Title: This Year

Author: Pip Adam

In: Sport 39: 2011

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, 2013, Wellington

Part of: Sport

Keywords: Prose Literature

Conditions of use



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Sport 39: 2011

This Year

page 115

This Year

Friends like mine collapse at the gym and die. The paper says they are 47 years old—they’re 42. They beat breast cancer once, fall in love, get pregnant and while they’re pregnant get cancer again. It goes to their hips then their spine. They are in pain and have beautiful children. Friends like mine feel tired and suspect they are anaemic. They take iron supplements but feel worse; at Accident and Emergency a good looking intern tells them they have lymphoma. My friends have special and bad types of lymphoma and start long horrible treatment immediately. They miss their children and their husbands and write all of this on a blog in the middle of the night from the annoying keyboard of an iPhone, misspelling many words with weak wrists and fumbling thumbs.

Friends like mine overdose, often, they fall in the snow drunk and die of exposure in a suburb in Dunedin. They swim out to sea and never come back and write songs about people who swim out to sea and never come back. Friends like mine win prizes, leave their husbands and tell their children and will be happier for it no doubt. My friends hurry on the revolution with disobedience and in the veil of night, they don’t vote and are on school committees that sell chocolate and sausages and gambling so the schools can have new carpet. My friends want free water for everyone and for those small sweets that are filled with hard caramel to go back on the market. They nurse grudges and fan resentments. They have blood clots and head colds and call me infrequently because they know I hate the phone. My friends sing, ‘Til Daleth, mahomahouma,’ and chant, ‘Om Mani Padme Hum,’ and pray ‘Our Father,’ and are edgewiped and puddenpadded. Quietly, so I have to listen very carefully, friends like mine tell stories about places and the meals I will have in these places. They get amoebic dysentery from swimming pools on the roofs of Singapore hotels after spending months in the poorest parts of India and catching nothing.

page 116

Friends like mine have years and years of health and happiness, of unbridled joy, of boredom. They are ridiculous and unreasonable and I fight with them, out loud and in our heads. In our heads we stab each other with the clever things which completely prove our point—unequivocally, we rule, my friends and I. We meet each other in the aisles of the supermarket, late at night and during the day and in the morning if we’re organised. We hunt things down: mice, spiders, bindweed, and we kill them. We are heartfelt and we lie. We’d lose our heads if they weren’t screwed on, my friends and I. We are late for funerals and our children are loud and we cry, making our misbehaving children shake in our laps while they shout above the eulogy. We take more than our share. Under cold, salt water we all look the same, my friends and I. We eat lots and on the run and sometimes forget until we are dizzy and can’t remember our street addresses or the registration numbers of our cars. I call friends like mine, on the weekend to see if they are busy and during the week when I can’t remember what else Denzel Washington has been in. I don’t know how to spell ‘decent’ or ‘descent’ or ‘dissent’ and I get James Joyce and Graham Greene mixed up. When I was twenty-three years old I was cruel to my grandmother in a way that I will never forgive myself for. I watch friends like mine, running, jumping, nailing things into walls. I’m always humming something in my head and I never know what to wear. I steal plenty.