“You don’t know how much I....”
Her getting into the driver’s seat. No problem. Handed her his keys, getting in next to her. Some time both putting on their seat-belts, like an intermission between Bach and Barber, not asking her if she knew how to drive his kind of Chevy, not asking her about her car and how she was going to pick it up, how....when...not asking her about her husband at home, turning it on, Park, Reverse, Drive....as if she’d been driving it for a thousand years.....
Sidestreeting it, into Somerville’s plushest areas, the Nineteenth/ Late Eighteenth Century whispering from the houses through the trees and gardens, DuPontish, Rockerfellerish, “We will always be here, the rest of the world may be tectonic deplated, burned away by sun-blasts, atomic attacks, but we are here to forever stay, like the Great Wall of China, Mount Sinai, Tiawanaku, ici, ici, ici....”
He wanted to say something about how impressed/surprised he was at her agility at the wheel, but said nothing, turned on the radio, a CD of Samuel Barber’s concerto for violin, THE most calming, caressing, sanity-creating music ever written, although thinking that Barber should have made it the third instead of the first movement so that that the concert-goers would walk out of the theater
buddhified instead of massacred by Movement #3.
And then they were there. Brownstone. Three storied. Peaked, peaked, peaked, maybe about 1875, right around there, a gigantic front porch, another back porch, and the whole place surrounded by oaks and lilacs and a primitive natural rock walk leading up to the front door.
Her getting out and walking up the stairs. She wasn’t young but her legs said “Eighteen!” even if the heels were a bit on the 50’s overdone stage, like contemporary sorority puta-party times.
Standing at the top of the stairway looking hungry-dogishly impatiently down at him. Clearly messaged: “So are you coming up or not?”
“So you want me to....?
Thinking he ought to get a cab and go back and get her car, have the cab follow him, and then off into/back into his own Zzzzzzzzz-world. No word from her, just a COME ON! gesture....black gloves, pianist’s, harpist’s hands.
So he came up, she buzzed open the door with a little buzzer she had in her what-looked-live-vulture-feathered purse, and in they went, him expecting her husband to be waiting there with a rifle, that was the plot, wasn’t it, the Marquesa de Sade following through on her inner needs.
Couldn’t believe the living room he walked into. Over the obviously never-used-for-a-couple-of-centuries fireplaces, a huge mountains-in-the-background, forests-in-the-foreground painting, all kinds of other paintings all over the walls.
Styles, ways-of-being/-becoming that he recognized, names starting to dice-throw around in his brain, his whole childhood, after all, spent soaking in The Arts, his frustrated ballerina-singer mother, his frustrated violinist-composer father living out their frustrations by turning their only son into the culturally historionized artiste that they (M.D. father, secretary mother) had never become.
“Over here!” she said, pointing to the plush leather sofa in front of the fireplace, her sitting down in an obviously eighteenth century English oak chair that was screaming to be placed in the Chicago Art Institute furniture museum, “I’ll be giving you some Greco di Tufo in a moment, but first I want to ....without tears....confess to you that Angelo is morto, morto, morto....you know, the usual, prostate cancer, esophageal cancer, heart-rupture.....and my daughter Angela out in the Dakotas, went over a cliff skiing in the winter, right down on top of her head, a couple of thousand feet. Instant death. All I’ve got left is Goosebumps Jerry in Somerville, Mass, and he’s talking about moving out to the Cape. I only see him once a year, if that, Mr. Ingrown Toenail Introvert...you’re all I’ve got, really.....”
“So now it’s sex time?” he mockingly smiled, getting up and walking toward the bedroom.
Her getting up, going over to the fireplace and getting a little brass ash-
shovel that had obviously never been (another Anglo-antique) used even once, brandishing it over his head, him grabbing it and delicately putting it back on the brass hook where it belonged, going toward the door.
“I’m not going to wait around until you do. I’m castrated for prostate cancer. And it seems to be working viz a viz cancer, but sex.....? Sometimes I’ll see some little girl’s or old lady’s legs–like yours!–and a cloud of sexuality will blow over me, but my dingy-wingy is about the size of a week-old carrot...”
“Vulgar! My sexuality. It’s like an erased blackboard that had been filled with algebra kill-alls, logarithms, The Book of Genesis inked on ox-skin....”
“OK, so how much is in it in for me? You want me to move in or you want to move in with me?”
“I don’t even think about crass cash or crash cashouts.....I mainly want to just use the few moments I have left before cremation to be The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady.....”
“One of my favorite films too....”
“We both like the same grass and hills and boats and mansions, egrets, crows, river banks, a little wine, some nice sedatives, sleep, hoping this is the last night, and when it isn’t it’s anti-cholesterol oatmeal time and mega-cafe coffee....so.....”
Going over to the huge cabinet next to the fireplace, taking out a tall, thin bottle of...he didn’t know or care, damn his almost-ulcer...sitting down and accepting a great big glass of (thinking of Napoleon being slowly poisoned with arsenic) WHO CARES wine.
“So where is this going?” he asked after his first delicious slurp.
Her not answering, just sitting on the sofa next to him, bending her head down, closing her eyes, a little slurp to match his, and then silence, clicking a little controller of some kind that he’d never seen the likes of before, and the room filled with soft, distant piano music. It was Lili Boulanger, wasn’t it, the title not coming to him, his head filling with all sorts of titles, “Gaspard de la Nuit” “La Fille Avec Les Chevaux de Lin,” “Menuet Antique...,” Der Mond, Der Mond, Der Mond....damned aging brain....buddhifying it, cancel it out, fill the world with a wire-statue of the Great Goddess, then Nothingness, that was all he wanted, wasn’t it.....Glo’s kind of high-as-a-blade-of-grass highness, her highness, your highness, a condensed, tearful (Nadie dead at age 24) for—how long? NOW.
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Enjoy, and Viva La Toucan
Laura, Toucan Editrice
Enjoy, and Viva La Toucan
Laura, Toucan Editrice