Tuesday, January 15

We Saved This For A Rainy Day

Be like the Swiss, and contemplate eating chocolate on the morning commute. The divine act of watching the pale day come alive under the paintbrush of a train moving north-to-south. He recounts a plant from yesterday; an aloe vera that, for months, has been tilting gradually (towards the winter sun) and finally, upon the bookshelf, is disturbed enough by its minute growth and the ruffle of a dustcloth to fall and spray wet soil over everything: books and CDs, an alarm clock and a mason jar of condoms, a ‘decorative’ cushion, the sleeping laptop all covered in black soil. Cleaning each, he flicks through the books. There is a passage in one of the books — a memoir — that he takes in, sitting on the edge of the bed and absorbing properly. The writer, a young American actress, relays her affections for London, its foul language, strange friendships and coke-without-ice. After a moment, the aloe vera — severely damaged and missing limbs — was put back on the shelf, its green arms rearranged in a safer gesture. How easy is it to take the city for granted? The plant will continue to lean that way, edging toward the sun, and to finally fling itself off the bookshelf in what one could only describe as ‘all-or-nothing behaviour.’
The building site was charged with activity. Across the entrance were thick plastic strips, the kind used in butcher shops. The man on security made him sign his name a half-dozen times until he misspelled it (an E when there should have been an L) and he began, in a mild way, to doubt his own existence, as one will do when surrounded by a tornado of people going here & there. After it all there was his name in varying degrees of error, of letters scratched out and replaced. He sat in a meeting room, adjusting his chair up and down until it was just right, then he walked back to the office.
The traffic always rolled by so closely.
There is no great poetry to be found when the sun is covered by tracing paper and all earthly shapes are dulled. It is nice to walk when the lunch rush is over and the streets return to normal, coffee in the belly.
While browsing herbs in the supermarket — flat leaf parsley, coriander, basil — there was pubic hair in each of the packets. You need only open the herbs a little and see everything. He thought of pubic hair. January was as good a time as any to think of pubic hair, to think of it when it was wet like washed herbs and when it obeyed fingers like herbs on a chopping board. Odd that herbs should make him think of pubic hair. There was a fantasy of giving head on the kitchen work surface. It’s all food.
Was that? … A woman from the office…? He dare not look up, but he was quite sure it was her. Move on, don’t let her see your shopping basket: a car-crash of a shopping basket! As she stood next to him, both of them aware the other was there, he attempted to pretend he was buying juice because juice is healthy. He picked up a juice. Yes, very healthy, she will be impressed and believe that he is a very healthy man, but no, there is a four-pack and a loaf of bread. She was done with, until he went to the till and she was next to him; at last they must acknowledge the other. With more shame than anything, he put down the beer, the bread, the juice. It was a terrible impression to cast.
‘Bag, boss?’ Yes, please. There were painkillers and chewing gum next to the till and behind there were bottles of champagne. Champagne was itself a cFor a while he collected the champagne corks popped on momentous occasions, until he lost a great deal of romance and saw no issue in throwing each (five) into the bin when he moved out of his last flat. Those five corks were solid line marks in the distance of time. There is something to be said for that kind of erasure. Before each was turned into a black sack, he considered them, trying to recall the event of which they punctuated: new flat, new year, girlfriend getting a job, new flat. There was no cork for his girlfriend leaving.
In the afternoon sun, the man said no to champagne. It was not good champagne, he said. He was French so everybody supposed he knew what good champagne was. Champagne was only a few hills away. ‘That’s okay,’ said the Englishman who’d bought it—‘More for us!’ Save that cork.
Put champagne next to the herbs.
January is a hard month. It feels as though you’ve made it through something or other and need time to recover, to recuperate, to make things well again. Night after night there is the idea of good wholesome food, but the wind blows cold through the window, there is no chance to see one’s bed in the finite light of day. All is in shade. Upon the sleepy spine, he regards the day that so meagre and faint found its way into the room.
It will all happen again, and the bed is so comfortable. Nothing so personal and loving as a bed in winter.
Summer is coming and it will be here soon. Through the marvellous kaleidoscope of spring, summer will emerge in fractured shapes of colour. It was time to get up. These days the colour of skin was only truly revealed in the four-sided glare of elevator illumination. Pull the skin here and there. Bland. Terribly pale. The arteries and veins emerged and faded. He was late to the office. It always seemed like there was one hump or another to get over, and the month of January failed to relent. Enough to drive one to drink. He paused with a hand against his chest, struggling to remember the dreams that floated through his night. Where was the point? He turned the alarm off and arose.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blank Template By subinsb.com