|I CONFESS THAT I was excited he was visiting that evening. Children I can take or leave but I am very fond of him. When I greeted him in the kitchen he stared at me with his lazy blue eyes and his mouth open. I prodded his protruding belly and said—‘All right, Ronnie.’ He did not blink at me. My dog wanted to bite him, so I calmed her down, holding her head, while he stroked her body, feeling all the cancers than run down her sides. He gaggled his arms up at me and I rested him on my hip, bearing his weight halfway up. It was the last day of winter. |
He followed me around endlessly; standing at the door when I smoked or amusing himself with the water in the dog’s bowl (guilty glance when mother walked in); he buried his head in silence between my knees until I picked him up. He did not make a sound, a Victorian baby. Up on the worktop were bottles of champagne and wine in various states of emptiness, the colours from which—in their fracturing magnificence—interested him greatly.
During dinner he wanted to sit on my lap. I tried to sell him the curry but he only wanted rice, then I was glad to take him away and we put Toy Story on. He sat perfectly still like a glass of water. Occasionally he would turn and laugh without making a sound. Then when the film had finished he climbed all over the furniture, jumped into me, demanded I spin him on the foot-stool—then that he spin me—and was entertained.
The next day there was an immense gloom over me. I did not want anything to do with anything. I tried to read but the words escaped me. Even music had lost its lustre. Drab light entered through the windows and I lay facedown on the sofa and stared at the inch of darkened space before my eyes. I stared for an hour until I drifted off to sleep. Today I woke up on the train and stared at the city’s skyline. Bad thoughts, unforgiveable thoughts, flooded my mind and it was not yet half-eight. The skyline was beautiful in mist, but I no longer wished to see it.