Thursday I am pointlessly staring at my tea, now only a stain at the bottom of the mug. So I glance at my reflection in the glass door of the dish cupboard opposite the table where I am sitting already quite a while. Reflected is the window behind me, through which I see that the sun is flooding the mountainside, only yesterday rain-drenched. On this side of the window over the kitchen sink, at this very moment a drop of water falls gleaming from the faucet. For a second I believe the drip is responsible for the repeating sound I only now becomes aware of, but no other drip occurs. It is the clock above the fireplace in the corner. Now I stare at the second hand jerking around its numbers. We can’t just sit here counting the seconds marching toward the end of our life, I tell myself. Now can we?
I get up, put the mug in the sink, tighten the faucet with a twist and go off for a shower. That much I could do, no problem. After that, we will see, I comment out loud on the way down the steps. With no one in the house I can talk to myself if I want to, can’t I, as long as it is not becoming a habit and I do so in the street, though nowadays who would notice! Everybody seems to be talking to themselves, what with their earbuds and such, looking like roaches perched on their ears. Too old to wear a cockroach in my ear, I say to the mirror, people might think I was deaf and start shouting. Already there is too much noise around. Who needs more?
On Friday the clock on the mantle over the fireplace tells me it is six-thirty. However it is by no means six-thirty, neither a.m. nor p.m.. This clock always for several weeks is saying it is six-thirty even when it is not, except for twice a day, and I am never in the kitchen when the clock is telling the truth, unless it is an a.m. when I can’t sleep, which is maybe half a dozen times in my life, as I have always been a first class sleeper by anybody’s book once I am finished with what I will do with the day.
But this one day I am awake, and the clock might be right, for it is still dark outside. Maybe it is too much food, too spicy, too late, and with too much wine at the Basmatti, with Carl. It is always too much of all those whenever anyone is eating with Carl, especially the spicy, for Carl is a fanatic for hot and spicy and in fact he always carries in his pocket a deadly vial of powder of his own devising just in case the cook is too cowardly to pour on the heat, which he always is in Carl’s opinion. This vial must be made of titanium or some such indestructible alloy, since once he drops some on the table cloth and a hole appears there and eats through the table before the very clever waiter drops alum and bicarbonate of soda and other preparations presumably designed for just such an occasion onto the smoking carpet beneath.
I digress only to bring up the maybe why I am up so early, looking for a glass of water to put out the embers, which anyone who knows me will tell you is rare indeed, water being in my book for external use only, except in an emergency. More rare still, is this: while I am downing water from the tap by cupping my hand, as I can find no clean tumbler in the kitchen, the phone rings, which for all I know often happens at this time of the day, since normally my head would be on or under a pillow; my boozy eyes tell me is six-thirty of the a.m., according to the clock on the mantel over the fireplace, which at this moment I forget always is saying six-thirty.
It is a guy named Michael, calling from Buenos Aires, asking for Remedios, who at this moment is sawing trunks, as she calls logs, and no way will she hear a telephone while sawing trunks, or hear even a bomb, unless it is under her bed, so Michael says he will call another time, when she is not sawing logs. Trunks, I correct him, who makes no comment before leaving me alone with a dead phone in my hand.
Who is this Michael, I ask Remedios later, and she answers as follows: Michael is the same Michael I tell you about many times, who is also called the Americano Loco that lives by the river, and who picks me up from the airport in Barcelona many years ago, on a farm tractor. And so on, as I have heard the story many times, and sooner or later will put it before you, too, since it is an interesting story, at that. But right now this Michael is in Buenos Aires getting his teeth fixed, or so he thinks when he goes to Buenos Aires, and cheap, which is why he is there and not in New York, or Barcelona, though at the time it does not make much sense to me, especially as according to Remedios, he has been already two to three years in Buenos Aires, and nothing much is happening yet with his teeth, except that some now have points, and mean while he is spending money on living space and eating and such, which she says is not pleasant for this Michael as he is more than somewhat tight-fisted, in fact you must strike him on the elbow to persuade him to let go of what is in his fist, which is quite some at that, from his inheritance.
This excerpt is from a collection of files Patrick called Scattered Notes.odt dated from 2014 to 2016. I’ll continue to add other segments as time allows.
Patrick Meadows 1934 – 2017.