Friends and Anger 11

She lay awake in bed, staring at the ceiling and thinking. What he’d just told her was just so at odds with her life and what she’d always assumed his background was like, that she couldn’t assimilate it. It just wouldn’t fit in as a neat retrospective amendment to the person she’d known and thought she knew so well for over fifteen years. It was just too much, too big. She had a silly pang and dismissed it immediately – she wanted her old Manno back. That could never happen now.

The story couldn’t be untold.

She knew she’d have to make a big adjustment, but had no idea of how to go about it. Manno, the castle keep on the Welsh border. How do you get inside that? Her mind made one of those sideways connections to the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas and the opening line of his play for voices – Under Milk Wood. “To begin at the beginning: it is spring moonless night …”

Their beginning was a fresher’s fair she couldn’t even remember and he’d never forgotten. She could imagine it though. Just turned eighteen, swanning around trying to look cool and elegant, no doubt in one of those long wrap-around print skirts that were all the rage at the time. Just a silly girl. Christ, he’d already lived a lifetime and a half before he’d ever clapped eyes on me. And yet fell in love with me on the spot. How the fuck did I miss that for the last fifteen years?

What had he seen in me? I was just a child at the time.

She thought back over those feckless student years. They’d both dated around, experimenting at being an adult as young people do. She’d always known he liked her but he had always kept it at that, subtly pushing her away when in a doped up or tipsy moment she’d got a bit too friendly. And yet, when she really needed help, he was always somehow close at hand or within reach. Not a creepy stalking thing, but just always happened to be around.

Every time I needed him badly, he’d magically appear.

On one of those girly nights out, they were having a giggle and a laugh about the blokes and she’d referred to him in passing as her Manno. He’s not your Manno, he’s my Manno, his girlfriend at the time corrected her rather pointedly. Of course, sorry. It’s just it seems like I’ve known him forever, and he’s such a nice guy. She remembered the incident because as a language student, she was acutely aware of the usage of language, both conscious and unconscious, and realised with a shock that she always thought of him with that possessive pronoun in front of his name. Her Manno.

She now recognised she’d always counted on him. When he wasn’t around, she’d run to him on the occasions when a big emergency hit. When Vince beat her up, it was Manno she’d run to for sanctuary. Towards the end, after the latest beat downs, she made a deliberate decision not to run to him, because she thought she was being a pain and exasperating him. At some level, had she always known he loved her and traded on it implicitly? Looking back, she’d never asked him why he’d never hooked up with someone permanently. Always liked the feeling of having him available, didn’t you? A selfish bitch after all.

Her Manno. How deep did that unconscious mannerism go? She’d always been attracted to him, of that there was no doubt in her mind, but there was a feeling she got from him of a certain blankness. A zone that was never shared, perhaps because it contained nothing but emptiness, something which she dreaded finding in it. To move from friendship to intimacy, you have to share confidences, whether that’s when you’re deep in your cups or exchanging pillow talk after making love. That part of him she’d never been able to get near, and perhaps that’s why their relationship had never developed further.

Well, that blank zone within him didn’t exist any more. The protective shell about her Manno was gone. A more complete man called Fedeyka had emerged from it. Perhaps a stranger she might have concerns about, because she didn’t know him as well as her Manno. Was that her being selfish again?

Did it make a difference? Yes, a huge one, she realised.

It was as if a big piece of a jigsaw had came tumbling out of a clear blue sky and slotted neatly into place. The final missing piece of him. She had known him for so long. Manno the considerate, the brave, the smart, the kind but Manno with that blank area. Now she had that final part of him – it was little Fedayka who collected mushrooms for his mother in a small basket, Fedayka who’d heard baby Sasha die screeching like a scalded piglet in the flames and whose heart refused to break. Fedayka, the feral child of the forests, the steppes and finally the cities.

Her Fedayka.

He was now complete, and she realised she loved him. Accepted that thought calmly. She wasn’t even surprised at herself. It had always been there. Perhaps all that it took was an end to the unconscious waiting for the arrival of that final piece of him to allow her to see it. She smiled in the darkness, remembering something a pedantic French tutor had once told her. The opposite of déjà vu was jamais vu – never seen. Under your nose, right in front of you, but you never saw it. It would be her turn to have a very honest conversation with him.

The big adjustment she’d been looking for had been made, but not to who he actually was but in seeing her feelings towards him resolved into a truer light. All those wasted years on both sides. The future for both of them starts tomorrow, she decided. And it’s a future together.

He was dreaming, and they were troubled ones she thought. He’d occasionally twitch and she’d hug him a bit tighter with the arm she had around him. He was rolled into her side with his head laying between her breasts and she stroked his head with her other hand to gentle him down.

When he’d finished telling her his story, he was blown out, an unresisting zombie she’d guided to the bedroom and sat on the side of the bed. She undressed him and tucked him in before getting in herself. She cuddled him but he was too far gone to notice. Not too long ago, she’d been in that same state getting into that same bed and he’d just held her securely all through the night until the dawn. She remembered how good that warmth and safety had felt. Never let go of me.

It was her turn now to hold him, to see him through the night and wait for the sun to come up.


Click here for all currently written chapters of Friends and Anger.

Click her for other Pointman fiction.

One Response to “Friends and Anger 11”
  1. fiona says:

    I cannot wait for the next chapter. You pack so much into so few words. The female viewpoint is too well done, should I call Pointman George Sand?


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