Is it the number of times they’d made love? Who was counting? Memorable and confusing but really very few times. And it was a very long time ago. It was the 60’s.

Virtually, they’ve never got that far since. There’s always the number of times she stood him up. Or that he met her parents. The times she crashed her car. The bottles of wine drunk. Or is it the 43 years since they first met?

The number of times they’ve met briefly in the last 3 years since the 1 in a million meeting at the number 65 tram stop on the 16 Line ? The number of phone conversations since? The number of text messages since learning how – 14/04/2012? Two thousand plus?

The number of emails he’s compulsively written since he dragged her kicking and screaming into the internet in 02/02/2012 ~ 204. 205 counting this one.

The number of words he’s written to her in all the media available to him. 50,000+.(So far) He’s guessing and will count it up one day, or his editor will when he publishes their sweetly impossible narrative of boy meets girl; man meets woman … and after surmounting difficulties – live ever after; happily, or just contentedly, will do.

When he came to Sarawak it was to quietly and romantically fade away. A cinematic dissolve from being into not being for an audience of one. The truth was that everything he was going to do in his life of any importance he believed, he had done. As people he knew were dying without him he began thinking about being dead a great deal. Ceasing to exist; not dying. He’d found the necessary security there to spin a cocoon for the next inevitable phase in a not so bad life. It was an enjoyable job of work that could take years before his emerging triumphantly. There he could pretend to do something of worth, beyond scrutiny, long enough to get over any illusion of being important in the world past, gently backing towards a cave, on the internet, somewhere, to fume and mutter about a beautiful world. Whilst quite happily returning to the secret solitary games of imagination that had made him a very happy child and a not so happy adult. But she has put a gentle decisive end to that for the moment. What next?

Now he’s counting the number of times he reaches for his phone expecting it to ring, when it hasn’t. Counting the days in the hours he spends thinking of ways to divert her from her life that he has no real understanding of, into his. Numbering the ways he must surely fail to fit her expectations if ever that day came that he would be measured against it again. Reflecting all the time on the only certain number he has for love ~


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