Sedartis is full of little insights which are borderline annoying. They are annoying, because they are obvious, and it’s possible only to be borderline annoyed with them, because they are obviously true. They are the kind of insights that make you wonder: why has nobody pointed this out to me in, say, year ten or eleven.
Since joining me, unbidden, uninvited, and taking up quasi-permanent residence by my side, he has sprung them on me at irregular intervals, which, on account of their irregularity, at least retain a mild but welcome element of surprise.
‘The reason time passes faster…
‘It is very nice, this very nice weather we’re having:’ I’m trying to work out what Sedartis thinks about simple things.
Sedartis agrees, but: ‘it is also a burden.’
‘How is it a burden?’ I ask him, though I feel I know the answer already:
‘It is also a burden because it insists on our enjoyment of it. If it were raining, or grey and drizzly, or at the very least cloudy and disagreeably damp, we would both be happiest sitting indoors and doing some work on the computer, or listening to music, or having a nap, or watching…
What, I wonder to myself in a manner that brings to mind Morrissey, complete with a hint of a self-pitying whine, as I sit by another waterside — this time the almost too picturesque, too pristine Windermere — if life suddenly became real? Would I recognise most of it, still?
I had not intended to involve Sedartis in this query, but since joining me on a train from a small town outside Zürich towards my least favourite city in Switzerland, he has never entirely left my side, and he has honed to an art the disconcerting skill of hearing…
Sedartis appears out of nowhere and joins me on my train journey from Zürich to the unfortunately named Chur, making his presence felt in the empty seat next to mine, as I glance out of the window.
(When I say ‘Zürich,’ I mean a small lakeside town outside Zürich, some ten minutes along the route, where I had boarded the train, having spent the night on the other side of the hill with friends and colleagues, talking mainly about things I am only ever half sure I half understand, but which nevertheless never fail to feed my hunger for…
We wander on for a bit, and I breathe it all in: the people, the tourists, the tram and vendors; the noise and the scent and the flavour.
George, I’m beginning to realise, is telling me everything I need to know. He’s hardly said more than a couple of dozen sentences since we met, improbably and unfathomably, a few hours ago, but I know now that seeing him, listening to him, looking at him, being with him — in his presence, in no other than that simple, literal sense — has triggered in me the abundance of memories, connexions…
a surreptitious glance in a doorway: you had been waiting for me but how long? i can’t remember, i remember seeing you at the cinema and us exchanging glances (those were the days, mostly, of glances) and us not speaking, i was too shy, you shy too so i started walking across the river, there: a cafe, old style; what was i doing in there, could it be, really, that you waited outside while i was having coffee inside? or did i pop in to see if i liked it, but didn’t, or whether you would follow (but why…
‘There has to come a point when it stops being about anything, when it just is,’ George tells me, as we climb up the steep, picturesque Yeni Çarşı Caddesi towards the main drag that leads from Galatasaray to Taksim Square.
‘When it’s not about the numbers and not about the acknowledgments and not about the recognition and not about the rewards and not about the money. It’s never been nor can it ever be about the money.’
I’m a little impressed with this insight — not that it’s not about the money, that’s just stating the obvious — but…
he is walking quietly
across the bridge which spans over
his restless despair
looks so wet in the rain
and the birds in the water
have brought joyous pursuit they
have clear meaning but they confused it
he is walking aimlessly
slowly across the sky while his neglect
is fixed on the ground, such a wonderful
heavensent shower this is it is
soaking the mind
it’s a worldly world it’s a bridge he
walks across it’s a water worth in
reality only a smile
slowly he walks
the haze doesn’t clear yet in the…
When I look at pictures of myself of the time when I was as old as I am now that I am sitting opposite me at the Limonlu Bahçe, I don’t recognise myself any more or any better than when I listen to my voice on The Tape from the era.
It feels like an era because it is so remote in the past — so distant — that it might as well be an epoch. Thirty years, thereabouts. Just over a generation. I now could easily, comfortably, be my own father then. …
i had never had
before but: why not?
i was on my last twenty pounds of which i’d just spent fourteen on breakfast, so
a cocktail at noon
i got to istanbul on my own after christoph and i parted ways back in budapest: he’d had enough and wanted to go home, i
wanted to see