The sun after the rain dried the rain into steam and the steam drenched the street and the bay. Jim’s shirt clung to his neck and his arms beaded with sweat. His arms beaded and his eyebrows glistened with sweat.
In the dark his eyebrows still glistened and from his bed he heard the late voices rise from the bay. He heard a door open and he heard a door close and a streetlight cast a shadow on the wall. The streetlight cast the shadow of the window shutter on the wall. The mattress grew damp where his body touched the mattress and he shifted from where his body touched the mattress. Sweat beaded at the creases of his arms at his elbows and ran to his elbows. Sweat beaded on his neck and ran along the creases and ran behind his ears. “When this is over,” he said, “thirty nights will be remembered as one.”
The shadow of the shutter in the lamplight grew dim in the brightness when the late voices became early voices rising from the bay.
It’s nice to be home, said Blurtso. Yes, said Harlan, it is. It’s nice to see our hay again, said Blurtso, and pie tins, and cocoa powder, and Blurtsobarn coffee mugs. Yes, said Harlan. And my painting easel and brushes, said Blurtso, and Patrick O’Brian novels, and “Mister Ed” dvds, and Tony Robbins tapes, and patchwork blanket, and phonograph player and 1970’s LPs, and Cutco knife set, and autographed copy of Leaves of Grass, and French door windows, and step ladder to the loft. We’ve only been gone three days! said Harlan. I know, said Blurtso, but it seems like years.
Michelangelo’s “David,” said the professor,
is a perfect example of High Renaissance sculpture.
Notice the powerful jaw-line, the proud nudity, the defiant glance…
I trust you are well. I am at a café in Arles. It is fourteen past twelve, the streets are empty, and the café is closed. The waiter has filled my glass before leaving to clean up. My journey is half through, and I am years from home. I have made friends along the way. And lost friends along the way. I have seen beautiful things. Faces, sights, scenery. I wonder at the value of traveling alone. A single gentleman walks up a shadowed street. Watching him from the café, I sip my wine and go along. I return to the teacup and chair at his table, and the bed where he sleeps, ‘til I wake to the morning sounds at his window. I sit on the terrace and live the life of the waiter, wiping tables and stacking chairs, sweeping, mopping the floor, washing glasses, and sorting silver. And then the waiter is gone and the man is gone. And there is only the sound of the buzz of the lights, and the silence of the stars. The silent stars, filling the canopy of the raven-colored night.
What do you know… absinthe improves your aim.
Hmm, thought Blurtso, what a lovely mirror.
Still thinking about Lizzy? said Harlan. Yes, said Blurtso. School’s out next week, said Harlan, maybe you should take a trip. A trip? said Blurtso. Yes, said Harlan, so you can focus on something else.
Really? said Blurtso. Only sixty euros?