But I've climbed it, sort of, in drunken stumbles, my second finished "book" since I last completed an earlier abomination four years back. That'll never see the light of day in case you're wondering, while this new one will only get released provided my three wonderful reviewers think it's worth it.
I wondered as I neared that final paragraph if I'd cheer or feel relieved but I didn't, and I didn't. This was due to not really writing a final paragraph as such, as I couldn't make that work so I threw it out and left it ending on the penultimate chapter before buggering off to buy a good bottle of scotch.
That's been my life this year; writing, or trying to, and regaining some of the weight I lost back in 2011-12. And nothing else has really happened. My cat has taken to pissing on my lovely sofa just in time for my repayments to be over and for it to officially be mine (the sofa, not the cat), and my ex-girlfriend who I thought I'd never hear from again contacting me out of the blue. She even re-friended me on fucking Facebook years after I'd had enough of her cheerful indifference and unfriended her in a pique of common sense. And of course once those transatlantic lines of communication were reopened I couldn't help myself, going so far as to call her one evening to see how she was (she was fine), while she had nothing to say in return. She probably saw the pre-2011 photos my sister stuck on my wall, the ones of me looking like a bearded elephant crowbarred into a cheap grey suit and grimacing at my pitiable descent while I went back to pining all over her. I now regret sending her a text tonight to ask "How's my little disinterested hedgehog?" which she queried before remarking 'FABULOUS!' in capitals because she likes her new job.
So I stopped texting before she started to go on about all the lovely men she's surrounded with, like she did on her last text to me in June.
It turns out now that I've stopped writing, it had made me forget that my life is atrophying quicker than a beached whale on a Japanese beach under a hot sun. I had a list of things I intended to do as soon as I stopped ~ watching the last 'Breaking Bad's and 'Mad Men's were top of that list, but laziness has prevented even that, as well as the fact that I can no longer get access to my
The last thing I expected having finished the damn thing was feeling lost and a little sad. This made things even worse when my Mum called me at work two days ago. I hadn't expected her call for one thing.That morning, thanks to my ex-girlfriend's reappearance, I've been visiting fucking Facebook way more than I used to and left a status update, an uninteresting coded reference to Daft Punk as I mentioned wanting to stay up all night to get a pity shag, "exactly like the legend of the Phoenix."
My mate Ian, ever the wag, queried the gender I was hoping to nail. Elif said that was better than nothing. And my Mum told me to call her friends' daughters who were equally single and desperate, adding publicly that I needed to overcome my shyness. Which was nice. Then there were some insults and my Mum spamming the comments (including a complaint that I'd blocked her for some reason), followed by my gay cousin saying he could get me laid at a Soho gathering. My mistake had been to enquire about it. I wanted to know if it was fluffy, happy gay with hordes of faghags sniffing around, and not bald, bearded leather fistmonsters chained against the wall in Club Rectum. Because, you see, I like faghags. They avoid charmless male cliches like me and gravitate around gay men I can pretend to be, dazzling everyone with my wit while the girls interest in me grows as they assume I'm gay and unobtainable. (This technique has yet to work, but I live in hope.)
Not long after I tell cousin 'Derek' that the gayest I'm willing to get is chatting about fashion, music, romcoms and being surrounded by faghags, Mum calls.
'Hullo Mum,' I said as I stood up from my desk and walk out of the office for privacy.
'Right,' Mum says without so much as a hello back. 'Tell me straight. ARE YOU GAY?'
I squint in confusion. She doesn't sound like my Mum. She sounds angry, with a pinch of threatening.
'You heard,' she snapped with none of the usual love in her voice. 'Answer me.'
'Are you serious?'
'Of course I'm serious,' she barked and I was stunned.
'Jesus christ, Mum!'
I wanted to reply 'Fuck you!' and I would've if it was anyone else. All I could think of was the time Louis Theroux was asked by neo-Nazis if he was a Jew, and the fact that pedestrians were walking past and it would've been demeaning to bleat, 'Mum, I'm not gay!'
It's one of those questions you can't say no to. The person positing it already thinks you are and "No" just sounds like denial, so you can't win either way unless you actually are gay. Even worse, being judged so negatively, so harshly and with such vitriol by my own mother stung to hell. I can't imagine there'd be a difference in her tone if she yelled to say someone saw me kicking puppies to death in the street, or she'd found child porn on my phone.
'There's no way I'm having this conversation,' I said, adding, 'and stop reading the Daily fucking Mail!'
I went back to my desk utterly divorced from reality as my paranoid little brain, for the first time since college, started questioning how masculine my voice sounded on the phone, or if my wrists seemed a little limp as I pointed at something work-related and spirit-crushing to my colleague. I lasted twenty minutes before composing an email to Mum. I admitted, after telling her I found her call horrible, offensive and judgmental, that I have no sexual attraction to men, and I've never had either a brief or a long-term relationship with men, and neither did I intend to. I ended it thanking her for making me feel even more uncomfortable in my own skin than I already am. She wrote back to apologise. She said she loved me and always would no matter what, which annoyed me as that would've been her (eventual) reply anyway had I said, 'Yeah, you got me Mum, I'm a big fat gay.'
Mum feels bad now. She invited me over for dinner tonight but I told her I didn't want her "guilt-pasta". Instead I had a kebab before composing this, downed a couple of scotches along the way, and when I stagger off to bed later tonight I fully intend to fantasise about oiled breasts (womens') as I have sex with my hand.
I turn forty soon. This is fucking bullshit.