I never use Poppers. Alkyl Nitrite gives me hiccups. Poppers are Delroy’s thing. He loves to sniff that stuff when he’s getting pounded. He says it heightens the pleasure and helps him to relax through the pain. So, we always keep a bottle of poppers in a draw beside our bed.
While he’s away in London, I’m smoking a spliff in the apartment we’ve rented in Amsterdam. We’re trying to open a business there. The joint goes out, and my lighter won’t spark, so I reach for a draw on either side of our bed, where the matches, condoms, and other bits and pieces live.
I try my drawer first, but no matches or lighter are there. Then, I pull his drawer open but silence. That’s odd. I’d typically expect to hear his bottle of poppers rattling around in the bottom of the draw. Where the hell was it now? In his little toiletry bag with him in England, I bet. Hmm.
8. Saturday, 8th May
It’s time to start protecting myself. Looking out for my own interest, you might say. Delroy will always look out for number one. And his family will always be there to back him up. I have no family to speak of, no friends, either, it seems since I could not even find a floor to doss on in London for four days.
I need to start acting-wise, putting aside at least five hundred pounds a month for the next thing, which I know will surely come. Whether it’s moving back to my flat in London or moving onto Jamaica to write the boyhood autobiography I’ve dreamed of completing for too long, I have to stop spending my money on “us” and start concentrating on me.
7. Sunday, 9th May
He’s been gone since Thursday but only manages to phone home three days later, saying, “Why didn’t you call me? What have you been up to?”
I said, “I didn’t want to bother you.” And told him I went to the “Exit” last night and had a good time; when in reality I had an early night, lying in bed wondering why on earth my lover took Poppers with him on a trip to London without me.
“Well, I hope you haven’t been dancing with any men!” he scolds.
“Not too many!” I say, deadpan. “What about you?”
“Excuse me? Excuse me? I don’t do that,” he shouts, just as I get the giggles at the thought of him carrying on while the bottle of poppers is in his bag. “And you’re even laughing about it,” he bellows. “I ain’t stupid. I’ll see you tomorrow!” He slams down the phone.
Blimey. What was all that about? Milord doth protest too much, methinks.
6. Monday, 10th May
5. Tuesday, 11th May
I finish reading E Lynn Harris’ so-so book and write a few thoughts in the diary to remind me of this and my own ongoing saga.
Delroy and I have not been getting on for some time. It started in Atlanta where he met one of his old flames from London. Some tall yellow-skin bloke of Jamaican parentage who lives out in that US sex city now. He introduces us, so I couldn’t very well object to him spending time with “an old friend.” But I got the weirdest vibe that something else was going on between them.
I didn’t take to Atlanta in the slightest like he didn’t take to Ghana at all. Too much temptation for my liking and I’m the loyal type. Neither one of us had to try too hard to pick up whatever we might have wanted out in “Hotlanta.” The English charm seemed to always leave the yanks in raptures.
While Delroy’s head was swivelling everywhere we went, it wasn’t long before I was ready to pack bags and head back to the drawing board. We were quickly running out of cash in America and needed to find an alternative location for this restaurant we were planning if it was ever going to happen. Ghana wasn’t the place for him. Atlanta sure wasn’t the place for me. We decided to try somewhere closer to home.
4. Wednesday, 12th May
I took a brief trip to Marks & Spencer for two linen shirts (one in grey and the other in blue) to match the white one I bought recently. They’ll go down well in the Jamaican heat if I get there.
Hardly a word said between Delroy and me again today. This is becoming a habit. I tell him that Joseph phoned to invite us to Linda’s birthday bash at 10 o’clock in the “Casa Maria,” and later, when he finds me still in bed, he wants to know why I’m not going:
“Because I don’t want to go on my own.”
“Why not? It’s you they like and want to see.”
“We’re supposed to be a team, Delroy. And I’m not good at pretending, despite what you might think.”
“Just tell them that I’m sick.”
“But it’s not just about that, is it?”
“You’d be pretending if we both went.”
“At this moment in time, I don’t think I could go there with you, anyway.”
“Forget the whole thing, then.”
“That’s not a problem.”
3. Thursday, 13th May
2. Friday, 14th May
1. Saturday, 15nd May
The day seems unusually long. I don’t rise from the bed until late morning, but time is dragging. Of course, he’s stretched out on the sofa in front of the television when I go downstairs, and the whole third floor stinks of Ganja. No words are exchanged. He’s perched on the settee in his usual arrogant style, feet up towards the window, eyes directed at the cricket on TV (with a sad ashen look on his ‘don’t-care’ face), and a cigarette flirting between fingers and mouth.
There’s nothing in the fridge except white wine leftover from my last night’s drinking, and I’m reminded to go to the supermarket for bread, juice, and other things. Stupid to be leaving your lover and still searching the supermarket shelves for all the things you know he enjoys eating. Get a grip, boy, from now on; it’s just YOU! So, I buy myself another pair of Dockers trousers, in blue this time, and take back to 315 Singel, just the food that I want to eat for this last supper.
I’m packing the Hifi to mail home via my tenant when Delroy finally speaks. He knows I’m leaving him then: