I have a ratty side and a nice side. Most of my friends only want half of me, but you have the wisdom and courage to embrace the whole me. Is that love? Maybe not, but whatever it is it feels fucking good. Being on my best behaviour is a real bore: trying to be polite, courteous and respectful is no easy ride, when inside there is this rage, this fury that has no outlet. It whirls like a seething cesspit.
I used to smile and say “please” and “thank you” to all the customers. They had just walked all over me and I’d say “Have a pleasant day”, when what I would really like to have said is: “fuck off, you boring old witch!”
Then there is you, you old toerag! OK, it is not a sex thing. I don’t think – cor, she’s a bit of alright, given half a chance I would like to take her to heaven and back. It is different to that – it is like I can be me, whoever me is. I don’t have to play the part: I don’t have to bother to go through the usual filtering process of:
Can I really say that? Or will they be offended if I say that?
With you there is a letting go. Even if I scream that you are ‘a whore’, you will still be there.
Is this love? Maybe not, but whatever it is, it feels fucking good. It is like with you there is a safety net; with you there are no boundaries of acceptability, no insult too demeaning. There is no deal-breaker. Even if I tried it on with that bird down the road, who likes to wear provocative clothing, we would laugh; we would see the funny side. You wouldn’t get on your high horse and start taking about ‘fidelity’ and ‘respect’ and all that other horseshit the exes used to reel out, when I’d turn up, merry, rat-arsed, with my bargain bucket. The exes would tip the bucket over and put the beans in my face and then they would start talking about ‘fidelity’ and ‘respect’ and all that horseshit…
But with you… I turn up with some bird’s lipstick on my collar and you’d roar with laughter and say “How much did she charge you, Benny?” and then you would get a plate and feed me my KFC and then you run me my bath and find my Portsmouth FC slippers and put me to bed like an invalid.
When I wake up in the morning the eggs are in the pan and I can hear the bacon sizzling, and the lovely smell of an unhealthy breakfast. Even though you are rushing out to work … you still cook me my breakfast.
And then with a supreme effort I appear at the door in my boxers and you rush up and kiss me.
“Morning Benny! How’s the head? Sit down, love, and I’ll butter your toast. The Sun is on the table, if you fancy catching up on the footie. Oh and by the way, your Mum rung last night. I told her you were out on a job. She doesn’t seem to realise that roofers don’t work at night. Anyway, babe I’m going out to work now. Put your plate in the sink and I’ll wash it up, when I get home.”
And the front door always slams and I feel empty, lonely. I feel that my whole life has caved in. I feel this desperation, Jess. And you’re the only thing that matters, babe. You’re the only thing that keeps me going.
Inside there is nagging feeling… like I am on the edge… on the edge of something bad… worse than you can imagine… it feels like the game may be up, babe. It feels like good old, Benny (Benny, who used to run the show), is on his way out the door and I don’t mean the front door, Jess. I mean the fucking big door in the sky. That door… the door that no one mentions. But babe, from where I’m sitting it is like all the other doors are bolted, shut. But babe… I am not going through that door just yet. Benny has got one last fight in him. I am going to raise my game. I am going to get some help, babe…
And as I sit here in my boxers on the sofa, staring at the picture on the wall, that drab picture your mum bought us, I am beginning to wonder… why are you like this? How come you stick around? I don’t deserve this. Most birds would have kicked me out long ago.
Is it love, Jess? I don’t know, but whatever it is, it feels fucking good. It is the only thing that does, Jess. It is the only thing that makes any sense…
I am going to get myself some help, babe.
Actually, babe, I don’t feel too good. My legs are weak and I feel like I am going to collapse… the old ticker is getting faster and my breathing is a bit shit. Hold on babe… I am going to dial for an ambulance.
“Which service do you require?”
“An ambulance, please.”
“Can we have your name and address please?”
“Benny Watts, 23 Morris Crescent, Claygate…”
“And what seems to be the problem, sir?”
“I dunno… I don’t feel good. It’s like I am going to collapse at any moment. To be honest I am feeling pretty shit.”
“Hold on, sir. An ambulance is on its way.”
“Just one more thing…”
“What is that, sir?”
“If I don’t make it… can you tell Jess… can you tell her… tell her… I’ve never told her before. Can you pleas… tell her… ‘I love her’? I’d be ever so grateful.”