The Evening Party

Sound of Petrichor

I miss cappuccinos. The simple act of ordering a cappuccino seems to me a treat! If I could only wait in line for a minute or two, announce my order without mumbling – speak clearly, sir – and then wait patiently, and so excitedly. That first sip in the office, my throat having dried from a cigarette and cold winds on my walk. Two-seventy-five.

I miss my flat, miss the bathroom. Even the smell of clothes drying on the horse, taking a day or two, the mustiness, the damp odours all about the loneliness. It’s been six weeks since I left the window ajar and turned off the boiler – that cursed thing cutting out during the middle of a shower and I slippery step covered in suds through the place to fire it back up. As children we holidayed for six weeks during the summer and it was a perfect eternity smothered in gold and water-fights, sweaty knees, grass-stains. Now what is there? There is a soiled plate waiting for me when I return; I ate pasta the night before and never got around to cleaning it up. O, how it will be waiting for me! My bed there, slept in by a dozen strangers before me, is at a good height and unremarkable. Somehow the mattress is a perfect match for me. The sheets are not so fine as at my parents’ but it is my bed then & now; it calls to me. I could lie there, staring at the plant above my eyes, a busted chill draughting through the broken window. Over & over I work my way back to the number fifty-nine.

I miss N—n, the only friend who has called me this whole time. With my mother under the same roof, there is no cause to use a telephone – I never learned to associate them with happy things. It’d be good to see N—n again. He calls me when I am out for my walk and we talk as I puff along. It’d be nice to speak to him without the puffing, perhaps without the sea’s wind rubbing up against the microphone. His hair has grown and he’s told me he wants to move away. It makes me sad but I’ll encourage him. Who will I talk to next?

I miss the pub, even the terrible ones. To think…! I used to complain at waiting ten minutes to get served, and what I would give for that now! A napkin stolen from the stack and used to wipe the bar so that I might rest and – speak clearly, sir – order a round. Pay for the whole thing! The whole evening! Chat to M—l and hear about his grandson and moan about work. Listen to W—y spouting love for his new son; he would smile and I would recognise that he was finally happy and that he deserves good things. I would want things to go back to how they were last summer, but they will never be like that again, so I would listen to him talk about his song in another language.
I never used to like the smell of fresh rain on warm pavements but it’s grown on me in time. Today I enjoyed it. Today I walked through its hissing mist. I kept my eyes down and saw the wind-battered flowers by the roadside in orange & white. All that was fragile came to be pushed by the gale, fought against it and bowed; delicate petals were crumpled, blossom was torn and gathered in the unsettled imperfections of paving slabs. Soon that smell disappeared. The rain soaked into my coat and the wind pushed me back down the road from which I’d came, back where I had enjoyed the way it smelled. I felt the blossom against my face. I shut my eyes to it.

 I miss my nieces. I miss the mischievous young one and the nervous older one. The youngest is fond of me, although I don’t know why; she will go over a month without seeing me and then, at my appearance, become excited and run toward my legs with her arms out. The child remembers, and, in my desperation, it is flattering. I have nothing for her. She is nothing like I was. I miss them. One day they will return to my parents house, and to gauge how they slept in the car from their entrance, and then their gradual stretching into boisterousness, noise, the reckoning they exact on the room as toys are tipped and screaming, quips, cheekiness, the sound of a crayon as it falls from their hand, slides off the table and rolls along the floor.

Most of all I miss her. More than anything I miss her, and the way we were, but I don’t want to write about it.

I miss so many things that the past appears strange to me now and quite incomprehensible. The world’s accent changed when it moved away.