She called in for a coffee at the café and looked tired as if she’d got ready to spend the rest of her life making up for what had happened so far. But like inheritance tax it wasn’t all bad. The café had posters of Mexican pyramids and terraced landscapes on its walls. It seemed to her that faded memories of travel didn’t belong to this age. Nor the promise of expansion. After a time the brain pulls back if it is in pain too often.
The day no longer understood itself. It was as if it was married out of synch. She thought of those who lived in order to punish. She could plainly see some things across from the shore of the bloated lake. She liked to walk there and on cool days just appear on someone else’s horizon. She got wounded. Suffered for it. She liked to escape the sickness of others. But she belonged to humanity so there’s the tension. She doesn’t talk to herself as such. A small, oldish man with a blonde congested face hopped off his bike and flexed ambitious limbs. His eyes were the kind that virtually left the ground. Yet there was a spontaneous emotion and open reception to his figure that attracted her. She watched him from quite some way. He bought a latte and sat so that he looked out over the water. It was cool and he suffered for it. She knew that either she’d endure all his facts, no matter how sensational, or begin a long long schedule. Would he hers? And have the time?
That was the confidence in her walk, the array of question and answer that darted across her seized eyes that seemed from the middle ages when everyone had God looking back at them. She bought a latte too and sat awkwardly near to where he was sitting but like a patriarch with her back arched towards him, as if an inexhaustible current of personalities pushed across the space between and carried secret messages that others, had they known them, would envy, spend, uphold, long for or scorn. It was always complicated. Like she often wondered how anyone survived if love meant being cut up to pieces so. Which seemed to be the usual condition. The hardest items were all there in this unwanted thing, its injured vanity and the swindle it involved so deeply, so endlessly, so sublimely. It closed down the universe too much, and left out too many other lights. But maybe it also humbled your pride and that was something good, she wondered, whilst straight away she also thought - but surely it went too far - it purposely knocked you out of your life hard and that couldn’t be good could it? And sometimes we only want love because our enemies have it.
It’s hard to know what a man feels when he’s holding a coffee. In doing that simple thing he knowingly takes an advantage even if he himself doesn’t know either. The water of the jizzy lake was dour and dark with fir trees smooth as masts on the far off shore, under clouds like mountains bubbling up on the steel midwinter sky as if changing life from diamond stone to something more drifty at the edges, that kind of thought you have that just goes away without making any difference. His inner life was muffled of course. What else would it be? This was a kind of grief he was enacting rather than translating, but with a shadow and his fingers clutching the mug whilst he blew on the surface to chime slightly with the breeze that was ruffling up the leaves.These, although floored, were green and summery, lining across the dolorous empty deck chairs because it was far too cold to go that far.
She made an uneasy, imperfect silence, and was content to just look about. He was trying to read some small pocket book, a paperback with borders torn and that kind of wrecked look. After a while he felt the pull of looking up and peeked straight at her without a moment’s hesitation like someone waking up after reading the Aeneid kicking arse. Scorched thoughts, scorched and hot like versions of something old, even classical, which was ridiculous in a way, a Brahmin moment which she took to be as it was, an identity coming through. There was something austere in him that seemed to want to match her hedonistic south, as if brandishing something foreign to her, a prepared neo-imperial style that some men cling to as if they’d fall without single prayer nor distinction. She was amused.
Read 47094 from the beginning here.
Read the complete novel 'The Ecstatic Silence' here.