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Writings

Miss Me

Tryst, detail (1)

It was an eerie light, white then green, flooding the sky beyond the rooftops. I thought of the aureole borealis and the light described in Michael Cunningham’s Snow Queen. What could it be? Was it a portent of some sort? I asked him. Come, I said, come and look at this light. Oh, he said. It’s a soccer match. They play every Friday night. That’s all. Nothing mystical. A prosaic answer to a sacred question.

My body is changing. It’s been doing it all it’s life, obviously. It heeds me not. It does its own thing. Presently, it sweats at night. My chest mainly. My sheets are made wet. Cold. Usually it comes between one and two am. A rush then stop. There is no odour. It is cool and clear. A flushing out. You could take something, he says. I could. There is all manner of drugs to stave off the inconvenience of ageing, of dying. For that is what we are all doing. No, I say, I don’t think so. I can live with it. I can live with the dying. I welcome it. It is honest, authentic. And I am more than my body. Am I not?

Walking I find things. Things dropped from pockets. Money, mostly. Today there was a brass button and a 13 amp fuse.

It’s a shabby craft. It’s pale blue paint is peeling. Out of the water, it sits high up on bricks. There is a hand-written sign, hanging from it’s hand rail. For Sale it reads and there is a mobile number underneath. The wind rattles at its rigging. It doesn’t seem sea-worthy. Not to me. Miss Me is for sale. Will anyone buy?

 

 

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Writings

Podling

Speaking Soul (5)

In her letters home Charlotte Bronte wrote about the cold of a Brussels’ winter. They’ve not yet lit the fires, she wrote. In her biography of her, Mrs Gaskell told of how she struggled with the cold, the lack of sleep, the loneliness. Her spirits were depressed. Such lowness affected the way she saw things. I think of Lucy Snowe in Villette, full or ire at the way she is treated, full of love for Monsieur Paul. Gaskell makes no mention of Charlotte’s passion for M. Heger. She makes comparisons between Charlotte and Emily, demonstrating this by recounting an event involving Emily’s dog Keeper. Keeper a great, hulking hound had a penchant for sleeping on the pristine white counterpanes of the upstairs beds. Though he was reprimanded many times he kept doing it. Finally Emily threatened to beat him if he was found up there once more. He was. So dragging him downstairs by the collar she punched him hard between the eyes. This event comes to Gaskell second-hand, via Charlotte. The injured dog was then lovingly cared for and nursed by Emily herself. Ergo, Charlotte’s loving was understated, quiet, empathic, Emily’s was demonstrative, passionate. I’m not sure it was that simple. Should we read Charlotte in her characters? Lucy Snowe and Jane Eyre, in particular. I cannot help it. They smoulder. It takes much to rouse them. But the passion is there.

I think of another. She also had dogs. I remember her rubbing their noses in it when they soiled the carpet. I remember her dragging them by the collar, the skin round their necks ruched up, their hind legs dragging. I remember them running from the room whenever her voice was raised. I remember her hitting them hard on the nose, or sometimes with their metal chokers. The chokers cutting into their fur at every jerk. Come to heel, she’d say. Come to heel, as she lifted them off the ground in her frustration. They obeyed. They always obeyed. Was this a sign of love? I don’t know. I just don’t know. They felt safe with her. She fed them, cared for them. But she made them watchful, edgy. Especially the Dane. She followed her everywhere. Get out of the way, she’d shout as she tripped over her time and time again. Why did she follow her? Fear, unease, a sense that all was not well. Is it love? Or is it self-preservation. I cannot say. And there was a puppy put down because it didn’t grow spots. It was a male and smelt of caramel. When we asked her why she said it would contaminate the breed. The Kennel Club rules. Did the mother dog miss it? Or did she have enough with the five clambering over her, jostling for her nipples.

I like to hear her talk as she does my feet. Her voice is lyrical. She tells stories. Mainly about her family. Her father with his Alzheimer’s. He had to go into hospital with a suspected heart attack, she told me. They kept him in over night. He was so eager to get home the next day that when we undressed him, she said, we found that his shirt under his jumper was all unbuttoned. They have a small holding. They have sheep. Only a hundred, she says, we used to have a thousand. Her two children look after them. They’re my son’s really, she says. They put on their overalls after school and go and help with the lambing. It sounds to cosy, from where I sit. I like her. I’m not a very nice person, she says. But I like her.

I had time for her today. I like that. I sit down on the floor and hold the phone close to my ear. She sounds so much better. Her voice is clear. She says my name. She is grateful for the call. We’ve never met and probably never shall but we are friends. I like her. It breaks the day, your call, she says. Thank you very much. It breaks the day. Thank you very much, cariad. What will you do for the rest of the day? I ask. Oh, some podling, she says. I can’t just sit and look out of the window. So I podle. She laughs. Just some podling.

Categories
Writings

Tranny

poodle

I’d got my timings mixed up and arrived too late. All the candles had been snuffed out. The room smelt of wax. I went in anyway and sat down. I sat down in the silence that had been left. There was a little table by the window on which stood a small wooden cross, a vase of plastic flowers and a large bible in Welsh. It was an odd little room. A seminar room of sorts with a projector and a large empty white wall. Behind the arc of chairs was an electric piano. On the left-hand wall were two tapestries of Celtic Crosses. The candles had been arranged on a circular table. They were tea lights. I sat and tried to empty my mind of minutia. Just for a moment. I heard singing. Sallow-skinned faces smiling. Candles lit in darkness. I felt separate, awkward and self-conscious. The room was cold.

We walked on the Prom afterwards. Then the rain came. He told me he saw one of the men working on the building site. They come from Newtown every day, you know, he said. I know, I said, you tell me that every day. He’d rolled down the car window to greet him. To pass the time of day. I thought you’d got a new one, the man had said gesturing towards his car. He explained that the engine had developed a fault. Something to do with a coil. It would’ve been missing like fuck then, the builder had said. Yeh, he’d replied, grimacing. How much do ya reckon it will be then? he asked the builder. Where’d you take it? asked the builder. Anthony’s, he replied. Oh, the builder says, loads then.

Locking our door this morning I see a boy through the window standing by the other block of flats. He is staring into his phone and swaying. The light of the phone is bright in the blackness. At one point he has to hold his arm up against the wall to keep steady. I walk past him. As I go down the steps I hear him begin to knock on one of the windows. Down on the Prom there are lots of students moving in a glut towards Alexandra Hall. It is now 4.15 am. They are coatless and carry boxes of takeaway pizzas and cartons of sandwiches and baked potatoes. They chat and hug their bodies against the cold. There a group of three walking towards me. One of them is black and is wearing a short-sleeved sky blue cotton dress with a lace bodice. The figure is small in stature with but with a thick bullish neck like a boxer’s. I catch their stare momentarily. Is it a woman or man? The stare is defiant. I dare you, it says. From it’s ears hang long threads of diamante. The wind bites.

The tide must have been high. The North Prom is coated in a fine, grainy sand.

A tooing and froing day today. So be it.

Categories
Writings

Ghost

Me on bike - Slacks Farm

I never want to go out, not at that time, not in that dark. I’ve always been afraid of it. I told you about the night lights. I had to have one in my bedroom. A sweet, warm light keeping away the ghouls. But when I do, when I do go out into the still night I am glad that I do. It is not only the facing of fears, but it makes me feel alive. It is an animal thing being out in the dark, especially when it is stormy. The wind animates me. And the smell of the night time air is gorgeous. I drink it in. Walking out of my door I drink it in.

I see bodies in the gloom. Dark shapes. My hackles rise. I am a cat. On the Prom the streetlights illuminate them. I see three students. Two boys and a girl. She has long blonde hair and wears a Parka. They do not see me. Passing the shelter I can see two other students, they sit huddled on the bench.

Walking up Loveden Road a security light comes on. The whole side of a house is suddenly illuminated. A shock of white. A white wall. Someone is there. Someone set off the light. Heat-seeking. A click. I stay on the road, walking up the hill by the side of the cars. Hello, calls a voice. It is soft, polite. How are you? it asks. Fine, I say, relaxing now. We reach the top of Loveden Road and join North Road. Which way is he going to go? I move to cross the road and then change my mind. He seems to want to talk. I see he has no coat. The rain is but a mist, but the wind is strong. He wears a short sleeved shirt, it is brown, a reddy-brown with stripes. It’s late for you to be out at night, he says. I am cocooned in waterproofs, a caterpillar-shape in the dark, how can he know me, know what I am? It’s morning for me, I answer. I am touched, touched that he wishes to make contact. He is clearly disposed to talk, but I move on. I want to go home. Take care, he whispers. Sleep well, I reply.

I am low. I am laid low by the dark, by the season, by tiredness. And yet. And yet there is still such a capacity for joy. I turn onto the Prom and at that moment a flock of seagulls take to the sky. How can I describe it? It is a flashing of white against the black. They float lazily in the wind. Their underbellies are illuminated by the streetlights. Flash, flash as they curve into the current. The black is almost blue, like Quink ink. (You could only tell the difference when pen met paper, in the bottle the blue was black and vice versa. I felt so important, so grown up with my bottle of ink. Don’t spill it, my mother’s voice would chime in  my head. Be careful. It stained the little padded bit of the third finger on my right hand.) Can I come back as a bird? I love to watch their flight. Such grace. On land not so but in the air, there they sail like marvellous ships.

Even in the lowness I see the love. I see the love that surrounds me. I am so blessed. He calls to me. Holds me. He knows me. I need nothing else.

My printer died. Kaput, like the car. Mercury must be retrograde, I said. And it was. We bought a refurbished one, the same as the last. Surely it would be simpler that way. Just plug it in and away you go. Not so. My laptop now thinks there are two. No, no, I want to say. It’s like an amputee whose body remembers the leg it has lost, thinking it’s still there, itching. So I have to humour it. Acknowledge the ghost.

The Morlan Centre are holding a vigil today in memory of the Holocaust. The vicar announced it at church. You can go and light a candle. I will. It’s seventy-one years since Auschwitz was liberated. Is that the word? Seventy-one years. The illustrator Mervyn Peake was one the artists that went in to record it’s atrocity. He was never the same. How can you be? How can a sensitive soul like him hold such horror?

 

Outside the milky sky is broken by a scattering of rooks.

Categories
Writings

Retrench

Flora, 2010 - detail(2)

You must retrench, says Lady Russell to Sir Walter Elliot in Jane Austen’s Persuasion. I don’t mind it. In fact it suits my puritan soul. Cut down, deny, tighten one’s belt. We sat down and did the figures. There is enough, we are not poor but we need to retrench. It is OK to do so. Look at the richness, the inner richness of my life. I have never been happier. I am as happy as I can be.

The gym subscription is the first thing to go. And I’m not sorry. I didn’t like it. The noise, the cold, the very public nature of it. And yet, I liked the result. I am stronger, more toned and I always felt high when it was done. Phew, that’s over for this week. So, I shall walk more. Make sure I do the three miles every day and tighten my daily yoga routine, incorporate more of the core muscles poses. I can do it. I can do it for free. And no more gloom on a Tuesday and Thursday morning.

He asked me the Sunday before if I’d be happy to read one of the lessons. Yes, I said. And last week I did. I stumbled over one of the Old Testament names, Nehemiah, otherwise it went OK. The congregation is small. Six last week. I am the youngest by far. We are the insomniacs or the ones who have grown beyond children. The old man with the tousled hair stopped me as I slunk passed his pew. He wanted to talk about a funeral he’d been to the week before at the Crematorium. He stood up to talk to me. Is he from Lancashire or Yorkshire? I cannot tell. The service had been completely secular. No hymns, no readings, nothing, he said. Here’s the Order of Service, see, he said handing me a leaflet with an picture of Aberystwyth Promenade on the back. There’s a poem, but it’s not religious. I tried to read it but didn’t have my glasses. He was clearly put out. When his son died they had a lovely service at St Michael’s, he continued. I didn’t know what to say and muttered something inane about people coming together to remember him. There were at least a hundred, he said. He had Leukemia, he said, he’d had enough, just gave up.

I think about the explorer. He was just 55. Not much older than me. He died of exhaustion. So sad. It seems such a waste, I said to him over supper. But some people need to do it, he said. Yes, I say. I understand. What was it the son said in the play about Jennifer Hope, the nurse that was murdered in Peru? She died living. He died living.

I walked before the rain came this morning. The wind was wild. A glorious force. You push into it, battling. Walking down Terrace Road I come upon two lads kicking bin bags. They are clearly drunk. One staggers into the road. They are both skinny, lean. Without coats. I walk towards them, holding my breath, ready. One of them sees me. He stands still, almost to attention. Does he say Excuse Me? I can’t remember. His voice is soft, a Southern Irish brogue. He is polite. Do you know the number for a taxi? he asks. I tell him that OW’s taxis are the only ones out at this time of the morning and then I see one coming towards us. There you are, I say, that’s them. The boys call out, waving their arms. The taxi drives past. I walk on.

I sat down after reading the lesson and promptly knocked over the coins I’d placed on the pew for the collection. Bugger, I said, just a little too loud.

My neighbour was at his window smoking when I came round the corner. It gave me a jolt. I’d been lost in thought. It was 9.00 am on a Sunday morning. You’re up early, I say to him. He is usually abed at this time. I’ve a noisy sister staying, he replies, smiling wryly. I turn, my hand on the door handle. I sympathise, I say, I have one of those too. He laughs and says thank you. It isn’t true. Not really. It’s all relative, noise. I like him, but I don’t always know what to say to him. If I could crawl under his window I probably would. I not a natural at all this social stuff. Mrs Gaskell writes about the Bronte girls’ shyness. They were outside of society. Inward-looking.

Storm Jonas is battering the windows. No afternoon walk today. I had five bookings yesterday. Up and down, up and down. It is good to have the work but I become ungrounded and ragged. Then the car broke. Poor little thing, it chuggered and clunked. Something to do with a coil. No Bath visit tomorrow. I am sorry. I wanted to see them so much. So be it. It will happen. In the Spring. Hunker down, my love.

I take my sewing to work. I am learning. It is scrappy. I hide it, ashamed of its imperfections. I must see it through. It is how I learn. I am slow. Each stitch taking me nearer to a better understanding. They are not curious, thank God. I am not ready for explanations yet. Not yet. Not yet.

Rest in peace brave explorer. Rest in peace.

Categories
Writings

Raggedy

portrait of me by Cameron 2015

A fire was still burning on the beach. I smelt it before I saw it. Just before South Marine Terrace, up on the pebbly bit of the beach. The embers were a glowing red, it had obviously been burning a while. All through the night, perhaps. Then I heard shouts, screams in the dark. It sounded like sea birds. Two figures down by the sea shore, fully clothed, paddling in the sea. One trying to push the other into the water. A woman’s voice screeching then laughing. Then silence.

The bakers are up. Both in Slater’s and the Pelican. Windows all steamed up. I think of bakers all over Europe. The ones in the Costa Del Sol and in Duras. The daily bread being made. By hand. Floury footsteps outside the shop. Delivery vans buzzing like flies. Men in aprons, made white. A radio on. A fan. An insect killer over the door. A continuum. Beyond language.

I walked under the light of the moon. That glowing white circle that always makes me catch my breath.

Walking down the hill by Alexandra Hall I heard a car. It was coming fast, skidding into a curve, burning tyres then stop. A side window taped up. Spoilers. Two lads. Let it be.

There is a Thomas the Tank Engine train shed in the window of the Charity Shop and two ceramic hen-shaped egg containers that make a heavy scraping sound when you remove the lid. He said you should never keep your eggs in the fridge.

She’s burst into tears. She’s been holding it in. Then I called. It was about a dog. A dog had died. That night. Last night. I can’t always hear what she is saying. It’s the phone, she must hold the mouthpiece to near to her face. Her voice is often muffled. It’s a dog. Her neighbour’s dog, it died. A sheepdog. Sixteen years old. It was called Jet. She used to look after it when her neighbour was away ‘gallivatin’. She apologises for crying. As a girl I even cried when the chickens died, she says and then laughs. But there is something more. Something her neighbour said to her. I can’t make it out. Need to leave it, she says, until it all cool’s down. She is a tender soul. Thin-skinned. The world hurts her. It doesn’t mean to but it does. What can I say to comfort her? I’m out walking, she says, where I used to walk with Jet. It just reminds me, she says, when I lost my own. Death up death. The loss of it all. That dog was a hundred and twelve, he says.

Some days I just feel raggedy. Nothing fits.

Driving home from our afternoon walk we see the homeless man. He must’ve been in the Services, he says, he’s always so well wrapped up. He is referring to his neatness, the way everything is packed away into his rucksack. When we holidayed on the Broads, he continued, there were some Navy lads on another barge. It was immaculate. And they always had someone on watch at night. Twenty-four hours, he said, even on holiday. It’s ingrained, he says. You can’t shake it off, even on holiday. He never begs, the homeless man, never. Self-contained. What is his story? Why does he stay here? He sleeps to the sound of the sea.

The chiropodist chattered away to him about her father. A continuing saga of a much-loved man with Alzheimer’s. She was having tea with him in his kitchen, he tells me. Her father was looking around the room. I don’t think much of your décor, he says.

The sky is milk. A breeze rustles the conifer.

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Writings

Fish Ladder

Me as baby

She lives near the fish ladder, he says as we walk. The fish ladder? I ask. Yeh, he says, you know for the salmon. I don’t know. I don’t know what he is talking about but it doesn’t matter. I am content to listen to him talking as we walk, my arm in his, in the winter sun. What a day. What a glorious day. Perfect sky. Perfect blue. And the sun. How are you two love birds? asks the man in the estate car. He doesn’t know him but he says he’s seen him most days parked on the Prom. He plays classical music on his car stereo with the window open so he can hear the sea. Listen to that swell, he says, smiling. He has an East End accent. I think I recognise him from somewhere. It must be love, he says, inclining his head towards our linked arms. Or it might be decrepitude, he replies. Now, now, says the man, no negativity. No negativity. He’s only joking, I know it. It is love. Love birds, we are.

He is a generous driver. He always stops to let people in. Sometimes a car behind will beep with frustration. I’m just keeping the traffic flowing, he says. They won’t get out if I don’t let them out. I like that about him. We collect the gestures they give him in response. You know, the thumbs up, the wave, the nod of the head. It makes us laugh. Some are cool, a finger lifted off the steering wheel, others are more emphatic, a wave of an arm, a tooted horn, flashed lights. Women are less demonstrative, often distracted and the gesture is cursory, or tentative, their minds on other things. We play them out in the car, copying them. That’s a new one, I say. The other day we watched a man with his old beagle. It had started to rain and the old dog had just managed to make his way onto the beach. It had taken him an age. His legs slow and dragging. With the rain his owner turned back. We couldn’t hear him but just saw his gestures. A cross kind of waving, beckoning the dog to follow him back onto the path and into the car. Poor dog, didn’t know if he was coming or going.

We bought hyacinths. They will soon go over. Top heavy they tilt. I love the scent. Heady and cloying. It’s stronger in the summer evenings. In the winter you have to get up close, your nose touching the flowers.

I saw the woman with the red hat again yesterday. She was talking to herself as she walked. The string with her keys around her neck, flapping as she ambled.

 

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Writings

Cigarette

Card - breathe

I can just make it out in the gloom. A red, glowing circle. He is at his open window in his pyjamas smoking a cigarette. His light is out. The red circle is the only light, the only animate thing in the dark. I’ve just been for my morning walk. I don’t want to have to talk. It is too early to break my reverie, my precious silence. But his window is level with the path that leads to my door. And he is my neighbour. Even at 4.45 am in the morning, he is my neighbour. It’s a lovely morning, I say, even though it is clearly not morning. Not yet. It’s better than it has been, he replies. It isn’t that I don’t like him, for I do. He is wry, funny, intelligent, I think. And more than a little enigmatic. It’s just that I am sometimes frustrated with the conventions, the conventions of sociability, that even at this early hour, one is bound by. I am sure he doesn’t want to talk either. He is still awake after all. This is his time too. His mother is abed and he is finally alone. To be himself, no son, no father, no husband, just himself. Whatever that it is. Just as I, when I walk, also eschew labels.

There were lots of kids around this morning. Making noise. Drunk. Rowdy. I can hear them as I walk back along North Road ready to cross the road at Terrace Road. It sounds like they are kicking the bags of recycling that the house-holders have left out the night before. I hear them shouting. Boys, three or maybe four. At the junction of Terrace Road and Llanbadarn Road I can make out a girl. A broad-hipped girl, wearing a short, floral, cotton skirt. Come on, guys, she shouts. There is a red pompom in her hand. It looks like a key fob. She sees me and smiles apologetically. Sorry, she says. I nod.

Yesterday afternoon the air smelt of pencil cases. You know that smell of wood and lead.

He’s been there the last two mornings. A homeless man sleeping in the Promenade shelter. Is he cold? Is his sleeping bag warm enough? Later, I saw him on the street, his rucksack on his back. He is thin. His expression is serious. He doesn’t engage or make eye-contact with the people he passes. His rucksack looks heavy. As big as a snail shell. Weighty, it’s all he has. He wanders around the town. Sometimes he has a can of Special Brew. I’ve never seen him eat.

I am becoming immersed, it is the only way. I see parallels. Shared experiences. I remember the Parsonage so well. It is etched in my mind. Its neatness, its smallness. As a young woman she wrote to Southey, the Poet Laureate of the day, with some poems. He wrote back encouraging her to continue writing but with no thought of celebrity. ‘Literature cannot be the business of a woman’s life’, he wrote,….write…for it’s own sake.’ Can I own that I like her? I know that Mrs Gaskell’s biography is considered too hagiographic and is no longer thought just so, yet, she bursts from the pages, especially in her letters to E. ‘Do not mistake me – do not think I am good; I only wish to be so….I am in such a horrid, gloomy uncertainty.’ I swallow her up, greedily and harbour ideas, hopes for something……….I don’t know, not yet.

He thinks he is gambling. Gambling on line. He must be, he says, why else is he up so late? And besides, he continues, I seen them on his computer screen through the window, on my way to the car. Seen what? I ask. Cards, he says. I think he’s playing poker with people abroad, that’s why he’s up so late.

Categories
Writings

Pelican Bakery

lemonpiefillingknickers2002

There’s a new bakery just opened on Terrace Road. The Pelican Bakery and Coffee House. I walked past this morning, early. It must’ve been about 5.20 am. I looked in as I went past. At the far end of the shop a man in an apron was taking loaves out of one of the ovens. I could see the counter, just by the window as you go in. The bread shelves were virtually bare. Like Russia in the eighties or post-war Britain, barely out of rationing. There were a few specialist bakes on the lower shelf, sweet cakes in cellophane. The rest, as I say, were bare, the hand-written labels standing sentinel, waiting, ready. Small Wholemeal, Large White and Granary. There was something poignant about them being hand-written. Not quite professional. A homely concern. On the counter were a few freshly baked loaves wrapped in cling film. They looked as if they were waiting for someone, waiting for someone to collect them. The baker had a bald head. He was in a light blue t-shirt. Their was a fan in the window, a large, circular chrome one. It was blowing full pelt. Outside it was -1.

I am warmed to the cockles by this new endeavour. I wish them all the luck in the world. Two shops up is The Crimson Rhino café. Also, quite new. A haphazard affair to begin with. It’s shop sign, also hand-painted. An array of fruit and vegetables ripen in the window. Avocados, yams, tomatoes, chillies. The staff are young. I imagine ex-students, having fallen in love with the place now eager to make their own way here. It gets busy in the afternoons. The windows steam up with heat from the bodies and the cooker.

I’m glad. I’m glad for Terrace Road. It’s a shabby road at the best of times. There is a second-hand record shop, Knockout a dealer in cheap furniture, a curio shop with an assortment of oddities in the window (presently there is a French Horn, a 1930s Doll’s House, a Hornby train-set and a ceramic egg holder in the shape of a hen)The Hot Dumplings Chinese Take-Away, Jacob’s a fried-chicken seller and Spartacus Sandwich Shop. There used to be two hairdressers. Now there is just Margaret’s. The lighting is stark. She is often unoccupied. Her busiest times are Friday mornings when the pensioners come in for a rinse and set. Mostly she sits at the counter reading magazines. There are other shops but they are boarded up. Two years ago the council paid for the road to spruced-up. There was scaffolding everywhere. Licks of paint. But the shabbiness has returned. Petrol fumes and dirt. Splashes. Some roads are like that, destined to be un-pretty. Through roads. No one stops.

Those clouds look like snow, he said as we drove to the supermarket.

Categories
Writings

Perfect Blue

Girl on beach

The sky, the sky is a perfect blue. The wind still howls but the sun is out and the sky is radiant. It could be summer. At least from the window of my studio. Shall I pretend? And this morning it was pitch, wet and storming. What a difference a few hours can make. The clouds are moving quickly, ships, mighty ships of fluffy-ness. The light is gorgeous. A Mediterranean light. Sharp light. A need to wear sun-glasses light. Eyes squinting.

I notice shoes. Most peoples’ are muddy, scuffed. He brings in sand on his. A grainy, grey, silver-like sand.

He was cremated in secret. He’d arranged it so that it would be so. Can you do that? Is that what wealth and influence brings? No, you can’t come. Leave me to disappear in peace. The third day and the papers are beginning to rake up dirt. Leave me be. Leave me to disappear in peace. Did I tell you that I don’t want a funeral, and nor does he? Leave us to disappear in peace. No fuss. He didn’t want any fuss. Mozart’s body being poured, unceremoniously into a mass grave. His corpse bouncing as it landed atop another.

Let us disappear in peace. For we will disappear. If he can go we all can. Dust to dust.

Think about your death, he says. Imagine it. To be nothing. To be no more. Would it be so bad? I am ready. I have been for a long time. Though this perfect blue is a bonus. For now it will do. Thank you. Thank you.