When I Felt My Heart’s Rush / Ian C Smith

‘Life is first boredom, then fear. / Whether or not we use it, it goes, / And leaves what something
hidden from us chose, / And age, and then the only end of age.’ Philip Larkin, Dockery and Son.

I didn’t wear a trench coat, snap-brim hat, flick my cigarette butt to the Tube station’s track that
afternoon. This wasn’t Brighton Rock, just me exercising ego, my outburst not quite a public scene,
its recollection sweeping over me now like a black flock of migratory birds.

Another time, I photographed her on the Lyme Regis Cobb, a shadowy shot to be published in a
journal, unimagined then, as were other personal scenarios destiny stored between expectation and
reality. Like the town’s façade for the filmed version of sexual love, our present then is today
disguised as the past.

We both read The French Lieutenant’s Woman. Wave-smash sprayed her op-shop cape as if in a film
being enacted, a surf-hiss of grief, a heartsore woman, libido causing havoc with her hormones,
staring seaward from the revetment. Do these specific memories persist because I record them?

For many seasons since, I have travelled only in my thoughts and when reading, acknowledging that
novels are devices, as John Fowles reminded his readers in didactic footnotes, or entertainments, as
Graham Greene published some of his tales, so too, films. My office in those egotistical days a
phone booth and backpack, did I think I would write this in a year with such a futuristic genre
number?

Jostled by rowdy flashbacks, I recall, along with the calmness of books, her cape’s smooth dark green
velvet, and glimpses of train travellers like an Ezra Pound poem, our reverberating railway tunnels of
the past where we would put things right if we could ditch that dogged chaperone, remorse, correct
foolish strife in those days of silly songs before the long slipway down which our undone years
slither. What windswept dramatic characters we hoped we were.



Ian C Smith’s work has been published in BBC Radio 4 Sounds,The Dalhousie Review,
Ginosko Literary Journal, Griffith Review, San Pedro River Review , Southword, The Stony
Thursday Book, & Two Thirds North. His seventh book is wonder sadness madness joy,
Ginninderra (Port Adelaide). He writes in the Gippsland Lakes area of Victoria, and on Flinders
Island.

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