Thursday, 7 January 2016


Dear Mother,

I shouldn't be listening to you. You have no right or control over my life any more, and to be fair, I don't really think you'd object to many things I do or say. Fair enough, I did have an argument with Dad recently over whether or not we should bomb Syria, but that's ethical political discourse. I don't think it counts. In fact, we have very similar viewpoints on many things.

If you are, however, going to tut and sigh heavily when I'm talking to Dad about my current job situation, and then suggest (while I'm on my way back out to work) that I should get a different job, then I'm not going to want to be talking to you much any more, especially about jobs. A lot of people don't have jobs. I didn't even have one this time last year. I only got this one through luck, and while it could be better, I'm enjoying it to a large degree.

The fact that you said that you didn't care what I did as long as it paid me money I find particularly offensive. I, in fact, do care what I do. I will, however, make allowances on account of the fact that you appear to be doing something to the floor or the house - I have no idea what but it invovles green linoleum - and that you may be stressed out by DIY.

I don't blame you for that. I'd be stressed out by DIY as well.

I will continue visiting the family home, however, on account of the fact that you are now burning joss sticks with the scent of patchouli.

I've always found patchouli rather overpowering. It's not unpleasant, in my opinion, and in terms of the scents there are out there, it's one of the most relaxing. I think the fact that it's quite unusual helps, as does the fact that I will always associate patchouli with sex, although you probably don't know that.

I hope you don't know that.

Alicia's flat used to be permeated with the scent of patchouli (maybe it still is, who knows, I haven't been there for years). It was in every room, even the kitchen, and was immediately apparent from the moment she opened the door. I used to go there, maybe every week or so, for conversation, food and frantic sex - always on her bed, always on top, surrounded by crumpled sheets and fluffy cushions and air full of patchouli, fighting with the characteristic scents of sex for dominance and matched only by the pitch and volume of her screams...

The memories have dimmed now, but they still resonate, and since I remember most vividly (sex notwithstanding) the scent of her living room - and how pleasant it was and how sexually aroused I was throughout my illicit visits (often succeeding, preceding, or both, days at work - ironically, perhaps, a job you did approve of me doing). I remember being nervous, and how music and aroma (and BBC News) calmed me down somewhat, even before sex.

You are stressed at the moment, and I think that you are taking this out on me somewhat. I'm hoping that, in burning joss sticks, you are going some way towards combatting whatever it is you happen to be feeling as a result of green linoleum.

You don't know about Alicia. I don't think many people do.

But if, as I left, I seemed to know more than I should - with a wry smile and a cocked eyebrow and mannerisms unbecoming of one just chastised about his job - that is very much the reason. Proof, if it is needed, that in any situation, I can use my own mind to defuse the situation. In my own head. And my heart.

And my crotch.

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