Michael Keenaghan ~ Words of Love

February 18, 2007

Hello, Ruth.

You’re surprised, aren’t you. Me, putting it in writing. Perhaps you thought I wouldn’t contact you atall, I’d stay way, crawl under a rock and die maybe. But come on, you know me, I’m not like that. London might be a big place, easy to get disappear in, vanish like a ghost, but let’s be realistic now, I’m not going anywhere. I mean, where would I go for a start? There’s nothing else out there for me, no other life, you know that.

You’re just trying to teach me a lesson. Punish me. And fair enough, I see your point. I was wrong. I admit that, shouldn’t have done what I did. Violence is unacceptable, of course it is. I’m not disputing that. But I’m fine now. I’ve seen to it, I’ve did what you said. Ruth, you were right: I did need help. Stress, my God, it’s like a mind-bending drug. But that’s sorted now. It was just a blip. I’m not perfect, I admit that, but come on, we’re all human, you’re not averse to the odd tantrum yourself, we all are. But no, there’s no excuses. None atall.

I just want to say sorry. I’ve had a lot of time to think about it all. Three months now. That one night flashing through my head like a nightmare. That person, Ruth, that monster, it wasn’t me. Something clicking in my mind, sending me crazy. Wrong, so wrong. I see you lying there in the state I left you… and I just want to hug you and nurse you and soothe you. Kill the person that did it.

Well, Ruth, listen: I think I finally have. This last week I feel like I’ve woken up and seen the light. I’m ready to put it all behind me. I think we both should. I’m ready for things to be normal again now. As they were. I mean, of course you’re still angry, I understand that. But let’s call a truce. No more games. No more sadism, Ruth.

Fuck this. This isn’t sounding right. Got to get the words right, tell you how I feel. Can’t fuck this up. Because I know what you’re doing, Ruth. You’re torturing me. That’s what you’re doing. Your little game. Torture.

But listen. I’m close to you, you know. Even now, so close, sitting in our cafe, that place on Kingsland Road; you know, just around from the flat. Our flat, Ruth. You might be at work now – 1.30pm, definitely – but I still feel close to you. This is our place. Where we used to go. All those Sunday mornings here, having breakfast, reading the papers, no rush, just being together. Then maybe we’d have a browse around Brick Lane, the markets, go to a pub, or who knows, maybe go back home, back to bed, the two of us, together. 

That’s the way things are meant to be, Ruth. This – life now – it isn’t normal. I’m living in a single room, shared bathroom, shared kitchen, hate the place, hate the people. It’s nowhere near here but you gave me no time, nothing, it was all I could find. But don’t worry, I’m not there much. I’ve even started taking days off work. Without you I just can’t concentrate. They keep calling me in, saying they’re concerned, that I’ve become quiet, remote, telling me they care about me, just want to help me. But I’m not stupid. I know all they care about. Performance. That I’m not buckling down, bringing the clients in. They don’t give a fuck about me. I’ll be out of there soon, I just know it. Who cares.

But it’s all wrong, all so unnatural. Like the world has shifted balance, thrown me aside. Laying out your photographs on the bed each night, making a shrine, masturbating for hours, trying to draw you near, will you to me. It’s not normal, Ruth, not normal. It shouldn’t be that way. I shouldn’t be living like this. Now, for example, hours to kill and I’m waiting for you, waiting for that glimpse. I’ve started watching you, you know. Did you know that? Every day. Watching you get out of the taxi and walk into the flat. 

You don’t get the bus anymore. Why not? And you’ve changed your email, phone number, even changed the locks. Too extreme, Ruth, too extreme. There’s no need for that. I hide across in the bushes of the park, or sometimes up close, in the side alley, and I see you, pulling the blinds, see the lights go on and off, see it all. Do you think I enjoy that, Ruth, out there in the cold each evening, on my own, creeping about in the bushes in the shadows like a nonce? Of course I don’t. I hate it.

But I can’t believe what you’re doing, Ruth. Never thought take things this far.

Even to broach the subject fucking disturbs me, makes me want to tell myself it’s all a mistake, it isn’t true.

Ruth. Listen. I know about him. I’ve seen him. He visits, two, three times a week, climbs out of a cab, just like you. Or sometimes – and this really gets me – the two of you come out of a cab. Who is this man, Ruth? Do you work with him. Is he a work colleague? But you’ve changed your workplace too, something else to throw me off, so who knows. Maybe you met him in a bar or a club. He walked up to you, a stranger, and you said yes straight away just to try and hurt me. That makes you a slag, Ruth, you know that don’t you? And you know what happens to slags. They end up slaves, beaten black and blue by these bastards day in day out every single fucking time. Look at the statistics, Ruth: one slag dies a week at the hands of a violent partner, violent bastard; I don’t agree with it, you know, but real life, it happens.

We’ve had our ups and downs – fair enough – but we’re different, we care for each other, love each other. Nobody else loves you, Ruth. You know that. He probably thinks you’re overweight, ugly, feels repulsed every time he touches your skin, but he’s just using you for sex, using you like a piece of meat. Believe me, Ruth. I’m right about this. Because you know you’re ugly, don’t you. Know you’re fat. I might not think so – I don’t see you that way atall – but everybody else does. They see the truth. Fat, ugly, repulsive.

And that stranger, I’ve seen him, the cockiness of him, paying off the driver and heading along the path, up the steps. And you, letting this bastard into our home, our bed. Do you honestly think I’m going to let this impostor get between us this way, destroy everything we’ve got? No way, Ruth, never.

Don’t worry. I know what I’m going to do. I’ve thought about it quite alot. It seems the only way – because I know how things go, these kind of people get possessive, don’t want to let go. I know what type of person we’re dealing with here. First possessiveness, then violence, you wait and see. It’s true, men are all the same; most of them anyway. You don’t know what you’re getting into.

There’s only one way. He’s going to have an accident. Walking along the path before he gets to the steps. Prick. Cabs everywhere, frightened to walk the streets of Hackney, I’ll show him. Get him right on the garden path. Instrument to the back of the head – whack, bash his brains out. Or maybe use a knife, again from behind. No, fuck that: let him see who he’s dealing with – he won’t be getting up again, will he. There you go: straight in the heart. Grab his phone, wallet, go. It’s those youths again, those gangs, seeping out of the estates and bringing terror to the residential streets. Man dead. Terrible. Another Hackney statistic.

I’ll fucking do it, Ruth. I’m not joking. I’m thinking about it right now. Relishing the fucking thought. You’ll see. 

Michael Keenaghan lives in North London. His writing has appeared in Scarecrow, The Beat and Laurahird.com.

Visit him at www.myspace.com/michaelkeenaghan  

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