Friday, November 22, 2013

An Intimate Encounter with Décolletage

It needs to be said that I am compelled to greet some days with a gaunt face and heavy-lidded eyes. Sometimes my sense of the past, which lies buried in uncertainty and incompletion, pokes out and demands attention. It confirms what I discern: I crave a fresh start. No foot dragging for a day or two, at least. If the silence is unbearably painful I shall manage the chaos with unconscious humour. I've subtlety managed it before, though not for long.  

My wife tells me that I - sorry, we - live in a decrepit one bedroom semi-detached house. The only excitement entering our existence is by the back door: a brief violent storm, a mouth opening to scream, or a neighbour recalling their time as an FBI agent when they were disguised as fish to catch draft dodgers disguised as wood thrush.

Our living room wears a weary tragic expression. I look at my wife who is sitting slightly hunched. Her face is contorted and tight with anger. She was beautiful once - a pale complexion, fine full lips and long brown hair. Not now. Her beauty is well spent.

She glares at me. 'I've sent you a text. Read it.' Her voice is unnaturally loud. My strength deserts me as I read the message: I DONT DO STAGNATION! To avoid engaging with my wife I remain silent; my mind a dispassionate organ. I do not mind silence, unless it sighs with impatience, vies for attention, or makes hypocritical remarks. Then it bores the hell out of me.

I leave my wife grumbling to herself and climb up the chimney breast. No forwarding address or contact number is necessary. If she needs me she can ring the police. I calmly climb up the chimney breast. Midway I gaze in bewilderment. A woman wearing a short skirt and stockings is staring at me suspiciously in the semidarkness. We gaze back and forth at each other. 

I speak first. 'What ... your name?' My heartbeat is sharp and nervous. 

'I don't expect you to know my name, even though we've been neighbours for seven years. Isn't that disheartening and disorienting?' After a short pause she says, 'My name is Angie. I came in here to breathe fresh air and to get away from the quietness of my home. My husband lacks the imagination to understand my human body and mind. He keeps himself busy all day without doing anything that might evoke spontaneity, acuity or craziness. He is morally hygienic except where sweet girls and women are concerned. The charming creature wants us both to live out our days like skeletons. Can you believe it?'  

I don't say a word while she talks. All this confiding of family circumstances makes me uncomfortable. She takes makeup out of  her bag and dabs powder round her eyes.

Her wide, dark eyes smile with secret amusement. 'You don't look like a chimney sweep. I can tell you've been crowned with the mysteries of grip and pleasure.'

Angie's flirtatiousness makes me vulnerable. I'm mesmerized by the swell of her décolletage. 'My husband and I are not young lovers any more. I'm sure you hear our awful fights. Our marriage is floundering, quite badly. I never know where his mouth has been the night before, and vice versa.' 

She leans over and kisses me with grace and style. I vibrate with life, time slows down. I remain free of real and imagined comparisons. Without hesitation we slowly make love. It's difficult to explain the genesis and nature of our meeting, passion and parting. I have no idea what she was really thinking or wanting. Could it have been a successful exercise of power on her behalf? Was she a slave to the dreadful torment of destroyed love, jealousy, or fruitless envy? 

When I climb down from the chimney breast and enter my living room the potent scent of bonding, impetuosity and happiness disappears. The sense of isolation I feel grows into gradual despair.   
Reflections:  One source of pleasure for me is looking after my granddaughter, Lily, while my daughter, Emma, goes to work. Sometimes I lie beside Lily (ten months old, now) willing her to sleep, and watch as her eyes open and shut, and finally close. Her fingers fall free from gripping my thumb.

Before I silently leave Lily to sleep and dream, I gaze at the graceful little face; her beautiful, soft skin and delicate frame. I realise how fleeting life can be. I softly squeeze her tiny hand like a terrified child. Occasionally, I feel tearful, but am not ashamed. For what is prettier, more significant, more unforgettable, than a rosy-cheeked baby in the throes of slumber.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Big Bang . . . Almost

I'm looking at the sky in clinical fashion. It appears extremely high. I am a small figure and often confused. An article in a science magazine arouses within me a potpourri of wonderment, menacing anxiety, and a sense of extreme lightness. The article states that the entire universe was smooth just after its birth billions of years ago. An extraordinary assertion. Billions of galaxies and billions of stars. Suddenly I feel profoundly inept. Nothing new, I assure you. But how do "they" - the highly cerebral elite - "know"? 

Apparently through light emitted 370,000 light years ago after the Big Bang. I don't recall hearing the explosion but I recollect hearing a neighbour's dog barking. I'm sure the Noise Abatement Society was inundated with calls from individuals suffering from physical and mental distress. How my neighbour's dog fared is anyone's guess.

I can't decipher if there is a human being or an animal in my home when all the lights are blazing. I usually rely on a well-known technique I've perfected without using measurements of cosmic microwave background radiation. I simply open the front door and shout, 'WHICH ONE OF YOU A******S HAS ALL THE LIGHTS ON WHILE TAKING A BATH!'

Armed with CS spray and a stun gun I soar the stairs and head for the bathroom. Before doling out punishment I commonly say, in a relaxed tone, 'Don't take this personally.' Then I'm lost in the heat of the moment. The victim usually falls into a short coma and wears a large hat for a week.

My first day in permanent employment. A man waiting for an elevator on the fourth floor of a beat-up building advises me that he has been standing on the same spot for two years.

'They take on anyone here,' he said. 'My boss told me years ago that I didn't seem capable of thinking so he does my thinking for me. What do you think about that?! Eh? You're not paid to think, you're paid to do! I don't know about you but after a while lifeless bodies bore me to hell.' He give me a strange look as he stepped into the empty elevator shaft. His final words? 'Always check the elevator is in the shaftttttttttt!!!' I never got to thank him but damn sound advice.
Reflection: Yesterday I went out for a walk to stretch my legs. I returned home two feet taller.