It would be impossible to sit out here without the cloud cover. It is 91 degrees just like it has been everyday I have been in this country. Almost two years now. My pale skin is turning pink; in a few days it should bronze. The pool is still. There is no one here but us. The screaming of children done elsewhere. The Chinese New Year holiday has begun. The city is empty. Time has leapt from the clocks and is not as cumbersome to carry.
I dog-ear my book every ten minutes or so to douse the fire on my skin. Water drips from my chest and fingertips, causing the bottom and tips of the pages to become wet. I lower my book to allow my thoughts to occasionally align and maybe form a complete idea:
Earlier, I read a great article by Gore Vidal, denouncing the current US administration. It made a lot of sense to me and was eloquently written. I wanted to send it out to as many people as I could, but I accepted that there wouldn’t be much of a point. What would one more deleted article in my friends’ inboxes accomplish?
In the water now, my eyes are open and they do not sting. The sounds are muted and soft. I close my eyes and assume the fetal position. Is this what it is like for you? I can’t wait to show how much more there is and for you to show me how much less. I kick to the surface, roll over and float on my back. The sun burns my chest before a cloud makes the equatorial heat bearable. My wife sits in the shallow end of the pool reading Breakfast at Tiffany’s. We spent several hours at the bookstore yesterday, loading up on literature for the next few weeks. I lackadaisically scanned the shelves. Sometimes sitting down with a book to feel the pages, read the first lines, decide if it would be worth my time to start a relationship. I found three suitors: The Spooky Art: Thoughts on Writing by Norman Mailer, Music for Chameleons by Truman Capote (If I can’t get my hands on the movie, I certainly can connect with his work.) The Age of Reason by J.P Sartre (I like the idea of being the type of person who reads Sartre.) And finally Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, the book I will begin tonight on the advice of a friend I trust more than myself.
As I am floating in the water, I think about what I will write later. Nothing seems important enough to warrant documentation. I am empty of angst and indignation. Writing about ease, happiness, and satisfaction feels boastful. Who wants to read about people who wake up with smiles on their faces determined to simply enjoy a cheese sandwich on lightly toasted bread with lightly salted tomatoes and pickles, before they fall asleep reading on the sofa.
Probably no one, but I feel the need to write it down, just in case someone, somewhere, sometime may be interested.