Monday, 24 September 2012

Further and Further Away (excerpt)

He was now pretending to be engrossed by something in the distance, the surfers or the waves or some damn things but this was an act. He was conscious of Lucia watching him and then she was talking to him but he pretended not to hear. Except now it must have been obvious to everyone and an awkward scene seemed imminent. Lucia talking to him and he was answering, trying to think of a reasonable sounding response, he couldn´t think. He murmured something and grinned wrly and then almost forced a sardonic chuckle, managed to stop himself. Barely able to breathe and almost trembling he was so angry, this was incredible. Her friends were sitting close to him, trying to talk to him, that was the thing when you were annoyed, people tried to stand near you or talk to you. It was as if they were oblivious to your state of annoyance or worse, there was some kind of conspiracy occurring whereby the aim was to make you more annoyed. A kind of Schadenfreude whereby the irked person was wound up as much as possible for the amusement of the others. Here was someone asking how to pronounce a particular word in English, here was someone displaying a viral Youtube video on her phone. He spoke words but he was hearing himself speak the words, he barely understood the words. Lucia was smiling, seemingly amused by his weariness. And then he was standing up, actually getting up, and Lucia and the others were watching him, he was conscious that they must be watching him. So now he had to say something or risk creating some sort of goddamn scene, he wanted to avoid any kind of a goddamn scene. He murmured something about going to get a beer and began walking towards the beachfront bar but kept walking, he was actually walking past it now, well this was a curious turn of events. He wondered where he was going. He had absconded. That seemed to be the way of things. A curious turn of events for sure. He was moving farther and farther away. He broke into a jog. One´s health and fitness levels had to be taken into consideration, these had been neglected of late. Now was the time to remedy it. He was breathing heavily through his nostrils and then slowing down and then he paused with his hands on his thighs, just above his knees. Should he turn back? He tried to think, was he upset? He supposed he must be. This was not the behaviour of a satisfied individual, no, he was definitely dissatisfied with the situation. But to abscond, was this a reasonable thing to do? Was he being unreasonable? Reason didn´t come into it; he was upset. Upset people were justified in behaving without regard to reason. To an extent, anyway. To what extent? A surge of resolve was required, he had to get farther away from here or else go back or else remain inert. His thoughts ceased, the mind completely blank. Incredible. It seemed as if he had three simple enough choices. But the interminable nuances of these choices exhausted him. Even being inert, just standing here was completely fucking draining. Pedestrians walked past, he felt as if they regarded him as some unworthy, feckless dreg of a man. This is certainly how we regarded himself at the current juncture. He passed a guy standing outside a shop with a dog, a pug, a perturbed looking wee thing! He wanted to sweep it up in his arms and reassure it, poor wee thing. It was her gleaming grin she had flashed him, it was haunting him, such things tended to haunt him. And yet everything was ok.
Sometimes one encountered a vertiginous feeling.
That poor wee dog had been so perturbed! And he could sympathise. The horror: men felt it, dogs felt it. If only he could have summoned the courage and resolve to sweep the wee doggie up in his arms and run off with it, if only he could muster the courage and resolve to do anything. It was the way she had smiled, a gleaming grin. Such things are liable to haunt waking bodies. He could hear some construction in the distance, it sounded like ominous music. Quickly, walking quickly, too quickly.
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