Tuesday, August 13

People Meeting

‘SO, YOU HEARD about my old man?’
I had guided my cousin to the end of the garden, away from the party (which was happening around the champagne-coloured lights of my house), to the swing-chair where we could smoke in peace, because he had asked me—‘Can I nick a fag?’ And I had told him that of course he could. Through my shoes and in the shadows, I sense that the grass was wet with very eager dew. We sat down and rolled cigarettes, side by side.
He opened up to me about his father’s recently diagnosed alcoholism—
‘What annoys me … really annoys me … is that he let it get to this point.’ We were smoking now. In the background seventies soul was playing loudly and my family were laughing and chatting as they danced. ‘I mean, how can it be that he’s drinking in the morning, at breakfast?’
I had been quiet all day, skulking around the outskirts and occasionally engaging in meaningless, petty conversation; I was glad to finally be talking about something important, something with meaning, to me and to others—‘I think it’s like when you see these morbidly obese people on the street,’ I said. ‘I sometimes wonder when they’ll get to a point where they think—“Hang on, this is getting fucking ridiculous!” and they’ll stop fucking eating, but that doesn’t happen. It doesn’t happen overnight. It’s little by little, you won’t even notice it. And I guess it’s the same with your old man. It’s always these little steps, and they just get worse, and you don’t notice it when you’re drinking scotch with your breakfast.’
Silence. He was thinking; putting punctuation marks here & there with the glowing tip of his fag. He spoke some more. Each word was the relocation of a weight from one place to another.
When he finished, I said—‘I heard he was hiding booze all over the place, in the greenhouse and shit.’
‘Yeah; vodka in the wheel-arch. He doesn’t even like vodka but it’s less easy to smell.’
The discussion continued and as it did, as my cousin shed more of his worries, his voice started to crack. I had heard his voice crack many a time; he is a beautifully emotional man. His deep, ragged voice became even more so as his voicebox attempted to balance itself against the muscular quivering of his neck. The crackle of burning tobacco.
In the darkness of me not looking at him: he started to cry.
We were all tired, a little drunk.
His sister-in-law turned up, looking resplendent in a short skirt with her legs on show and not an ounce of her three children upon her. She started to talk to us, and—like that—I heard his tears dry up and he acted okay again. Everything was back to normal.

No comments:

Post a comment

Blank Template By subinsb.com