Monday, 13 October 2008

Stumbling home




As I wandered the streets, my head weighed down with the water I refused to let well and fall from me, I stumbled and almost fell into the road. I sat and wondered how it would have felt to have been squashed by a truck or a bus. I couldn’t imagine it.
Wiping my running nose with my sleeve, I remember staggering on through the open market of St Christian’s. I wouldn’t cry in the street. The market stalls all lay bare and plastic bags swirled about my legs. It was Sunday, so I knew where she’d be.
I hadn’t thought about her in days. The economy of mind can help you get through life without any real thought muddying things. It helps you do your job, it helps you get up in the morning.
But yesterday I heard a flute playing quietly, a low soothing melody drifting up to me. It haunted me like a spiralling devil and I drifted down the hole that I’d been long digging but never fully explored.
I spent all afternoon in the company of red wine and the piano. Satie’s Gnossiennes coloured my day and I swear the music of the flute came through strongly every now and then, an accompaniment to my thoughts and my ever flowing fingers.
The fug hasn’t lifted since then.
I remember her chastisement on the last day we spent together, but I don’t want to recall why she scolded me so. Thomas watched me go past his open door via the mirror in his bedroom. She told me not to say goodbye to him. I could see the reflection of his red eyes blinking, though. He wrote and told me that he’d never felt a sound like the sound of my closing the front door that last time.
So here I am. I’ve almost stumbled home. Thomas likes to come to The Castle Courtyard where they put a play on every week. The theatre is always on after his bedtime, but Marie-√Člise will take him to see a rehearsal, or just to witness the stage hands preparing the props and the lighting and the sets. Thomas can watch their performance for hours.
He started to clap when they lowered the chandelier from the rafters. It must have seemed like magic to him. And when two people walked by he stood on his chair so that he could still see the stage, just in case he missed anything. His mother held his hand, so he wouldn’t fall.
I ducked back behind the pillar then. I couldn’t hold myself upright any longer, hold myself in. I sank to the ground, biting at my lip, clawing at my hair. I heard the squeak of a bicycle wheel and shuffled around, away from the oncoming steps of my wife and child.
Once I was sure they were gone, I raised myself and took the seat she’d taken. I sat then and watched the men as they finished dressing the stage; applauding and weeping at their every flourish, their every measured placement of cloth or curtain, long, long into the burnished night.

1 comment:

Jannie Funster said...

The flute, the flute, the god-damned flute.