As soon as I began reading it, ‘The Ice Cream Palace,’ I began to have dairy dreams.
Don’t you know it is forbidden, I said. I banished you from my diet years ago.
But the dream pulled up to me like a Mr. Whippy van chiming.
What could I do?
I settled back into my vanilla-and–pistachio armchair and read Gianni Rodari’s deliciously delightful tale.
My eyes greedily licked every sentence.
I scooped the words up with pleasure.
They melted in my mouth.
The residue ran down my chin in rainbow rivulets.
Beth put up a post yesterday about the joys of walking, not just the health benefits but what you come across on the way.
Here are some of the things I came across:
water tumbling over stones
a brindled dog all skin and bones
frogs jamming in baritone
the bumblebees’ gingery drone
horses cantering on their own
one jet black, the others roan,
sad girl sitting all alone
hunched over her mobile phone
He laughed loudly.
A door closed behind him.
He laughed a little more loudly still.
Another door closed behind him. Slammed!
He continued. He chortled. He guffawed. He jeered.
A text message came through.
“Will you STOP laughing, please? You’re annoying me.”
No, he said to himself. No. It’s my evening and I’ll laugh if I want to.
And he laughed even more loudly.
The walls themselves laughed loudly too, splitting their sides.
The cross-eyed cat doubled up with laughter.
A door opened quietly behind him.
The man was too busy laughing to notice.
The cord tightened around his throat.
This was no laughing matter.
You hear a noise. It’s past midnight.
So what do you do?
You hop up, turn on a few lights, tramp down the passageway. open and close cupboards, bang doors, make a lot of noise.
Then you stop and listen.
There it is again.
Those bloody mice, you say, though you’ve seen no evidence of any.
It’s nothing, you decide, nothing. House noises.
You head back to the bedroom, turn off the lights.
Someone taps you on the shoulder.
We were speaking about the disproportionate
use of force by the Allies
during World War Two
esp the fire bombing of Dresden
when he brought it up
to the present
when after an eighteen years’ cold case the police
finally caught up with him
& he was sentenced:
just think, he said, shaking his head,
for five seconds of madness
Tyson was a book worm. He burrowed into books, into their worlds where, if he was allowed, he would wander for hours in their dreamy, eerie landscapes. But he would forget things. He would forget where he left his slippers, his school bag, the present he received from Aunty May [ which wasn’t a book] for his birthday. Honestly, his exasperated mother would say, you’d forget your head if it wasn’t screwed on. How silly, thought Tyson but the next morning when he went to clean his teeth, he looked up. A pair of eyes on stalks starred back at him from the mirror.
Did you hear the possums last night? Up in the roof? she says.
Sorry, I say, I didn’t.
It sounded like a stampede. Like a wild party.
Why weren’t we invited? I chuckle. Nah, I was asleep.
I forgot, she says. You sleep deep.
I had a dream, I say.
Now you’re sounding like Martin Luther King. What was yours?
I was swimming laps in the pool a week before lock-down. I was the only one there. I came out feeling exhausted but exhilarated. That’s when I came in to see you.
You better have a shower then, she says.
You smell of chlorine.
pic Chrissie-Kremer from Unsplash
When he gets up to go to the toilet in the middle of the night, she’d be there or on the way back to his room after pausing in the kitchen for a glass of milk, she’d be in the hallway.
Passing ships in the night.
He’d look at her, and she at him, then both look away.
After eight years, off and on, they were still a mystery to each other.
Her cat. Not his. They’d never bonded.