We were talking in the car on the way to have some lunch in our favourite hotel lounge. He was telling me about an article he’d read by a Brazilian sociologist who’d quoted Karl Hopper and his notion that life has two distinct approaches – the clock and the cloud. One is seeing it in a practical, problem-solving way – all is clockwork. The other is regarding it as a cloud, dense, oftentimes obscure and inexplicable. He’d been pleased with the metaphor and the explanation. I’d been talking about my relationship with her. She’s the clock and I’m the cloud (though I can do the clockworks stuff too.) He used the ‘lighten up’ phrase. No, I said, I need to detach, to let it go. And I do. I’m sorry if my presence can be nemesis-like, it isn’t my intention but I can impose it, unconsciously on others. I did to them, I think.
Tea and lunch was lovely. I felt the tension fall away, muscle by muscle. There were few people there. A couple shared our lounge (the adult lounge (how I love that) and then another. One of the women wandered about the room waiting for her husband picking up magazines or adding pieces to the puzzle on the puzzle table to the right of us. He had cod goujons while I had a salad. His food smelt gorgeous. What is it about fried food? It was glorious doing nothing in that warm, innocuous place. We talk about staying there for a couple of nights – to read, walk, stretch on sofas and be the youngest people there.
Two plays, one about policemen trying to talk two female suicide bombers out of blowing themselves and all the participants at a wedding up and the other about a group of women poisoning people so as to collect on their life insurance. Both about trying to see another’s point of view no matter the horror of their actions and divine forgiveness. The poisoners were hung. The priest walked with them to the gallows sincerely promising them God’s leniency and love. I was moved and thought how poverty and hunger pushes people to extremis and about forgiveness. And when I locked the door in readiness to go and meet him the geranium on the windowsill was a vibrant red.