I’m writing about windows and reading about hallucinations. Are you sure that’s a good book for you? he says. It’s evening and pitch black and cold. I’ve drawn the curtains and thought very hard about tea. But it loses out to another finger of whisky. On the computer screen his face is fuzzy and about a half second behind his voice. There’s some sort of feedback, a mouse-like chirping that crops up every four or five minutes.
That’s not on my end, he insists.
It’s not on my end either. It’s some kind of internet creation. We talk around it and sometimes smile when it interrupts us.
On the street I wait for C in front of a hobby shop. In the window there’s a little ferris wheel, a cheap little plastic train that goes around and around and through a tunnel, disappearing and reappearing in six seconds exactly. I stand and count because C is late and I like model trains. I like anything smaller. I don’t particularly like full-sized ferris wheels but this tiny one is somehow endearing. It does not spin.
The bar is mostly empty, strange for a Saturday night. They have mulled cider with rum and although I don’t particularly like cider or rum, I order two glasses and drink them far more quickly than my companion. We sit in a big alcove with a mirror that takes up one side of the wall.
Some people just can’t handle that sort of change, C says at one point. She plays with her ginger cookie but doesn’t eat it.
So what am I supposed to do? I ask her.
Well, I don’t know, she says. You just decide what you want to do, and then you do it.
This is actually good advice, although at first glance it sounds supremely unuseful. She elaborates, of course, but I get stuck on this while I finish my cider and then wait until she finishes hers.
I’ll walk halfway with you, she says. She knows I hate the bus.
Two months gone. I buy a plane ticket to California. I miss the sun. I miss a proper, overlarge shower with normal water pressure. Some novelty wears off but this novelty is replaced by new novelty. Like: the novelty of always being able to layer. No amount of clothes is too much.
The novelty of thick socks. Socks with horses on them. Socks with cats and balls of yarn.
The novelty of a dark, quiet morning.
The novelty of missing. The novelty of being missed.
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