I will go to the cafe, pull up the chair at the table by the window, and become at once both swallowed by the world as if sucked into the gob of a passing fish, and a poster of this little stub of universe hung up to make newcomers feel at home.
I am that shrugging embodied man who does not care that he is in an advertisement.
There is a little round tabletop and a pen with a fine click and a soft blank waiting page and her darting but settled yet darting eyes from across the bay of coffee smells and clinking spoons. I add in such restlessness to make this agenda mobile, give it room. I pull on lines and tweak tensions as the hull knocks on waves and ocean opens out. But that is not what this is about.
Of course that sea is near enough for gulls to shriek in their harbour of creased skies, and the narrow street outside to parade a trail of intriguing characters. No diesel fumes here. No letters from the bank or hospital. No unexpected phone calls. But I miss the point as always.
Where are you now?
Am I with you?
I cannot see.
You cannot look?
My hand above the page, grasping the pen. The bustle glancing to acknowledge a hush, like new Spring watching the sun raise its conducting gleam. The apex of ease, spasm of creation, an airman heaving his propeller round until it catches and abruptly explodes into smoky clattering go.
Did you leave out the bins?
No, I refuse to cast this with characters from my spare interiors. I love you all but I cannot. I cannot be let loose in my own free domains. I will bring me to a standstill again. It is another I, that comes here, sits intensely and exudes unities, notes unruffled the passings of weather and emptying of cups and clocks. Here they will not ask exactly what it is that this I does, or where exactly it is that this I comes from or goes back to. Outside wait empty sets of possible futures, uncorrupted by script or gesture. Of course I wander as usual right off the script, such as there is.
Can you fill out section 3 B on Pensions?
Will you forget me before I reply?
Have you ever made previous contributions to a public scheme?
Can you tell me what you really think?
Is this your employee code?
Sorry, I was miles away. Miles away.
Dreams are so fragile, too eager for the intrusion of anxious ripples. The part that cooks up suggestions, that has been shouting ‘is it a ghost?’ since a child’s mind painted in the first shadows, is always busy in the kitchen. True fantasy takes diligent work. Commitment. Dedication. I imagine, in any case. My efforts to meditate are like trying to juggle with clumsy limbs. Thoughts go up, come back down, spill to the ground. What am I left holding? Bare fingers and a clock that refuses to stop beating.
So I’ll call you in a few weeks and organise to pick up my stuff.
Americano, no milk or sugar?
I endeavour to project a light and open confidence. A high road overlooking the ocean. A break in the clouds. There are some people in but the table is free. It is always free.
And could I get a chocolate brownie?
I will sit and flicker between shabby slouch and collected poise. It is more difficult with the backpack shoved under my legs. It is far too bulky and old. I wrestle out another sheet of blank paper. It is the same sheet. If only I knew how to draw. Then I could be free.