I would prove to the men how mistaken they are in thinking that they no longer fall in love when they grow old–not knowing that they grow old when they stop falling in love’.
I sit in the back yard, dawn softly breaking, utterly alone. I perch on a white chair, surrounded by high while walls, the paving recently scoured clean of weeds by Louise who now sleeps, drugged from her exertions. I struggle to clear my mind but the troubling decision regarding the corrosive pay dispute and the impending marking strike will not be subdued. A dream from last night intrudes where a foreign colleague explains that she has been completing her marking by ‘striking through’ each and every exam page with a bold pencil stroke, then awarding a random grade, some getting full marks. Would that I could resolve my struggle between justice and putting food on the table with such a gesture.
Alone, my mind seeks to empty, aware that soon the tourists will be abroad, on the other side of the wall that keeps reality at bay. They will be gossiping in satisfied tones that there is precious little evidence of the winters storms that they had vicariously endured through TV footage despoiling their favourite beaches, tea-shops, promenades. Little do they know of our recontouring work that will play tricks with their memories, feed their need for continuity while the sea changes everything, every day. A decision needs to be made before they intrude. On the rooftop a familiar gull lands and flaps, gaining my attention. In time the sky blackens as an albatross alights beside her, a delicate landing for such a creature.
She has some news to relate that does not concern industrial conflict or the overthrow of education policy. She tells me that ‘marks is dead I am confused for a while saying that we all know that – but surely it does make the concept of surplus value any the less real. No she laments not Karl or Groucho but Gabo, the man who breathed life into stories such as the one we are living. Ah Gabo but surely Marques not Marks? Not so she lisped in her far away columbian twang that on the out breath cat tied the scent of desolate oceans. Her speech came with difficulty. It must have years since it was necessary. For those of us who deeply know his acquaintance there is but one syllable in that name. The kezz or kwezz addition is pure baroque ornament,
A Western affectation copied by would be cognoscenti whose need for cleverness will always obscure plain truth. It is simply Marques, fully Marques. He never made the hundred years he craved, the old hundred, but eighty-seven is indivisible, as he would have known. The gull leads off, while the albatross follows, in one motion high, separate against that prefect sky. At my feet a snail traces sticky residue across the pristine paving. I resist arising, resist reaching for the newspaper that i know lies on the mat and that will confirm through recycled Twitter tributes what i already know. I am alone with this. This reality.