Charles Lee Mathews

Love, loss and Atticus

“I hope to arrive at my death late, in love, and a little drunk.” Atticus.

“I will arrive at my death late, and drunk with love.” Charlie Mathews.

I never thought I’d fall in love. I am not talking about that delusion that’s a bit like a moulded jelly dessert – which, when left out in the rain – quickly loses form, and dissipates. I am talking about that love where you are intellectually and emotionally visible to another human being in a way that makes your eyes moist and your knees tremble.

This is very rare, particularly given I’m no mass market commodity. I am what you’d call a niche of a niche. Queer, gender fluid, introverted, atheist, sceptical, fat, complex – these are some of the many aspects that don’t make me the Marmite to everyone’s slice of toast. Then there’s the matter that I yearn for shared meaning – or what a person on a dating site once told me was: “Terrible hard work.”

I knew if I was to find something exceptional, I’d discover it on the interwebs, but I didn’t get a lot of encouragement. My therapist (at the time) told me: “Look. If you want to date you’ll have to lose weight.” I was in my late, late, late forties when I told this counsellor to fuck off, and trundled online in search love – my definition of love – deep connection, shared values, abundant bliss and serotonin surging lust. When I married I settled – now I wanted more. I wanted everything or nothing.

It took me three years of almost daily dating, a year of celibacy, and an algorithm created by a mathematical genius called Chris McKinlay, to eventually find my Jon – who is to me the most remarkable human I’ve ever met, bar some crazy bastard called KC Jones*.

I write this now while Jon says goodbye to someone he’s loved a lifetime – at a time when he’s dealing with death.

Being in love, drunk in love, at fifty-something has revolutionised my life. The only death I fear now is of those miracles of deep shared connection. Death and loss is, of course, the price we pay for love. But I am alive now, and so are those I love, so I will drink, drink, drink.

Cheers Atticus – I too hope to be late, no, beyond late for my death. I confess I have it so good now I’d like to say: “Fuck you!” to death too. Between you and me, dear philosopher, I’m hoping to survive the singularity and enter the everlasting matrix, because I’ve found someone I want to be with forever.

(* KC Jones is, of course, the best thing that came from my failed marriage. He is my incredible son and was conceived out of wedlock.)

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    • Servaas van Stade

      Unfortunately the euphoria of drunkenness has the tendency to decay into the misery of a hangover. But burn it while it lasts. And perhaps good memories will be your crutch in bad times.