Tuesday, March 7

Hail

Usually, when I am walking through it, I wonder where the wind comes from. With all the books in the world, it would not take me long to find out, but where is the enjoyment in that? One could spend hours, perhaps even days, troubling one’s self as to where the wind comes from. Instead we brace our heads down against it and wonder on. I watched the wind come in through my window, ever so slightly ajar; watch, yes, because embers from my cigarette were being blown in. ‘O no, we’re not going out there.’ Then a hailstorm began, brief and ferocious. Children ran for cover, women pulling their scarves tight. Then the sky broke and all the precious sun fell down in great sheets of yellow and blue. I went out, but so temperamental was the day that it wasn’t long before another downpour came. In every doorway was a collection of people, huddled and safe. The hail melted in my hair and made my head cold. I could not decide whether it was exacerbating or alleviating the hangover. Waking past all the people in their doorways I felt my trainers soaking through. All was not well. The fun of the night before haunted me, in a particular way, and I wished I were not feeling so rotten.
A beautiful woman. Our faces met between swirling shoulders. This one was indeed above me. I mouthed—‘Dios mio, you fine!’ She smiled, how sweet the sound. I was drunk and with good friends and dancing, having fun, careless; a state in which I always desire to be found. We kept looking at each other; that is the most fun; the chill I feel throughout my body when my nervous eyes – such nervous eyes! – meet another’s and do not falter. She gestured for me to go over to her; but I smiled back at her and carried on dancing. After a few minutes I went over—‘Come and dance with me.’ She came. Her hot breath on my ear—‘What game you runnin?’ I assured her I wasn’t running any game. ‘Then why didn’t you come over when I asked you to.’
‘I liked that song.’
‘What do you do?’
I told her, and asked—‘Why, what do you do?’
‘I’m a lawyer.’ She paused. ‘How old are you?’
I told her, and asked—‘How old are you? I shouldn’t ask a lady that, but we’re going tit-for-tat, ain’t we?’
‘I’m thirty-nine.’
I was surprised—‘Shit, man, you don’t look anywhere near that!’ But it was gone. I had noticed it when I told her what I did. She took it as seriously as I did. Noticing her disdain for my, hmm, profession, I thought of informing her that one day I was going to be a tremendous wordsmith, but did not see the point. Instead I felt quite insignificant. The music disappeared briefly, warping and filtered. I tried to ask her some questions about her work, because it seemed important to her, but I sensed she regretted having made eyes with me, such eyes with me. I wilted and said good-bye.
I felt the hail melting in my hair and begun to appreciate it. I walked past the bar from last night and kept my head down. In the light of day it was all very different. Now the light poured down between a gap in the clouds, painting everything wet and in black leaps of soaked white. The streets were closed and they were producing a big Hollywood film; people gathered to watch the goings-on. I kept moving. I headed underground.

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