* 200 articles. Two years. Whelk. The best of Upsideclown. Might be reprinted.

Having and losing

31 October 2002
Matt gets lost in London

Work at the time was the bookshop of the British Library and Katie started working one Monday morning. "Hello!" she said. "Hello," I said, and also: "Shall I show you where to leave your coat?" because it was raining that day too. Although it was just a shower, and in the evening it was still bright and blue and warm so we walked to Starbucks to buy coffee.

London in the early summer isn't nearly so swarmish. People dart about still, but they're lighter in the air so going down the street is like striding through a cloud of blossoms, or butterflies, buffetted out of the way by the slightest breath just ahead of you.

I'm not sure what having cancer means, in much the same way as I'm not sure what having a girlfriend means. Or not, as the case is now. It's certainly not the same as having housekeys. Cancer definitely isn't, because you can't lose that in a pub by mistake like with keys, but on thinking maybe a girlfriend is. In my case, yes it is. This is pretty much a year and a half ago, during the summer again, and along with my mobile phone and my keys I left a piece of Katie at the pub and David accidentally took that piece home.

We slept on his floor that night. Katie and I arrived back at the flat and stood on the street while I searched my pockets and she got angrier. In the end I used Katie's mobile to phone David to ask if he'd seen the keys and he hadn't but offered the floor of his front room to crash. Which we did, both of us cold, and Katie facing away from me, her lips white and tight.

And that's how my girlfriend, my ex girlfriend, came to go back to the place of my old schoolfriend the first night they'd met, a milestone that'd taken her and me six months - from British Library to Tottenham Court Road - to reach.

In retrospect she wasn't angry, only hiding her eyes which no longer held that picture of me. Maybe her eyes hadn't changed however, and it was just how I saw them.

The next day we went to the zoo where Katie didn't laugh at my jokes but did at David's, and to a bar which I had to leave early because my stomach hurt for the first time. Katie didn't come home until 2, but had had a good time.

I kept the dogs and didn't bother putting David's number into my new phone. People always say they're sorry when they find out I have this disease, but I tell them it's okay: It's not something I have, it's something that has me. And if it's sunny, or raining, or I can smell the smoke of roasting chestnuts I feel a burst of nostalgia for the moment and my skin tingles all over.

When I return to the flat from my clinic I crouch down and the dogs crowd me, shoving and licking my face. I tell myself it's the cancer making my stomach feel heavy, my arms full of moving, stinking hot doggy life, and that one of the glands that the tumours have mushroomed out of has been squeezed into releasing chemicals into my blood, and that's why I'm beginning to cry.


This is the fucking archive

Current clown:

18 December 2003. George writes: This List

Most recent ten:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
(And alas we lost Neil, who last wrote Cockfosters)

Also by this clown:

4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
23 October 2003. Matt writes: Topology
2 October 2003. Matt writes: Haunted
8 September 2003. Matt writes: The Gardener's Diary
21 August 2003. Matt writes: The Starling Variable
31 July 2003. Matt writes: Two stories
14 July 2003. Matt writes: What is real?
23 June 2003. Matt writes: Mapping and journeys
29 May 2003. Matt writes: Extelligence
5 May 2003. Matt writes: Religious experiences
17 April 2003. Matt writes: Seeing the Light
27 March 2003. Matt writes: Flowering
10 March 2003. Matt writes: Climax state
10 February 2003. Matt writes: The Role of Cooperation in Human Interaction
20 January 2003. Matt writes: The same old subroutine
2 January 2003. Matt writes: New beginnings
9 December 2002. Matt writes: Packet Loss
18 November 2002. Matt writes: Wonderland
31 October 2002. Matt writes: Having and losing
10 October 2002. Matt writes: Trees of Knowledge
19 September 2002. Matt writes: The online life of bigplaty47
29 August 2002. Matt writes: Divorce
8 August 2002. Matt writes: How to get exactly what you want
18 July 2002. Matt writes: Eleven Graceland endings
27 June 2002. Matt writes: Listopad, Prague 1989
3 June 2002. Matt writes: Engram bullets
6 May 2002. Matt writes: Sound advice
15 April 2002. Matt writes: How it all works: Cars
21 March 2002. Matt writes: Proceeding to the next stage
25 February 2002. Matt writes: Spam quartet
31 January 2002. Matt writes: Person to person
7 January 2002. Matt writes: All for the best
13 December 2001. Matt writes: Life
19 November 2001. Matt writes: Giving is better than receiving
25 October 2001. Matt writes: Ludo
1 October 2001. Matt writes: Gifts, contracts, and whispers
6 September 2001. Matt writes: The world is ending
13 August 2001. Matt writes: The Church of Mrs Bins
16 July 2001. Matt writes: Things I Don't Have
25 June 2001. Matt writes: Fighting the Good Fight
31 May 2001. Matt writes: Code dependency
7 May 2001. Matt writes: Up The Arse, Or Not At All
5 April 2001. Matt writes: The increasing nonlinearity of time
19 March 2001. Matt writes: Hit Me Baby, One More Time
22 February 2001. Matt writes: Space, Matter, Cities, Sausages
29 January 2001. Matt writes: Truth in Advertising
1 January 2001. Matt writes: Six predictions for tomorrow
7 December 2000. Matt writes: You must reach this line to ride
16 November 2000. Matt writes: The truth about the leopard
23 October 2000. Matt writes: Shopping mauls
28 September 2000. Matt writes: Heavy traffic on the road to Utopia
4 September 2000. Matt writes: Sixty worlds a minute
17 July 2000. Matt writes: You, Me, and Face-space

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