Wednesday, May 23, 2007

On the Curve of the Coast

just a single scene:

“Let’s go on one of those walks—one of those walks around the town led by a village boy.”
“I don’t want to walk around.”
“It’s—it’ll be delightful. Like a real tour.”
“I could walk at home. Too many hills around here. Too hilly.”
“You don’t walk at home. You sit.”

The two sat in the open air dining plaza of the hotel, set far up on the hilled land, and looked out to the curve of the coast and the white-lipped waves scrapping onto the beaches, and at the small houses covered in pastel Mediterranean plaster, houses built with the hill and with each other in organic construction.

“It’s my favorite hobby. Sitting. Let’s just relax for a while.”
“Garçon!” she called. A young man in a clean white linen shirt came to the table.
“Jus d'orange, si vou plait. Garçon,” she added, as he stepped away, “promenade avec moi?” She walked her fingers across the table like little legs and smiled. The waiter looked to her husband and laughed, and stepped away.

“That’s nice,” the husband said.
“He was wearing the same shirt as you. Did you notice? You’re dressed like the help.”
“It’s a good shirt.”
“It’s very white, don’t you think?”
“Let’s not talk for a while. Let’s enjoy the breeze.”
The waiter came with cold orange juice in a thin, tall glass.
“Whiskey, si vou plait,” said the husband, “with a little water and a little ice.”
“This early,” she said with no question mark.
“Let’s enjoy the breeze.”

The large umbrella overhead leaned back, and forth, slowly teetering like a thin palm, and back.
“I was thinking, when we get back, we should hire a gardener.”
“You don’t like doing the gardening yourself?” the wife asked.
“Not really. We can afford it.”
“But I thought you like to do it by yourself. With the electric tools.”
“It’s very hot in the summer months,” he said.
“I don’t think that’s a new development.”
The waiter brought his drink.
“Merci. Some would say it’s annual, the heat. It’s very tiring, you know. I want to hire someone.”

She took a long drink of the orange juice. “Fine. But would the gardening people use your tools or bring their own?”
“They’d probably bring their own.”
“What would you do with the mower and the other stuff?”
He took a drink. “Just keep them, I guess.”
She tipped the glass of juice up fully, to empty it and get at the bottom pulp, her head back and her neck long and exposed, and her eyes closed to the high sun.
“You should give the tools to Arthur,” she said in a soft, reserved way, knowing he would be displeased.
“I’m not going to give away my possessions.”
“Would you sell them?”
“I don’t know. I’d rather not. I’d rather keep them.” He finished his drink and took a long breath, and felt his chest and lungs full and open.
“You don’t need them if you hire someone.”
“I might.”
“For emergency weeds?”
“For whatever. Maybe you’re right about the walk. Let’s go for a walk.”
“Let’s for a swim.”
He placed money on the table from his pocket and sat the empty glass on top.
“All right.”
“All right!”

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the end of something.