Monday, April 22, 2013

Today's Flash (22nd April)


When the insanity gets too much I book a long weekend, jump in the car and go back to look for Dai.

Dai still lives in Aber with his English woman. Jemima is his queen and Dai's her King and they grow their own, keep chickens and geese and just love each other.

Dai lives by the bridge - well not really a bridge, the road along the top of the dam - very pretty in a put-on way, the way tourists love it, forgetting all the houses beneath the flooded valley, the crying old bones, the ghosts that are too cold to sleep.

They will let me stop with them, Dai, and his Jemima. Dai thinks I can be saved, that maybe, one day I'll "give up all that rubbish London stuff and start again to live." For Dai (and Jemima) an apartment in Docklands and being a barrister in Chancery is Blake's Satanic mills and me, I am a prostitute. I don't try to correct them.

There are places in my country I won't go. I would not come here if not for Dai, and he's older, now, Dai, and Jemima's old and I'm frightened that they might slip under the water like so much that is already drowned, like what made us is washed away.

So here we are, me with my two bottles of Penderyn (the only payment Dai will take) and Dai, Jemima and me perch above the water like intransigent beavers, anarchistic trout. "I am staying right yur 'till I am dead," Dai says, and as he points at Jemima he adds, "An' she'll be dead too."

Dai told me once, how the tree-house threatened to crash into the reservoir, how a storm ached and strained at them, how the waters below were saying, "It's time!"

"But I let Jemima sleep on," he tells me as we near the bottom of the first bottle. "She is so bloody beautiful (he means her character) that if she can sleep towards death, who am I to wake her up and panic? So I just sat there."

I love these two, but they are old now. They are beginning to fray at the edges, like fading flowers in a dusty basket, easy to throw away, easy to take to the dump. Dai wants me to come here, wants the only other Welshman who almost has a heart, to come live in the tree like him. "You can wipe our arses 'till we peg, then tip us into the 'voir, pollute the bloody water for a day or two. You know you want to."

I do want to. At least a part of me does. But then there's Jenny. Jenny doesn't think there's anything wrong with her world, anything wrong with mobile phones, SKY, Facebook, the noises on the street, the wired people. Jenny thinks she likes her life.

There's the problem. Maybe she does. And I ought to be happy. There's the theatre, good food (and Jenny), there's love and sex (whatever they are) but no kids. But I know there is something missing, something under the water, something defiant, something waiting, something saying, no, fuck it, just because you call it progress doesn't make it so.

Jenny and I were walking home from a late-night film once. We cut across the park and the moon rolled up behind St Paul's as if God had slid it there just to show it off. I stopped, filled up with the total wonder of it but Jenny pulled away muttering about the time and muggers.

Driving here, as you approach the valley, the trees begin to thin and there is more sky, usually the colour of slate, but still old, our sky. If I have come here overnight, and I arrive before dawn I park and wait for the way the light slips in and lights the flood.

It is beautiful, but it isn't wholesome. It isn't old. It isn't connected to the lives, the loves, the babies, the dying of centuries.

Dai tells me, one day it will go, the damn. One day, a far off unimagined day, the dam will fall, the villages will rise up, the bells in the sunken churches will ring again, the dead will creak back, warm themselves up and go about their business.

722 Words

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