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The Eighth DayTo Andrew O'Donnell's next piece

An Evening with X

‘Sucking on a tap that never dries...’
-Robyn Hitchcock.

Last night was a disaster. She didn’t really think about it that much. That’s what she says, anyhow…

I am caught between gestures and so-called realities, ....realities that leave people crying over phone lines.

She is black in the orange ....and her eyes, ....before they close. Jet lag.

So... we’ll start at the beginning but we won’t go through the history either. There is really no history... not in the bar where we began. We meet in a different place... and the lamplight and the hunger... I eat half of a chicken sandwich and give up. She applies eye-drops because of the smoke... It’s funny... because she comes across as a tourist this time. She applies more tears and I fill the silences. It’s too early for silences... and too late for words, maybe...

I scan the windows and their reflections the pauses... We are in Shevron Café and she’s struck up a momentary liking for Red Wine. This stuff will put me to sleep... but I don’t let on. She knows everything anyway. She’s probably heard these stories before... these structures...

It’s a nice night though, outside.

I watch the reflection of the lampshade in the window, and the pink lamplight... And I imagine Jesus, in pink robes, strolling absent mindedly up the hill, to his crucifixion.

She doesn’t ask me what I’m thinking anymore. I’m glad, really... because now Jesus is whistling some tune in my head and I cannot talk because I’m trying to work out what the tune is... And I’ve never known how to answer that question, anyway...

“What are you thinking about?”
“Jesus going off to be crucified in pink robes, whistling a tune I can’t quite make out...”
“Oh ...Right!

“What are you thinking about?”
“Mmm... just the wine...”
“What about the wine?”
“I don’t know... the redness of it.”
“It's wine ...what do you expect?!”
“It’s just a thought... you don’t have to rationalize everything!”

We watch the people going by outside.

We discuss Japanese fashions. I mention something Rick told me about the clothes being a perfect statement of the aspirations of the younger generation... namely- the reason pink is such a popular colour is because, basically all Japanese girls want to return to a state of the utmost innocense... to their childhood. This theory doesn’t really work for the blokes however, I tell her... since you don’t see many guys walking round in blue woollen jumpsuits and sucking on dummies!

She says that if women want to return to their childhoods then they might be doing it to impress the men... I nod. It’s difficult to agree but she has a point. There does seem to be something sinisterly peodophilic about some Japanese guys.

We look out the window again.

I know I’m getting desperate. I start telling her about one of my students ...a guy who breeds cockroaches. She is yawning. I order some more wine, ‘...perhaps a subconscious need to fall asleep with her,’ I think. The waiter sets the glasses down. She takes a small sip from her glass. I light a cigarette and hold it under the lamplight, watching the smoke curl up towards the bulb. I run our conversation over in my mind and exhale violently through my nose in amusement. I shake my head and turn to look her in the eyes... almost coughing...

“The redness of it, eh??!” I say. She smiles back.
“Yeah... the redness!” she says, with an air of confrontation. I chuckle again and begin to turn back to the smoke. She watches me. We’re getting tired. After a long pause she asks, “Can you whistle?”
“No, I can’t,” I say, dejectedly.
“I’m sorry...” she says, if she has to apologise for something.
“It’s OK” I say.

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