Cutting through the brambles at the edge of the mound,I realised that the bindweed had choked many of the shoots around the main plant and drastic action would have to be required to allow growth to start again.This Autumn period is especially troublesome for a writer who looks at the metaphysical in order to make sense of the thrust of his story.You see,his imagination,fuelled as such by all sorts of life patterns and sounds,also needs the visual foregroundand images that his eyes are apt to focus on.So ,the cluster of leaves,bracken and the like of my front garden that isn’t mine,or my responsibility as it’s a space where our shared tenants occupy.
If the sight of a choked plant ,akin to the bearded Darnel from the parable of the sower in the bible book of Matthew is another link to this story,then the plant represents the mind of the protagonist in my story.He is about 30, living in the semi rural setting but his heart is in Madagascar,where his passion for rare plants and other living species is a very fertile breeding ground for his mental Conglomerations.He loves the people there,their simple way of life.He feels at peace there,he is real there.Now that country ,the shared space of plant ,animal,and humankind seem to have reached ,in his eyes,that perfect balance,and that respect ,its unspoken attachment to peace is a real draw.He visits there as often as he can,but his partner works in finance,and while he doesn’t discourage him from his love of all things Madagascar,he thinks upon it as a fad,not real,not sensible,not something that he could ever see as a permanent life move.
So,he looks at the garden that is his mind,it’s parts all work after a fashion,he gets by,he exists,but,As has often been said,he doesn’t really live in the truest sense of the word.As the fantasies ,or so his partner calls it,live inside his mind he is arranging the bricks and the mortar and lintils and roofing tiles that are his stock in trade as a builder,he wonders if his partner secretly thinks that he is a little deranged.No,not a full blown shchosis,but just that quaint old huckleberry Finn type dreamers disease that might have existed as a child,and carries on through adulthood.
Really,if his partner would just only try Madagascar,just for a week,then he reckons that he might just see what it is about the place ,but he prefers St Lucia,True,he works hard in finance,investment bonds and the like,the stock in trade are his mathematical algorithms,the fruits of a first at Imperial,in the days when the Physics freaks could walk down The Square mile into any investment bank and be snapped up.That was before the financial crash,before Gordon Brown ,the penny pinching labour prime minister stood on the steps of Downing Street and announced that there had been a run on the bank,Northern bank,that is.He remembered that day,he remembered his partner,and he remembered that all the 12 and 13hour days stood for nothing. When ,as a young graduate,he was booted out.Then,he was the main breadwinner,getting up early of a morning ,collecting sand and gravel from the pit at Blashford while his partner ,Rob,vegetated in bed because of the sheer shock of the crash had hit home,and he was one of the first casualties.Back then,Rob was earning big money and with it ,all the stuff that came with it,but good old Dave paid the mortgage because that was what good old Dave did.Now,As these years went on from the crash,Rob had got back into finance ,but the days of the casino deals were long gone,and people hated bankers still.Granted,they liked their high street bank,contactless payment cards and the like,but deep down,these guys who had gambled “Their money” away were looked upon with suspicion.
Dave,although not stupid,wasn’t clever like Rob,and he saw money in rather simplistic terms,but ,in many ways,Rob saw money and the markets almost as a game ,but people change when money is involved,and he never got that they rarely forgive those who spend their money in profligate ways.Rob missed the hustle and bustle of the golden mile,and somehow a grotty office at Goldman Sachs in Bournemouth wasn’t what he worked his backside off at Imperial to achieve.
Dave,on the other hand,never ever went to uni,his time in the Children s home ,his love of the outdoors,and his need to leave school at 16 put paid to that.Dave wasn’t stupid ,in fact,he was extremely resourceful,but he wasn’t like Rob ,and he knew it.As the context of the lives of our characters become apparent,you might ask,how did they meet.?How did two seemingly totally different young men come together ?Simple,or so it seemed at the time,they met in a bar in Bournemouth and they fell for each other.Rob was younger ,sharp ,dressed well,knew how to deport himself,Dave was an Adonis.Dave kept himself fit,he was fit.Dave was much older,and had always been quiet about his sexually orientation.
Rob,whose parents had had him at a time when they never thought they could,worshiped the ground he walked on.They worked as a couple and they had built a life together,but if they had a fundamental difference it was in how they saw the world.It wasn’t discussed much, up when it was,it always ended in arguments and the words that Rob used were brutle and fierce,but Dave kept quiet and slept in the spare room,not allowing any contact between them.Rob thought that Dave did it because he had failed in the city,and the fact that he had had to keep paying the mortgage all through this time of his being at home was too much.
Their fragile peace as a couple is probably echoed among many ,and the mound with the weeds that Dave looked at too,that represented him being trapped needed tending.Like all emotional issues we have with one another,it is never the case that we can fully know another person,or ,we would be them,wouldn’t we ?Dave wasn’t in anguish because of the mortgage,he was like this because Rob didn’t fall in love with his dreams,in fact,Rob didn’t even find out what Daves dreams were.
Yes,growing up in the care system ,being gay is never going to be an easy gig,and Dave for all his bulging muscles and biceps,was extremely sensitive,but he was a decent man ,a good man ,but he just loved nature,he loved animals,he loved Madagascar.Rob had been the apple of his parents eye and although they had inwardly struggled when he came out to them,he was one of the lucky ones that didn’t suffer their rejection .With that security,Rob had the emotional security to meet people to be proactive as such.Banking had suited him and deep down,he still blamed the politics of the day rather than people like him and his cohort for the crash.
So Rob and Dave had their brambles,and today Dave had his,but as he pulled away from the weighbridge ,a ton of sand,and his 10 mill and 20 mill gravel in his trailer,he resolved to do something about his dreams .His mind ,awash with thoughts of the Island still fresh from those 3 visits over ten years ,he would book a flight ,work his butt off to get this extension done ,get the money ,raid his savings,book his flight,job done!w. As Rob would say.
Rob was still in bed ,it had been a long night and his online Poker habit was getting out of hand and he knew it really .He had transferred money from their joint savings account in the night to pay these people,but he had to find away to stop.He missed Dave in their room ,and had tried to be up when he left for work ,but had overslept.He missed his morning cup of tea from his mum,he couldn’t look his dad in the eye because of what he was doing,but he couldn’t admit to needing help,he just couldn’t.
As Daves day unfolded,he thought of Rob,sent him a text to see if he was up,and got a curt reply .He didn’t think too much of it as it was what Rob could be like first thing in the morning.Dave ploughed on with the first fix in the extension,and the whole job had gone well enough.It was at Avon Castle and his reputation as a job it builder since he had left Laings was so much better for him.His customers liked him,and his demeanour and hard work,impressed them,so,he knew that a month away wouldn’t affect the steady stream of work coming in. He had good relations with the guys in the construction industry too and besides,he didn’t need to earn so much money now that Rob was working.
Working through the morning,Rob ,flushed with the success of leading a new investment project at Goldman Sachs,was called into his bosses office.Following that meeting,his boss had offered him the chance of a promotion to head office at Canary Wharf.This was a plum job,and his first reaction was to tell Dave and then his Dad.He texted Dave to see if he was free to pick up.As usual,Dave obliged,but Dave was also excited about his holiday too.He told Rob about it.As the reality sunk in ,Rob didn’t Phone his dad,he asked for an hour out of the office.He knew that he owed Dave so much,so much as a partner,and so much as a human.Why,Dave was honest and true.Yes,to Rob,he had the dreamers disease,but ,deep down,he loved him.So,he thought and he just knew that he wanted to talk to Dave.When he spoke to Dave he was,as usual,so supportive of Rob,and he said that if that is what he wants then he would do all he could to support him.As Dave then said that he had to go to Madagascar soon,in fact,very soon,Rob realised that he had to start to grow up,to take responsibility for his actions.
That level of maturity took Rob a while,and in reality,the 2 grand that he had taken from their savings account without permission was borrowed by Rob and paid back.However,Dave got his money out the next day and booked his flight ,but imagine his surprise when a taxi arrived at the house to take them both to the airport.Rob knew that he would have to work around the clock to pay for this,but he also knew that Dave was worth it,and he knew that Dave was a top man.
Each of us carries around with us stuff ,baggage if you like ,and we all suffer from a lack of communication at times.Sometimes those who have been abused as children are over desperate to please others,sometimes,at the expense of themselves.While Dave had so many wonderful traits,he carried the insecurities of a difficult childhood.Rob,on the surface,had the ideal life,but he also had his demons too and they would affect him throughout life.That said,respect ,communication,and an ability to heal rifts can be a wonderful life peace within itself,so that we don’t always have to escape to a far flung place to find peace as it is often within ourselves to find it.