Monday, 19 November 2018

Round 47.


The man waiting for a bus at the corner of La Rue de Metz and La Rue de Languedoc in the heart of Toulouse is wearing a fluorescent orange anorak.

He is also wearing black trousers, black trainers and very thick-lensed glasses, also black.

He is staring intently at next year, as depicted on an oversize wall calendar that he is holding.
Despite the depth of his lenses the man’s eyesight is not very good and the cardboard wall calendar is pressed tightly against his nose.

He is looking at the signs of the new and full moons, the shading of the holiday periods and above all at the empty spaces of each day that can be filled with possibility.

His eyesight is so bad that it is not clear if he knows how violent the orange of his anorak actually is; the other people at the bus stop have stepped backwards to give the colour room and there is something about his separation from them that makes the man look like a giant mole.

He has just bought the wall calendar from the stationary store that is housed in a grey stone building that stands behind the bus stop. It is the first calendar for next year that the shop has sold, it is only the beginning of October and most of the customers have not finished with this year yet.

The orange hue of the man’s coat is exactly the same as that of a jumper that is hanging on a rail in a shop in Barcelona, many miles to the south. 

The woman who has just put the jumper back on the rail really likes the colour but believes, unnecessarily, that she shouldn’t spend any money on the first day of her holiday, on anything other than a bottle of wine and some toothpaste.

The wine is to help her relax tonight and the toothpaste is for the morning when she wakes up.

On the last day of her holiday, once it is too late, she will regret not having bought this jumper. She will have forgotten all about the wine but the toothpaste will be packed away in her luggage.

Her husband says that the orange jumper suits her.

On the last day of the holiday, once it is too late, he will make her promise that the next time she buys the clothes that she tries on and likes.

Across the road from the shop is a café; the walls are covered in artwork.


There is an orange on the counter of the bar an I can see it from where I am sitting; in a moment I will ask the waiter to pass it through the orange squeezing machine on it’s way to becoming a Zumo de naranja to accompany my café con leche con croissante.

My breakfast.

My Spanish.

The waiter only speaks Spanish when he needs to, he would prefer to converse in Catalan.

The Catalan flag has a lot of orange in it and the flag is in evidence as a referendum is underway on the regions future and ability to continue organising referendums that the national government opposes.

I say nothing of this to the waiter.

Outside the café a lot of people are standing around a lamppost taking pictures of it with their phone; some are taking pictures of themselves taking a picture of the lamppost.

Others are taking pictures or people taking pictures of themselves taking pictures of the lamppost.

I look at the lamppost as I walk past.

It’s a nice lamppost.

But it’s a lamppost.

The beach is not far from this lamppost, and the sand is orange. It has been raining so the sand is wet and footprints remain clearly as you pass.

A woman is standing by a sculpture she has made from the sand; it has taken her two days and it represents a cathedral. 

At the front of the cathedral a small fire burns, the orange sand has become blackened with soot.

The woman is a long way from home; she is also a long way from sober.

She spends the money that is gifted to her creation, on alcohol.

Further along the beach a man is sweeping the sand in front of the dragon he has built. He too has added fire and smoke to his work and flame rises from the mouth of the dragon.

The smoke and fire seems more at home in a dragon than in a cathedral.

It is uncertain that he is drunk.

There is a train that runs past these sculptures, this sand, along the coast towards the villages of the north. 

The train is silver.

And orange.

They say orange is the colour of joy.

The sand is orange.

I drank an orange juice this morning.

The jumper that never got bought is orange.

The anorak of the man standing at the corner of La Rue de Metz and La Rue de Languedoc in the heart of Toulouse is orange.

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