Since the early nineties I’ve been thinking, researching, making notes that explore the hidden version of my background, that my mother was Italian. At least five escapades are in progress. Not all will attain completion. Not all will undress themselves. Or be disrobed.
what we look for in a narrative is drama, not a scenic effect.
(A:) stretched behind, nothing new about that
Seated at the village fountain. Two men and a woman approached. I could hear the female voice talking before I saw her mouth moving. One of the young men, the darker of the two, made me feel uncomfortable. It was a slow awakening, a snake against the wall.
There must have been a death. That thought was fleeting. My mother was with me, she sat close at hand, she had tried to calm the mood. I had never been there before, and I did not know strangers were often held up to ridicule.
All this happened without me. I was without guilt.
This time the waiter had to prise my two fingers from the handle. I was shaking the cup like a bell in the saucer. “Take it away,” I insisted.
“You have to let go first,” he repeated.
I was seated farther away this time, on a bench against a wall, watching the woman. “He is very fond of his mistress,” I could hear, another repetition. “She is very attractive.”
I didn’t doubt his opinion, or his view. I could have stayed on the other side of that window all afternoon, the heat was unbearable. I was able to.
Eventually she rose and walked away, her hips swaying. It was happening as I had seen it in films from the past. There was a smear of red across her face, the sun distorted her mouth. It was open. Almost. I felt the insinuating tone as she asked me, standing before me:
“Shall it be this side or do you want to show me where?”
All I could see was myself with my beginnings. Again there was no one like that to warn me. Much later I had taken the ring off her finger. It was not good gold. It vanished when I tried to rub it. We were both getting angry at the thought that there might well be a contradiction at play.
“Am I to show my legs?” she asked. She pushed me in the chest and told me to follow her. “Come on, keep up.”
There was a room, another room. There was no door to the building. It was higher, taller than any I had seen before in this place. I knew that she wanted me to enter, but I stayed outside.
She handed me an ultimatum. I was to consider her offer before she hit me on the head. “Like this,” she said, as she stared straight in my eyes and brought the answer down with a whack.
My response was to try and make her calm down. It took a while. She had a distorted, somewhat ugly look on her face.
I returned another afternoon, but this time I was accepted straightaway. There were no unseemly remarks. “Who says you did it?”
“I do,” I replied and I threw the glass of wine in his face.
He explained that I had misunderstood the whole event and that I would later believe that living has its reason. He had known that in order to respond to the woman I would have had to allow myself to climb back through the window. I had to realize she had been married before. To him. And that sometimes one could get one’s judgment wrong, it wasn’t always the fault of the sun.
Perhaps I would have liked him in time. I should have liked to be like him, perhaps. I don’t know.
“Victory,” she offered.
“You needn’t think I am worthy of respect,” I said. There were others who had a more distinguished look about them. I was on the look out to see whether I would be discovered as I leant forward to kiss her neck.
(B:) stumbled a bit, the day I speak of
I spoke. I was speaking. I held my hand out. I spoke. I held my hand out again. I took what was hidden. I was speaking and anxious, anxious for the woman as there was no justice, and not only was there no justice, they were against justice. That which is injustice is not true, it can’t be true. I spoke, I was speaking.
Whether it had always been like that, I sought in the fleeting hints in the conversation I was overhearing. He gave me what he had never meant to give. I would again, or should be again, my own man, for attempting to witness I had declared a sudden brusqueness that I felt must go beyond the feeling that by leaving I had taken.
I could not help feeling that these were only then as though there was an intuition, there had been an intuition of my idea of Rome. There is always the feeling, the need for a new way to experience the feeling, one that everyone has and becomes weakened by.
That day she will make me become the summary of what was pinned to the board. After shaking myself free and trying to maintain reasons why I did not want to know so many things, I rested my head down on the tablecloth, I said, I was saying, “why do you want to know so many things?”
She had merely spoken a few words, she had showed clearly how within she was weeping, creating the purpose as if to intend, as if to have an intention to make what I want you to say, “to stay,” I said. But not to stay here. This was like implanting another within the walls, a canal to the right and an expanse of green to the left.
The first place had found her speaking of the essence of what isn’t that which she hadn’t wanted to say, to say what he had wanted her to do, only to become troubled and I had always to grab the truth of her emotions, what was to be stilled
for some reason
indifferent and apathetic and in a way to be convened
what do you mean?
On the contrary, time had given me the whole day to sit in front of myself and confront myself with the force of smallness. So soon I said. “I had a whole day to consider it.”
His directness hardened. I was saying, “I had a whole day to consider it.”
To take into account: “I don’t know what I mean, just what I say, that it would be my whole pride and justification, that I was bound by what is the situation in which I found myself. I’ve never believed it, I thought I was saying, “You’ve opened onto it.” It was a close net, a quivering of sparkles that went further.
(C:) he has memory, so he went
Hatred and persecution, and the distinct possibility that my signature exists on the picture postcard of the village. That’s right, to tell you that there is one thing more that I want to relate, and yet I am almost sure that what is being suggested, what he suggested, was that I arrive in the evening and that we sit down at the table and let stupidity take over.
“Always with a sense of solemnity?”
Those were his words. I could hear them singing in their own language, something that those close to him didn’t know whether I was struck by the thought that one of them ought to be always seen. What was worse was that those villains had no sense of fear, because in that water we all knew that lead was in his body.
“You want to be brought up like that, according to our customs?”
Drinking is what we would have liked. It’s only for those who are foolish, that warning is a bad thing, nor for them to see again.
She was in fact being understood as someone who could push it open.
“And the child’s head?”
I said that her goodness can’t be allowed at English tea tables.
Her response was drowned out by the jet that streaked across the sky, not far above our heads.
“These birds know that in the meantime men go one way and nature another.” I had described what wove them together, wove them into what the woman from across the road had said was the agreement of the families. This was more than a surprise. I did not protest. It would be seen that I was not entirely wrong. That had to be said for her family. She did not come back, and this was no surprise either.
I went out to pour a bucket of water over my head, it was that hot. It took away from me the confrontation, the face to face with the female who was now the only one that we had brought back from the city. What is the coat you wear? She stood there, flustered. It was his waist jacket she wore. She had a couple of skirts across her arm. And a scarf of red that fluttered around as she agitated.
She was deserted, like the beggar in the street. “Yes,” he said. “Of course you can brave the midday sun.”
We had left the shade now. We had walked into the mountainside, awe-inspired by what comprised our native land.
I removed her dark glasses, for they were too dark.
She was still sleeping. I had given her an extra half an hour. I stood with my hands in my pockets, looking down at her naked body barely covered by the sheet. I asked her what was the phrase that my mother had said when the argument had started. What had she meant?
I repeated the word, trying to catch an aesthetic to our manner of talking. Although she looked frightened, she was not prepared to attack the lawyer once more. The radio announced the time. Others moved out of the bar. I confirmed that even if I was trained in exasperation, I would be painfully weary, if not ravenous to be reached by another passing, another going down covered with dust.
There was the quest for bones, whatever size could be found. Deception was even worse than mockery. We went once more to pay a visit to the lawyer whose place was other than at the back of the church. Where they could throw themselves down on the rocks, be at the mercy of the walls and the muddy floor beside the small fountain.
To hold onto the memory of the crackling sound, a noise that refused to stop. It seemed that everyone was shouting and you were asked to report within the hour, to tell all or if you prefer, to let the least pollution be every time I speak.
She awoke finally. When daylight was full, we left the room. Who could be like us and spend almost a year in the house, be locked up like the soldier on patrol? Who had helped us the day before? He was at the wheel. He was as English as any offence was made to fare. And all his strength had then to be allowed to roar on account of our common blood. This was already taken into account. I knew it was. There were contradictions. So much so that nevertheless I am not perfect. At any rate it was better than being born here. People like myself could die as an embarrassment, our young reach that certain frost and now the partnership is dissolved. Then, for the first time all that indifference will be the shit on the floor, and the whirling around our heads.
Again he was driving in the rain. Even at that hour of the morning the animals had reached the farthest edge of the village. It was no longer wide and green. The last moment, and it was in a way the only passage.
(D:) free and passionate, the diversity of instance
“But I am not good looking,” she said, “because I seem to recognize any howls in respect of this looking.”
From a long way away, the woman who loved to adorn herself with the drops of pearls found ruin in the church. Blackness clustered and was expensive.
After a further moment of silence she said she would meet his friend. “She will treat you right.”
Over martinis we played at cars and coachwork flavours. The old care for the other hand took the blade from the windscreen, and wiped the place. Colours suddenly seized with the sparsity of furnishings, the unruly untidiness that each knew nothing about.
“He didn’t want to.”
“Are you still friends with nothing to sit upon?”
Again I was trying to close the door after her, she made this curiosity even though close to us, and an easy conclusion. It revealed a greater simplicity, not that there remained anything with me from that day onwards. I thought I do not love her, as she was after all my feeling of attraction towards the house, once again I didn’t ask her. Are you a friend of his? was the next time I had such a thought and I knew that the encounter in the piazza was too great for a couple of months.
The sofa after intercourse left her flat on her back. Conversations were the pattern on her bottom. Finally my eye spread her legs wide apart and wiped themselves on what it saw itself kissing.
“What do you think you should kiss?”
Furthermore there was the phone that seem to perfectly hand itself to questions. Ceasing to be calm and at length, if it were a good bottle of wine, it would be some sandwiches wrapped in silk with more and more stupidity growing.
I looked at her again, for there was a misdirection, a nicety that purchased the certainty of those who came to stay here. The need to imprison her was the confidence, as was her need for this silence. This meant that lying and unfaithfulness were barely memories that depended as in the past on the realization that the relationship between her and the singing while I was asleep can be added to the book.
“But do you know that something came to light to contradict what you are supposing?”
Showing her stockings, she concluded that perhaps her beauty was the permissibility to say that she saw there was not a single case for them that isn’t bored with conversation. She suggested we should make love.
It was hot and suffocating inside the room. The door opened and she came back in. We finished dressing in silence then she tripped on the carpet. Again I was barely conscious that loving her in this new way would also mean to see this aspect of my life as a doubt not to be grasped.