Monday, October 6

Enzymes Denature at Higher Temperatures

A CUP OF TEA is fallen asleep to, cools and the milk within it forms a film over the surface. The tea is now cold and undrinkable. I take our empty mugs from the bedroom to the kitchen. We had drunk tea after we had fucked, lying, laughing, talking; she breakfast tea and I jasmine. We still fuck as though we are two people who don’t like the phrase ‘making love,’ as it suggests, somewhat cynically perhaps, a physical result, a product, to coo on the bed and then burp in your face. We sat on the sunlit avenue of Goode St. and had a Sunday evening drink. The trees were crooked from the auxin that bent them toward the light and under them were tied bicycles. We looked up. Behind her was stood a monster of a man wearing a leather jacket all emblazoned with badges. His left arm was missing. His face had been smashed in multiple times; blood covered his skin and was beginning to coagulate, small patches were scabbing over, but still the blood glistened a little its sweet, iron sugariness. We both recoiled a little at the sight of him. He motioned for a cigarette and tried to make words. I said I had none. He shuffled away as a father coming around the corner with his young daughter gently guided her out of the man’s path. The sight of the man shook us both – she more than I – but the sun came down and everyone along the avenue tried to get on with their Sunday evening (or evenings, as plural and all different). Down the street, in the distance, we could see the man and all of the blood that covered him.
I made her a cup of tea. I make tea. I knew she would not drink it because she was in and out of napping, draped in blankets up until ‘Where does she begin?’ The tea is cool now. One of the cats is beside her, his front legs outstretched as he will do to us, in a marked gesture of affection, trying to get closer, to make that contact of pink paw meat and new moon nail.
Sometimes she is warm and sometimes she is cold. She offers no explanation, but I never ask her—‘Why?’ when she is warm, only when she is cold.
My parents brought me back a bottle of Bordeaux. I look forward to drinking it, though right now it is atop the cupboard, getting to the right temperature. Now the weather is turning and the wind blows bitter out-of-doors. It pisses in through the sash windows. When we drink rioja, it cools – its temperature changing slightly but a little thumb on the tongue – and should be kept in one’s cupped hand at all times. The Bordeaux will reach the right temperature and won’t hang around long. I anticipate its taste. I will savour it in my mouth, let it warm up even more. We finished the bottle and fucked and I thought that in the morning I would eat breakfast and then go to see my nan. She was sitting in my aunt’s sunroom. ‘Who’s that?’ she said. My aunt told her it was me. ‘Hello, dear,’ she said. ‘O,’ I kissed her—‘You’re growing a beard!’ I waited to be picked up in a town that felt like the entire population had been out on Saturday night, and then thrown its collective guts out on to the pavement, not quite awake but shopping around somnambulistic. It stung the back of my nose. My aunt gave me a beer and I wondered whether she would be warm or cold when I got back. The sunroom did its job and we were all very hot. I studied my nan’s feet while she was talking to me, for she could not see me looking, but talked, and then when I had studied her feet I studied her dentures and the chatter they made bobbing on her gums. Warm or cold. Warm or cold? It was lovely to go see her but disappointing when other family members showed up. When we said good-bye we told each other that we loved the other. I always notice when I tell her I love her because it feels like I’ve just taken a childhood toy to a charity shop.
I bought a bottle of prosecco on the way home and I did not know whether she would be warm or cold. The prosecco was cold. The weather was cold.
The weather is cold and everybody is wearing coats again. Summer never happened. Rain comes down but if one corrects their hunch they can avoid being slapped by raindrops. It is cold again as the thermometer regresses to its early teenage years and takes it out on you. There are many things for the delicate mind to contend with at this time of the year. She is sitting on the floor, surrounded by shady husks of cardboard, the look up (as she fixes a scratching-post to the wall to keep the cats from the sofa and the weave of my amp), the smile, where her hair parts down her skull:

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