‘They’ fed him sedatives to stave off mania yet the delusions continued unabated. Even now, in his cramped garret, by lone candlelight he sits perched on his unmade bed and worries. Worrying has come to be of second nature lately. A worrying born of a heart that had never contemplated a sleeve. Regardless, and in hope it would not cause more misgivings, he feels compelled to read the book the deranged mademoiselle of eventide had handed him in exchange for a plastic cup of hot chocolate, a croissant and a trivial kiss.
The Rough Guide to Life by authors unknown, edited at Constantine’s behest spoke of little that held any interest, little that failed to bore this isolated one, certainly nothing to confirm that any answer was ‘blowing in the wind’, no matter what the maestro himself had alluded to in song. Mild fascination as to the transformation of mortal to divine sparked a thought or two, thoughts swiftly dismissed as erratic, impossible even. Life, he concludes, is a simple thing when one can digest the obvious, the proven and leave upon a side plate the contrived.
The benevolent, yet hardly infallible Angels, would seek to trump one another to further their careers, after all they began their eternal quest as mere messengers twixt all things ethereal and terra firma, quite the drabbest of legends. As for ‘miracles’ he read, ‘stroke of luck’, nothing more.
Turning the last page, he groans, shakes his head, then, defacing the tome, pens the words, ‘We live; we die within the flawed universe of all things, that is all’, then places the book atop dust laden chronicles upon the highest, rarely visited shelf.
His attempts to settle down for the night thwarted as ever by the tedium of inconsequential train of thought. A mental note to self, ‘Must swap twilight and candles for an electric lamp’. Come morning he knows this plan, as with most others will be forgotten until the next time.
What had the crazed girl who had given him the book whispered in his ear? Yes, that was it, ‘Au moment où que vous arrivez à la fin, vous comprendrez qu’un orgasme records une épiphanie n’importe quel jour de la semaine’ roughly translated, ‘By the time you get to the end you’ll understand that an orgasm bests an epiphany any day of the week’ insofar as his dismal understanding of the French language could fathom. He wonders what that has to do with the price of eggs.
3AM, finally dropping off, he hears first the burning thump of footsteps on the rickety stairs, then the ‘life and death’ ceaseless fist pummelling upon his door. A nightshirt pulled over his head in haste, holds the door ajar just a little; fears for his being just a little also. Catches a glimpse of ‘book gift’ girl from before looking more akin to a soaked to the skin celestial treasure than Pigalle whore now.
‘You followed me? Waited outside in the pissing rain until you couldn’t wait any longer?’ She nods the affirmative nod, smiles a hesitant smile. ‘Suppose you better come in.’
He hands her his shameless soiled bath towel. Blasé, she undresses, wipes the rain away. Looks for somewhere to dry her wet clothes, the back of a tired wooden chair with arms is all there is. There is no impudence in her taking to his bed of her own accord. His introspective eyes glued to her all the way, he says not a word; a short lived reticence then squeezes in beside her. The bed is only really big enough for one. Under her breath, a low, deliciously accented voice murmurs a soft lullaby she has contrived in his mother tongue.
From the scorched ashes of a fire in the belly, no passion, no yearning, no first cause
His get up and go selfless lover, she dances for him yet requires not his applause
Counterfeit the presents she gifts him, counterfeit her claim of love, a love misplaced
To the click of her fingers he surrenders, then two bodies as one now interlaced
Come daybreak she was never there.