Tuesday, 24 September 2019

A Burger, a shake and a split.

....down to New Orleans....

I took the Cajun chicken; in a burger, a slice of mango and a Guinness bbq sauce. It was just a little spicy, enough to make you remember and it was served with a cup of chips. Yep, a cup; all together on a wooden platter and accompanied by a half pint of draught Guinness. It was not a Summer’s evening exactly; the sky was grey, threatening rain but we sat outside.

Steve had chosen the Zoga Beef; in a burger too and served with a slice of bacon and also with a cup of chips. He was telling me that his wife wanted to leave; they’ve been together 33 years and tonight was, or would have been their anniversary.

The burgers were good, and easier to talk about; he had a whisky with his.

I don’t like whisky and I talked about that too, but, inevitably….

“I’ve been Feng Shuied”.

I had to ask him to explain.

“Apparently I’m clutter.”

I’ve known Steve for 33 years too, it’s his sister’s anniversary also; September 1985 we went for a walk together and have been walking together ever since.

She’s not here tonight, she’s in Paris and I know she knows; she had this conversation before she left, before me.

And the questions are not far away.

Will she come back?

How much wanted space do I take up?

Etc, etc; I won’t bore you.

Like I said, I’ve known Steve for 33 years and ‘clutter’ was never a word I would use, though I don’t live with him. 

I’ve known his wife the same time; I like her.

So what now.

Loyalty is with kith and kin, but….

Do we meet again?

It was planned for next year; she is working nearby – though nearby is very relative in this forest.

They have two children; my niece and nephew.

Or so I think.

Though my doctor questions this.

We are entwined; on the edge of their own, clearly, but it’s a mess of affection and friendship. Their son was across the table yesterday and is staying with mine, he plans to return in two months.

“It’s madness”. He is resolute in his opinion.

Back here at the burgers Steve is on his second whisky, and he is smoking; he had quit for ten months and then in one night….

“I went to the pub, the one we took you to, and I bought a round for the whole bar; I got drunk. I had a fag, what the hell and then I tripped on the step on the way out and cracked my head, it was raining. I lay on the front lawn for a while and let the water wash over me. I think I did a primal scream. Then I went to bed.”

“Not the couch?”

“I showed her my head.”

Natural, but it won’t help, and the cigarettes are just you attacking yourself; I don’t say it but it’s there on the platter with the rest of my burger.

We came here from the city, it’s an hour and a half away; it’s an easy drive on the motorway in cruise-control, we didn’t talk much.

The conversation was waiting for later.

So we listened to music, a random collection from my play list.

When a Man loves a Woman, Please don’t Go, If you ever Change your Mind…. Stuff like that.

formerly published in The Archives.

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