Wednesday, March 4, 2009
It’s not romantic all the time. R/2
Some days you wake up and look out the window and just see gray. The hero of our story, his name is Hank, woke up like that this morning. He woke up thinking with the letter he had read, and re-read last night. It was as if it had turned in his head all night, churning up the weather that made the windows he wanted to look out upon, appear as if they had been covered in lead.
Hank felt boxed in. Quelle salope were the words that the thought gave form to. Then he said it out loud, just vaguely moving his lips and expiring the phrase, so as to give it solid form and cast it out. He threw off the covers and sat up. Whatever his particular case, the day goes on.
It was gray and wet but it wasn’t raining and that meant suiting up and off to work. Hank wondered if he could still call it that. That witch had put a spell over that world too. The morning was giving off the same vibes as her, cold, wet and uninviting. A day that finishes with mud caked on your boots, the cold leaching into your feet and working its way around you. Yes, wet and cold and Hank would soon be in it again.
He realized this grinding weight of being boxed in could drive him over a line. It had already been three years. In the beginning he thought it would run it’s course and then finish. Now he was no longer sure of it’s terminus. In the meantime the battle mentality had become quotidian. It complicated every gesture and wrapped itself around every simple action. At one time he had thought the justice system would eventually see the folly of it, but now he realized why they said justice is blind.
Blind people stumble about, just like all the rest of us, when things aren’t clear. Hank was tired of stumbling, and was becoming angry at being tripped. He kept thinking it would just take one momentary release of the controls that were in place to put an end to the non reasoned unhappiness that swarmed around her, and which was constantly trying to imply itself on him. A momentary lapse into rage and action, what our blind friend Justice called a ‘crime of passion’, and everything would be much cleaner. Like that hard rain that will come and wash the trash from the streets.
But because he left just enough time to carry out his primordial duties in the morning, there wasn’t time for dreaming. The world around Hank was turning and he needed to move too. It’s hard to get up the courage. That’s why he took sugar with his tea. It was a little reward, which he needed sometimes, just for getting up.
The day was already happening outside his doors. He could hear the vendors setting up for the weekly market. He got ready and off he went. The bells said eight thirty just as he locked the door. It would have been hard to tell otherwise, everything he saw gave the appearance of it being much earlier in the morning. The vendors were few and still in the process of setting up their stalls. But even more convincing was that the lead gray sky gave no indication that the sun had risen behind it. It was so convincing a representation of seven o’clock in the morning that Hank had a fleeting sensation of pride at having got at it so early.
He liked going to work wendsday mornings. The market set up just in front of his apartment. It had a carnival like ambiance. It was active and loud and colorful and was full of paysans and merchants setting out their wares. It gave off a feeling that Hank imagined wasn’t much different than it had been in the middle ages. Aside from the fact that the vendors now arrived in motorized trucks instead of horse drawn carts, the form and function of the village market has remained exactly the same throughout time.
That continuity made Hank want to be within it and he got a sense of doing just that when he walked through the market to get to his car. It helped that he wore his red suspendered electrocoup 2000 slung over his shoulder. It identified him. Put him firmly in the peasant class. The merchants looked at him, they addressed him with their nods. The work Hank did had a continuity that went further back into the mists of human history than their own. Hank was the latest in that line. There was a recognized value to that.
The last year, crossing the market on the way to the vines, the flower girl whom Hank had seen several times before, had stuck a rose in his pocket as he walked by. When Hank thanked her she laughed in a way that was so attractive Hank felt himself physically drawn to her, and before he thought about doing it, he had taken a short step toward her. At the same moment, perhaps a very small moment before, she had stepped the same sized step toward him, and thanked him. Then she laughed again. Hank had the impression that they had just had an infinitesimal dance together, and he said so. I like the dances that last longer, she said as she conspicuously scanned his electrocoup 2000 trimming tool.
Hank laughed at that, and she smiled too. She said her father had been a vigneron and she remembered helping him with the taille when she was young, she wondered how it was with a power tool. Hank replied that it was just faster and less intimate. She had been disappointed to hear that, her father had always said that the tending of the grapes was extremely important because without wine none of us would even be here.
At first Hank had had a hard time understanding what she was saying, and he found himself listening to just the rhythm of her words. She spoke with a heavily accented voice and she borrowed frequently from the Occitan language - the langue d’oc. It had been Le lingua franca in this area before the Franks had smothered it with their own. In the end he had understood the main drift of it.
Her story was something about how before the world was inhabited, the spirits who were, had created, and then used wine to give their essence a corporeal body. The alcohol gave their ethereal beings a denser property and thus they could take a form with which to partake of the sensual which exists solely in the physical world. It was a realm of physical being which for all eternity before that had been denied them.
Then she rattled off in quick succession, distillation, spirits, specific gravity, density, body - listen to the words we use when we are talking about grapes and making wine. Civilizations have always linked wine with the Holy. Then she smiled and said ‘I’ve got to get back to work’. Hank had went to work too. He had never seen her again, but he could still breath her.
He remembered it as one of those infrequent moments of feeling fully connected and content with himself and the place he was inhabiting. The brief walk through the market, emblazoned with his tailleurs emblem hanging from him engendered an almost giddy feeling the he was playing his part. It was like a circus, and he was a traveling roustabout.
But today Hank was just stunned by the difference of time. The flower girl wasn’t there again but he saw some roses and so she flashed in him.
pt 2. Hanks day finishes much different than he had previewed