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.

Moon Shine

‘Much like the distant glow of the moon, her brilliance was the type you could never tire from gawking at, no matter how many times your eyes chanced contemplation of her beauty.

Much like the variant faces and shapes of the moon, she was miscellaneous, and evinced an alluring abstruseness. She reminded me of an abstract art piece in a gallery, emanating a diversity of impressions and sensations – all beguiling in their own way. 

Much like the far-flung moonshine, her soul was remote. She was flamboyant. Elusive. Untamed. One of a kind.’

*

She’s read it through probably three or four times now. I say nothing the whole while, just taking a sip here ‘n’ there of the red wine in my hand.

It’s an early-Autumn afternoon. Lectures hadn’t finished too late today, and so we’d decided on today to visit this moderately chic ambiance restaurant and bar in Central/West London.

“What do you think?”

To be quite frank, I care more that she’d read it than what she actually thinks about it. I feel somewhat satisfied knowing that, some of what clogged my mind for so long and so tenaciously has finally found its expression and its way into her own mind. Regardless of the impression it has left, it is now there. Irreversibly.

I write, I told her. And she asked me for a sample of my writing. And so that’s what I gave to her. She has no idea, though, (I think, at least) that this piece is something I wrote about her. For a moment this makes me feel a very strange but specific facet of guilt, and heaps of desperation (though the feeling shortly subsides). But what is one supposed to do? Fill himself to the brim with all these thoughts and imagery ’til he is consumed by a chaotic overflow of keenness and emotion, of which could potentially result in a disastrous outcome?

“It’s good,” she begins. Folding the crumpled sheet of paper, she gives the restaurant a brisk once over. It’s notably busy in here considering it only being midweek.

A voluble troop of 6 or so other students gather themselves around some stools at the bar, chortling away over beers. A couple sit languidly a few seats away. Two almost-empty glasses rest by them as they glare one another in the eye, presumably wandering deep in the confines of delicate conversation.

And across the room from them is us. Her and I. Cana and myself.

“You think so?” I say to her.
“Absolutely,” she says with a sly increase of elation. “The diction is nice, and it’s expressive.” Cana hands me the piece of paper after giving it one final peek.

“So you really like it?” She nods convincingly and downs the remaining contents of her glass of red wine. After doing so, she hails one of the waiters for another glass.

*

We’ve known each other for just a little over 6 months now. I first saw Cana in a lecture. I would see her all the time but she never – and I mean not once – noticed me. Until one day a few weeks into the term, I caught her by herself and decided I’d find no better opportunity to strike up a conversation than there and then.

So I did. I asked her a question. I can’t remember what exactly, but it was dumb one, no doubt. Nevertheless, it got the ball rolling. It rolled very, very slowly indeed, but what mattered was the simple fact that it was in some kind of motion. Eventually, it rolled far enough for me to get a friendly date out of it.

And here we are today.

*

Tucking away the piece of paper into the chest pocket of my grey polo, I thank her. She looks blankly into the empty space between her and myself for some seconds without a word, then asks,
“Who is it about, like, what was your inspiration for the piece?”

You, Cana, I wrote this about you… These are the images and stanzas that come to mind when I think about you. Of course, though, I don’t say this. I instead lie.

“The moon. I couldn’t sleep one night, so I drew open my curtains and simply stared at the moon for some time. Then I had a dream, too. The same night.”

Cana peers attentively at me without a word.
“So I brought out my pen and pad the next morning, and before I knew it, my hand began to waltz all over the paper.”

“How cliché,” she says in jest. “What was the dream? You saw this… she you’re talking about in it? Or?”

With my mouth slightly agape, I watch her eye contact trail away from me and latch onto the approaching waiter, who comes with another tall glass of red wine.

 

And So She Waits

I wait for him, long and desperately I wait for him.

The pleasantness of nostalgia is short-lived before the warm reminiscence deforms into a sinister longing. A painfully distant past which boasts in its bliss and inaccessibility.

The days are lengthy and hard. They accumulate and I carry them on my soul like luggage on my back, growing more and more burdensome as each day passes.

He has forgotten me, and all we shared; I am omitted from his memory and desires, cast away into a sea of forgetfulness the way a butterfly leaves the old after shedding its cocoon.

One will stay up and gaze vehemently at a beautiful star, and admire its glory but for one night, before neglecting it and admiring another the next night.

I am that once brilliant star who died out; whose light faded into bleak nothingness. No longer possessing importance or the slightest iota of significance to him.

His words once set alight to my heart, his smile brought hue to my gloomy existence, his touch, a remedy to my stricken soul. I remember the way in which his scent would waltz around my nasal whenever I had the satisfaction of being within his tender grip.

I remember the enchanting glare in his eyes and the mesmerising tone in his voice that day when he held me and told me I’d always be his, forever and always.

His words sunk so deeply into a clouded cavern embedded somewhere in the depths of my being, and filled a void which so longed to be filled. I clasped these words and fastened them to my heart. They were engraved profoundly in my mind.

 I offered myself so entirely to him, and he discarded me like a sweet wrapper after you’ve enjoyed the internal goodness.