I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Totentanz


I am dancing with Elsie the Discontented, a woman given to accusation and  condemnation, who feeds on argument and whose bitter voice rises in all conversation. Elsie is a virago. She manages the photographic department and is ever at odds with me and other junior employees on the editorial side.

As we move round this otherwise empty dance floor I imagine her more normally, tensing as I enter the company's vast store of photo negatives, preparing to disagree.

We are not dancing to music but to fragments of verse with Welsh associations:

Waking slowly into the hangover that is Wales.
Ap blue jawed,
Ap regretful.


How can Elsie have agreed to this? She says nothing and her face is neither happy nor unhappy. Austere, perhaps? Yes that will do.

This must be set in 1959 when I was twenty-four and she fortyish. The ages and the gap are significant. Then, age tended to carry authority and that put me at a further disadvantage. Made up, her face is nevertheless worn and irregularly discoloured. As was the style then, her lips are always lipsticked: a deliberately artificial crimson. Her black hair, possibly dyed, is tightly permed, a smooth dome in the centre, surrounded by a lifebelt of curls.

I am in awe of my situation. For a short period Elsie's anger is at rest and her presence lacks menace.

But I am a time traveller. This inexplicable event is being re-created in 2014 and Elsie is almost certainly dead. I suppose I have finally won the undefined argument, if briefly. I'm not inclined to celebrate.

10 comments:

Lucy said...

Glad to wake up?

Roderick Robinson said...

Lucy: I loathe accounts of other people's dreams, regarding them as cheat-prose, stories without rules. I wondered if I was capable of transmuting the base metal of a dream into something more valuable (not gold, of course, but copper perhaps, even titanium). I worked hard but it seems I failed. Eight people visited but only one (excluding me) left a spoor.

mike M said...

"Subconscious desire, late manifest"...that's what I thought.

Roderick Robinson said...

MikeM: If that's what you think, I'm forced to agree.

Lucy said...

I don't know. Yes, dream accounts can be what you say, but I didn't see this one that way, I suppose partly because it fits with the mood of the moment, the way past and present, the dead and the living, are sliding in and out of view, somewhat confounded, and how our awareness of past times and past selves, people remembered and forgotten, absent and present, lost and found, are combining to make us uncertain and vulnerable. Seems to be happening a lot just now, I get the impression.

I enjoy the atmosphere of it, and I really like that weird little fragment of Welsh verse, which I had to check wasn't Dylan Thomas in a puckish, Land-of-my-Fathers-well-my-Fathers-can-keep-it mood!

Transmutation effected, I think.

Stats, and even comments, are no measure of anything, you should know that by now, though we none of us really quite believe it, do we?

Ellena said...

Difficult to celebrate when we realize that winning lead to empty, dull, without.

mike M said...

and what the heck does Ap mean here? Son of?

Roderick Robinson said...

Lucy: Gosh, your second was therapeutic. In attempting to break away from charges of wimpishness that accounts of dreams may arouse, I added waking reactions to memories of the dream just past. Thus I am out of control and in control. I thank you for your judgment but yours isn't the only possible reaction. MikeM sounds positively enraged by what I have done. I must make amends.

Ellena: I think I have it... Yes I might just.

MikeM: Ap - what else? My next post may be more acceptable.

Lucy said...

Furthermore, I've finally got around to downloading 'Gorgon Times' onto the Kindle for the journey, though I admit it may be for the return one, since I've also treated myself to a Joanna Trollope, rather in the same spirit as I will allow Tom a Mars bar for breakfast on the way back from the station at 5 am. Also, I listened to the Mozart twice over the other day and it is truly lovely and uplifting. The rondeau is indeed lively and appealing, but I am essentially a slow-movement person, and this is no exception.

I could have e-mailed you with this, but I thought your blog looked like it needed cheering up.

Are you sure Mike's enraged? He doesn't look too enraged to me.

mike M said...

I wasn't enraged. Perhaps "heck" was too brutish a word. Sorry!