Over a Patch of Grass, Jeff Goldblum

Mankind’s greatest are often remarkable for their magnetism. Call it charm or charisma, but they possess a trait that draws others to them in a way that is often difficult to define and always inimitable. It should come as no surprise then when I inform you, the reader, that I made another friend.
    It is at this point that the reader—you yourself!—might begin to rack their brain for the last time they made a friend, and they will come up emptyhanded, lost for words or memory, uncertain that they ever carried themselves in an attractive or magnetic manner. But I made a friend, just last week. At first they were someone I shared a room with, then they were an acquaintance and then they were my friend. They had not a name nor any hand with which to shake my own. They were, put simply, a housefly. I cannot provide the species and I cannot even say that it was a housefly, other than it came to occupy my flat, which is not even a house but a small collection of rooms in the corner of a large building.
    Since the cat arrived, few flies survive long between these four walls. That I see a fly is a spectacle indeed, but I do not criticise the cat for the omission, as it is so hot in here and hunting is tiresome. Many mornings I have woken up to the cat chasing a bumble bee about the bedroom and living room; she cares not where she runs, jumps or lands, but darts singlemindedly in pursuit of the audibly aggravated pollinator. She chirps at me, as though I too might be excited, only for me to leap out of bed, catch the bee under a glass and hurl it from a window, cursing the disturbance. However, at this particular moment, the cat was in her tree, and I was working at my desk when the fly appeared and started to pester the monitor, butting its head against it over & over. I swiped, halfhearted; the fly did not care. We agreed that we would honour a truce and respect each other’s space.
    In the toilet, the fly soon abandoned our agreement, with the disrespect only an invertebrate could conjure, and hovered about my head. All of my focus was in trying to defecate while conducting a loose review of my recent fibre intake. The cat was still in her tree and the fly came to rest upon my shoulders between strolls across the rim of my right eye socket. It clearly meant no harm and would you believe it but I came to be comfortable with its presence.
    The next day I was going to the office. The fly was nowhere to be seen. The cat sulked as I tied my laces, leaving her breakfast halfway through and walking off, ignoring my calls; it saddened me deeply and I hoped that I would not die that day as it would be so sad to die without saying a proper good-bye. It was a morning all emerald and brisk. Summer’s dying breath shimmered in patterns along the rush hour pavement as all the while our sun goldened the tips of leaves turning numb. What book? I had Fathers and Sons, all notes with the corner turned. Read it really, really read it; a mantra. Best experienced sans musical headphones but next to me are a pair of suited gentlemen—one spectacled and rotund, the other lean and aloof—making small talk on their return to London after a country wedding. Such a tragedy when the rest of the car is politely silent!
    Turgenev save me. Turgenev saves me.
    The third-floor office is still enduring the last of the holidays. That particular day it was especially quiet, which, all told, I find unsettling. Perhaps the routine requires a population. I tell her I feel have not slept properly in three months. She tells me I am tired of trying to prove myself. In the corner of the window, on the sill, is a spider’s web the size of my cupped hands. It is the colour of smoke. There are no flies or spiders upon it to observe but it quivers in the thinnest of September breezes. It is almost five o’clock when one of the engineers arises and walks around the large floor inviting everyone for a drink, because it is such a beautiful evening and it is Thursday in London City, except he forgets to invite me. He invites the young man to my left and to my right, but he must have suffered some lapse in concentration as he forgets to invite me down the pub with them on that southwestern lane where the death of day is divined down an Edwardian henge. I arise therefore and pack my belongings into my backpack and walk the long way back to the station for no reason at all.
    I laugh at the edge of summer’s grave. Take it away and I chuckle scornfully! What a ghastly season, yet as things come to smoke and redden, to melt and swell, it will surely get worse. Every time summer wheezes its last, I rejoice! Never has a loser felt so victorious!

    Upon my arrival, the cat jumps down from her tree, unladylike, makes it to the centre of the rug in our hallway where she collapses, most melodramatically, with a loudness and stretch that she extends towards my cooing fingertips. ‘All right, buddy! How you doing?’ She yawns. ‘Another exhausting day propping up the economy?’ She claws at my laces when I untie them, pierces my hands with her claws. We go into the living room. I get myself a cola ice lolly from the freezer, take a seat and say—‘So tell me all about your day…!’ She is most pleased that the wood doves have landed on the roof opposite; she watches; she runs her little skull against the heel of my palm.
    It was then I noticed activity over a patch of grass. At the slightest stir of prod, a firework of flies shot up. So, this is where everything came from, I thought. The fly I had come to know intimately was indistinguishable from its friends. All was lost. Delicately, I placed the whole patch of grass into a binbag.
    She heowls in the room somewhere. I call her up, patting the mattress. She appears. Once she is satisfied with everything, the duvet fluffed, the surface firm, the awoken no danger at all, she settles, lies in the embrace of my forearm and makes biscuits on my chest until the skin is broken & raw. She chirrups and pounces off. It is five-forty-six.
    What follows eventually is a vivid dream. The girl I know but only from behind a laptop screen. We go to Mexico. There are two people I went to school with but they are men now and both have children from one-night-stands. There is another old classmate with a skull like that of a silverback gorilla; he is in love. Me and this girl stock up on food from the houses of our parents and we meet amongst the trees. It is there we kiss and are happy. Then we walk through a cavernous pool of putrid water where moss grows. We crawl out and fall into each other’s arms and we catch our breath. She tells me she is in love with me. I tell her I am in love with her. She is so beautiful and I am so happy. We are so happy. The sun does not set. I awake and do not move. For some reason, I do not long to return to the dream. Everything had a meaning; it is those meanings and that false happiness that I am so affected by. The cat is at my feet, staring at me. How real the dream seemed! How the real seeming dream does not flee from my consciousness but lingers. How foolish to be in love with a stranger on Saturday morning.