Thursday, 6 January 2011

Where the heat is

Kelly calls me into the bedroom on my return and we share a lengthy hold. She looks exhausted; her eyes dull and hooded, but she smiles beautifully and kisses me. She wipes my foggy glasses clear on her hat.

I am very gentle in my speech and manner; in the way I move. She begins to talk and despite nodding off mid-sentence she is lucid, self aware and, above all, listening to me. I am cagey and uncontroversial, hovering over egg-shells, but she is finally talking to me and pleased that i am home. She has no concentration, she is all over the place, but her drive is extraordinary; forcing her eyes open, charging back into consciousness. I have no idea why she is so resistant to sleep. Later that day she will attempt to download software onto the computer, dozing between key-pad presses, still wafting me and my sub-par computer skills away as I offer to assist, convinced that she could do it better, even if it means typing with her nose or a headwand. One constant throughout has been her conviction that I am utterly useless in ever sphere excepting cocktail party chit-chat. It's something i'm coming to believe myself. But i can do foot massage and so we end the day rubbong her feet with peppermint oil by lamplight, radio six suddenly sensitive, playing Ella Fitzgerald's "Bewitched, bothered and bewildered" and Ray Charles' "Midnight".

Even then she fights the drugs, resisting sleep, drifting off for minutes at a time before resurfacing, refusing to allow the light to be turned off, refusing to lose the radio. So i sit on one hip ploughing through Robert Aickman's "The Fetch", each page a ten minute slog, while waited for her to rest.

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