Pineapple yoghurt. Trifle. The last few months he wanted milky things. I bought a bottle of Rémy Martin. He took a sip, made a face. ‘It’s too much now, too strong. I’m sorry,’ he said.
I hear everything: the soft cry of my mother, the beep of the heart monitor, the whispers of the nurses, and the subtle hum of the air conditioner. I feel the rough texture of my hospital gown against my skin, the cold hand of the doctor every morning when he visits, and the warm hand of my mother every time she touches my cheek. I am awake. Wide awake.
It was a Monday morning. A village hen clucked at the assembly, looking for its youngling. The school principal, Mister Rakobo, went off with the hen, leaving the assembly divided into several assemblies. The Mocking Birds choral conductor raised a hand, calming the sopranos and tenors that were going this way and that. “Whose mother is that?” inquired some. “Someone must have stolen money or something,” speculated some. “A family death? A bullying case?” Some concluded that this was not the case.
He accepted the night. He always had. The street people never caused him any fear. It was a case of if he didn’t bother them, they wouldn’t bother him. The unapproachable demeanour which he carried also helped.
Was und warum bist du? asked the Invisible Rain of an old man seated at a small table, on which lay a bottle of vodka and a snub-nose revolver. The Invisible Rain tapped out its ceaseless question on the window, roof and eaves, the walls and even on the underside of the floor. The old man refused to answer. He never did. Although the Invisible Rain already knew everything there was to know, it was greedy and insatiable; it increased exponentially with what it devoured, thus always hungry. Why feed a thing that can never get enough? The old man imagined himself as a drum in outer space: “Beat me as long and hard as you can, you’ll never hear a thing.”
The Corpse Flower clutched its hidden treasure tightly, leaves interlocking in a steely grip. The flower would bloom in its own time. It would not be rushed or stopped in this biological imperative, any and all obstacles would be overcome. The evolution of hundreds of thousands of years had brought it this far, there would be no turning back.
It is horrendous out here! like God’s troubling the waters. I’m by my lonesome in my eight-foot Jon boat with my ancient, three-horsepower motor. I don’t have time to worry before the storm’s crushing me. I have handled rough water on this lake before with the same setup. At worst I would just pull ashore anywhere I could and seek shelter until the storm passed. But not this time. The storm erupts so suddenly, the clouds overwhelm the sky so quickly and pervasively that my visibility drops from twenty miles to about three hundred feet – like God switched off the lights.