Sunday, 15 December 2013

One for My Baby.

Everyone knew Christmas began early in London, so when he walked into Her cafes, he perked his ears for Sinatra. That Christmas would be the sweetest and bitterest - he'd make love, he'd inspire hate. He'd wake on the floor again as he did a year ago - the floorboard's distressed lines on his face.


His view was lopsided when he woke, a bin and ash from his pipe in his view. Sinatra still in his ears - Sinatra was tradition.
Goodbye again, and if you find a love like mine,
Just now and then, drop a line, to say you're feeling fine.
Someone riveted the patterns of the carpet on his cheeks. There was pain in his bones - in such times, there was always pain. Pa, there is something on your face.
Patterns, the boy giggled. They make your face look like waffles. His father had fell asleep on the bare mattress. He tried to straighten his father's face with a few rubs - rough with stubble, benevolent with smile. There was no such benevolence in the reflection in the mirror - only a pair of bloodshot eyes. Wine and Whiskey - if you repeated them often enough, they melded into one, and the liver did not know the difference.

He had gone a great length to erase this day from the minds of others - somewhere, across the world, a dear friend would remind him again, and somewhere in Britain, another would ask him to bang a girl to celebrate. Come on yaar - for me at least? But don't you understand? (I'll be around, when he's gone .) He checked for cognac - there wasn't enough, but there was Sainsbury's in Nine Elms for more.


Christmas is fast approaching and the gin was over. It's exactly a month now, he says - couldn't you have picked a better date to be a whore? There is a green light at the end of the place that captures a set of lonely chairs. He looks at it, emotionless. A long black coat, a smoky pipe and the chill of November in his bones. She pleads with moist eyes, falls to her knees - the chill is in her bones too but it is not enough to move them from the terrace. It is her punishment, perhaps it is his too.
What should we do for Christmas? He asks - she is still at his legs.

There is still whiskey in his flask, and there is the wine meant for celebration, so when he's done with the wine, he takes the flask with him. At Kensington High Street, he sits by a homeless man - posh places always had homeless people, as if nature dictated that the poor must live by the rich. I'll give you a sip, if you give me a cigarette? And a sip and cigarette is exchanged. They formed a friendship that is immediately bound by the laws of what is visible and what is not.
What do you do?
Nothing, the ragged man says. (You'd never know it, but buddy I'm a kind of poet. And I've got a lot of things I'd like to say.)
What do you do?
Wine (for my baby) and Whiskey (for the road), he says.


He pulls her up, inspects her, there are tears streaming down her cheeks. Wipe it, it disturbs me. You have no right. She could never understand his world - to her, emotions came to all, whether one was right or wrong, good or bad. We lose our right to emotion when we destroy another's. Stop bloody crying.
Stop, now! His voice bellowed into the prim and proper homes of Kensington.


He awakes, dusts his coat and begins to walk into the night road. The alcohol hits his brain - making the sight of moronic people that often circulated in the area tolerable. They too, were drunk. A 24 hour McDonalds was beside him and the homeless man, so he slipped a 10 pound note into his hands. He did not like giving alms, but sometimes, he did not like forgoing it. It was always about utility - utility, utility, utility - over pathetic pity. He knew the man's stomach needed food, but he secretly hoped that he'd use it for his brain - that he'd use it for more whiskey.
One for the road? The man calls out to him.
He has already walked a distance with the November air feathering London's leaves.
And one more, he says, for my baby!

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