Monday, February 24

Spooning Bananas Can Recall

THERE WAS A TIME when I could—and would—watch the days lengthen, as though it were the most productive use of my hours; the increase in daylight from one season to the next. The train set out along its course and by its side the horizon would flower from one colour to another, and everything was grand to see, and there was so little else for me. Those days are hard to recall now, though I lived them for so long! and feel as though they were part of another life entirely.
I can no longer witness such things.
This evening when I got home—and had read the notes my girlfriend had left around the flat—I opened the window wide and smelled, for the first time in what seemed like forever, the smell of cut grass. How good it was! I thought I was dreaming it. I took many drags before I knew that I wasn’t. I supposed that Spring was coming.
Tonight is the first time I have written in six days. I was too miserable to write and too poor to drink, so I went to bed unaccomplished and sober. Or was it that I had not written in over half a month? I cannot recall with much certainty. My novel is struggling, I reason, but then I consider how much I have written on a particular night and I see the places and the characters very clearly in my head. It comes along.
I keep going.
What was I talking about?
I often ask myself—‘Can I afford that?’ The answer is always—‘No,’ so I go without. I had twenty-eight years of plenty, but now I cannot afford coffee or to go to the bars or to buy a new book, so I reread old books from my shelf and—James Joyce, well, he keeps me company, and Camus, too, as I repeat—‘My mother died today. Or yesterday, I don’t remember.’ It is a song lyric, and I cannot imagine my mother dying. Woolf, as always, picks me up, dusts me off, tells me to get on with it, or to fill my pockets with rocks.
‘Furniture shopping with my girlfriend … I feel like a real human being.’
And I did.
‘It’s good to share this with you,’ said my mother. I could hear that she was terribly sad and drinking just to get through it. A black cloud is gathering over my family and it frightens us all. I opened a beer and then another and then felt like going to bed. Now I think of it often. At work I am inclined to put my headphones in and then to burst into fits of rage. ‘You need a hug,’ they say. I reach for the nearest pair of scissors and, holding them aloft like a most charming crucifix, make my exit. ‘Don’t trust women,’ says my mother. ‘You’re a terrible feminist,’ I say. ‘I know,’ she says—‘But don’t trust them, please.’
Her eyes are big and I always see them when they open at me. The mascara is all washed off. Her eyes are big. I move all over her when I am asleep, though, of course, I don’t know it. She records me snoring and plays it to me, laughing all the while. I say sorry once and she says thank-you twice; and maybe we are square. We spoon. We get out of bed and watch documentaries about Auschwitz and I make myself a pot of coffee, which she doesn’t want. Then my mother rings and says—‘It’s good to share this with you.’ And I open another beer.

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