Water July 29, 2008Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
The Russian and I were still suffering the aftershocks of orgasm when we were both dazzled by the sunshine which had doubled its intensity to make it through our blacked-out windows – you can never be too careful – to advise us, subliminally, to take our annual trip out of the house. We got up from our respective computers and bumped into each other in the hall. Both thought of trying to pretend we hadn’t seen the other. But as extremities of our blubber came into accidental contact, we admitted we were no longer alone and attempted conversation.
“How was it for you?” I asked.
“Ze desk moved.”
“You’re a fantastic cyber-lover,” I added, my heart softening. “I love the way you do that thing with capital letters.”
“Should we, like, you know, actually go out?”
Of course it mostly ends in tears, this leaving the house. I have decided it’s the height of degradation, for example, to go anywhere without buying a shirt. Which could go part of the way to explaining my fantastic debts. But you never know when you might have to look respectable somewhere or other and what could be more respectable-making than a shirt? Once I decide it’s the height of bad manners to leave the house without buying a suit, I’ll be sorted.
So the sun redazzled and redoubled its intensity and branded the words, “Sit out in me,” in the filth of the flat’s windows. Out in the sun! What a thought. My feet lead me inexorably to other built-up bits of Berlin when I deem the quarterly walk necessary but the Russian had a brainwave and remembered that during a period of especially hating me a couple of years ago, he would seek refuge in Treptow, a suburb on the south side of the river Spree which affords all the beauties of the river itself, a huge fuck-off park and a Soviet war memorial.
Darlings, it’s heaven. Well, the war memorial isn’t, especially, but the river is. Water is such a good invention. And even better when not full of salt. We wandered through the park, whooping for joy at all the exposed flesh. “Phwoar,” I might shout, at two-second intervals. “Woof,” I might bark, at the seconds in between.
“Darlink, you must not shout ‘voof’ at every myen zat passes.”
“Darling, why not? I haven’t seen another human since 1986. I’d forgotten how beautiful they all are… Woof!”
“Darlink, zat voz statue.”
And then we hired a pedalo. A pedalo! (Thought it was easier than a rowing boat.) And it was heaven. Actual heaven. To be on a pedalo on the Spree. And people were swimming in the river, so I did too, except I had to do it naked because I didn’t have any swimming stuff with me – distance assures discretion – and it was double plus lovely, swimming round the pedalo moored to a buoy, until I got worried that the Spree might have alligators and breed tick-borne encephalitis. The Russian and I would smack each other’s hand away from the steering rod with matrimonial ease. And then pedal-paddle to the next buoy.
“Zere is nice outdoor disko,” the Russian instructed me as we reacquainted ourselves with terra firma after a hopeless dinner on a pretty-view-affording boat. The boom boom could be heard from the other side of the river. With my head still giddy at recent memories of quarterdecks, shank-painters and clew-garnets, the Russian and I trod purposefully discowards.
Teenagers with dreadlocks and rucksacks rolled cigarettes furiously. On more than one occasion, we were approached and asked if we had any spare papers. Perhaps, in their youthfulness, they hadn’t yet realised that you could buy ready-made cigarettes, thus obviating their labour. I suggested to the Russian that we might tell the DJ to make a public-service announcement to give them this intelligence (and to remind them, even if they did have dreadlocks, that there was a smoking ban, you know), but the Russian thought I was missing the point.
I asked a barmaid where the loos were. She looked at me in disgust a) because she had never before seen anyone so old and b) that I should want to do anything so conventional as use the loo. I returned to the Russian with a spiel prepared that I was no longer twelve (and very happy not to be) and this was without doubt the most miserable half-hour of my entire existence. A couple helped matters briefly by dancing in a gaze-capturing way. He played an air guitar languidly enough to do a very good impression of a scarecrow with a pacemaker. She jumped up and down as if having electric shocks applied to her feet every time she made contact with the floor.
We left as soon as I could convince the Russian he too was no longer in the first flush of youth, played British Bulldog with the swarms of teenagers asking for papers and, in one case, money, dodged past another teenager vomiting into a bush, stole back down to the river bank, threw the Russian’s and my disco shoes into a pedalo, cut it free of its moorings and let it drift away into the waters of the past.