The Linnet's Wings Blackbird Dock - Page 63

sort of barometer of my own human decency; he was just a vulnerable human being, who needed people around him to be supportive, and that wasn’t always what happened, even with me. My barometer still landed on the solitary, the impatient or the needlessly angry now and then; I was still a very young man, as were we all, but I was at leasttrying, I thought, to move in the right direction. ‘If she’s ready to give up on it that easily, Mel’, I said, ‘isn’t it best to move on? Chance for a new start, work wise and women wise?’ A sudden, loud anguished voice; he did that, Mel, not particularly rarely, and it was difficult enough in a private place. Several heads turned in our direction. ‘Oh, hell, Mark, we’ve been crazy about each other! We’ve done all sorts of stuff together’. He then started describing, in only a slightly reduced volume of tone, some of the more intimate forms their being crazy about each other had taken, which one or two of our near neighbours were showing they didn’t really want to hear. Cal then did what he always tended to do when faced with anything challengingly emotional; he walked away. ‘I’m going to the bog’, he said. ‘Maybe when I come back, lover boy will have stopped going through the Kamasutra. I don’t want to know’. Mel started up again, but Pete simply cut across him; Mel was being inappropriate to the occasion, and that had to be remedied accordingly. ‘So what’s the summer got for you, Mark? Not all work, I hope; when I saw those reading lists, I thought, you must be joking, I’ve got training and stuff. Money to earn’. Crass as it was, it worked for the moment. Mel was many things, but stupid wasn’t one of them, and he subsided into one of his deep, silent miseries, like someone alone with his thoughts the night before his execution. Pete and I talked on, amiably, inconsequentially, the kind of thing nights like this were essentially about, as he saw it. I had always rather envied him his self-containment and his ability to turn occasions into being as he thought they should be. I had gained some extra survivability of my own from him, knowing that his sort of approach would get further with most people than Mel’s, poor Mel who never really understood what any occasion should be apart from whatever he wanted it to be at the time. By the time Cal came back, having either had a sudden internal crisis or just wondered out to enjoy the view for five minutes – the latter, I suspect – the night was on much easier lines, and with the consumption accelerating, we became much easier with each other, starting to [Z[\HۈH]Y\[X\\Y[][\[\\\وHYX\8$[]H][[Y]ؘXH[Y܈[H\BX]][]\[\H[Z[H\[YKY[ܝو\ [\\H۝X]YB\[ۘ[XZZ[H[[Y\ ]XY[H[[H\Y[H[YHHXHXH\ۙHوHXY[YYH[ܙH܈\[][ZH] ]\ZYY\XY HX[\YH\H[[[[ܙH[ۙ^H[H[Yܙ8$[H\H8$[]KHܙ[\\[YY\]\[YH^H8$[HZ[]\^HZY ]\ۛH[]HXYBX[HوY[ &\HYH&HHZY &\[XXx&KZY[ 8&\XH܈[x&K&[8$&H\Y ]]H\\HYZ[&\[ܙH\XHY \ˈ]8&\^HXx&K][Y]\]]X[Y]X[HYX\و\[Y[Y[Y\K][YH\H]H[و] &Y\˒ˋ]KHۛ]H^x&\HZ[[H\K[H۸&]Z[^Z[] x&]H[^HXXBH[H[]\8$&&]H[H[&HHZY x&YYHZ\]^\[8&[&]^HHXY8&KH\H]\\X[H[Y[\[