A complicated politics, but it keeps the conversation going. I feel like a traitor sometimes, not having one preference above all others.
We switch to rum and coke.
At the same time we are struck to go into the white silence of notebooks, heads down, breath heavy, black marks straining towards shape. To dip out of the world and into life.
I am re-reading a book I have long stood by as a favourite, while only remembering glimpses of why. M reads it for the first time and I am so jealous.
Wanting to disappear, wanting to appear, stuck always in between. It is overcast and we are secretly relieved.
On Tuesday we will be cooked for. Meat will be barbecued on the living heat of the earth’s core. The leaflets say it is a lunar landscape. To me it is a black desert.
The criss-cross pattern of a wicker chair has imprinted itself onto the back of the skinny thigh of the girl walking in front of me. I watch it change slightly back and forth as she walks.
The black cat in front of the white wall arches its back as I approach it. I look into the green eyes in its small, almond-shaped skull and think about holding its head in my palm.
Black sand eroded into temporary shapes by the sea that will rush into and fill it like breath in lungs. Flooding the tiny bay and stretching its capacity, forcing it to change.
Do you suppose the cats eats lizards? I am too fond of both to imagine it happening. T says maybe some do but perhaps others just catch them and play with them then go in for their dinner. We wince.
I finish my book and reread the last ten pages obsessively for an hour or so. Each time something happens. I will never have you pieced together entirely. I put it in a specific list in my mind. I must write to M.
We come home, we hear the Coronation Street theme tune from next door. We take pictures of the moon and zoom in to marvel. After beer, after tea, after another card game, we go in for our dinner.
We hear Professional Widow playing from a beach side cafe where bocadillos are 2.50, the same price we paid for the ice creams we ate by the sea the day before.
Climbing over red rocks the next day, across hills like desert mountains in flip flops and swimsuits, doubt returns, filling the gaps like water. We climb down tight crevices, jumps that seem steep to me. I say I’m in flip flops, this is extreme walking for someone in flip flops. Let me take your bag he says. I insist on carrying it myself, proud. Tiny stones of black volcanic residue and grey slate shift fast under our feet. We press about for steady ones. Lean into the cliff, for – like – balance. Down into a narrow gap he goes, looks up and says mind the shit. His face squirms as he smells baby shit. Someone has left numerous soiled nappies right here in this purple crack of cliff. Who would do that? What kind of people would ever think this was ok? I rant and rave about the State of Things until I feel better.
I stare at an obese half-naked woman from behind dark glasses. I have to look hard to find her crotch, hidden as it is under rolls the size of bread loaves. There is something impressive in it. The man beside her has a big round barrel belly covered in tattoos I cannot make out. They stretch over his skin like patterns distorting on an expanding balloon. Every day I see him by the pool reading The Farmers’ Guardian and drinking small plastic cups of cold free beer.
The workmen sweat through their overalls, shirts becoming fluid and see through. Young girls in empty bikinis read magazines and dangle their feet over chair arms. A tanned old man rakes away dead red flowers. I love the sound of the rake against the black gravel.
The other fat woman taps a rhythm onto her thigh with one hand and adjusts her cap with the other. She has a tattoo of a diamond on the top part of her left arm. She is restless, she picks up a book and puts it back down. She smokes a cigarette.
Later I tell him I am sick of trying to be well-adjusted. I plan on a full and true maladjustment very soon. He tells me to take it easy.