After his wife left him and he subsequently spent four years terrorising the populace as a young, free fuck up, writer Todd Levin decides it’s time to go straight in the inaugural edition of his new column ‘Hell Over Heels’.
Isn’t that the kind of word that makes men run for miles? Maybe.
The kind of generalised expectation that leaves a woman’s lips and drops just short of a man’s considerable to-do list? Perhaps.
Not me. In near every way I’ve never been a choosy git. There comes a time when you have your lips around the luscious lower parts of the 23-year-old who’s been serving your drinks for the past week and you decide that you’re finally 30. I imagine it doesn’t normally happen right there but that is where I finally decided to make a change. In the explanation of my exit to follow I simply told her that it most definitely wasn’t her, it was me.
I’d been changing for the past four years since the wife walked out and I was left with an awful lot of nothing to take care of. To term that which was left a shell would be harsh. I’m simply not that hard. I suppose that’s why change didn’t seem that daunting to me. I made that decision mine and mine alone in order to stop myself from being quite so lonesome. I’m begrudged to quote Churchill in my first column, but I’m going to just to tell you how wrong he was. He told us that to change constantly is to be perfect. It’s not. Nothing is and anyone who tells you anything is perfect, evolving or not, needs to be gagged, and if they call themselves perfection you need to move away from them as quickly as possible. They’re the ones that are the most flawed in the worst of ways. I thought I was invincible, and invincibility…that’s the arrogant father of perfection, the one that turns up to birthday parties drunk. At the end of the day when you look up from between those legs to see a fellow contorting shell and she’s the very same heaving 23-year-old vision of your ex-wife in another form, you realise that it doesn’t get much more lonely even if it did taste a little like home and that still living there tasted quite as bitter.
After she left I went on a run like I could never have foreseen and by the time I was done I had a higher number on my rapsheet than Charles Manson and unlike him I don’t have the ego to brag. I wrote a book about it and the trouble it caused. It was a stupefying, self-destructive time filled with colourful moments, most sadly forgotten and only to be reminded of when I bump into those shimmering highlights, beautiful, ravaging women, when I walk over the bridge between home and the city. I suppose you could say the lights over there lead us both on but neither of us ever understood why. Sometimes it’s awkward, sometimes it’s nice. One time me and this girl stood and talked for a while, looking over at the glass buildings that could have been making all the money in the world, questioning why we never made it. It wasn’t a very long conversation, only a little while shorter than the relationship itself. For all her beauty that was the unreasonable side of the expectation of change. She still walked away as I’d come to accept that all beautiful things do.
This is where change comes in, change for the better, change for the sake of change, change of the heart so the next time I talk to a woman quite as beautiful as I walk through a picturesque scene like that it would be one of what was to come on the other of the water and less of regret of never quite making it across that void. It is at the least a nice image for a dream.
So here I am. In this half of this domesticated world where the currency seems to cost as little as watching Strictly Come Dancing without turning back to the booze and the long nights, I will be telling my tales of trying to go straight, stumbling down roads to find hope in the suburbs, to escape the past of the stray who’s last owner forgot to get him fixed before very carefully discarding him somewhere on the outskirts of the city. Firstly, a promise to you, not-so-gentle-reader; I am not Carrie fucking Bradshaw, this is not Sex And The City, and there’s three things that won’t change because they’re as much a part of me as the past and this future; my words, my attitude and the booze that lead me. They all fuel the fire and that Jap whiskey I love so much helps keep me regular.
Change is far from being spayed; change is just trying to avoid constipation.