|reading maupassant sunday morning (standard:drama, 975 words)|
|Author: DAVID TUMUSIIME||Added: Mar 20 2006||Views/Reads: 1984/0||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|how much a writer can come to mean to you|
There was a time when perfect mornings were 6 O' Clock in the morning emptying my medicine cabinets on the floor, trembling fingers turning over sackets for one pair of Headex or Action tablets I was sure somehow had been left over. Rummaging through the kitchen fridge for jugs of cold water to slack my throat's burning thirst. And finding that there was no boiled drinking water in the fridge, switching the fridge off to a shuddering stop and on my knees sucking the ice in the freezer, the need in my throat greater than the pain in my gums. It was only when the last drop in the freezer lingered too long, gave me a chance to look at it, that I realized in an instant the mistake I had made and I was going to be punished for; the drop of water thick milky white in the darkness of the refrigerator like a mucus drop on the tip of a child's nose about to lick it away and I ran, ran knowing it was in vain that I would never make it to the toilet bowl in time, to retch on the floor of the toilet. Convulsively, my back arched tight, my veins in my throat working and taut, a torrent of all last night's feast, unable to breath, scared, wishing the naked girl I left curled in my duvet would wake up, remembering Jimi Hendrix died choking on his vomit. In the cellar at the back of my mind a penitent boy, no longer THE MAN from last night, on his knees praying for one more chance to live. There were mornings...but there were so many such mornings...I confuse them now all with one another because they were so many. I remember those mornings instead when Ronnie was in Jinja, Sam with his girl on Campus, Eddie was in hospital sick again, Singh wouldn't leave home because his Uncle had bought one of the first contraptions in Uganda called a computer, there was no school, and I had to be alone because I was making a decade since I last stepped inside the echoing hall of any cathedral, Sunday mornings reading Maupassant. In the red armchair living room. After five years. After five years of waiting, hopeless at French, to read an English translation Guy de Maupassant. After five years of fruitless libraries' poring. Five years of Owino market weekend book stall hunts. Five years and the closest being Maupassant cameos in Flaubert lives, Zola letters, Henry James memoirs pored over hungrily. Five years stripteasing Maupassant asides everywhere in unexpected places like painting books with precious Maupassant quotes: "Like ...the younger element of the time Maupassant frequented the banks of the Seine on Sundays for boating. From this he drew a number of short stories, among them Mouche: ‘"I saw some funny things and some peculiar girls in the past when I was rowing. How many times I have wanted to write a small book called On the Seine, to tell about this life of strength and jauntiness, gaiety and poverty, of robust and rowdy holiday that I led between the ages of twenty and thirty."' It gives one the impression of looking at Renoir's painting Le Dejeuner des Canotiers, which was painted in 1881, several years before de Maupassant wrote Mouche." Virginia Woolf, the first neurotic to earn my respect and opprobrium talking about Maupassant but turning against Ernest Hemingway: "Something indeed seems wrong with the people. If we place them (the comparison is bad) against Tchekov's people, they are as flat as cardboard. If we place them (the comparison is better) against Maupassant's people they crude as a photograph." Knowing even before I ever read anything of Maupassant's and so little of Hemingway's then that the bitch was absolutely right. After five years of waiting and hoarding. Then one evening when I was not waiting, my hair unkempt, my shirt not tucked in, my shoe laces undone, eight packets of royal vodkas scattered around me, stinking from four days of not being near the shower, red eyes staring the emptiness of the first furnished flat I had ever rented and she would never live in with me, Sam possessing "one of those intricate machines that register earthquakes ten thousand miles away" to my heart dropping by and dropping on the coffee table next to the red armchair a red hardcover book and saying he would not be able to come in tomorrow. Me squeezing dry another vodka into my coffee mug and lighting another cigarette, "Fuck him." And in the night beginning to read, '"When I saw her for the first time," Louis d' Arandel said, with the look of a man who was dreaming and trying to recollect something, "I thought of some slow and yet passionate music that I once heard, though I do not remember who was the composer."' Until then all my mornings were Camus mornings but reading, "As the weather was very fine, the people on the farm had dined more quickly than usual, and had returned to the fields. The female servant, Rose, remained alone in the large kitchen, where the fire on the hearth was drying out, under the large boiler of hot water. From time to time she took some water out of it, and slowly washed her plates and dishes, stopping occasionally to look at the two streaks of light which the sun threw onto the long table through the window, and which showed the defects in the glass. Three venturesome hens were picking up the crumbs under the chairs, while the smell of the poultry yard and the warmth from the cow stall came in through the half-open door, and a cock was heard crowing in the distance," Sunday mornings forever on that Sunday with no heart becoming Maupassant mornings. Tweet
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