1 March 2021…
This is the beginning of the novel.
“There is a light ahead and a choice.
I choose…her…and then there are different lights. Red, yellow, green, blue – and they’re spinning. Then I see her again, gold hair flying and face shining with sweat, in the middle of a crowded dancefloor. I feel curious, light as air, and my body is gone, but I’m still me, somehow. Everything is permeated by a vibration that I recognise from brief moments during my, I guess, former human life. The vibration joins with the music, the molecules of matter in the walls, chairs, pint glasses, people, disco ball and colours; it’s in the sound of the joyous crowd…it’s in everything. It’s like a note, a light?, a something sounding, occurring, all around. It feels, overwhelmingly, like love. I couldn’t sense it before. No – I definitely could not feel all this love, before. But now I know that it was always there…it is always here.
A figure is watching her from the bar. He downs the last of his pint, then moves into the crowd and dances towards her, weaving through the other jumping bodies. He’s taller than I was, lanky, and with a rocker’s mane of dark hair. His brown eyes are intent, and she is oblivious. He positions himself to be right in front of her for the chorus. When her eyes open next, they focus on him, and along with the rest of the crowd, the two scream-sing into each other’s faces, ‘I wanna live like common people, I wanna do whatever common people do, wanna sleep with common people, wanna sleep with common people, like you.’ At this, he arcs his body, pointing emphatically at her, and she throws her head back, laughing. In the noisy tumult at the end of the song, they grin at each other, and then he asks her if she wants a cigarette.
We move into the cool night air outside under tall streetlights, and I realise I can feel how the air feels on her skin. Strangely, I can also feel how the bricks feel, inside themselves, as particles of stone, as she leans back against the building. Everything is so much more alive than I realised, before.
The fresh air washes over her, and she feels relieved. She also feels self-conscious, too hot and sweaty. It’s quieter out on the street, just the chatter of people under clouds of smoke, and the noise of car engines approaching and receding. Not too many – it’s late now. Then I can hear her next thought, My face feels like it’s dripping. My mascara must be in puddles under my eyes by now.
Listening to this is a revelation. I always wished I knew what she was thinking, before.”