It felt good to be looked at the way she looked at him human and brown-eyed in this case dark and shining like polished stone but warm somehow amused and alive and completely present. Better still when she looked away listening to someone else but conscious of his gaze seeing him without seeming to see him responding when he smiled. She would purse her lips as if anticipating a joke that ought not be made a cruelty that might (and should) die unvoiced or a blandness she didn't have time for. Life is short. They were sad apart and not quite as sad together enduring hours weeks months apart each future meeting a misericord. This is happening now, in time, but we know the outcome. All love the same trajectory Montagus Millers renounce renounce. Love like the universe cooling and dammed passion a dry lake. How much longer he wonders can they keep finding the energy. A string of spit between her lips she looks up at him a puzzle an absurd face she tries not to laugh at the man she can't have but has anyway. Asks if he's okay. Yes he says not untruthfully after all it felt good to be looked at the way she looked at him human and brown-eyed in this case dark and shining like polished stone but warm somehow amused and alive and completely present.
Friday, October 12, 2012
He woke up to a new face. He was wearing a hospital gown which was neither green nor blue but some kind of non-committal shade thereamongst with a pattern on it. The bleached-out logo of the hospital trust, perhaps, he couldn't tell. A dusty glass of water on the bedside table but no cards or fruit. He sat up and drank. The gown tied up loosely at the back and his fur and his arse visible to all, the water, as warm as the room, it being a hospital significantly warmer than room temperature, dripped down his chin, some of it. Down his chin where once, and until quite recently, there had been a beard. The water, some of it, dripped onto his chest. He looked down and couldn't see anything, concentrating his glance no further than the bottom of his face. Nothing to see. They'd shaved him. He stroked his cheek to confirm the fact. All gone. Well.
It wasn't a castaway beard or a shaped beard, it was in every way unremarkable. A middling beard, but one which he had been very much attached to. On the left side of his face was a dressing, which followed the line of his jaw from below the ear halfway to his chin. A talking point, certainly, but at the same time a poor substitute for the hair that had of late covered the same area. He worried at the gauze, scratching at it reflexively until a nurse appeared and told him off.
His wife and son arrived some time later without the missing fruit, she having determined, quite reasonably, that it would just go off, but with a large greetings card. A cartoon bear in a pyjamas sucking mournfully on a glass thermometer. The boy was only two and was frightened at first by the stranger in the bed. He had never seen his father clean-shaven or with a post-op black eye. Hearing a fat-tongued approximation of the familiar voice though he gauged the situation and climbed onto the bed. “New daddy hurt?” he asked. His father nodded yes to everything.