the kind of map you would use

by uzwi

B & I are drinking wine in the afternoon when part of the sky goes dark. It’s a summer squall. Eddies of wind bully the street trees around. A single feather floats into view, makes its way across the garden & out over the wall, its weird calm transit defining a layer of privileged air at about twice the height of a person. “We don’t give in to age now the way we used to,” says B. “Age has to find its resolution in new ways.” It’s her favourite topic at the moment. “I don’t know anyone, for instance–not anyone who really accepts and understands what age means to them–who hasn’t experienced the urge to act out the coming journey.” The windows blur with rain behind her, rattle a little in their frames. It makes her excited for a moment. “Some kind of walkabout! You feel relief as soon as you get the idea. Here’s a way of recognising & accepting–& at the same time a way of being thrown by–that urge to leave everything behind.” I consider these rationalisations with as much dignity as I can, then pour her another half glass of wine & wonder what will happen to the feather. “Seriously,” she says. “What kind of a map would you use?” Then she laughs & says: “You don’t have to answer that.”