wring out the gladioli

6 min readFeb 29, 2024

i. winter norovirus

bile, bile, bile, spewing forth from every orifice. i don’t know if it’s the right colour to speak to you, or the metaphysical representation i have of you, pretentious as that sounds. it is accurate though, and that’s all one can hope for at the end of the day. i think at least. is it serious enough? is it really going to end? i don’t think so. fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how i am feeling. i think my digestive system has taken the word vacation a bit too seriously. evidence of the increasing americanisation of the body, or something like that. you would’ve liked that joke/pun/whatever else. during this literal vacation of every nook and cranny holed up in my intestines, i reach my nirvana: a brief respite on my phone. go to my browser, type in nhs throwing up green liquid. i have a light bout of hypochondria and a heavy bout of medical anxiety, so this search is a common one. i only remember you being ill once. when you had covid but that didn’t feel real anyway. you came back as right as rain. better, even. i seem to be on the edge of going to hospital, but i don’t like hospitals so i think i’ll refrain. the thought of me dying, hunched over the toilet bowl. that has passed. both a deeply menial and a very rockstar way to go out. i would rather land in the middle of those two. a double decker bus, crashing into us. or me. i could never hope for your death. that reference was a bit too on the nose. i should try and delve deeper into my collection of esoterica.

ii. commodity fetishism

i keep thinking about buying some merchandise from a band i enjoy. i don’t really know why. i could make a very grandstanding point about how this is encouraged by capitalism and the monetisation of identity or whatever but that has been done by me ten million times before. calling it out has been done by me ten million times before. this is getting too recursive. this was the first conversation, what feels like an epoch ago, where i felt like you saw me like a real person. my apotheosis, in a sense. what i had been working towards all my life, some may say. not specifically from you. maybe what i am still working toward. maybe what we’re all working towards. i was on the bus and envisioned a vignette of us so real, i felt simulcraically elated afterwards. it hasn’t happened though. i thought about us returning to our typical interactions, with me adorned in some sonic youth garb. you complimented me on it, and asked where i got it from. i said, ironically shamefully although very oh-so-secretly genuinely shamefully, asos. you said it was a nice colour, a sort of off-yellowy cream, although not really cream, because i have a cream jumper and when i bought it i didn’t think that you’d compliment me on it. the trousers i bought with it though, i thought were right up your street. the longer without any whisper, the more outlandish my conception, or rather conceptualisation (if the difference matters?) becomes. this foray into delusion has been hitherto unknown. my dreams have been becoming more real, although less often. i don’t dream of or about you, except for one depressing affair, where my quest for spiritual absolution (and ablution, in a sense) was fast-tracked to becoming my number one goal. i don’t seek absolution from you though. any time you speak to me i feel cosmically correct: the opposite of an aberration, carefully placed and coloured in so my heart can erupt with joy and my mood remain delightful and only superficially melancholic for the next week, or so. i went on asos afterwards, but they only had a t-shirt of sonic youth in women’s size l. i was thinking of dirty on the jumper anyway.

iii. leap day rumination

the last leap day, you weren’t really a presence in my life. you were menial. i only thought of you as a nice teacher, albeit with a chip on my shoulder because of some small you way you had wronged me. when i exasperatedly mentioned someone else wronging me in the same way, you brought up how bad you felt about it. some evidence that yes, you thought of me, that yes, i was a real, living, breathing, relatively human person: one step closer to that mythologised nirvana- or rather, that plateau on the hedonic treadmill. that was sometime towards the end of december a couple of years ago. not perfectly placed between the two leap days, but close enough. an extra day, with something seismic usually in its wake. i love telling the story to people of the day i broke my finger. a story i know like (ironically) the back of my hand. you would’ve also enjoyed that joke, albeit i never told you that story. it’s a good one, but the railing against of my primary school first aider isn’t something that particularly cultivated my perceived esoterica. maybe it would’ve been #relatable, or something like that, but that wasn’t what i was going for. or maybe, am going for? i think of you, in some way, as dead, and i am in permanent mourning. wring out the gladioli, don the black veil, and play i know it’s over, lest i forget you. i see you in the lest-we-forget scaffolding, permanently erected on my bus ride home. i think, isn’t that embarrassing? but it probably isn’t to the scaffoldee (is that a word? i don’t think so, but it should be.) i think of you on every single bus ride. ive written about your permanent enclave in my mind, but i think the act of being moved, somehow, reminds me of you, if that isn’t too pretentious to say. you wouldn’t have liked that last part, with your constant encouragement of my more faux-intellectual side (or maybe, real intellectual.) then again, what else were you there to do?

iv. phone scroll

vinted- notification: i need some new jeans, and you always recommended me to get some old levi’s because, and i quote, they “hold up really well.” i’ve been burnt with vinted’s trouser selection, but you lead me to a new destination. i unearth another side to that conversation.

ebay- recommendation from you: you recommended ebay for clothes, something which i have scrolled cursorily from time to time, but usually reserve for cd and book shopping. i look there, but nothing interesting comes up, and i refuse to go onto depop, off a matter of principle (even if i quite like the stuff that comes up.) more time on ebay, to look for some books. ironically, despite your raison d’etre (or more reason for being conceptualised by me, but that doesn’t have a handy french phrase) being inextricably linked to my love of reading, you remain divorced from it almost entirely, save for a few recommendations which i read as soon as you recommended them to me and i loved them because of course, ask me, i won’t say no, how could i? (i think that reference comes off better)

spotify- notification: one of their promo bits, pretending to be psychic. i click on the questions about love, but “will i ever be loved in the same way i love?” didn’t come up, and the rest were all oriented around crushes. i don’t really have/get crushes. i am in constant pursuit of love, yet am lovelornly forlorn for being lovelorn, stupid as that phrase is/sounds/scans. i ask it a question about whether i will ever learn another language, but it answers no and it starts to get weirdly existential.

notes app- bolt of inspiration, to be coy: to write, and inevitably transfer to my laptop when the time is right.