When my flat got broken into, I was on a canal boat. You get on the boat, sober with a bag of booze. The boat goes up the water and back, then you get off at the exact same spot, hammered. In my case, also robbed. Maybe it’s some metaphor for life.
They stole my phone charger, some other small items, and my laptop. A disappointing haul, I’m sure. Especially if they opened the discarded writing folder on my desktop. I’ve since been expecting print-outs to be anonymously stuffed through my post box, covered in red pen.
The police advised I try not to touch anything until the fingerprint people could come the next day. I asked them if that meant I should leave the window, the one they came in through, open overnight while I slept in a crime scene.
“Is it just you here?” they said. “Do you need victim support counselling?”
There’s something visceral about returning to your place after it’s been burgled, like being awake inside a nightmare.
With sleep off the agenda, my phone battery flat, me too drunk and shaken to read, all that was left to keep me company was my CD player and CDs, which they hadn’t taken because 2018.
The carnage gave the place the look of my bedroom when I was fifteen. Maybe that’s what made me reach for one of my favorite teenage-angst-pacifying albums, PJ Harvey’s ‘Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea’.
I sat in the only untouched corner of my living room, put ‘Horses in my Dreams’ on, scanned the chaos to the backdrop of hypnotic piano.
As the slow crescendo kicked in to the words, ‘I’ve pulled myself clear’, I thought about how you sit in your messy room alone, scared, anxious. Get offered counseling, listen to PJ instead. Grow up, move out, think things are looking up, get drunk. End up sitting in your messy room alone, scared, anxious, hammered, robbed. Get offered counseling, listen to PJ instead.
Consider how maybe it’s some metaphor for life.
‘Like waves, like the sea.’
(Song recommendation by Neil Clark)