Notes On The Confession Of

Your lips crossed as you tried to change the batteries in your stereo, drunk.

You were fumbling with the cover and then you were trying to get some purchase on the batteries to prise them out, using the thumb on your right hand, the nail of which you had spent all evening picking at with the fingers of your left hand so that it was now a soft, rubbery, useless thing.  You were not an angry drunk but you were becoming frustrated at being unable to complete this simple task and had it taken any longer perhaps you would have thrown the radio against the wall or to the floor.  But the batteries sprung from the cavity at the back of the stereo just before you lost your temper.  You threw them up in the air – whee – and they landed on the floor, a rattle of hailstone bombs.  You had some new batteries ready to go, but inserting these into the stereo also caused you trouble because you put them in the wrong way round and when you tried to turn on the stereo you couldn’t understand why it wouldn’t work.  And when you tried to get the batteries back out so you could put them in the other way round, you had the initial problem all over again.  Having your head down, bent over the stereo, was making you feel just a little sick but you wait until tomorrow morning, then you’ll know about feeling sick.

I didn’t have all night.  I needed to tell you what I needed to tell you and telling you when you were like that made it easier – you might forget all about it or you might think it was something you imagined.  But still, once I had told you, that was it – it meant that I had told you.  That was my thinking, and it should be clear at this point that maybe I was a little bit drunk as well.  It was a good time to tell you that I found a cassette tape, and the tape I found was a recording of a conversation we had nine years ago.  You didn’t know I was recording it, I didn’t know I was recording it.  It was recorded by accident nine years ago and I found it today, by accident.  When I found the tape, I put it in my stereo and pressed play and then I was getting on with something else whilst it began to play and what it started playing was some other mess-around recording from probably about six or seven years ago.  But then that recording cut dead and that was when I heard the conversation from nine years ago, which was there underneath the recording from six or seven years ago, like history piled on top of prehistory, like layers of rock beneath our feet.

The fact that it got recorded in the first place was an unlikely thing, and the fact that I happened to find it nine years later was also unlikely.  These chance occurrences and long shots had grown and multiplied to become an event that was extremely unlikely, and now I had introduced a new element of chance by letting you hear it when you were drunk, an activity that had only occurred to me because I was drunk as well.  I would not have thought it was a good idea to play you the recording, but I happened to be drunk, you happened to be drunk, I happened to have the tape to hand.  I thought it was worth seeing what happened with all these probabilities adding up.  It was possible that you would be able to make the stereo work and, if that happened and we actually managed to play the tape tonight, it was possible that you might listen to the recording and that you might remember what you heard the next day.  And then if you did get the stereo to work, and you did manage to play the tape, and you did listen, and you did remember…

Your lips crossed as you tried to change the batteries in your stereo, drunk.


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