It was a premature spring day, as author Don Passos said in a other book, and they had left the in without touching the breakfast, which was like anyway, with only the intense flavor of bitter marmalade to recommend it. They were out and about, with he directing the movement from one to another. The trees had leaves on them, but they had stopped, frozen in motion. It was not early, but not yet late – it was Saturday, and agreed deal of the British population was indoors reading and writing, or at least pretending to do so. London was in transition – it was no longer a capital city. London itself was a tourist destination for the rich – so most of that you saw were not from this part of London, or even from England. It was, pardon the expression, a eurotrash zone.
She began: “I noticed that you had gotten up early and then returned to bed, I hope it was not me that you were trying to get away from.” It is odd that you the course of a novel that to people, most especially a man and a woman, would burst in too song, and poor out there life history in a kind of verse. When in actuality, this happens only ever so often. In fact most people have one novel in the head, which is the lifetime of those moments. All of the rest of the time one, or both, people have what could be called a “stop”. Stop is where someone means to say something, but reminds themselves how it would sound to the other person. Usually the woman has an immense need to execute this, though to another one of her sex she will go on and on about going on and on about how something did not quite happen, which reminded her of the time that something else at some other time would go on and on. The men, for their part, would listen up in talking to other men – and wall they did not have as much to say, on average, they to questioned whether they should tell intimate details that they did from the world. It was private, and it would take intense prying to get them to admit it to anyone, most expressly a member of the opposite sex.
That was a no-no. So men seemed very tight lipped to women, which they were not as tight as they seemed. What this meant for the two of our intense actors, is they had a great deal to say – and the question was could they say it to each other. So far the signs were not good, but what is interesting is they still continued trying. So they both walked out of the park, and into the busy streets – though they both did not know the direction that they took – and looked at each other a great deal more than should have been. Normally two people who were not lovers would not have noticed each other, and two people who were would only glance occasionally at each other. But they were both in that stage where they would glance longingly, but not too long. It was that stage where they were feeling each other out. Thus there was no conversation – just drips and droughts that started a conversation – and then stopped, only to start up again when one of the two of them had a brilliant, or funny, or pseudo-profound, observation. She was adding up the Flesch total of the words that they said – realizing that this was a foreign concept to her. He was brooding and only made the least effort to answer her question without further aplomb.
There was no retort. At used not what she was used as a retort when she had conversations with her older brother.
So they wandered for an hour, and never achieved a conversation which she would report back on her side to one of her friends. This distressed her, more than quite a small amount – and she even thought about ending their relationship when they went back there separate ways. She also looked at him thinking him a kind of Kerouac moment, one that rambled on about nothing in particular – while the ever present was staring you in the face.
But then she looked at him, and realized he was so handsome – more than she could be allowed to hold, lead alone touch – and why was she being allowed this wain privilege. He knew, or she thought he did – that there was something about him. Her guess was that he was married – or something like it – and she was a plaything, to be said aside when their were more important things to be done. She wanted to say this, but could not, could not even dare to approach it. The feminine form of stopping was in full bloom. So she looked at his face, when it is fine European curves and a mixture of blonde and white hair – and wondered what the was thinking. Then she thought he was rather young to have white hair and tried to start a conversation on this fact, with that singsong voice that women used when they were being coquettish.
“You have so much white hair for someone your age.”
“My maternal grandmother was from the West coast of Ireland – and there is a history of them starting around 25.” He then realized that there was an opening there, that he should have stopped with Ireland – and not given her the information that the supplied, and that he would probably live to regret this. Probably very shortly. He was right, and she would prove it by drawn all of the trumps on the board without mercy, but with a twinkle in her eye.
“You did not tell me that your mother's mother was from Ireland.”
This was going to be – for him – painful, and he grimaced with the illusionary twinge that he felt coming. “Did I not? I am sorry if I was remiss about that. But then there are many facets of my life that I do not get into.” He one more tried to close things down, but it was not that easy because she was a tiger hunting prey. Quick of eye, and relentless of hearing she crept metaphorically on the hunt. He did not know what cause this vision; of Composition Number 11 by Piet Mondrian, slinking back in to the background, waiting for him to strike; it had to mean something though he did not know what it was. He only knew that it would stare at him with a blank verse; reciting all of the ways she was going to strike. It was as a cartoon face, grinning down at him. Die, you little tick-tock man.
“You have not told me enough about your family.”
“There is not much to tell.”
“I do not believe that, I lost both of my parents when I was in my teenage years.”
“And it was your much older brother who raised you.”
“It is good that something has gone through. I was worried that you were thinking about your job, or other things. That I am just here to amuse you.” That was the first time that emotions percolated up. Normally she had been an almost unutterable calm, perhaps she was going to finally speak what was on her mind. And then she finally uttered the real thing on her mind: “Do you care about me?”
It was not the question he would have asked her, and not because it was confident or competent – far from it – he just had a deep insecure feeling that she would leave. The hidden value in his personna, but the idea that he would ask another person if she would stay was utterly false to his nature, and nurture had not been anything but approving of this. He realized that his face had more than one psychogram on it, like the pool that is disturbed by a flower gently floating to the breath of the water. A patina of extraordinary strangeness, like a petal of petunia which had rocked ashore like the waves on a romantic ship that is sinking. He read somewhere that it is for its own sake, and not ours. But he knew not where. He remembered the Slave Ship by JMW Turner, but the event was earlier in the late 1700s: a captain through more than 100 slaves overboard, so that the insurance payments were collected. It was added of its time, looking ahead to the Impressionists, though the painting was actually exhibited in 1840. then he shook himself, and was back in the present – remembering ship in the gallery which it had hung in while it was on loan. Even to this day he remembered the slight tilt which it was bracketed to, and remembering that he had gone to the docent and complained. Of course it had done nothing at all.
Just as he knew that there was no good reply to her question, whether yes, or no. but there was a trick to be pulled, because what most people do not understand is there is a third response: and that was to say it was undecided – we do not teach Gödel in either primary or secondary school, and the name does not mean anything except in a few universities. Yet this was known in the distant past: in 1931. Even though it was grasped from the game of chess: there was a win, a loss, or a draw. Though most literature talked about wins and losses, the draw is as important as these other results. And when one looked, one found the draw in almost any place. He just needed a draw in this particular context: anyway of slipping out side of the normal conversation, and defeating her attempts to regain the conversation. But how? It was not an easy question. The Romantics would not have known, because they wanted either wins or losses, as the situation required. It was the modern player – which was not the contemporary player – which understood the lesson and value of the position he was in. so he improvised, opening that what was logical would also reach a stalemate.
The leaves were opening, but this did not help him at all: because waiting for Godot would be interpreted as a loss, somehow. If he said nothing it was a loss, if he said something she would turn it against him. He thought, rather calmly, that Samuel Beckett would have known what to do. Then he realized that, yes, Samuel Beckett would know what to do – and it made many kinds of sense, where as a win or a loss would either place her at a disadvantage. Either their was only one choice, or their were several – all of which were bad. The key was that there were several choices, and no way to evaluate them. Thus a win or a loss would be known to all, what he needed was for all players to agree that there was no agreement, and agree on this – rather than fight about this. So he needed to pacify the conversation, not extract more information from it.
“Why would you think that, I have plenty of people in my life who crack jokes or make lewd observations, what I truly want is you.” The woman was confused, but in a good kind of way. She was assured that he really loved her, even if he did not know it. And that was enough for her, at the moment. Though he knew she would want more than that in due course, and he should be thinking about that – even if it was a long way away. At that point would something that was in plein air.
But for now he knew that with her arm clasping his, with a gate which was not uniform but in equilibrium, with all the signs that made sure. He thought of The Cantos by Ezra Pound, how often they were bought rather than being read. That was the opposite of her: she was his and only his, and he would read every sentence that she possessed.