Something made me turn my head. A sound? A movement? I couldn’t be sure. Whatever it was, it had stopped my journey home, my reverie. I stood on the deserted pavement and looked around. It was nearly 3 o’clock in the morning and the last car to pass me, in either direction, had been ten minutes ago. I unscrewed the top of the half-bottle of Jameson’s Whiskey and swigged the familiar liquid. I was pissed. I was alone. Years later, looking back, it has become apparent just how alone. I put the bottle back in the pocket of my Greatcoat and trudged on. I had left the pub early, the sound of Thin Lizzy ringing in my ears. The walk to the train station took twenty minutes. I had been walking for nearly an hour. I was lost.
The pub was in Shepperton, one change on the train from where we lived. In other words, an effort. But an effort worth making. We had heard that there was this pub, The Ship, that was suddenly playing great music on a Friday night, a few weeks earlier. We had ventured over to the unfamiliar surroundings 3 Fridays on the trot. This was the 4th and I thought I knew the way home. How wrong could I be? Sorry? Who is ‘we?’ Ha! Allergy, of course. We were a band. Not just ‘a’ band, we were THE band in Guildford. Well, okay, maybe in Merrow. We’d been together for 2 years, rehearsing, building up our meagre equipment, playing the odd, local gig and gaining a decent following. I played the drums, my passion. It was all-consuming. I had taught myself to play to Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Looking For Somebody’ which, in hindsight, was a smart move. The rhythm involved tom-tom beats with the left hand which forced me to become a bit ambidextrous (can you be a bit ambidextrous?) and taught me to be a more ‘open’ drummer. So, here I was, on an unfamiliar road, at 3 in the morning, having just split up with my girlfriend, and freezing cold. Sorry? ‘Split up with my girlfriend?’ Ah.
She was way above my pay grade, as others might say, these days. She was tall, slim and blonde. She was fun, vibrant and bubbly. I was older, quiet and nervous. Those second two adjectives are the most ‘undescriptive descriptive words’ I could use. I now know, I was a manic depressive. Or, to use the current (and much more suitable description, ) I was bi-polar. So, two years into the relationship, she had ditched me. We had split up. To use the 1970’s vernacular, I had been dumped.
I turned up my collar to the harsh, cold wind, and dug my hands deep into the pockets. I trudged on. For miles. Fifteen, to be exact. I walked all the way home. I had no idea where I was going, or how to get there. Still don’t.