Hello Sadness (1954-2020) – Part 1-5

And then one day, it all came to an end. In the morning my dad decided that we should go to Cannes that evening to visit the casinos and dance. I remember how excited Elsa was. She thrived in casinos, and hoped to get back a bit of her sexiness, which was weakened by the sunburn and also see some other people for a change. I figured Anne would object to such a basic evening, but to my surprise she didn’t – she even seemed happy to be going. So I wasn’t particularly worried when I went to my room to get ready. I put on the evening dress I’d brought along. It was the only one I possessed, made of a quite strange, thin fabric. Probably a bit too exotic for me, but my dad chose it, and because he had a particular taste, or because he just thought that was what all women wore, he bought me these seductive clothes. I found him downstairs in a shiny new jacket, and draped my arm around his shoulder.

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Hello Sadness (1954-2020) – Part 1-4

The most surprising thing over the next few days was how extremely kind Anne was to Elsa. Even with all of the various stupid things Elsa said, Anne never once picked her up on it with one of these short comebacks which she had the secret to, which would have really ridiculed the poor woman. I silently thanked her for her patience and generosity, not realising how it was closely mixed with a kind of manipulation. My dad would have quickly tired of such stupid little games, and instead he was grateful, and he would say ‘I don’t quite know how to thank you’, but I bet he was starting to have an idea. I thought he’d probably start talking to her like a well respected friend, like a second mother to me – and then use this gratitude as a constant excuse to put me under Anne’s care, to make her a bit more responsible for who I was, to bring her closer to him, link her to us more strongly. He had that gaze, and was behaving towards her like you’d do to someone who you didn’t yet know, but would like to. I mean know in the biblical sense. Like, fucking. The same kind of glance I sometimes caught Salil giving me, which made half made me want to run away, half made me want to tease him. I must have been at a further point than Anne, where I was more easily influenced – she was still reacting to his stare with indifference, with a calm kindness that made me feel a bit better. I began to think that I had just tricked myself in her room on the first day. What I didn’t see was that this unambiguous kindness just got him going. Just like her silences… Natural and elegant, they were the exact opposite of Elsa’s twittering. It was like day and night. Poor Elsa. She didn’t expect anything, she remained enthusiastic and restless, always just as hassled by the sun.

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Hello Sadness (1954-2020) Part I-III

Chapter Three

The following morning a sharp, hot ray of sunlight woke me up, flooding my bed and drawing me from the weird, confused dreams where I struggled. I drowsily tried to shield my face against the heat with my arm but soon gave up. It was ten o’clock. I went down to the terrace in my pajamas and found Anne leafing through the morning’s papers, checking her work phone – her makeup was light and perfectly done. She never let herself have a real holiday. Since she was ignoring me I sat quietly on a step with a coffee and a cold orange, and focused on the joys of the morning. I bit into the orange, its sweet juices rushing into my mouth, then straight away took a gulp of the steaming black coffee, and then again the coolness of the fruit. The morning sun made my hair hot, and smoothed out the marks of the sheets on my arm. In five minutes I would head down to swim. Then Anne’s voice made me jump.

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Hello Sadness (1954-2020) Part 1-2

Anne wouldn’t arrive for a week, so I made the most of my last days of real holiday. We’d rented the villa for two months, sure, but I knew that once Anne arrived I wouldn’t be able to properly relax. Anne gave things an edge, and gave words meanings that me and dad would happily ignore. She set down the law of good taste, of good things, and we couldn’t help noticing it in her sudden changes, her wounded silences, her expressions. It could be interesting, but also tiring and humiliating since in the end she often had a point.

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Hello Sadness (1954-2020) Part 1-1

I have unexpectedly come upon a large chunk of free time, so I thought I would use it to improve my French. I’m going to remix the novel a bit for my own enjoyment.


I’m obsessed by this feeling. Boredom… Calm… I don’t know if I’d call it sadness. That would be too beautiful, too serious. This feeling is so selfish that I’m almost ashamed to feel it… and sadness always seemed to me to be more honorable than that. I’ve never had this before… and I’ve felt boredom, regret, even remorse. Today it folds over me like silk, soft and irritating, separating me from them.

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Two Sea Poems

You’re the Shark Eating my Heart (A Love Poem)

You’re the shark eating my heart
slowly and with little care
while seagulls watch most bemused
and the bored sea smashes on
against sharp rocks, boringly
meanwhile the wind has died down
and the pool surface is glass

so the only noise is chomping.
looking across the bay sound
I think I see whales spouting
but no – that red is blood red,
not sunset. Splashes from where
you’re the shark eating my heart
slowly and with little care

Sea Memory

I do not remember
as if it has sunk deep
or diffused within me –
my first visit to sand
and sea – ever – as if
my genesis is now –

as if I were born out
of my sea memory –
as the long horizons
shone in the sea’s tearings
I materialised
crashed in, filling this space.

We talk of this later
our feet are hot and sand
rubs off them in our socks
I turn back and see it;
The dark grey portion sinks
Leaving a blank white sky.

Sea Memory

I do not remember
as if it has sunk deep
or diffused within me –
my first visit to sand
and sea – ever – as if
my genesis is now –

as if I were born out
of my sea memory –
as the long horizons
shone in the sea’s tearings
I materialised
crashed in, filling this space