internal relations

by uzwi

I was in the kitchen talking to someone I knew on the phone. Then I realised she had just come through the door. I said: “I don’t need to be doing this!” We both laughed & switched our phones off. It seemed necessary to have this joke between us to ease the awkwardness we felt. I was also embarrassed about how untidy I had allowed the kitchen to get. Then I realised she was upset about something. Perhaps she even needed my advice. “Do you want to talk ?” I asked her. She did, she said, very much, but instead she started to clear away the pots from the draining-rack. Her manner was so nervous & clumsy that she pulled everything, including the rack itself, on to the floor. There were broken plates everywhere. She scrabbled about in such a panic trying to put things back that she only made it worse. She seemed to be scraping at the crockery and glassware like a dog, pulling things down and dropping them on the floor. When I saw that I became frightened & got out through the kitchen window. A combination of momentum and skill allowed me to catch holds on the wall of the building–window ledges, drainpipes and other features. I was easily able to swing down from fixture to fixture, in precise fingertip control of a kind of dreamy fall. I found an old chair in the street. It was quite small and still looked good, but when I picked it up I saw that parts of it were missing, and when I put it down (on a bench near a phone box) it fell to pieces. I climbed the advertisement hoarding next to the phone box, higher and higher until I was at second or third floor level, then ran along the top of it. I was thinking, “This is exactly like the climbing dreams I used have, in which I was so competent I couldn’t come to any harm.” As soon as I thought that, I woke up.