For a few months more the neighborhood was a mix of locals and tourists. I had nothing going on. I let the hot water run over me for inspiration, leaving Annie in the other room to cry.
I am not being cruel but I won't bother asking "What is wrong?"
Either it will be the same old thing or she will be in the mood to play the game where she sees how long it takes me to coax it out of her.
Whichever, I did not have the stomach for it tonight.
Motion for its own sake, I will go out giving no regards to whisky temptation, at least not initially. She is lying on the bed, lights out, facing the window. I quietly let myself out.
I stop to have a drink. There is a drizzle, it makes the red awning of the cafe appear almost luminescent. The sidewalk too, someone's jewelry box spilled full open, the glittering pavement pulling even un-bashful eyes momentarily down.
I order my drink and begin to doodle on my paper placemat. A table near me is now taken by a group of girls verging on womanhood, dressed for an unaccompanied night out.
They talk loudly amongst themselves in case no one had initially noticed them. They put their heads together over the table to decide whose turn it will be to test their bourgeoning powers of femininity. The street is busy only in spurts, so during one of the lulls they turn their attention to me.
Had their eyes possessed a mercenary look, I would have perhaps found it a few years premature but not surprising in the way I found the look of cruelty.
I pay my bill and leave my art, the laughter of the girls trailing behind me.
I decide to head by Knoph's to see if anyone was working. The smell of the wood shavings sometimes was a minor comfort too. It would not hurt either to put in some face time in case I needed to pick up some extra work in the lean months.
The street was mostly residential. There was Knoph's, who they tolerated because all the hammering and sawing was muffled by the thick walls and did not echo in the courtyard.
Aside from that, there was a small cafe that seemed depressed by the weather, now unwilling to offer comfort to anybody.
Knoph's was still. I looked in the window. The drizzle was not that bad, in a few months it got worse. I gave one last look in case someone was making coffee in the back. In some ways a few months from now seemed so abstract.
I hated the rainy season. There was a chair in the back of the store they would pile everybody's coats on. Seen peripherally something in the shape of a person would grow underneath, quickly turn to get a better look and it always changed back again.
I kept walking.
I ended up in the bar with no name, the same as that song, having drinks with our lady of sorrow.
Although the whole city was her domain, I only ever saw her here. If she liked you and was feeling simpatico, she would talk. All variations on the same hard luck story. In an attempt to change my own luck, I bought her drinks too.
Finally, I will head home. Stepping outside, the rain has picked up. The twinkling lights of the building behind the taxi stands as seen through the beaded curtain of rain looks like an exploded dream.
I get home, Annie is gone but there is evidence of her, in the crumpled sheets, the towel now hanging over the shower.
I undress and lay down. I do not even have to deeply inhale to call her ghost forth.
Heat does not have a scent. It is only what it destroys that creates the perfume. The robe I put on when I get up to get some water also has her scent.
She should not have worried. The rain saves everything from burning by drowning it all.
(Image above: "Dim Sum for One" (ink& paper) by Wayne Wolfson)
FICTION & POETRY ARCHIVE
- Heavier Than Heaven
- It's Kirk Lake Week at Outsideleft
- Mad Dogs and British Columbians: The Fall and Frog Eyes
- Speed of Thought: A Chat with Speed Levitch
- The Only Game of the Year: Angry Birds
- The High Priest : Chapter and Peverse (2 of 3)
- everything depends upon how near you stand to me...
- Queens of the Underground - The Rolling Stones
- Happy Shopper #26: Girl Talk