Before the parade begins


I woke early this morning. I was warm under the sheet and felt myself fully awake. I lay there without thought until I remembered a girl I had seen on TV last night. Then I remembered something I had meant to do and hadn’t and got up with Rigby trailing after me to check my email in the next room.

I opened the blinds and went back to bed. It was light outside with the sky full of early morning cloud. I had slid the window open and the cool waft of air was fresh against my bare skin. After four days of hot weather it felt pleasant. I looked out towards the window. It seemed so serene. I’m hardly ever awake at this time of morning – well before 7 – so perhaps it is always like this, but it seemed unusual. It did not feel like a workday morning. I knew from my own experience that all over the city people were climbing out of bed to shower and dress and to head off to work on train or bus. There was no sense of that outside though. It was still as if everyone slept in. There was no disturbance, nobody that I could discern all suited up on their way to the station. A bird chirruped. I felt peace.

I thought of the girl again. I’d been surprised at the impression she’d made on me, a boyish, almost tomboyish figure of a woman now near 40. She came across as intelligent in the program I’d watched, and self-willed, a person very much herself with her own view of things. I had a few erotic moments bringing her to mind before I wondered where she fit into the dichotomy. What was the attraction? What did it say about me?

I listened to the news on the radio then got up padding around the house in the ubiquitous tracksuit pants. I fed Rigby, made my coffee, then returned to bed, Bruce Springsteen singing Born to Run into the stillness that I listened too remembering before switching the radio off again. I picked up the copy of the Monthly magazine folded open by the side of my bed and began to read. It was the Christmas issue with bonus fiction included. I read a few stories that have now left my head. Then I read another by Steven Amsterdam that I thought was very good. It stayed with me as I lay back contemplating it and the slowly brightening world outside, the fantastic twist.

Rigby lay on the end of the bed with his body flush against my legs. He watched me with keen eyes, or else lay with his snout between his front paws and looked outside at the unvarying stillness. I sipped my coffee.

I thought how good this was. It was nothing really, but somehow just good. I felt completely aware. I was in that state they call self-remembering, the bonus being that these were moments I thought I wanted to remember. I wondered if some insight were just around the corner waiting for me to discover it. It felt as if I might learn something I needed to, or else that something would happen when the stillness passed and I was back in the world. Something unexpected but good.

I picked up the magazine again and read an excellent article on singer-songwriters by Robert Forster. By now it was just past 8. I picked up one of the books sitting by the bed and read a story by Andrey Platonov. It was still quiet outside, the birds now squawking as if communicating with each other. I drained my coffee and got up to sit in the dim light of my study and record these moments before I lost them altogether.

The day is ahead. It is not 9 yet. In a moment I will switch on to the present. I will shower and then breakfast and begin to tick off the list of things I have to do. Whether something happens or not I do not know, but doubt. Insight comes, and it goes too. The day will end and I will sleep and another day will come with all forgotten of these moments but what I record of them here and now, and for a hundred years to come.

 

Wikipedia: A founder of modern phonetics, he is known especially for his History of English Sounds.