Tuesday, May 1

Seasons With A Capital Letter

This season, Spring, hangs, by design, between Winter and Summer. Since Winter lingered so long, the weather rushes eagerly to Summer; Spring does not know what is going on: one moment so hot, another cold rain. For now, the open window permits a nipping breeze and, although the fan is going, the room is at a fine condition. There is a dust of tree pollen in the air from the branches that boomed an explosion of leaves during the course of a weekend. The birds don’t shut up in this part of town.
For some reason (one that cannot be determined at the time of writing) I looked behind me as I walked to work. Not long had I left the shelter of my flat, where shower fumes still lingered, when I looked behind me down the long road on which I live. The sunlight there was bright, coming down at an (unknown) angle, perfect and unintentionally illuminating all the dirt and dust of a capital city in decline. O what, I said, turning back & forth, looking where I walked. It was strange to me to have never looked upon it that way. The whole morning fanfare! All silent and yellow. How many times have I been down that road, facing that direction, and not looked behind me? Because of geography, (the road lies east to west, or vice versa) it never appeared to me that way; I never saw it caught quite so golden, not in the shade of earthly revolution I caught it in at that moment.
Morning and the sun behind me.
Evening and the sun behind me.
I almost stumbled over myself trying to catch a decent glimpse of our star nuzzling between the buildings; the buses, lorries, cars tanning beneath a morning god. I thought—And when I come home, the sun is behind me and all the scene is reflected, portrayed to the opposite.
Sometimes the weather is perfect. Everyone has their own perfect weather; a lady walking with a dog down the street will have a different perfect weather to a gentleman in the coffee shop queuing for something or other. Mine: I like when it is bright and sunny but cold enough for people to still wear coats, and I myself in only a shirt. That kind of chill is best in Spring (only slightly over Autumn) as Summer is a wonderful season to look forward to. Women wear such fine clothes and everthing is the colour it was created to be. I stammer. Still, I sit here and think of those in South America who enter Autumn, as I as we enter Summer. I looked behind me down the road and saw the sun from a different angle.
I am ageing. I think so. I am ageing.
A friend thinks I am aging terribly, losing my fire (etc.), becoming a bore. I told my friend the case of this young woman:
I met this young woman in February on the River Thames, when it was much colder and snow fell in your eyes. Walking across bridges of the River Thames and the snow, the snow, the snow. What occurs to me – and what I relayed to my friend – is that my younger self would have fallen head over heels for her, for this girl, this young woman (what is the correct word). She is one of the most intelligent people I have ever met, and lighthearted with it so that I am not so terrified. Her eyes go crossed when she emphasises her point with a flurry of gestures. She is objectively beautiful, her lips the shape of a spine, her nose, her eyes unquestionably arresting. It is the season (hot Spring) for faint freckles to decorate her cheeks. She does not smoke or eat meat. She is gin & tonic. She has friends all over the world and speaks many languages. She is utterly intimidating and graceful. When you meet people like her you think—I understand why we were meant to interact and everything like that. Yes, years ago I would have absolutely been smitten with her.
But now I am not.
I write what I have written and it all makes sense to me, and yet I am not infatuated. I write these words in English. I think—O, I must be growing up. In my mid-twenties, such a person would have kept me awake at night, now I am happy enough to spend the evening in her company and walk away without anything heavy on my heart.
‘This is ageing. You are settling. You definitely need a boot up the arse,’ my friend says.
Maybe I am, maybe I do; all of the above. Illnesses triggered by allergic reactions are crippling me. All day I am useless. My appearance triggers reactions in people—‘Fuck is up with you?’ I tell them. Showering twice a day is what the gods do, and me too. All the dirt washes off me. All the dirt washes down the drain and I think to put my fingers in there but it’s a long way down. Surely the city and its flora will calm down and I will go back to normal. It’s good when the dirt is gone.
‘It’s the payroll lady.’
‘Who?’
‘The woman who does the payroll?’
‘O,’ I took the phone.
‘Hello, R—s.’
‘Hi.’
‘There’s been a mistake and I’ve accidentally paid you twice. Sorry. Are you able to pay it back?’
‘Sure. Just gimme the sort code and the account number and that. I’ll pay it back right away.’
‘Thanks. Right, the sort code is… hang on a sec… the sort code is—’
There was a large sum of money left in my account. It was the end of the month and there was a large sum of money left over.
‘Do you not spend it on things or food or going out or anything?’ my mother asked.
‘I dunno. I guess so…’ I paused on the telephone—‘I guess I’m just making more money than I need.’
It was a tidy sum of money. One could do many things with that kind of money. In the office where I had earned it, I wrote the number down and stared at it. Three digits, chubby enough by themselves, magnified by my bank account. Again, in my younger days I would have been thrilled by that money, but now it lost much of its meaning; I was living in (relatively) reasonable accommodation, had no debts, no family, no outgoings, no holidays, no car or mortgage. The money looked back at me. It would go into savings. I was not saving for anything, but I would put it into savings.
When I looked at the money I thought about having someone to spend that money on. All the things that money could provide! I thought of meals and holidays, expensive lingerie and long train journeys into the country. Just me and a lover and all this useless money I had accrued. We could go for delicious meals and leave a tip and order many rounds of drinks, wine, cocktails, and that would be the evening before we came home and spoke, , sighed, fucked, laughed next to cups of cooling tea. We could go away to cities that weren’t our own, cities of a different language, a different transport network. Where we would bask beneath a foreign sun on crisp white sheets. We could visit dressing rooms and come together on lace. She could rest her head on my shoulder and we’d stare at landscapes good enough for Constable to masturbate to and all of it under the accent and everything fine. She would have money too and we could pool it; riding first class, getting cabs, buying the suspenders too. I looked at the money and did not care for it. Those three digits reminded me of something and of nothing. I was lucky to have money. That’s all it was: luck.

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