Wish You Were Here
Wish You Were Here
"It's all sex and death with you" she says, staring out of the cafe window at the day-long rain. She hasn't spoken for the past hour and I'm stuck for a reply. We've come to this out of season seaside town to see if our relationship can be rekindled. Tomorrow we'll be taking a train home. I go to the counter and order another espresso. A surly girl brings the coffee and I sip it in silence. Outside rain bounces on cobbles and swells the gutters of the street.
Later we have dinner in the near-empty dining room of a seafront hotel and then retire to the lounge. While I flick through old copies of National Geographic, she reads a book she has brought with her. I notice it's the book that last summer we read together. Her waiting for me, the slower reader, to catch up before turning the page. The narrow bed brings us together but we sleep back to back. Her on her right side, me on my left. I dream of the first time I saw her. Sitting on the poolside wringing the water from her long dark hair.
breaking waves throw fingers of surf
up a stony beach.
Great mood, perfect end-of-summer atmosphere. Small suggestion for final paragraph where the tense seems to change - could you join these sentences? "...read together - her waiting for me, the slower reader, to catch up before turning the page. The narrow bed brings..." otherwise we seem back in the present with 'her waiting for me' and I found it disorienting? And 'The narrow bed brings us together...' - is this a recollection from the past or the night they spend tonight? Could it be 'That night, the narrow bed brings us together...' in a new paragraph?
Brilliant last haiku, too. Lovely ebb and flow of the relationship, seasons, time, the tide etc.
I love these wistful, atmospheric, porcupine distance relationships you do, in down-at-heel places. Is this how humans are? It certainly captures relationships of a certain age, running out of energy. The haiku is wonderful.
Thanks, Heather and George. Much appreciated.
The line "I notice it's the book..." is a memory as indicated by "last summer". Whereas the "narrow bed" is the hotel bed. The whole haibun is in the present tense and "That night" implies something in the past.
Life is bittersweet and we'll never know the sweet if we haven't tasted the bitter. I don't read this haibun as pessimistic but ambiguous - maybe the relationship can be rekindled. You're right that my haibun are written at 'porcupine distance' however this is contrast to the commitment I bring to intimate relationships.
Best wishes, Stuart.