DIARY 25: August - October 1984

7 August 1984

Dear Bel, I have decided to keep my journal for the next few weeks in the form of letters to you. There is no single discernible reason why I should do this, but once the idea arrived I could not shake it away. . . These letters will, in a way, be a thank you for the love and care you have shown me for over four years. You see, I am still very much full of you and miss, achingly miss, your company. . . Also by writing here I feel I can talk to you and thus alleviate a bit the loss of our intimate connections.

Shall I tell you what I did last weekend? I went into the office twice to use the computer to write. I finished William Golding's 'The Inheritors' (I didn't understand much and it waits patiently for a second and third read). On Sunday evening I developed the photographs of Raoul's wedding.

9 August

Dear Bel, The light is bright, there is colour in the streets. I would prefer to be in Weymouth taking photographs. One of the girls at work is heading for Bridport this w/e for a wedding. She's actually wearing a dress today 'as white as yon Chesil foam'. How magical that was to lie fully clothed against the biting wind on the pebbles of Chesil beach, of Chesil spit, with not a person in sight for miles along the coast. And later that day, do you remember, I found a stone in your pocket and knew from whence it came. And then later that week, reading 'Weymouth Sands', I found the quote about Chesil foam and another about a Chesil stone.

10 August

Morning, I feel a bit weary. I did get to turn the TV and lights off last night before falling asleep. The last few mornings I've woken with everything on. I was excited to watch the hockey semi-final live but it would've gone on till well after 2:00. I watched Daley Thomson do the pole vault - what a hero - and Ovett in the heat of the 1,500m.

I was at R's last night, talking to a girl called Sara about my clownish past. She mentioned a house full of parties in Covent Garden, five or six years ago, so I tried the name 'Demolition Decorators' on her. She recognised it immediately. She said she had thought we were all magic, being only 14 at the time. I told her about the evening I mimed and clowned building of a room with rubble and rubbish, oblivious to the party going on around me, and she actually and vividly remembered me and my act. Amazing. What is more - I have to say this to someone - I remember that I impressed myself that Friday evening. It was an improvisation lasting a couple of hours and I really acted, really built a room and really possessed it, despite the party. But I felt at the time nobody had appreciated my invention, my playing, my art. And when Sara remember me, it was as though I'd been waiting all these years for the applause I felt I deserved.

Saturday morning

Dear Bel, I thought this morning of having several aspidestra plants in my bedroom not just one. I am so strongly connected to you through plants and growing things. I can talk to no one else about the progress of the Virginia creeper and passion flower or the death of Paul's Scarlet. How intimate our relationships with these plants, we almost personified them.

Late afternoon Sunday

Dear Bel, I will go to the Secret Garden in a few minutes. It's been a social weekend. Yesterday, for example, I went to play rounders on Hampstead Heath with Judy, Rob and friends, and then this evening I went to play squash with Raoul. As usual R and I talked about relationships. I tried to explain why we had separated, but he couldn't understand because I always talk so highly of you. Judy also thinks it's masochistic to deny oneself love and affection. Perhaps they're right, perhaps we're wrong. R pointed out how hard it would be for me to find anybody to replace you. Impossible, I say.

Tuesday evening

Philodendron junior has finally given birth to a second leaf. It is a fragile miniature growth but confirms it's alive and well. And fatsia senior upstairs is making a bid for gigantidom - he's so healthy with so many leaves and such large ones that he'll soon be too big for the room. Mrs Montana is creeping along the wire and will soon be at the bedroom whilst Ms Passion Flower is well tangled up with her and with the roses, the hydrangea and Virginia creeper on the back wall. I'm still waiting on info about how to prune the family apple.

Wednesday evening 15 August

Bel, the last two evenings I've felt good - it's quite unnatural. There is no apparent reason. I am as alone as ever without future plans - rather isolated at work, rather overworked at present too. But both evenings I've been for a swim in the Hampstead pond - I love the swimming, the peace of the ponds - so that's probably why.

Monday morning

This last week I've written less to you. I'm falling into my old ways writing just once or twice a week. I blame it on the heat.

Oh Bel I've grown up with you. You have instilled in me a sense of worthfulness. I sit easier in company, more secure, more able to converse. It's astonishing to think how timid I really was despite all that arrogant show. I worry about the blackness of the future but I do feel strong and that strength comes from you. Please have the same strength. Know that you are such a lovely and beautiful person, walk tall, converse freely. It was all so special, so simple, so pure, and I can't help thinking quite perfect too. We had patches, of course, but they were so few and always necessary. I was going to say there was never any rejection - but of course, whereas I never felt rejected you did on occasions. Yet, I never didn't want to see you, never avoided a meeting, never didn't turn up, never turned you away. As much as you dared ask, I was there. The need for freedom was my weakness. At least I shared it with you. The fact is that I've not loved or cared for any person for such a period ever, not nearly so. Why have I launched into a justification of my role in our affair. I don't know. I confess I was never wholly committed and perhaps abused your goodwill and generosity. But, on the other hand, perhaps you had the very maximum of commitment I could ever give to anyone.

Wednesday morning

Dear Bel, there was a letter from you waiting my inspection last evening. How disappointed I felt to see you had just forwarded a letter for Harvey without so much as a hello on the back. Today it is precisely a month since we last saw each other. Are you numbing yourself to me. Am I fading away?

Friday lunchtime

Bel, how beautiful you looked last night when I visited. I came home thinking I should marry you before you lose your love for me. I was happy to see you so well and happy. And happy somehow that we were both strong in ourselves.

Bank Holiday Monday

Raoul and I went to the Peak District and now we're back. It was a lovely w/e. We swam in a reservoir. walked across heather moors, breakfasted in fancy hotels, slept out one night, explored disused railway stations, watched illuminated boats row down a river as part of the Matlock Bath festival of illumination, and drank Well Dressing teas in a village hall.

Paul K Lyons

September 1984


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