Thursday, May 28

Fly Over Chicken Soup

TRIBUTES AT THE side of the road, purple, translucent, a little sooty, they grab at my work shoes with their dead flowers, and such. It is late – I am home from work late. The Little Driver has some football on, the curtains half lowered against the setting sun, letting the score out to children and those who bend down. Inside it is stuffy, abruptly leaning against the late springtime air. Sooty traffic goes by. I bend down to see the score. There are cars on the forecourt, refilling, a stain or two, sand between the cracks, locals emerging from between the automatic doors. A few beers and a carton of soup.
I sit down to draw her, although the sun is lowering and the light becoming thin. No one else, just her. I would like to draw someone else but I do not know how, so perhaps I will learn again. I draw her from a photograph, removing her bra, but it is ghastly. I stare at it with a short stammer, and my mother phones me so I tell her that I am all okay. After we stop speaking, I put the paper & pencil away. There is no one moving about outside. There is a breeze coming in through the open window, cooling the room. I sit on the chair and see that there is no one moving about outside. There is nothing to draw my attention away. A slight stillness across the furniture. No motion, no movement, nothing. The clock’s tail sways. A brief moment looking up from my lap. I stand up and shiver some energy back into my bones. I heat up a bowl of carton of soup in the microwave.
The soup is grey. It is slimy and grey and in it are little strands of dead bird. Eating chicken soup reminds me of a New York novel, and of souls, which I don’t believe in but I have heard – read, somewhere – that chicken soup is very good for one’s soul. I wish I were still a Christian because I might be able to get a smile out of this. The girls next door are beautiful and their boyfriends are beautiful and they laugh together and go down the gym; all the while I watch them, drinking to myself and wishing the sun would set earlier, because, o, I miss winter. In winter one feels as though they are meant to feel lonely, in summer one feels as though they are meant to have friends.
The soup is grey but it feeds me enough. I scrape every bit of it out of the bowl and all that is left is the threadwork of dead bird. Dead threads from many birds, not just one.
Maybe it hurts more because she was the first, and I had known nothing like it.
Perhaps I should have to jump off the flyover to knock certain memories out of my skull. The flyover is grey, like chicken soup, and is high enough. Because of the fat and the old blood, chicken soup is grey, like the flyover.
Yesterday morning I was walking to work and I saw a puppy bouncing along. The owner was tripping up over it. Its black fur shone. Its eyes and its nose and its fur and its claws were black. It was a silhouette. Walking the same speed, parallel, side by side, observing, forgetting about things. Its fur was black. There was that black. It followed me down the street, then it went into the park.

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