It’s Friday night, Erica has gone to England for the weekend, and I am sitting in my flat with an unusual pain in my upper back. It feels like someone’s fist slammed into my kidney. I hope it’s not my kidney. It only hurts when I move. So I’m trying to stay static like a sleeping catfish, listening to Vivaldi’s Mandolin Concerti and dousing myself with Teroldego Rotalliano (2014), a bottle I just picked up at the supermarket for €3.99. Germany’s a marvel for good, inexpensive wine. Germans are too shrewd to let the prices of their favorite pastimes become unreasonable.
I take a sip of the dry, fruity, light-bodied, lightly bitter nectar (with a hint of almonds), and try not to breath deep because that too hurts.
I live on the ground floor of my building. My curtains are open right now and outside my window there is a garden, and beyond that, in the distance, there’s another building of flats and I can almost see in the rooms that are lit up. There’s six of them. I drain my third glass, stand on the bed and lean against the window looking out. I see a dark form moving in one of the windows. It seems to be looking back at me. I come back to my chair, sit down, pour another glass. As the mandolin carries its notes up to the ceiling. They hover there for a moment, floating around the center of room, my heart or soul or something in me going out after them.
This is how the troubadours did it.
Wine and poetry, music on a stringed instrument. The night charged with yellow flowers and head gaskets and incandescent mechanical dragons.
I sink in my chair. The glass pours itself. A light fails. Scorpions and canaries pour through the corridors and my back grumbles under spongy blazing mushrooms of fire.