An episode at the beach, courtesy of Nick Stokes.
Continuing the Affair, Nick Stokes enters another chapter.
Nick Stokes continues his novel, Affair. In this excerpt: Eros visits with a guillotine.
She must be wondering what I am doing in the bathroom. As am I. She is not alone. She is not alone in wondering. I always am, usually. I am always wondering what I am doing. Is not everybody? I mean wondering what they are doing? Everybody does not give a shit what I am doing, which is why I am alone in wondering it. Does she? He? They?
The Author sips coffee. The coffee is cold. The sun is rising, god bless. A child, one of his own, screams from downstairs. A ball bounces. Several thuds in succession. He sips coffee. It is still cold. Grounds in his mouth. He spits them out, but he can’t spit them all out. He resigns himself to a few grounds in his mouth. He stretches. He is unable to write more, but he is not ready to go downstairs.
Downstairs, he pours himself more coffee from the pot he made yesterday and heats it up in the microwave. The coffee comes out hot, thanks to microwaves. Very small waves energizing, exciting, vibrating, accelerating, colliding, rubbing molecule against molecule, creating heat. At least that’s his idea.
She waits outside the door. Or inside the door. Not in the door. I am in the bathroom. She is in the room. I just used the bathroom. She presumably did not just use the room. Besides her, there is also a bed in the room and maybe a few odds and ends and four corners which she is not using because she used the bathroom just before me when I was in the room listening to her use the bathroom instead of seeing the room. Then we switched. Here I am.
It is as if she knew what he was thinking before he thought it; electrons are fast but not that fast. He checks the timestamps. Her reply is timestamped earlier than his original message by two minutes. The only logical explanation he can think of is she is in a slightly different time at school, that his time at home is warped and school is always two minutes ahead of home…
He left all his sticks. Which he should regret because they are his life’s work, but he needed his hands free to open and close doors and be ready to ward off Antoinette if necessary, which was not necessary, and his hands are not hands that are adept at juggling. Instead of regretting his sticks, he is happy he left them.
I remember walking through a decrepit city. I am not alone. I do not remember who I am with, adult or child. Wife or child. Both, but only one. Both in one person, a conflation, an amalgamation, an imagination. My wife when she is younger than she is now, but older than a child, the child one of mine, no younger than now. Which child?