On the shore of no living sea, a rabbit-haired man in an undone bowtie waits in an austere armchair of bright fuschia, its surface dotted with curls and leaves of silver damask. There is a pale yellow teacup of tea in his hand, set on a delicate saucer of robin’s egg blue.
Sometimes, he is an old grandfather in a black coat. A clown in a bowl cut. A dandy in an opera jacket. Sometimes he is a tall bohemian, all teeth and curls. An indecisive young cricketer with blonde hair. Sometimes a short stout uncle in a panama hat, with an umbrella close by. A Victorian gentleman with a bluish-greenish-brownish coat, and pretty curls. And a pocketwatch. An angry soldier with closecut hair, wearing a black leather jumper. A tall, geekish avenger in a brown suit, wearing converse.
Sometimes he is all of these.
To-day, he brushes off his tweed jacket, which hangs on the chair back, adjusts his bowtie. Takes a sip of his tea. With a sigh, he flares his nostrils, packing his nares with the salt of the surf and the crisp sea breath, patiently waiting for the girl to come out from the waves.
His black boots are off, sitting to the side of his chair and stuffed with his dark grey stockings. His feet are naked, and there is sand between his toes.
On his lap there is a book, faded and dog-eared, perched precariously across the scuffed knees of his rolled up trousers. The brownish cover reads:
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
To be continued in: The Magic Flight