Tuesday, 13 December 2011

My Parents

Born in 1947. Born in 1954. Started living under an assumed name five years before I was born. Inherited three different surnames from three different men. Married twice. Never married.  Has lived abroad since his youth. Still lives where she grew up. Left school at 15 to work in a glass factory. Left home at 18 and got married. Told his parents he was going on an archeological dig and ended up in Greece. Didn't talk with her parents for years. Sees her mother, now, almost every day. Saw his mother face-to-face three times in thirty years. Has eight brothers and sisters. Has two sisters and a brother who died. Lives on the coast. Lives in the suburbs. 
Met, once, thirty two years ago, in the lobby of Western Pest Control.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

The Day's Divinity

 Brando in Cannes, 1950s

In her bare feet she would come to me. She would fold herself against me, like that, her shape to mine, under the sheets. And I felt her there...Yes, and then I realised: she’d been out, at some point, out in the morning light. Blue morning twilight, that haze before dawn. Bright, but blue in the shade, that frail and fragile blue. That sheen of...not frost or dew, nothing so romantic as that--but simple condensation, darkening, dampening things. The shadows, all wet...And, somehow, yes, I could tell all this from the way that she felt against me, the way that she smelled. It was on her, her skin. Proof that she’d been out, you see. I could tell that she’d gone and then come back again to me...She was a very light sleeper, of course, and she would often wake at ungodly hours. Out of bed at five or six a.m., depending on the light. Maybe making herself a slice of toast, cups of tea.

 Florence Peterson, 1909

But the extraordinary thing...the miraculous thing...I realised...was that these weren’t my sensations...No, they weren’t mine...As I lay there with her: I was only half-awake, my face buried in the pillows and the crumpled bedding, but I suddenly felt that morning out there, the whole wide world, just as she must have felt it...moments before...outside in the open air...It was hers, you see. All hers. The prickling wet of the lawn, the sun miraculously rising, the day gradually warming. Yet, I could somehow feel it, in the arches of her feet, at the small of her back...I had pulled her close by this point, and I remember thinking to myself, guiltily, holding my breath: I don’t deserve this--any of this, this life that she was sharing. With me, for god’s sake. Me. (Pause.) Lying there, lying there with her lying next to me, I naturally said nothing. But, god, how I felt. Everything. Everything I was not.