this is how i spent my last day as flawnt: slept in (courtesy: ms flawnt). read facebook (knowing it was my last day: sweet!) coffee. hugs. lots of em. literary love. responded to the love. here and elsewhere. reminder: why am i killing myself? oh, yes, right. biked downtown for pasta. rejected several flash ideas while i queued and watched people jump the queue: they had that fierce mulish expression everyone gets when they know that they are in the wrong and that others noticed it. picked up little treasure. ice cream! shop girl was actually called Chloé: talking to her made me feel 19th century. came home. more coffee. found the off switch. finger lingers. freedom beckons. cool grave calls. how i love to play.
… perhaps his attitude wasn’t the issue. Perhaps it was his father’s beard, his father’s face, or his mother’s hand on his face. James’ parents had disappeared during a flood. It was a memorable scene, fixed in his memory anyway: how his father, then a young strapper, passed baby James to his wife, who passed it to her sister Agatha one moment before a giant wave took the couple out to sea, never to be seen again. A painless, sightless, still bowing out of one’s loved ones if there was one. Nothing but this scene had ever been imparted to him by his uncle and aunt, and it weighed heavily on his chest like an entire ocean …
They tore themselves away and, sighing soundlessly, each in his corner, got dressed, eyeing each other shyly. Nicholas thought Maggie Monahan was the most beautiful creature he’d ever seen. Men can be simple that way if they want to, usually to an honourable end. Maggie thought Nicholas could need some trimming around the beltline and that he was a nice man with potential to be a lot more than a nice man, a treasure hunter, a mysterious, hairy gollywoggle. She had enjoyed the sex, too, more so than she had in a long time, maybe ever, but such memories are like autumn leaves: they rot where they fall, they cannot and should not be preserved. They must fuse with the forest floor, they must return themselves, by their own free will, supported only by the gentle gravitational force, to the great circle of coming and going, of giving and getting.
Hestia saw herself as the keeper of the flame, the calm center of the household, the place to which the man, the hunter, could return when the elements in general, and his drive in particular, were beginning to overpower him. She viewed man as the crown of creation and herself as a willing helper and bearer of children, a heroine more like Goethe’s Lotte than Austen’s Lizzy or Emma. She moved on, past the historic magical mirror and, walking upstairs instead of taking the elevator, felt her barrenness constrict her like a tight, unadorned belt. She dreaded the emptiness of her appartement, and she wished she could stay home instead and await the arrival of her prince, no, her king, ready to bring him his slippers, take him by the hand, lead him to a set table and receive, in return, the praise and the adoration befitting a goddess of the hearth.
Two writers sat down for a meal, carefully avoiding any talk of their art. They shared stories of their wives and children, of cars to let loose on the fast lane, of tech gadgets to play with as only boys play, exploring all keys and functions. They mentioned their fathers in passing and how similar they had become to them. They had a laugh, and when the pretty waitress with the blond hair bun and the wide swinging hips appeared at their table, they flirted a little in tandem, kicking gallantries back and forth until the maiden culled one and appointed a winner of their innocent game, which made their three hearts beat faster for a bit and the food that showed up on their table the better. All the while, as they were enjoying a full glass of friendship, they were secretly spinning yarns like giddy spiders. When they parted, with a manly handshake and a hug for the road, each had a good tale to tell.