Another year, another winter holiday, stop work, operate like clockwork, the tick tock of Christmas time, hours follow hours, minutes follow minutes, seconds follow seconds, smell the smells, say the words, see the people you always do, you always should do at this time of year. 21st, what do I need to do today? Oh I’m in luck, what can I say, can’t complain, hop and skip my way on a trip to the pub with my best mate.
Jingle bells jingle jangle whilst I grab the handle of this jar of beer. Tick tock. There’s a seat over here mate, here’s to festive cheer mate, cheers, cheers, hear! hear! Oh dear, I’ve accidentally had two, three, four. Eyes are the doors to the soul and mine feel like they’ve swung open, tick tock, go on, have a stroll around my mind and witness my pupils loll around to the sound of Christmas pissedness: drunk conversations about wish lists, carrots, that fucking song by Mariah Carey, carefree jibber jabber about that film on the telly all barely being heard above the jingly jangling of bells, the clinky clinking of glasses, tick tock, what you doing, where you going, contractual questions asked without knowing.
Staying at home, you know, the usual: mum, dad and cat flattened by eating, drinking, feasting without thinking too much, just enough to sate, placate, sedate so that board games don’t seem too boring. What about you? Tick. What you up to? Tock. What you doing? Where you going?
“Er, just me and my mum this year” Tick
That’s odd. No tock
The clocks stopped working
“How come?” The cogs and bolts have ground to a halt. Seconds march by but no hands are moving. Infact, he’s just sat there, still, unmoved by merriment.
“Dad left us last Tuesday mate. Don’t know where he’s gone.” The straight chain of fate has been twisted and gnarled by something hateful.
“Oh shit man… I’m sorry…” is all I can muster
“Must’ve been awful, are you okay?”
“Yeah it’s cool.”
Time remains stagnant, his voice remains resilient, belligerently ignoring the pain that lurks under his eyes. Seconds must be following seconds, maybe minutes, but all attention is transfixed on his face, staying resolutely in place. Please make some sort of movement mate, it’s okay, let me in, let me help, it’s alright, you can cry, right now I’d rather die than let you keep this to yourself.
He sighs, a huff, “right that’s enough of that, another drink?” and he’s up, leaving me to think, realise, surmise that even in the deep, empty ocean of life, there still exists, persists great, terrible shipwrecks. Fractured vessels that sit unnoticed by the waves galloping on the surface and the currents that surge below. Great, terrible shipwrecks that lay alone: brave, broken and forgotten.