The Winterfood Diaries

The Winterfood Diaries

Saturday, 2 January 1988

Whatever Happened To Naomi Bell?


‘Heartland’ – The The



 

With permission to stay at Fiz’s place, Flash and I got to bed, once again, at about 6am.  It was an awful ‘night’ in a cold and empty room on a mattress made for one, with no covers, and a window that wouldn’t shut, banging in the wind.

 

By now, 1988 wasn’t looking too promising.

 

We got up at 1pm today.  We’d been bad boys really, cos we hadn’t told Naomi we wouldn’t be back.  And she’d waited up most of the nite and was, thus, in a mood when we arrived at the bedsit.

 

Time passed and we had to go, so we said our farewells.  It was really good of Naomi to put up with us.  We got the Peterboro’ bus, and when it reached Wisbech I said farewell to Flash and got off.  We went our separate ways, to go and work on our respective 1988s. 

 

I returned home and ate a lot!  I haven’t had o’er one proper meal in the last three days.

 

‘Next’ – JAMMS



 

Rather ironically, I have returned home only to receive a letter from Naomi…

 

She wrote it ages ago, in response to the letter I sent her in December.  She addressed it to ‘Jezebel’ from ‘Lily, Norwich’.  A ‘covering’ letter was actually written at 2pm on Tuesday 29th December, apologising for the delay and asking me to read the letter and ‘understand’.  She signs off with ‘much love’ and 5 kisses.

 

The main letter was written it at 11.40pm one Sunday evening in December, following a cigarette and whilst listening to The July Cassette that I made for her.  She starts off with ‘Vet For The Insane’ by Fields Of The Nephilim (which starts doing her head in). 

 

She begins by addressing me as ‘Dearest Jezebel’ and thanks me for writing.  She says that the fears are still there, but not flowing so freely.  She feels that her head wants to say so much, but it’s being ‘overpowered’ by her heart…

 

‘This is so hard for me, Jez.  I just can’t seem to say anything…’ 

 

Part of her is relieved that I wrote, and she was happy to hear from me, but another part of her wasn’t.  Since ‘that certain Sunday in September’ she has

 

‘prayed a letter would come through the letter box from Wisbech.  It didn’t happen.  I gave up hope, crying for memories, punishing myself for getting too involved in the first place.  Playing ‘Ghosts’, over and over.  Thinking, crying, torturing and … hoping?  I desperately tried to forget you.  I tried, but it didn’t happen for ages.’

 

At this point she fast-forwards The July Cassette to ‘Desire’ by Gene Loves Jezebel (why, she doesn’t really know…).  She tells me that reading the letter I sent

 

‘hurts so much.  Especially, “I wanted to be your friend at the time (I now realise it was a mistake to finish and I was a twat!).  And I couldn’t bear to ‘fall in love’ with you all over again – because of the hurt I’d caused – and so I blanked you from my mind.”  How I wish you had told me.  I would have understood.  I wish you had come back to me.  I loved you so much.  I still love you, but, obviously, not in the same way.  You are so “on level” with me.  Nobody understands me as well as you do.’

 

‘Stay With Me’ by The Mission comes on, making her feel ‘strange again’ and ‘sad’.

 

She tells me she saw Justine in The Bell ‘last night’. 

 

‘I knew her from before.  She seemed wary of me.’ 

 

Apparently Leighton told Naomi that he and I have ‘fallen out with each other.’ 

 

‘I’m sorry.  It’s awful that good friendships should be weakened like this.  Rather like our friendship, Jez?’

 

She says she tried to ‘phone me at 8pm ‘last night’ to apologize for missing me when I went to meet her in Norwich.  She got up too late, but assumed I’d be there for the evening at the pub. 

 

‘I was so angry with myself for not making the effort to get up in time to meet you…’

 

Now she’s taken The July Cassette off and is listening to ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ by Joy Division.

 

She asks me to remember the night of May 9th (‘fate, we called it’).  She talks of the pain we felt for so long afterwards. 

 

‘I was trapped with Alex.  You were trapped by your love for me.’ 

 

Then she talks about July 4th (‘so much love blossoms’). 

 

‘At times, the love was so much, we thought of it as never-ending.  Wrong.  It was the love which killed our friendship, our togetherness and my heart…’

 

Radio Broadland’s late show plays ‘Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?’ (artist unknown) and Naomi almost screams.

 

She continues: 

 

‘Did your mum tell you I ‘phoned on Thursday night?  I’m sorry about not seeing you on Saturday.  I’m also sorry about daring to think you’ve written just because you and Justine didn’t work out.  I thought this, at first, but now… I’m sorry.  I don’t remember seeing you in Woolworths.  Did our eyes exchange glances, or did you see me?  On October 10th, in The Bell, I also desperately wanted to talk to you.  I couldn’t.  It was too soon.  It seems to hurt even now, writing this letter to you: Jez, who I was so deeply in love with only 5 months ago.  Not to sound nosy, but who ‘phoned to give you the confidence to write to me?!’

 

Then she asks me if I’ll be in Norwich for Ritzy’s Christmas party ‘tomorrow night’.  Obviously I wasn’t. 

 

She hopes we might talk before she gives me the letter:

 

‘I hope so.  I want to see you.  Really, I do.  I’ll tell you about the heartbreak I suffered only a fortnight ago…’

 

She puts ‘The Dance Of Death’ by The Venomettes on.

 

Then she quotes a diary entry for December 17th:

 

‘I’ve just received a letter from Jez.  I’m crying.  Crying for the old memories.  Silly, I know, but that’s me!  This letter from Jez has done my brain in.  Suddenly nothing else seems important any more.  Fate brought Jez and I together in May.  I felt, somehow, even when I didn’t know, that we would remain “existent”.  I’m scared.  Scared of seeing him.’

 

She then signs off, hoping I’ll be at Ritzy’s ‘tomorrow’.  She says she’ll take the letter along with her just in case.  She tells me to look after myself and take care (‘be happy in yourself’) and offers me ‘more love than ever’.  She signs off as ‘Lily’ with 12 kisses.

 

She picks up again at 6.40pm on Tuesday 22nd December. 

 

‘You weren’t at Ritzy’s.  Why not?’ 

 

She asks me to write soon, offering me ‘love, kisses and dreams’ from ‘Lily’ (3 kisses).

 

I have grown to like her again.

 




 

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Next time: ‘Confidence From Love…’

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