Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A Thousand Days Like Sunday (4)




I can hear the grass growing.

Almost.

It's slowly getting on top of the tinnitus like background hiss in my head, a residue of the rage and fury of the week just passed. I only notice this sound when I'm out here, up on my hill with just the crickets and the wind for aural accompaniment........... It's blissful purity as long as I don't do anything other than look at the deep blue sky above me. I don't want to see hedgerows or houses or trees, anything with physical form, not right now anyway. Only me, the ozone and the odd wisp of cloud meandering lazily past my line of vision. I shift myself drowsily backwards in time by about five days and remember the vile scenes in the pub on Tuesday night..........................

We were in some flash dump of a style bar near closing time, one of those joints with the comfy sofas and faux fireplaces that can't quite hide the fact that it was an evil rip-off wank hole owned by the sort of people you would cross a six lane motorway to avoid. One of the guys in the group, someone I barely knew, possibly a friend of a friend took it upon himself to drunkenly flirt with a couple very attractive young ladies sitting at a nearby table. I say flirt but what I really mean is slobber, letch and leer. I'm sure in his mind he was some kind of Clooney/Cassanova hybrid. He didn't have much time to ponder the comparison though and within five minutes of him propositioning the obviously bemused and slightly repulsed women, he was on the floor having his face hoofed in by three black clad Yule Bryner doppelgangers. I sat and watched it all unfold and felt somehow like I'd missed several lectures on 'the way of things' and wanted desperately not to be there.

.............And then I wasn't.

Here's a thing. The pollen some people frequently complain about and the resulting hay fever it brings on, well it's never bothered me. I can snort it in and blow it out all day long. I always feel a bit bad when I call on someone I know who suffers from this horrible affliction and ask them if they fancy coming out on a walk on a warm late-summer day like this. I only want their company but I'm sure they think I'm a total bastard. Like most of my mistakes, it's not carried out with malice, just a general lack of thought. It's that kind of day though, the landscape wobbling and vibrating ever so gently in the mid morning heat haze as I climbed the hill to my favoured spot.
I turn over on my front and rest my head on it's side on the grass. It's still a little cool and as such it's fairly pleasant to lie there, closing one eye and then the other alternately, changing the perspective as I watch two tractors below, ploughing their furrows and slowly working their way towards each other in the middle of the field.



Vision blurs and the noise returns.........

The subway train burst into the station in a brief storm of light and echoing abrasive clatter. The gusts of stale subterranean air being pushed through the tunnel in front of the tube train blew my paper in on itself and forced me to give up on any hope of re-organising it any time soon. The carriage was sparsely populated and dimly lit, a faint urine smell wafting under my nostrils as I took a seat near an elderly woman. It seemed like the constipated look on her face was probably a permanent fixture, but I doubted the ever increasing stench permeating the caboose was helping matters. At the end of the carriage lay the slumped figure of a middle aged man, passed out drunk with a Special Brew can clutched in his left hand. A puddle of piss that had formed at his feet was running down the grooves on the carriage floor towards the rest of us. At first I hoped it was spilt beer but a glance at the dark stains on his ill fitting cheap blue denims told me otherwise. That and the smell..................
I needed out before I puked, but the other carriage was no option either. A group of aggressive looking teenagers in offensively coloured shirts were busy using it as an impromptu play-room ahead of a night on the town, a night they would doubtless spend trying to get into pubs and nightclubs with very little success. I needed that even less. I thought of Karen, waiting in the freezing cold outside the subway. I was already late and she had sounded distinctly offhand when I'd phoned her as I made my way out of the office. I felt sure that if I got off at the next stop and waited on another train she'd be long gone, but I was in need of fresh air more than sane human company at that moment in time.



Two minutes later I was on the platform watching the red glow of the trains tail lights disappear around a bend in the tunnel. I pulled out the crumpled paper from under my arm and set about putting it back in order. It was going in the bin anyway but I needed something to keep me occupied until my new carriage arrived..............





Things come back into focus again and I'm three hundred feet in the air instead of forty feet under ground. Thank Christ! The two tractors are now parked either side of each other in the centre of the distant field. I imagine the two drivers admiring each others work and maybe having a crafty fag or two before setting off back to the farm. It looks like a private steading, maybe they're brothers, maybe father and son, maybe husband & wife. Who cares? looks like fun from here anyway.



I'm sitting up for a while now, observing the crows circling the fields to the south. It's an insane avian choreography, rising and falling and circling continuously against the green and gold and brown of the patchwork landscape. They land for a while and then start over again, their coarse croaking caws only a faint disturbance at that distance. I pray the fuckers don't decide to come and roost up here. I also pray that time stops and the sun halts in the middle of the sky. It's not a big ask, is it?





Tomorrow all this will be washed away. No longer the minor deity observing his kingdom from on high. It won't exist. All memory of it will be submerged in the motor-hum of the city, the flash of glass and steel, the chatter of voices and the squeal of brakes.





And the buzzing in my ears that never quite went away will return to sing me to sleep at night again.

5 comments:

rb said...

this is nice :)

SzélsőFa said...

Oh, my, I have not even read part 3.
Sorry I have no time, but will do it anyway, later on.

Billy said...

I'm enjoying these. Are they going to be a regular thing?

SzélsőFa said...

I enjoyed the contrast between the relaxed mode on the beach/meadow/pier and the filthiness within town. Go, IllMan!

ill man said...

rb - Cheers!

Billy - I think so. Plenty of ideas floating about just now.

Szelso Fa - Thankyou. I think I got the effect I wanted....