Eternal Sunshine

There are many reasons for Carol and I breaking up in the first place. Some my fault, some of her own construction. Enrique beat her up that time when we were looking for the monster. Then there was her ghastly appearance. The way she shamed me at the Steam Museum. Her foul-mouthed twin-sister. Lots of little things but they’re things I have to drag up from my memory. I don’t know… it’s as if at the time I was looking for faults. I found them and we split up and then I saw her and she looked fine. That’s the British fine, not the American fine, by the way. Here’s a photo of her.

So now I’m thinking of the good times too, because it wasn’t all grim, of course it wasn’t. I just sabotage things. Myself. I sabotage myself, my happiness.

There were good times. Like when she made fun of that man’s silhouette at the cinema. We were in the back row and he further forward and he’d stood up to chastise us for excess noise-making and Carol had made fun of his silhouette. That was a good time. I should have thought of that positive over the negatives. The negatives like the time we both attempted to make love at one another.

If you’re a child, stop reading now.

One afternoon we decided to make love. This must have been not long after the Steam Museum débâcle. We were in the smaller bedroom in her flat. I had my socks and underpants on and she had a T-shirt on because she was rightly self-conscious of her upper-body. I’m not going to go into details but we just about started to get funky when Carol looked into my eyes and said. “Five red lights!” And I was all, what?

Carol loves Grand Prix racing, she’s a nut for it. “Look but never stare,” she said seriously and so, not yet fully understanding what was happening, I closed my eyes. “Go, go, GO!” She shouted and she attacked me sexually. I fought back as best I could but Carol’s strong – that’s working in a gym for you – and she did what she wanted with me which was fine until it came time to don contraception which we’d just bought in Boots.

“I think we’re going to need full wets,” she said, panting. “Off come the tyre warmers,” she said, solemnly ripping off the foil and I was thinking, dude! And then it was all happening. “Go for the undercut!” She was gasping. “Push!” She’s going. “Push, push, push!” And I didn’t know how to tell her to shut the fuck up.

Anyway. We went through everything Grand Prix. All the flags. I nearly got black flagged at one stage but she said the stewards would look at it afterwards. Pit stops. An overtake was exactly what you’re imagining it to be. I picked grass from the back of her Iron Man 2 T-shirt. On and on and on it went. I refused to lap her but I was doing okay and blocking her unpleasant jibber-jabber, Hell, I was pretty pleased to still be out on track, hadn’t blown an engine.

See, good times.

But then, from fucking nowhere my brain tried to think of the name of the safety-car driver. I try to think of anything but sex when I’m having sex so that I can have sex. If I thought about sex it would all be over in two sorry seconds. I wouldn’t even get it in so I have to think of other things. Anything. On this occasion my brain decided to try and think of the safety car driver. The driver who drives his normal car around in front of the racing cars to slow them when there’s been a crash.

It was just a passing thought at first. His name didn’t appear instantly so I tried to think of something else but I couldn’t. It completely took over my brain because I knew it, I knew the answer – Carol definitely would – but when I tried to think of it I couldn’t. Something German. I knew his fucking name!

Guntar Hitler? Nope. Dieter Hitler? Nope.

And it was frustrating and to my horror I felt the beginnings of a slow puncture. No! I tried to think about sex. It was worth the risk, think about sex for a few seconds, just to get it going again and then I could start thinking about owls. I couldn’t think of sex though, only the stupid German and it was over. Oh Jesus. I forlornly pulled over to the side of the track, knowing full well I’d never squash it into the pits, not in this state, no chance, and I tried to forget thinking of his name. Of his stupid fucking name that I didn’t even care about. I could see his car, the silver Mercedes, but I couldn’t fucking think of his name or anything else. Took perhaps 20 seconds and that was it, it wasn’t happening. Race over.

My first retirement.

“It’s okay,” Carol said but there was sadness in her flushed face and I felt worse. This must have happened to her before. It’d never happened to me before. I usually can’t get rid of the blasted things. The shaking engine of the Land Rover gives me one.

“Gosh! I’m sorry!” I said, shamed. I wouldn’t normally say, ‘gosh’ but this wasn’t a normal scenario. It wasn’t her fault. Sure, if she’d been a supermodel it would have been different but I didn’t want her to feel too bad. “Stiffy’s gone, I don’t kn- Bernd Mayländer!”

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