December: Excerpt from the first chapter
Cole stood near the pinkish armchair. This is where it takes place. It is placed here: here and now. Where is that: ‘Here and now’? My thoughts? My mind? The world? No, the here and now are in this living room: white walled, pink furnitured, with a flat-screen TV, an old fireplace, with the door closed and the curtains pulled shut. Right now the ‘here and now’ is Sheila’s living room. Right now, the here and now takes place in Sheila’s house in Plymouth, England.
Cole flipped the flap of his bag shut. Here and now I am packing my bag with books. My black computer bag I am packing with computer, a thermos of coffee, a snack, a bottle of water, and books. Leftovers and used items. My bag runneth over. A dream come true: owning a shoulder bag. A heavy shoulder bag. Here and now I am getting ready to go out while Sheila sits in her chair, watching me pack.
“I’m going now,” I say to Sheila. My landlady Sheila, who is eighty-two and white-haired, who sits and smiles and watches me prepare to leave. She reminds me of Becca, a former girlfriend; orderly and straightforward.
“Alright, my love.” She says, and she smiles in that pleasant way with wrinkling cheeks and wishes for my pleasant evening. But is that her gaze I feel which makes me feel bad for taking off? Here and now I leave Sheila alone in her pinkly sofa’d living room and shut the door behind me. That took a while to learn; always shut the door. She told me almost daily ‘shut the door behind you.’ And she said that saves on heating. Living room door. Inner door. Have to heat fewer rooms if the doors are all shut. Saves money. Saves Energy. I go out the front door and shut the door and lock the door. Outdoors there are no doors to save money on heating, just a cold gray landing, damp and blackened by rain.