The nurses in the flat across the quad must be either asleep or at work, for there is no light from their kitchen window. There is nothing but black. Pitch black. There is only the moon, a half moon. The moon and me. It is 6.15 am. We’ve had breakfast and he has gone back to bed. I could do so also but it is not my habit and Sunday is my work day. I can get a lot done without the distraction of phone calls. I have a session to do this afternoon but that is not till four. Till then, this is mine, this time, this hour, this minute, this moment.
I saw them ahead of me ambling down South Marine towards the harbour. She was shouting and waving her arms about. A smallish girl in a fur-line parka. Her companion, a boy, was wearing black silk shorts that touched the knee, rather like the one’s boxers wear. It was cold, they’d promised two degrees. He was replying to her but his voice in keeping with the hush of the dark was low. I crossed to the other side of the road. Shit, shit, she was saying. I didn’t want to draw attention to myself. I wanted to walk in peace, to remain, undisturbed, in my reverie. She’d spotted me. I knew it. Ayeee, she shouted, where you goin’ hon? I let it pass. I didn’t turn around. It’s not that I wanted to rude but I just wanted my solitariness. She lost interest, I could tell. When I turned down in to the harbour, I could see them still walking towards the Perygyl.
The wild weather has thrown so much flotsam on the Prom – twigs, branches and seaweed strewn across the cobbles. On South beach there is even a tree root. Like a forest graveyard the sand is peppered with branches and large bits of tree. They lie there like beached whales, their branches in a kind of ossified agony stretching for the sky. It makes me sad to see them. In the summer months students light them for fires. It will get better, he tells me, each and every morning. It will. It will.
No smoking woman with the plastic bag this morning.
Striding past the Bandstand trying to walk with my buttocks in and stomach pulled tight, I heard a moan. Looking down onto North Beach I saw a man, curled up in sleep, lying on the seaweed covered sand. His arms were bare. A giant of man with large, fleshy upper arms. He wore a sleeveless gilet.
Then, coming up to Pier Pressure a trail of night clubbers began to file out. Seagulls circled in the sky above, messy and cawing. A gaggle of girls in sequinned dresses led the troupe, their clothes a spangling delight in the streetlight. Glorious.
I’m tired. My eyes close even as I write this. And a dream came something about someone sending me an email, someone significant in the art world. I woke and questioned its veracity. And then a voice, a woman’s voice with a trace of American, that’s right, she said, it happened. My waking dream this morning was a little more prosaic. I was in an enormous house of which I was either the cleaner, au pair or housewife. A woman and child came to the window. I opened it. She was the daughter of the householder, I want some serving tools, she said. I let her in and began opening drawers for her. She found some things eventually, though the knifes, I thought were woefully small. Earlier it had been about my younger sister, who kept getting a haircut, shorter and shorter. Funny, I’d thought in the dream, she is looking more and more like me that is until I looked closer and saw that she had a fringe of yellow-blonds curls like the actress playing Rosamund Lydgate in the BBC adaptation of Middlemarch. My accountant was there too, in the background. I told him I would be making food for his child. So many dreams about food, about making, cooking and choosing restaurants.
I made a start yesterday and immediately one sees different ways of doing things. So many decisions to make. That is an issue, I cannot trust myself at the moment. All I can do is keep on the tracks. Keep to the tracks.
Edward Casaubon is a figure of ridicule and of pathos. My key the mythologies may be the only thing I will be remembered for, he tells Dorothea. All that work. All that self-importance. All nothing. All dust. And she knows it. Oh, Lord grant me self-knowledge and humility.
I didn’t take music this morning. I wanted to pay attention, to observe, hear and sense my surroundings. I smelt wood smoke, stale beer, the kind of smell that sticks to one’s clothes in a club. A student or students had clearly just walked down North Road. I also smelt the hot breath of a gas boiler, making me slightly nauseous.
Tomorrow, I shall hold her. Nothing is as important. I am blessed. Even in this bleakness I feel it.