Cap de Creus III

Cap de Creus III, AJW

I drank the beer and looked at the food and thought about my machine up in the room and I waited and thought how I had to find my wife and son and apologise and how one day this body would be ash, and one day my wife and son would be ash, all their thoughts and love ash, all the patterns ash, and there would be no me thinking this, how do I know this time now in any way dies and does not last forever and always has done, and so anything must be a thing to know, and it was not fun to stand up. The future is a rumour, the trader said, and the families go through to the terrace or the pool or out on to the street to watch the procession. I promised to buy my son that toy and I will do that and I will read him the story again tonight and my son will rest his legs on my legs when I read the story and we drink and eat and I feel sick and die and the families go through to the pool or out of the gate and into the streets and among the big head procession. A bird of prey with ash in its eyes will come down to the sky and kill a parakeet and I promised to keep the tile I cut from the pool so we could play this game every summer for the rest of our lives and he held the tile in his hand and promised too and I will keep the tile in my washbag with my razor and soap because a tile like that, no bigger than my thumbnail, a mosaic tile, or a moment, or a stamp for a card we never sent, is a thing to lose, a thing to be lost. The hotel has citrus trees on its terrace and you can smell their leaves but they have no blossom and they have no fruit and they have no sense of humour and they have no story, and they are the names of things, not verbal, and they will be ash, and I look at the plates and listen to Fatima draining a glass and the people have laid out the giant heads and costumes for the procession, and all the tableclothed tables have been lined up on the street like battleships, and all the lightbulbs are in the trees. My wife’s hair was different and our boy was holding her hand and he was wearing his shirt and holding the dragon I bought him. The tile falling between two blues and the boy jumping in, is all I know in cloud and air, the boy and the pressure, eyes tight, clawing blue, eyes fast, and the firings in our brain and the tile between fingers and the tile in air and then the tile in the water and the boy falling between blues, clawing a darkening blue, lightweight, unsoundable, counting one, counting two, and he is not here, the boy, and the pressure of his world is not here either, and lamps wink in mist through the foul, so there is land, and we are moving and the lamps are showing me, here in the foam and the scurf, in the bindweed and the campion and the holly, and I am not there then, when I imagined the trader riding a camel across the city and running into the palace, throwing a sabre at the hens and goats and stalls of onions and tomatoes, and me laughing in the daydream. The morning is full of action and rabble and hormones and thirst and pissing and the blue of darkness when the music stops and I do not want to think about my son or my wife and I do not want to see my son diving between two blues for the tile I knifed off the side of the pool or how I meant to find it. Jupiter and Venus in the dusk and he was there then, diving between blues, close enough for me to go to him, to pick him up, and smell his skin and hair, knowing I was there and we cannot break, cannot be broken, and but he is not here now and the boy then is ash and the boy me is ash. And in front of us the sea is fish scales and a surface has its own life, a world beyond a mirror when you are under, broken by water and lit by moons. My son is diving into the pool in the heat of a morning looking for the tile I have thrown, a child in a mosaic. My child son is perfect and old and the stars in his blood are amazing, moving and still, and his mother, my wife, has eaten some grapefruit and drunk half her coffee and she has not eaten her bread and tomatoes and she is going to wash her hair. My son looks at heat on water and palm-print waves and maybe there is a smell of fire from over a border, and maybe the chambers of the sea and the heart are dust and old and perfect, and maybe I do not know how to stop my own heart. Distortions of music on the harbour and the turning over of the underwater brass and the tile in the pool falling between two blues and the boy jumping in through smoke, this is what I see now and this is all I have known in this body of cloud and air, counting one and one and one, and the candles over there and now here, and their flame which always changes and is always the same and is always dust, and the boy and the pressure of a world, eyes tight, clawing a darkening blue, eyes fast, mine too, and the firings in his synapses and soul, a shout you hear from the sea, and birds of prey are their own neutral gods, beauty in ignorance, beyond movement. The morning then and now is already on the terracotta tiles and the parakeets are already too much in the palms. And Fatima is racking the optics and clothing the tables and there will be fried eggs and coffee and dust and Fatima is talking to a child at the bar. My son is here looking at me from the side of the pool, ready to go from the always final moment, about to leave. We are here and I see what he sees. He sees enough of us in a moment, enough of us here, and he is not here now and I am not there then.

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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