Monday 26 September 2022

Taking Stock.

Where do we sit?

Well, right now, on a stone bench across from the church, under these trees.

The trees are purple and the church is grey.

One person is saying that they wish the church would fall down… though it DOESN’T look like it’s going to fall down any time soon.

‘You know God is only responsible for the interior, the bricks and mortar are the responsibility of the commune’.

Jack didn’t know that, he also didn’t think it looked like the church was made from bricks and mortar. Stone hewn from the soul of ancient time perhaps.

Or concrete. 

‘I don’t think it’s not going to fall down any time soon, and I don’t think we will be here when it does.’

He would have liked to laugh then, but it was true.

Dan had a stick and was waiting for a hip, nobody had any teeth and Peps‘s eyes were so bad she couldn’t recognise anyone until they spoke.

’Why are we here?’

The question was simple enough, but the reason was unclear; unclear like the day, like the year, like the times they found themselves living in.

‘No one remembers anything anymore, all that they they know they, they have read digitally. Memories are largely forgotten.’

But Jack remembers.

He remembers the bank that was on the other side of the road, open once a week on Thursdays.

Thursday is market day.

It’s Thursday.

The market has come to a stop ( although someone is still selling cactus fruit) because someone is standing on a table telling stories.

She told the same stories thirty minutes ago but now she has drank half a bottle of Champagne and she is telling the stories again.

Everyone in the market is standing around the table; they are happy to listen again and the stories are also their stories.

Sometimes they even shout encouraging details.

Sometimes they drink a bit more bubbly.

And eat Pizza.

There is always Pizza on Thursday; the whole village eat Pizza on Thursday.

Jack is not from the village; he is eating a peach.

Jack lives in the forest distant and came to market looking for fruit, he is not ready for summer to end.

‘Do you remember the post-office?’

Of course he remembers the post office, the Minitel on the counter alongside the bunch of newly picked roses.

What was her name?

He could remember her face, but not her name.

Her face was the only thing he could see from the other side of the counter; he liked the way she would lick the stamps before putting them on his envelope.

Her son’s name was Nico, he wondered where and what he was now.

Probably one of the last still with memories.

The person on the table remembered a lot, just not that she had told the story about the old car three times already.

But it was a good story and everyone clapped.

Except Dan who had to hold on to his stick.

And Berne, who was holding a David Bowie disc, ready to place on the turntable.

Electricity was flowing impatiently through the cable that stretched from the Library, just down the street from the bank that no longer was.

Berne was patient, waiting for the applause to finish.

He was thinking about the library and when it was upstairs in the room at the end of the corridor, and downstairs was still a school where children slept in the afternoon on camp beds in the basement.

And when the garage opposite still served petrol and mended cars.

The pump looks lonely today, and the workshop doors are shut tight. 

‘How many versions of the hotel do you remember?’

Jack thought about it; when there was a shop and a bar, then when there was no bar but hot air balloons, then when there was a bar and no balloons, and then she ran off with him leaving the other him and they got divorced and left, and then the dogs, and then the people who are selling it now. 

The times when people came from the valleys around to dine on wild boar were not his memories but those of someone even older who had passed them along.

Or someone who had eaten there at the time.

Who would have been older.

‘No one will buy it.’


‘Who would want it?’

‘I’d like it but I don’t have the money’.

‘Those who have the money don’t want it, and those that want it don’t have the money’.

Jack was neither, he had the memories and that would do him fine.

And then one day there wouldn’t even be that.

He stood up.

Another table was being set up and boxes of pizza were appearing from every corner.

He waved goodbye and set of up the hill to the forest.

He hated pizza.

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