I was camped at the same site as her: Broughton Farm. She came over to my tent and showed me her blisters. She asked me whether I knew the reason why a blister can keep on producing fluid ad infinitum. I said that I had always wondered the same thing about mucus. One of the reasons we are together is because we have similar interests.
After that, we had a short conversation about how your body can sometimes seem totally separate. She said her body can feel like a distant bureaucracy controlled by telegrams from her brain, and I said my body is sometimes like that of Mario Mario, being controlled with a Nintendo joypad. Mario's surname is Mario.
I find that the only way to get through life is to picture myself in an entirely disconnected reality. I often imagine how people would react to my death. Mr Dunthorne's quavering voice as he makes the announcement. The shocked faces of my classmates. A playground bedecked with flowers. The empty stillness of a school corridor. Local news analysis. . . . The steady stoicism of my parents. . . . Candlelit vigils. . . . And finally, my glorious resurrection.
Oh diary, I love her, I love her, I love her so much. Jordana is the most amazing person I have ever met. I could eat her. I could drink her blood. She's the only person I would allow to be shrunk to microscopic size and explore me in a tiny submersible machine. She is wonderful and beautiful and sensitive and funny and sexy. She's too good for me, she's too good for anyone! All I could do was let her know. I said: "I love you more than words. And I am a big fan of words.
The next thing Jordana says makes me realize that it's too late to save her. "I've noticed that when you light a match, the flame is the same shape as a falling tear." She's been sensitized, turned gooey in the middle. I saw it happening and I didn't do anything to stop it. From now on, she'll be writing diaries and sometimes including little poems and she'll buy gifts for her favourite teachers and she'll admire the scenery and she'll watch the news and she'll buy soup for homeless people and she'll never burn my leg hair again.
I don't know if I've come of age, but I'm certainly older now. I feel shrunken, as if there's a tiny ancient Oliver Tate inside me operating the levers of a life-size Oliver-shaped shell. A shell on which a decrepit picture show replays the same handful of images. Every night I come to the same place and wait till the sky catches up with my mood. The pattern is set. This is, no doubt, the end.
I spin around on the swivel chair and look up at the ceiling; Oliver being Oliver being Oliver being Oliver. I am suddenly aware of the separation between my-actual-self and myself-as-seen-by-others. Who would win in an arm wrestle? Who is better-looking? Who has the higher IQ?