the contented couple below.

Only one tonight, as I am exhausted, and there's only so much I can think about at one time. Not gonna lie, some of the stuff on this Augustana album is just absolutely ridiculously awesome.
It's always tough when you realize you know what you want, and where you hope you're going, but that you have to wait to get there. Oh, well, that's life I reckon. I'm off to dreamland.

"Hold me down sweet and low
Little girl
Hold me down sweet and low
and I'll carry you home"


Sunday, December 26, 2010


Here we are, sitting by the fire on Christmas night. I could regale you with tales of the airports, and my illness, doctors and car rides and candy and gifts, but you know, when it all boils down those things don't mean a lot. What does mean a lot? Togetherness? Bollocks, that's just a word, and even worse it's a word that avoids true meaning in preference of psychological weight. For example, I'm not together with many of the people that mean a great deal in my life. I am with some of the most important ones, but being together with those you care about is usually impossible.

Christmas is that time when we remember, yeah, everything. I remember it all. Not necessarily because of a particular fondness for these memories, or the overwhelming urge to wallow in them, but rather because these are my memories, they are a part of me, and I choose to remember. Without this particular collection of memories I become nothing more than I was a few years ago, and let's face it, that dude may have deserved what happened, maybe not, but it definitely had to happen to him in order for him to become me. And so, it's not a sad night sitting here by the fire, but kind of a happy one. It's a celebration. So, we're going to celebrate, by going back to a crucial night, and looking at some paintings.

The Lake

The courtyard hung out over the lake in the moonlight. The silence of the night is broken by students laughing and splashing out on the dock in the middle. Despite the swimmers it's a cold night, clear and cold, with the stars dotting the sky above, just barely visible through the glow of the streetlights. On the balcony however the only sounds that can be heard are the gurgle of the fountain, and the cool rush of the wind sweeping over the campus.
Seated on a bench near the fountain sit a young couple, her head leaning tenderly on his shoulder. His arm around her draws her in tight, shielding her from the chill night air as best he can. As the moon bathes them in a glow a faint glistening tear rolls down her freckled cheek. As the stars gaze closer they see that it is not alone, and that many tears have woven their way delicately across that soft hillside. Stealing a quick glance at the young man reveals that although his eyes are dry, his lip is trembling, and there is an ache behind his eyes. He draws his feet up under him, and as though his resolve is being pulled from the bricks themselves he gives her one last hug. He stands up, she reaches for his hand, but they both know it's too late. He brushes her hair back behind her ear, and with a murmured word in her ear turns, and walks down the wall to the gate. Her hand hangs in the air, reaching out for him, but he never looks back. Perhaps it was resolve that steadied him, perhaps it was pity, knowing that she needed to let him go, either way, she never knew. She never saw the bruised hand, the scratched knuckles, and the blood left on the stone wall around the corner. She never saw just how wrong he had been all along.

The Cubbyhole

Down the street from the library, across from the Mosque, stood an old house. A grand old house, one that had seen many days of glory and happiness before falling upon hard times. These were not those days. These were the days where the shingles fell off, and beer bottles were thrown on the front lawn. The front parlor that had once been well furnished and comfortable housed a stereo system, and a dance floor. The kitchen held nothing but dirty dishes and half empty fridges. The carpeted upstairs that had once been the residence of wealthy men, was now a ramshackle cross between a dormitory and a bar.
Up the narrow back stairs to the third floor lay a rickety broken door, hanging from its hinges. Through that door lay a dingy apartment, more dishes piled in the sink, more bottles filling the garbage cans. Across the hall from the refrigerator was a small cut out of the wall. About four feet high by 10 feet long, deep enough to pile suitcases, and desks and an old television. Behind a layer of stored materials however one could see the protruding foot of a young man. He lay in a rag tag collection of blankets and donated pillows, sheltered for the night, even for the weekend, from the cold snows, the drunks downstairs, and most of all from the memories locked up in his own room. Soon enough Sunday morning would come, soon enough he would have to leave this sanctuary behind and go back to the real world., soon, but not now...for now, he sleeps in quiet, surrounded by the cast off belongings of a house without care.

There's two for you. I shall try to get more of them down while I have time over break. :) I know I promised you all a lot less angst, well, angst isn't coming, this is just a realistic look at the things which were. A celebration of the reality and forgiveness of this most peaceful night. Merry Christmas to all.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Traveling: Gatwick

Well, fine then. Challenge accepted. I had planned to regale you with tales from Gatwick airport, but the whole I-can't-plug-my-computer-into-the-wall thing kind of dampened that. And there was the Polish, we'll start at the beginning.

Sunday night, I went down to Mass with all of my traveling kit on my back. After Mass I went across the tracks to the Macky for a cheeky pint and watch some NFL to get me in the Muhrican mood. Instead of eating alone I ran into three Cobras who were just there chilling for the evening. So I sat with them and we reminisced about all the happenings of the previous week. You know, the, "My liver hurts, who did we fight on Wednesday, were you there, where were you last night" tales. After a while though it was time for me to go catch my train, and this may sound odd, but having someone to say goodbye to made it kind of tough to leave. I know I'll be back in 8 days, but I'm gonna miss the lads.

So I walked back to the train station at Cathays, managed to avoid stacking it on the icy sidewalks, and waited on the platform for the train. It took me to Cardiff Central, another short wait and I was on my regional train, bound for Reading. I caught a few z's, and listened to music. At reading we had a miserable wait on the cold platform for the train to Gatwick, which was not well sealed, hence not much warmer. So for the next hour and a half I froze to death. At gatwick the south terminal was a bustle of people, the shops were open and every one was walking one in the morning. I caught the shuttle to the North Terminal, it was the complete opposite, it was essentially a campground, different groups all spread out and traveling together.

I found a sneaky cubby behind a check-in booth along the back wall, I climbed i nto this little 3 foot wide nook and slept next to a pillar for a few hours. I woke up in the morning just in time to go queue for checking, went through security, bought myself a fine bottle of Welsh Whiskey at the duty free shop...heh heh, duty. Soon enough our gate was called, and we boarded our plane. Yadda yadda, it's all the same. Then we landed in atlanta, but that's too much to write right now, jetlag+ chunder dragon=sleepytime. will try to keep up better. Cheers.