Andy Botterill was born in Newent, Gloucestershire, and attended Exmouth Community College.He graduated with a history degree from Swansea University, before studying journalism at Cardiff Metropolitan University.He worked as a journalist for a number of years, before moving into arts administration, and has worked variously at an arts centre, arthouse cinema and theatre.His poetry and short stories have appeared widely in the small presses in this country and abroad, and he has published a number of minor collections of poetry.As a musician he has released six solo studio albums, available on iTunes, and many more with bands, as well as running the independent record label, Pastime Records.Five of his earlier novels and a play are available on Kindle.Andy Botterill is married with two children.
WALK ALONG A BEACH
Warming currents of air lift up your memories as never quite before. Exposed now and bare, lying in tatters just out of reach, like dying embers of driftwood washed up on the beach scattered where they fell, still and resting finally from the last rising swell.
Where do we go from here? Should never have begun that affair. A phrase enters your head; a word spoken out of place. Shouldn’t have come back. It was a mistake from the start to think it might actually work. The suspicion is it won’t.
The early days of spring; perhaps the chance for a new beginning. Nothing’s a waste of time, if it adds to the process of learning. The bitter cold of the last few months is slowly receding. Perhaps today a coat needn’t be worn.
Step out as if it’s the last time. Take a walk back along the beach. Re-trace your thoughts with your steps. Throw some light on your experiences. Perhaps enlightenment will come in time. It’s doubtful in truth. Another walk is needed. Make a mental note to do it soon, before the crowds arrive with summer and disperse the gathering gloom.
IN ANOTHER LIFETIME
In another lifetime I did something. In another lifetime I was someone. In another lifetime I built the Eiffel Tower and wasn’t scared of heights. In another life I did everything that could be done.
I was a doctor, a famous politician, an actor, a poet, a musician. In another lifetime I travelled the world. In another life I was a scientist at the forefront of their field. I went to the moon and back. I stood on its surface and planted a flag.
In another life I stood by the side of Nelson and rubbed shoulders with the Duke of Wellington. In another life I masterminded the Dunkirk evacuation and stood victorious on the dunes of El Alamein. In another life I broke the Enigma Code, coming to the aid of Alan Turing, when he was dejected and broken.
In another life I accepted the Nobel Prize for Peace, to add to the Pulitzers and Oscars that already adorned my mantelpiece. In another lifetime I discovered penicillin and found the cure to cancer. In another life I wasn’t afraid of failure.
In another lifetime things worked out. I didn’t falter in love. I wasn’t hindered by illness. I didn’t suffer fear and anxiety. I wasn’t scared to let go and take a chance. I wasn’t afraid to move on and follow my dream. In another lifetime I was everything I’m not. In this lifetime I did nothing.
On reflection I have many regrets. Yet if I’d done things differently, I’d just have different regrets to now reflect upon. Ultimately things wouldn’t be that much better or worse than they are in all probability. I can kid myself that in another life I became a successful author, or a pop star. I didn’t in the life that mattered. I stumbled rather awkwardly along, not quite good enough at anything.
On reflection I’d have done many things in a different way. For a start I wouldn’t have wasted my teenage years. I’d have been nicer to my first fiancée. I’d have been easier to get on with. I’d have enjoyed better health and have avoided mid life illness. I’d have been more ambitious. I’d have said what I thought, rather than kept it bottled up inside.
I’d have written something good, that stood the test of time. I’d have turned water into wine and not been a borderline alcoholic. I’d have made all your dreams the same ones as mine, and you might still be here now in this room, and not where you are, in someone else’s home, many miles from here.
FROM TIME TO TIME
I’ve often thought she ruined my life the day she walked out and left me for another man, without so much as a word of regret, apology, a goodbye even. Perhaps in fact she did me a favour. Perhaps I was happier without her. I did things I wouldn’t otherwise have done. I had relationships and experiences which would never have happened, if we’d simply carried on.
I’d have married someone who wasn’t happy, who longed for their freedom. As it was they got it. Perhaps in reality it wasn’t all they expected and wanted. I was left to move on, on my own, and forge another life alone.
Perhaps in another dimension, in some parallel universe, we stayed together and carried on arguing. It might not have been quite how I visualise it in the dream that I have from time to time, where everything is perfect and nothing ever goes wrong.
UNTIL IT BREAKS
I’m in the autumn of my life, but I’m trying to make the best of it before it’s too late, and I struggle to get out and about. At the moment I can still do it, despite a daily diet of heart medication, which keeps things normal and running, for the time being at least.
I make the most of my situation. I enjoy myself as much as I can. I go out in the car. I take long walks. I relax in quiet cafes. I read, whilst others are engrossed in work, in brightly lit offices. I’m glad I’m not. I’m glad I’m outside in the fresh air, in all seasons, in all weathers, fine, foul or fair. I’m not confined by rules and regulations. I’ve turned my back on them. I have my own way of living. Despite the problems and issues it causes, I wouldn’t swap my life for yours or anyone else’s. I’m in it for the long haul, whatever that takes. I won’t give up, not now. not ever, until it breaks.