Purple Clovers (The Proverbial Peacock) Part 2

This is a second half to a two-part piece. I recommend reading the first half before this. Link to Part 1: https://mmwiinga.wordpress.com/2017/02/14/purple-clovers-the-proverbial-peacock/

*
*

I’d first met Remy through an old friend some years back. We only greeted each other briefly though. But then I saw her a second time; this time at that same friend’s funeral two years ago. We exchanged a few more words on that occasion, but still, we only started speaking more regularly after I’d ran into her at a furniture shop. At first I couldn’t tell it was her, she recognised me first. She was with a five-or-so year old girl who I assumed to be her daughter (looking back at it now, it was probably a little sister or cousin. She looks far too young to have a kid that age). She helped me decide on some new curtains for my front room. We then exchanged numbers, and she rang me not too long after our encounter the same day. She suggested we meet up some time, and I agreed to it.

*

We chat at length about various things over a small dinner and two more glasses of red wine. The bar has only increased in gaiety since I arrived. By cause of all the wine we’ve been quaffing at, Remy’s eyes are now more pinched than usual, and her gestures become less cultivated than when we had begun. Her movements and speech are more flimsy and playful now. Since she removed her sweater, I’ve been repeatedly eyeing the red brown pendant hanging around her neck which cleverly matches her eye-shadow and lips in colour.

Remy reaches into her purse for a 20-pack of Purple Clovers, and lights one up. Then offers one to me.
“I quit.”
“I tried to quit a few times,” she says, blowing smoke coolly to the side as she sets the pack down on the table. “You know, for my daughter’s sake ‘n’ all.”
“The girl you were with that day, that’s your daughter?”
“Yeah, Ameerah. She’s four and eight months. So cute, she always tells me, Mummy, smoking is bad for you. Your lungs will fall off.”
I laugh, telling her, “Well, she’s not far from right.”
“I never wanted to start again, ya know. It’s just something I found myself doing when me and her dad split.”

I respond with nothing to this. Her chin is buried in the palm of her left hand, while the cigarette burns in her right. Her eyes then stray and settle on some void space behind me. Ken. His name’s Ken, she begins. A dull, dry undertone cleaves to her voice.

“We fought too much. When I say fought, I mean fought. He and I barely agreed on anything. For some reason, we kept going on a break, then getting back together. Going on a break. Getting back together. I’d move out for a week or two, then come back. Then do the same after the next big fight. Over and over. We eventually filed for divorce. But when I found out I was pregnant, we had to keep in contact regardless of how we felt about each other.

“We may not love each other, but we both do love Ameerah with all of our hearts. We agree to try our very best for her, at least, do you know what I mean? After we got divorced, I went back to my parents’ house, and gave birth to Ameerah a few months after. Then I moved into an apartment in East eventually.”

Remy lets out some smoke from her nostrils, then continues:
“My mum doesn’t like the idea of Ameerah living in my apartment, so she insisted that she stays with her on weekdays, and that I have her on the weekends. I see them all the time, though. Every day, almost.” She stares blankly to the side for a few seconds with her Purple Clover close to her lips, then smiles, as if remembering something pleasant.
“My mum says Ameerah having her grandpa as a consistent father-figure is better than an inconsistent father. I can’t argue with that. I’m not entirely sure what effect it’ll have on Ameerah. But she seems happy. As long as she’s happy, that’s all that matters, right?”
I nod slowly, gyrating the remains of my wine, and say, “The situation isn’t perfect, but it could be far worse.”
“She doesn’t see Ken much. She loves him a lot, though, as does he her.”

Remy is now 27 years old, and works full time at a call center which makes her enough to pay her bills, put Ameerah in a private school, and buy expensive clothes like the burgundy fur she has slouched neatly on the back of her chair.

Out of the blue, she jerks her fluttery eyes directly at mine and says,
“Do you have kids, you?”
“I’m not even married.”
“Neither am I,” she smirks, catching me out.
“Touché.” I then take a concluding gulp of my third glass.
“We were only married 14 months, can you believe it? I have an issue with rushing into things, as you can probably tell. I had Ameerah at 23.”

In deep thought, she pauses.
“But although I admittedly rushed into things, I regret nothing. Ameerah is the best thing by far that’s ever happened to me. I’m capable of taking sufficient care of her for her to have a normal childhood.”
How normal can you call a fatherless childhood? I say nothing and let her continue.
“But my mum is concerned, she thinks that I’m still not over the divorce… I’m well over it! He’s an ass.”

She crushes the end of her Purple Clover into the ashtray with an insouciant look on her face. We both remain silent for a moment. A comfortable, reflective kind of silence. Our old friend, the one who died, springs suddenly into my mind. Neither of us even once uttered a mention of our deceased friend, which I swiftly begin to find strange. I had no idea how to bring up the topic, or if there was even any need.

“For a garden to bear good fruit, it requires both rain and sunshine,” she says all of a sudden. Plainly and fluently. As if reading from the back of some packaging. Muddled, I look at her silently, and she points to the peacock behind me. Peering deeply at its beady eyes.
That’s what he’s saying today.”

I smile.

 

 

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Purple Clovers (The Proverbial Peacock)

“Yup. This is it for sure,” I murmur to myself, folding the piece of paper with directions on and pocketing it.

As soon as I step inside, I see the giant peacock statue she had told me about, standing a good eight feet in height at the back of the dimly lit room. It’s a rather impressive sight to bare in a bar, in a not-so-fancy part of town. Poised tall and perfectly still with intricate detailing. The realness of its eyes almost give it character, its own personality.  Its diligent and unchanging expression reminds me of some kind of overseer at the back of the bar, making sure everything’s in order. Not in an uncomfortable way, though. It is quite a pleasant figure to stare back at.

My gape of admiration is disturbed by a waving hand in my peripherals, then a confidently voiced call of my name. Remy is sat at a small table near the back. I make my way over to her and pull out the seat opposite.

“You’re a little early,” I mention in a semi-playful tone. She dubs out a half-smoked cigarette in the ashtray on the table before saying,
“Oh? I guess that makes you a little early, then.”

With a smile, she reaches to shake my hand. The first thing I notice about Remy since the last time I saw her is her change of hair colour. She had plum-coloured hair before, now it is a pale blonde, nearing a grey-ish white. Slick and short like a newborn baby’s hair. It contrasts almost artistically with her sheeny, mahogany skin-tone.

She’s in a puffy faux fur sweater which is burgundy in colour. Probably an expensive Julien David piece. It sure looks expensive. The rest of her attire is hidden beneath the table. Smokey red brown eye-shadow circles her narrow eyes, but doesn’t do a job of concealing the deep lines under them. Lines which have developed overtime under eyes which appear to have seen much, shed much.

With her forearms placed neatly before her on the table, Remy stares at me with a faint smile as I remove my jacket and place it behind my chair. I notice her big hooped earrings, and then some of her other piercings; a tiny stud in her right nostril, a Medusa piercing, double helix, and one forward helix piercing. Her image was clearly deliberate and polished.

“Drinks? Drinks,” she says, then signals for a waiter. She orders two tall glasses of red wine, and tells the waiter to put both drinks on her tab.
“Don’t look at me like that,” she says to me as the waiter trails off to fulfill the duty. “What, you’ve never had a lady pay for your drink?”
“No, actually, it’s just that I can p-…”
“Nonsense,” she interjects. “It’s your first time here, right? I’ll treat ya.” She smiles.

*

We clink glasses and take a sip. I give the rest of the room a once-over. It’s far more spacious than any bar I’ve been to, and is arranged less like a bar than it is a restaurant (they even serve a decent selection of dishes). Groups, couples and individuals all based on various tables around the room, sipping away merrily, chit-chatting about who knows what. Soft jazz sounding from a direction I cannot quite decipher. Waiters scurrying professionally from table to table. The sound of glasses being placed and retrieved onto and from tables. The clanging of knives and forks against plates. A vast sea of conversations ringing all at once.

The place is all very new to me. It’s like a hybrid of an ambiance restaurant and a bar. There could be someone winding down after a long day, enjoying a nice quiet dinner, whilst a group on the table beside him aren’t far off excessive drunkenness. No one appears to be disturbed or out of place, though. It seems everyone knew exactly what to expect before they came in. And the archaic peacock statue, in its own, bizarre way, compliments this vibrant restaurant-bar setting. Lax, though enticingly atmospheric.

*

“So, what d’you think of the statue? You like it?” Remy begins, directing her gaze at the peacock, then back to me. She’s sat deliberately upright with her hands rested on the edge of table. At the tip of her slender brown fingers are long, sharp nails painted a few shades darker than her hair.
“It’s impressive, I must admit. You weren’t kidding. It’s a more than decent piece of work,” I tell her. “Nice to look at.”
“Told ya. You know, each time I’ve come here, it’s like the statue says something to me. Something different to the previous time,” she says in a more introspective tone. I don’t quite grasp what she’s saying.
“Oh, really?”
“Mm-hmm,” she nods, mid sip. I turn my head to the peacock, then back at her.
“So what’s it saying to you today?”

For some 20 seconds, Remy says nothing. Just stares intently at the lifeless peacock. She places her right elbow on the table and then rests her slightly cocked head in her palm. Eyes subtly squinted. Eventually she says,
“Not sure yet. Need a few more swigs at this,” tapping at her glass of wine, then laughing a little. I let out a smile and notice Charles Mingus’ ‘Celia’ oozing from the bar’s sound system.

Thank you for reading. This is an old, unfinished piece I decided to work on. I decided to make it two parts. The link to part 2 is here: https://wordpress.com/post/mmwiinga.wordpress.com/4953
Criticisms and feedback are always welcome.

Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars (Eddy’s Brother)

 

“When did he get back?”
“Who, Eddy’s brother? Last week Tuesday. He’s been quite busy, that’s why I haven’t had a chance to see him yet.” Vince says.

Uriel takes a lengthy sip of his now lukewarm bottled water. He lights himself a Marlboro Gold then tucks the almost empty packet back into the chest pocket of his cream shirt. The sun beams down while the two young men sit on a bench. Birds glide skillfully overhead, supple branches sway in the gentle breeze.
Vince and Uriel are seated outside a small sandwich shop. Opposite the bench is the main road which the duo gape at whilst conversing during their lunch break. It’s an early-Spring afternoon, a little before 3pm.

An easy silence swings between them momentarily, then as if suddenly remembering he’s with Vince and not alone at home, Uriel throws out, “What’s he like?”
Vince, who chomps eagerly at the remains of his toasted BLT sandwich, squints his eyes at a spot on the ground, trying to come up of a brief but reasonably conclusive answer to Uriel’s question.

“Hmm, well, I’d say he’s an awful lot like Eddy, but just only a little more… out there, I guess. Or rather, was. I mean, sure it’s been only four years since I last saw him, but he might have changed. People tend to when they move away to a different place. Environment and associates can have a relatively substantial influence on an individual, whether they realise it or not.”
“Quite often they don’t.” adds Uriel
“He might not be the same Ian as I remember him.”
“What d’you mean more out there though? In what sense?” Uriel ashes his cigarette as a cluster of smoke follows his question out of his mouth into the air around them.

Vince stops mid-chew, trains his eyes at roughly the same spot on the ground as before, then relaxes this stance.
“How can I put this?” he mumbles half to himself. “Well, he’s more talkative than Eddy, for one. He’s spontaneous, he’ll be up for anything. The most random of things at that. He does crazy things for crazy reasons. Don’t get me wrong, Eddy does crazy things, too, but the reasoning behind it is often later revealed to be somewhat justifiable. Somewhat [As he says this, Vince looks at Uriel and gives a half smile, who offers the same smile and a monosyllabic laugh back]. But Ian, he’s totally different in that sense.”

“Example?”
“Okay, take this example: one time, Ian, Eddy, this Dutch chick called Romy who I met through Eddy, and myself were chilling out at Ian’s place, right. It must have been around eight or nine in the evening, we were all drinking beers. Now, Ian lived near a park stadium. Not a huge one, just your average sized stadium. It was used mostly for sports days, charity events; things like that. It’d close around six in the evening, and by eight it’d be completely locked off and empty. During that whole summer, we used to sneak in through some back entrance and climb over this nine-or-so foot iron gate and sit in the stands, just talking and drinking and laughing and fooling around. We were, what, eighteen? It would be ’round about midnight hours, so no one was around. Nobody could hear us. All the cameras directed at the tracks and at the stands were shut off ’cause, I mean, there wasn’t much to be stolen, unless some weird bloke decided he wanted to loot some stadium seats or something like that. Anyway, so we were virtually undisturbed. It was summer so the air was nice. We used to spark up and everything. You ever got high at a closed off stadium in the middle of the night? Shit’s epic.”
Uriel’s face bares a very slight smile as he jokingly shakes his head, then slyly peers at his wristwatch, and continues smoking as he listens for the rest of the story. Vince scrunches his wrappers up and tosses them in the bin beside the bench. He rubs his hands together and strains his eyes as if trying to focus in on a visible scene of where his story left off.

“But anyway, that particular night, Ian had a few too many beers I think. So imagine this, right: on our way back to his place, instead of going towards the back entrance we came in through, he thought it’d be a great idea to start a fire at the entrance to the stadium. Right by the front! Of course it was locked off from the outside, but the way we came in gave us direct access to the main entrance. He took a little bundle of flyers he’d found somewhere inside and set them alight with a clipper. At first, we thought, Hey, Ian, what are you doing? Stop playing, but we weren’t paying all that much attention to it. We were all too high and tipsy. About five minutes later, this flame was huge! And I’m not talking one of those fires you and your friends start in some deserted park when you’re sixteen. I’m talking a great big fire! Right inside the stadium.”

“Man, are you serious? Inside?” questioned Uriel, taken aback. The tone he carries conveys less bafflement than it does disappointment.
“Dead serious. None of us had realised it was growing that rapidly or vigorously, either. I’ll never forget how tall those flames were. The smoke… It ended up on the local news and everything. The cameras by the entrance must have been shut off, too. We never got caught. No suspects, no nothing. There wasn’t even a smoke alarm. The investigation didn’t follow up any much longer than say a few days. They were probably lazy and ruled it off as some unexplained accident. Someone left something on, and it sparked up and caught fire or something.”
“What, like how the guy in Fight Club thought his apartment exploded because of a jolt from his fridge triggered his gas-filled apartment into it exploding?” Uriel interposes.
“Yeah maybe something like that.” Vince says with a small laugh. “The security in that place was a joke. Awful. At times when I look back, I think maybe they deserved it. For lack of care and proper security.”

Uriel’s mien bears residue of perplexity as he mulls over the story of Eddy’s brother again. He tosses the end of his cigarette to the ground and lightly stomps on it. His left hand then reaches to caress the fresh stubble on his neck and chin.

“But anyway, you know why this was all so crazy?” Vince continues. “The next morning when we asked Ian why he did it, he said to us, I wanted to see what they’d rebuild, or some B-S like that. Can you believe that?! The guy is nuts. Whose curiosity drives them to set fire to a park stadium just so they can see what would be rebuilt after it’s all been burned down to the ground? Nuts.”
To see what they’d rebuild.” Uriel repeats blankly. He then looks to Vince with a playful expression, saying, “He sounds kind’a interesting if you ask me.”

Vince rises to his feet, dusts remnants of his sandwich off of his smart navy blue trousers, and reties his left shoelace. Uriel, too, gets up and stretches his back slightly and scans his clothes for any stains or crumbs or ash.
“We’d better head back,” says Uriel. “don’t want the boss getting cranky again now, do we?” Vince smiles. They both get into Uriel’s Peugeot 206 and head back to their office.

 

 

 

Thank you for reading. With this particular piece, I was focusing on dialogue. Criticisms and feedback are always welcome and much appreciated!

 

 

 

 

 

Blues

(* = shift in time or place*)

There was this one time, my mum went to go pick up an old friend of hers and her daughter from the airport. “Make sure you hoover the lounge once more.” she said before she left. The third time that day. Yes, mum.

Apparently the old friend of hers used to look after me and my brother when we were young. Too young to remember. I began practicing that smile and small laugh you offer when an adult gives you that, ‘My god, look how much you’ve grown!’ line. They were passing through, but their main purpose for the journey was to go to Wales to see some relatives.

I turn up the Ahmed Jamal jazz that’s sounding from my speakers to try shut off the sound of my mum talking on the phone. She has this habit of having her phone on loudspeaker and talking so loud that every corner of the house is blanketed in the sound of her conversation. She speaks in her mother-tongue, though, of which I can’t understand, so I never usually bother listening. I do, however, catch a few glimpses of English. Random words like ‘battery’, and ‘stop’ and ‘helpless’. I imagine she’s telling my auntie about the time her car-battery ran out, and she was left stranded in the church car-park for forty-five minutes.

Anyway, the time my mum went to the airport – the thought occurred to me that, of recent, my sister no longer stayed at home with my mum, brother and I, and so I wondered arduously about what I would offer the daughter to do for entertainment. It was typical in my home for the children to leave the adults to talk in the main room while they went off to play or whatever whenever we had guests. But this would prove to be somewhat tricky being male and female (not to mention never having met beforehand). I had no clue how old she was, or what she was in to.

I remember hoping for some reason that she wasn’t my age. That she wasn’t attractive. I just didn’t want to encounter that sort of ‘our mums are friends and we’re opposite sex age-mates so we should have some kind of reticent, unspoken but mutually agreed attraction going on between us’ scenario. I mean, it seemed great in movies and books, but how feasible is it in real-life?

My mum came back from the airport with the two. Unfortunately, the daughter looked just three or so years younger than myself, and she was cute. But how unfortunate was it, really?

*

Not half an hour later I hear the doorbell go off from upstairs. “Come in, my sister.” my mum joyously says, then they exchange a few words in their mother-tongue as she wipes her shoes on the rug which has Psalm 139:14 printed on it. It never made sense to me to have a Bible verse on something you clean your shoes off with. If anything, it deterred me from wiping my shoes.

I guess their uproarious conversation wasn’t intense enough over the phone. I skip gently down the stairs and greet my auntie before offering her a warm drink. She says she’s fine.

“How are Lou and the others?”

“They are all good, my dear. I was just with Lou’s wife and the little one.” she replies. I place myself beside my mum for a moment, and at that very moment my old man walks through the front door into the main room. I check the time. 4PM. Yep, ’round about the usual time he strolls in. I look down to the carpet. I look to the wall. To the switched off TV. Back down to the carpet. He greets my auntie in the same mother-tongue and they briefly catch up. My mum stands up and retreats to the kitchen without a word. The stale lines which rest below her eyes and at the sides of her mouth daub a zestless expression on her face.

She can’t bare it. We all hate it, too. My brother, my sister, me. The way he comes in and acts in front of guests like everything’s okay, like everyone is fine. Nothing is ever okay and we’re far from fine. That’s the case when he’s about, at least.

‘I could never divorce him’, my mum always says, ‘it’s not right for me to do that.’

You’re not in the wrong, mum! Things aren’t the same as before, and most likely never will be. You have to let him know that! I just want to grab her by the shoulders and shake some sense into her sometimes.

Anyway. Anna was her name. They’re from the States. Anna’s mum and mine go way back. They lived together for some time in England, then eventually separated when Anna’s mum (Agatha) moved to Manhattan with her husband. He died though, two years ago, from undetected Leukemia. My mum couldn’t make the funeral.

I rather uneasily invited Anna upstairs.

“My room’s a mess, by the way.” She laughed faintly. “Didn’t your mother mention you’d be having visitors ’round for a few days?” she asked, sounding half surprised half rhetorical. I looked at her sheepishly and said nothing. My room wasn’t as bad as I had thought. Or perhaps I knew it wasn’t that bad, but it’s just one of those phrases that comes out automatically in case you’re dealing with a clean-freak.

She stepped in. Barely looking around, she picked up a book off my desk.

“A really good book, this.” She said as she skimmed over the back of it, then flicking through a few pages.

“You’ve actually read it?”

“Yeah, why so surprised?”

“No, it’s just I just hadn’t figured you being into Guevara.” I answered, wondering why I’d said it. “Oh? How come?” I was tongue-tied. “You’ve met me before, so you therefor have basis on what and what not to figure about me?” Double tongue-tied.

Her strong undertone of sarcasm prevented her from sounding angry, and even rude. More genuinely inquisitive and thorough than anything. “Or is it ’cause I look too young?” Triple tongue-tied. I didn’t know if she was looking for an answer. For the first time since she came into the room she was staring me directly in the eyes with her own, small but powerful eyes. Her general expression wasn’t plain nor particularly suggestive. Just bold. Meticulous.

After I decided to stop slyly, and yet half unconsciously, acting condescending towards her, we manage to hold a decent conversation. We talked books, old movies, the States, touched on history, British politics, then somehow circled back to books. She had an interesting and insightful viewpoint on most things. It’s nice to converse once in a while with someone who gives you a fresh perspective on things and almost makes you question things you know (or thought you knew). Anna was one of those people. I remember being impressed with her knowledge and understanding in general. Certainly a lot more than I knew at her age (I still wasn’t sure how old she was at this point).

About an hour in total passed before we even realised the flow of time was still gearing in motion. I heard my mum calling from downstairs, and it’s not until then that I noticed her sat on my bed, legs crossed, toying around with a pen she must have found on my bed. I clocked that next to her were three or four of my T-shirts she’d folded neatly for me and laid beside her.

We ate dinner all together, our mothers, my brother and the two of us, and I set up the sofabed for Anna while Agatha set up camp in the spare room.

*

My mum and auntie are lost deep in their foreign language chit-chattering, and I find no better opportune moment to escape back to my lair upstairs. I only took two characteristics from my old man: a profound liking for jazz music, and a habit of wanting to be alone a lot.

He loved being by himself, and would release his signature grunt whenever someone disturbed him. 90% of the time he was in this gloomy bad mood, and so naturally, everyone left him alone. Just as he pleased.

*

It came to about twenty minutes past midnight when I heard a gentle knocking on my bedroom door. A distinctively slow knocking. My mum’s fast asleep and my brother never knocks, I thought to myself.

It was Anna. She said she couldn’t sleep, and that she needed a book. I asked her why she hadn’t brought any with her.

“They’re in my suitcase in the room my mum’s sleeping in. I don’t wanna go rummaging around in there and end up waking her up.”

“Fair point.” I said. “And you knew I was awake?”

“No, but I thought I’d take a chance,” she replied in a low tone. “I find it very difficult to sleep without a book by my bedside.”

I switched on my side-lamp and pointed her towards the shelf where my books are kept. She gently felt her way across the spines of the books, then did the same again trailing in the opposite direction. I watched her as she did this. I watched how her bare left foot crossed over and toed the outer side of her right foot subconsciously. She wore a silk gown which spilled down to her knees. A blue-grey hue. The meek lighting that exuded from the lamp left most of her frame silhouetted. Her braids are tied up in a sleek bun. The shape of her collar bones peering through the gown. The slight crumpling of her eyebrows as she surveyed which book teased her fancy. She turned her head suddenly and stared right at me before asking inquiringly, “Which do you recommend? For a bedtime book.”

She named the ones she’d read quietly, and I retorted her a few suggestions. She finally picked out a book. A book of short poems. She pressed it against her chest and thanked me.

“Are you cold downstairs?”

“A little.” she said.

“You need me to grab you a spare blanket or something?”

Her eyes wandered around my room, then squinted and fixated keenly on a painting on the wall. She pointed to it. “Who’s that?”

“You don’t know Miles Davis?”

“No. Well I’ve heard the name, but how many Miles Davis’ are there in this world.”

I said nothing to this. She studied the paint splashed portrait a little longer. His shades. The saxophone he so passionately blared in to. The swirly signature of the artist. “I’m guessing he’s a musician. Jazz player?” she continued.

“A very famous one. Extremely famous.” I told her.

“Well he can’t be that famous, now, can he?” She walked up to the painting, and her arms flopped lazily on either side of her hips, book in left hand.

“You must really like this… Miles Davis then.”

I smiled a little. “Yeah. Is your mum a light sleeper?”

She looked at me for some five seconds before saying, “Very heavy. You need to bash her a couple times to wake her up sometimes.”

I got out of the bed and put on Davis’ ‘In A Silent Way’ album at a hushed volume. She said she’d never really taken the time to listen to jazz music. We sat in the dimly lit room, soundlessly listening to brilliance of it all. She seemed to have enjoyed the album quite some much. After a fairly long but finite silence between us, we plucked out from the tranquil thin air a conversation which oddly had nothing to do with Davis, or music at all.

Anna could hold a lengthy conversation, but somehow, almost skillfully, she managed to never touch on her personal life. At all. We talked about mostly abstract or general things. Anna didn’t ask many questions, especially not personal ones, so the conversation never had the chance to hold an intrusive element of privacy.

I’d got to know plenty about her thoughts and opinions, but nothing really about her. I felt passably distant from her.

Again, time had its way of passing by us inconspicuously but without doubt. It came to 2:13AM. The room was submersed in the proficient, lingering works of Miles Davis and our quiet, on-and-off rounds of verbiage.

Somehow – don’t ask me how – I’d happened to find her sat on the edge of my bed with my head stationed between her knees. She’d been re-twisting my dreads for goodness knows how long. The realisation of it all had only struck once Miles Davis’ ‘Kind of Blue‘ album had come to what seemed to be an abrupt end. We looked to each other for some clues, both wondering how we ended up in this position. Her face carried a don’t ask me look on it.

She lifted her legs to the bed and hugged them. I told her to cover herself with the blanket.

“Are you tired?” she asked.

“No, not really. I was so lost in the music and conversation that I forgot about sleep.”

I forgot about everything.

That’s the kind of effect being with Anna had on you. I wasn’t too sure whether this was good or bad. It was partially trying to tackle some clash of perspective we each had on whatever matter, and partly just listening to her explain something and simply wondering. Wondering about what? Well, I don’t know. A million-trillion thoughts gallop through and around your head when speaking with Anna. She evokes oodles of thought.

I put on another jazz album. This time the 1962 works of John Coltrane. She laid her head on one of my pillows and closed her eyes. I sat on the floor leaned up against the wall. Silence.

It came to about 3AM. She was fast asleep, but her face carried a very calm expression. As if she was still awake, just closing her eyes listening to the music which seeped softly from the speakers. At this point, I decide to quietly leave the room and take up position on the sofabed downstairs.