Tenement Tao

The cleverest things in the world are the toughest to speak of concisely. Our marriage had hit a rut and the only way for it not to die, to not slip through grass to a ravine, was to talk. It wasn’t about always telling the truth, sometimes I lies so she would follow, and sometimes I’d not talk, and she’d sing. Caught inside one another, watching each other smile. Electrack Street, Garbage City was behind us for Sublime, a small village were people emitted pink love hearts as they passed. I recall unpacking one box and wondering at what point we’d thrown out the stereo. The Flaming Lips, under a thick sheet of dust. Well, that couldn’t go in Jonas’ nursery.

Marry-Jane and I listened: every bawl, every wail, every boo-oo-aa. We were glad we’d traded Electrack Street for him; every moment, though, he was so tiny, like a little sausage cartoon clone of me, every moment was not not precious. There was noise, and noise and ringing scorching headache. When sleepy, he was a doorway to a world of New Age delivery, of de-cluttered living. We basked in him like he was the Tahiti sun, our perfectly put together boy. He walked and said, “Air”.

He stopped screaming and the night reminded me of my own parents. At the dock, after hours waiting for the boat to come in with Dad getting a sleep behind the wheel and Mum making us juice from the caravan behind. The other children, between the still cars, and the lorries. It was something deep black and spiritual, a promise of pioneering as harboured boats chimed in the wind. It was going to be okay.

There was no acid then, no wrong vinegar. Sure, he got into trouble, but nothing too off. Just like any other boy, except I got the feeling he was improving the curve. He had a paper round which he took some pride in. That Christmas his mum and I gave money for choice. That was the moment when we let One Direction into our home with their wonderful song-writing skills, their catchy tunes and refreshing perspectives teaching the three of us the way of the world.

Exactly a year later, Jonas burned tied to the basement table, while Mary-Jane and I wrapped wheels through LA streets, boiling petrol towards our new lives in Alaska.

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