Songs of Bliss
and somewhere to think. A hot coffee this time. He sees a sign for the cafeteria and crashes
through swing doors and down two flights of stairs to find a quiet corner where he can
make some sense of the hurricane surging back and forth in his head.
In the cafeteria he pays for his coffee and selects a table by a window that looks out
onto a small garden area. As he sits he sees Leona?s reflection smiling at him from the
wings at Snuggle's and quietly he starts to sing the song to himself again:
...The dreams we depended upon (2)
You're leaving a slow dying ember
I'll miss you, my love, when you're gone
I wish you joy, though teardrops burn
But if some day you should want to return
Please hurry back and we'll make a new start
Till then you're breaking my heart.
Sitting by the Window
Sunday mornings in monotonously familiar hotel rooms are a perfect e xpression of
the art of sterility. Stock photographs and prints on the wall. Every room is the same, a
place where colours fade to a bland shade of blue. Alex Berisa opens his eyes and takes a
moment to orientate himself. Through the double-glazed window he can hear the sound of
cars braking at a roundabout. The traffic is clearly light this morning.
In the corridor outside his room he hears a door shut followed by the plastic rumble
of a suitcase on wheels. Two or maybe three doors down he can hear a vacuum cleaner. A
television is on with the volume raised fit for the hard of hearing. He lifts his head from the
pillow and sees his reflection in the dressing table mirror opposite the bed. He is decidedly
His head is muzzy and he feels heavy and slo w. Too many miles and too many
hours. Alex needs coffee. Before he thinks about the kettle he runs through the events of the
previous evening. Signs and portents, or rather the lack of them. The streets of Barnstaple
are like those of any other provincial town; badly lit and full of leery teenagers running at
full throttle on tanks of alcohol and dope, the sign of a good night being the volume of
vomit in the gutter.
Alex spent the early part of Saturday evening in The Monkey watching the boys and
girls at play. Nothing much to report, just the usual backhanders in the gentlemen's
lavatory, rounds of drinks and shouts and bravado. Girls on the prowl. Boys burning
testosterone. Catfights and posturing. Conversation to die by. The only thing that Alex has
learned from this particular venue is that the gear is cheap and badly cut, and that his
clothes stink of cigarette smoke. The girl at the reception desk had been right in her
assessment. The carpets were a disgrace.