Cap de Creus I

Cap de Creus I, AJW

The tile in the pool falling between two blues and the boy jumping is what I see now and it’s all I have known in this dreadful body of cloud and air, counting one and one and the candles over there and now here. The boy and the pressure of a world, eyes tight, clawing blue, eyes fast, mine too, and the firings in our brain. The tile between my fingers in air and then in water and the boy between air and water and then and now in no time clawing lightweight gravity. Fingerprints on cement where the tile used to be and paintings in caves and mason signatures in churches and freezing frames and the wave on wave and the hotel bar opening for breakfast and the friction of chair-legs on terracotta and parakeets in trees and frying eggs and seafood and coffee. And the tile I cut from the pool with the penknife, the tile no bigger than his eye, is what I see now. But he is not here now and the bar is not opening for breakfast and the chairs do not grind on terracotta now. My son is not in the here now of noise. Because then-now and now-then are noise-light and one and two and gales in forever but I feel the hotel bar opening and I hear a conversation then and now. I feel a back and forth with the past, with a position in a conversation, as if time has lubrication and is a back and forth with something here when you see it and there when you do not, as if I am in a place and I am not in a place and we are both there and not there and we are both now and then and the jasmine flowers swim in their guttering in the hotel garden. But I see the tile falling between blues and between candles. The numbering dance. The here and the there and the lighting voices between blues. But my boy is not here now in the light between lights. The tile is falling between blues and he is not here now but I see him now, my son on his seventh birthday under a light made ready hours ago on swimming water, on swimming light out there by the hotel garden and that sun was us before, undivided as we learned to crawl, the merry seasick few. This is before the giants came out and before the flutes came out and before the flutes came out and rasped in anger and before the street when the carnival came out. The sun is ready before their flags and the castles made of humans in the bombsites. And then we hear the words to be used and none of the words to not be used, falling between two blues and between the here and the not here. The smell of lemon trees and chlorine and the bar and my son falling between the salt and the accounts, the ins and the outs, the soured and the sweetened, the day after the dusk beach wave draining back from the stones on the shore where we burrowed and borrowed from the dusk and the day. The hangover bells from the chapel behind the hotel in my head, the then in the now in their sound, falling between the salt and the numbers and the headache over my shoulder, divided by time, ruled in the centre by time, and the acid of waves burning in the roads they built on my face. I cut the tile from the pool and threw the tile in the water for him to dive to collect to bring to me for me to throw for him to collect again, to get and to give, to find and to lose, rhymingbetween. And then he is not here as he was there then and I go there. I go to is and not but. Because time is and not but. And I go there from now and I go where my skin has a blossom, if that is my skin in the mirrors here I do not understand. Falling between blues, the voices of light, the ground under the water under my feet mouthed in by fathomlessness and what we are touching with our skin and how we lose what we have touched. On our birthday in the hotel, my son’s and mine, after I showered and put on a shirt and trousers and shoes and went down to the bar dressed in white, away from some future, down to the rough smell of yesterday’s lunch and the smoking of today’s, the cabbage and potatoes and the beans in pimenton and the rice and the fennel and the asparagus. And imagine, I told my son, as we sat in the bar on the morning of our birthdays and we looked out at the pool of our day, both of us dressed in white, predicting a day ahead and playing invisible pianos on the arms of the chairs on the terrace, the day falling between two blues, him in his shorts and sun-cap, barefoot, looking over his shoulder, and I placed a hand on his shoulder and he was there then. Time is and, not but. Remember I love you, I told my son that morning, on the days of our birthdays by the swimming pool, I think now, and he listened to me but looked over his shoulder into the future day and that became what I think now is a memory. Because I never said to my son remember I love you, I could never have said that and so I never did, the ruler of time ruling some world in and some world out between the blues on the festival day and before I held the tile I cut from its concrete, the tile I threw into the pool before the day, an offering, a confession, the voices come out because we touch the past now terrified of what stories tell us. I do not want to think about hearts leaking into sand and all the windows on the lanes by the fort in the town shuttered for August gales and the bay blowing brackish as the port shivered and my wife folds her hair behind her ears, sniffing, and takes our boy’s hand. The storm came and we were lying too about the then and the now and time and death and love and the smell of chlorine and coffee on the terrace, telling ourselves we were not lying about lying about love and death and memory and time. After the fort I went back to the hotel and cut another tile from the pool and I sank the tile in my pocket and saw my boy jumping into water. Between two blues. Two sparks. Failing. There then but not here now and then he is here now, spouting water from his mouth, not divided like a cell like a boy in a fountain caught between blues, caught in here. And but not but, is but not is not, one him divided on the line between a then and a now, between a yes and a no, between the hive of his lungs and the honeycomb of his time, between the words we used and did not use, and remember I love you. But nothing is something to remember too, a thing too. Nothing is and not but, and I drank and ordered another drink and my wife drank vermouth and gin and lemon and bitters. The boy might play Caribbean Kalooki with the old waiter until it was time to go to bed. There were parakeets coating the terrace with shit and my machine was under the deckchair. I did not look at my machine then and I knew my boy would be okay for a minute or so.

About Adam Wilshaw

AJW is an experienced news reporter and teacher of English. In 2023 he finished a collection of short stories and started work on a novel.

AJW is an experienced news reporter and teacher of English. In 2023 he finished a collection of short stories and started work on a novel.

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