Saturday, October 24, 2009

Story in Two Parts - Part One - where I Follow a Man.




I decide to follow him. Actually, it is not really a decision, it is just something I do, I don’t know why.

He walks along the main road: a dirty orange bus and people standing looking at shops, the ambling pace of mid-morning shoppers. There is a small market selling vegetables. I wonder for a moment how much these people earn, they exchange such tiny sums.

We go through a vast covered market, like a railway station, where meat is sold. Huge carcasses hand from racks above giant fridges, ruby dark: there are ranks of pigs heads in the fridges below, then vast glass ice boxes of pigs knuckles, tails and ears, strangely white, all arranged along a concrete corridor beneath the high glass roof. Men with ruddy faces and blood smeared smocks wield giant cleavers, hacking at corpses or standing shouting, “pigs’ trotters, fresh pigs’ trotters”, or “leg of lamb, leg of lamb” as I follow the man, a silhouette among many.

Presently we leave, walking down a narrow street where the buildings are decorated with ornate copulas and domes though the street level is dirty and spoiled I pursue the man through a park; a small park like a square in the way that the buildings, stony, solemn press round it. The grass is soft under my shoes: I’m silent.

I watch; he stops and fumbles in her pocket for something taking out a handkerchief, but as he does so I see something fall to the lawn. But he doesn’t notice: he walks on, not picking it up, blowing his nose, and then replacing the handkerchief in his pocket. I follow him to where he once stood, easily finding there between the blades of grass: a brass Yale key, a door key.

We leave the park, I am about 100 metres behind him. He walks along a narrow road up to a block: it is a tenement and the front door pushes pen without a key. I can see him mount the stairs, the darkness of the interior, and the way the deep gloss paint dark red gleams from the light which passes through from the block back door, and I smell the sharp smell of disinfectant.

I hear his steps on the heavy stair, ascending. Then he arrives at his flat, I presume. I don’t follow him upstairs but it seems that he is not the floor above but the third floor, the penultimate floor.

So I wait there in the lobby just before the back door where a bicycle old and dusty also sits.

I hear the footsteps, as they descend. And I wait until I hear them leave the building.

I rise and mount the stairs myself. There are two flats on each floor. I reach the second. But which door? The first door is newly painted, the surface dark red, and gleaming. The second is black and dirty. I chose the second, I do not know why.

I insert the key. I turn it: it does not turn easily. I turn the key harder, my thumb pressing against the brass of the key: the lock clicks open, I enter.

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