A Single Man … and the vampires who killed him …

Christopher Isherwood.

I have vacillated my entire life between worlds, in the beginning I thought I’d be a musical theatre star. I first heard of Christopher Isherwood, then, as source material for Cabaret. At that point, my main literary influences were not those likely to have read Isherwood, and so, I hadn’t. I didn’t. Not then.

I aged. I realized I would not be a musical theatre star.More and more, without my noticing, my focus changed to writing. I had always been a reader, but as theatre faded away, and as I became less and less happy, I started my own course of study, looking — not so much for answers, but rather like some cosmological Jeopardy game, instead, the questions I ought to have been asking that explained how I’d arrived at the horrid answers I had.

I wondered, worried, how had I never – why had I never loved someone with whom I could share rare and recherche jazz recordings a dog and Kafka and Capote … someone who got me and wanted to touch me. Oh, Isherwood’s A Single Man broke my heart. Then. Even. When I wasn’t yet the old (really old) man.

Getting older, well . . .

… it’s a load of shit. I think I’ve actually got sillier and sillier. … Experience is not what happens to a man, it’s what a man does with what happens to him.

Can we go back to your place sir?

Of course, where else?

Where else.

Are you out of your mind?

What’s the matter?

You can’t go home like that.

We’re invisible, don’t you know that? You know, Sir, they ought not to let you out on your own; you’re liable to get into real trouble.

Oh, I excel at it.

By which time I was, sadly, this symbol to people rather than a person … and I was, fooled and foolishly, half in love with those half in love with half of who I was, none of us, neither of us, less than fools, able to navigate the sorrows of what we were not, could not, would not be. And so, I accepted being made a fool of.

I think we should get you out of those wet clothes.

Yes, Sir.

And finally, I realized, with a horrifying lucidity, the complete rotting of my heart, un-nourished so long, thanks to the emptying of my once Light and Love filled soul by the vampires I had invited to feed on me, the last of whom had ruthlessly stolen from me all that I was, all that I had, and then staked me through the heart, laughing as the ashes of me hit the ground, waltzing through the detritus of me and wiping off their shoes, complaining about the mess I’d made.

I was, and am, alone: A Single Man.

A few times in my life, I’ve had moments of absolute clarity; when, for a few brief seconds, the silence drowns out the noise and I can feel rather than think, and things seem so sharp, and the world seems so fresh, it’s as though it had all just come into existence. I can never make these moments last. I cling to them, but, like everything, they fade. I’ve lived my life on these moments. They pull me back to the present. And I realize that everything is exactly the way that it’s meant to be.

And just like that, it came.


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