Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Where he liked to sit

He had a real pedigree, did Jack.
The type of man I could get by on, I could live on. He brought me succour – I think that’s the right expression.
Once we were active, but when the sun grew long in the sky, we’d sit and question each other on this and that; sit and stew in the heat of the world we looked out upon, though we always sat just in the shade.
Jack used to say that he liked to keep the sun a few inches from his feet. Sometimes, when he was ready to sit down, he’d go out there onto the patio and test out the sun. Often it would be slightly wrong, out by a few centimetres even, and then he’d march right back in to where I was sitting, where it was cool and air-conditioned, and he’d say: “Not now, Laura,” then he’d look around for something to do, something he could do quickly and without thinking. He’d often find a crossword to start, though he rarely finished one.
He’d look up then and say, “Now should be just about right,” and it always was. So he’d take his seat for the remainder of the afternoon, and I would put the kettle on and join him presently, once the Earl Grey was ready. We’d both put our feet up on the stool.
He’d happily sit there all evening too, if he could, but I’d always make him take a stroll in the early evening. We might go and grab some fish from Sami’s, or some bread. It was queer, perhaps, to buy these things when the stores were closing, but it gave me an excuse to get him out of his seat and walking.
Besides, I liked to look at the sea. It’s the main reason I wanted to move here.
Lately I’ve taken to bringing a deck-chair down to the quayside. I’ll sit out in the morning but it soon gets too hot and it’s less fun without someone to chat and scathe with.
So I generally retreat before noon, back to the air-conditioned rooms and I’ll wait until the shade hovers over our seats. Then, I’ll come out and test it.
I’ll check how far the shadow has come and, if I think it would be good enough for Jack, I’ll take my seat.
Sometimes, I make an extra cup of Earl Grey. Sometimes, not by mistake.

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