Man in Wood

Man in Wood
chapter - Eva and Ade

Monday, 5 July 2010

He doesn’t sleep

He doesn’t sleep. Later he has to see his father and he is afraid. He knows the questions that will crop up. ‘Wayne you got a job yet?’ ‘I’m writing Dad’ ‘I mean a real job?’ ‘I work in a bar’ You still drinking?’ ‘Not really’ ‘Drink will be the death of you’
His mother will be sitting in the couch opposite listening to our conversation with the huh-huh and humming from time to time, strange agreeable sounds to his father’s advice, occasionally breaking out to an old gospel number like ‘My father house’ to increase the guilt. His guilt.
Another reason he was afraid of seeing his father. Father was not at all well. He was stricken by tuberculosis caused by chronic bronchitis and in certainty could go any time. The doctors say its ‘touch and go but he should be alright’; whatever the heck that meant. “What exactly does doctors get paid for” he pondered. ‘Bloody doctors’ he says out loud.
He steps out of the bed and leaves his sleeping girlfriend. He sits on the bed edge for a while staring at his feet. His right foot had a lump the size of a golf ball. Cancer he thought.
It is 4.24 am. She mutters his name “Wayne” he remains silent. “What you doing?”
He says nothing. At 4.26 he leaves the room.
There is a half bottle of port in the kitchen cupboard. He contemplates before deciding on coffee. He takes his mug into the living quarters and picks up a couple of sheets of A4 from the desk where an empty glass with a whiff of scotch from the night before remains. He reads what he wrote the on the sheet.
Title- HE DOESN’T SLEEP. Underneath this bold yet inane intro is intangible scribble that he does not quite understand. He sits down at his desk and fishes for a biro in his nearby rucksack. He knew what to write; Wayne have you got a job yet?’ ‘I’m writing Dad’ ‘I mean a real job?’ ‘I work in a bar” “‘You still drinking?’ ‘Not really’ ‘Drink will be the death of you’
A storm a brewing it is a matter of time before the rain falls in buckets. Wayne continues to write. He writes about his mother singing the gospel hymn ‘my father house ’whilst he speaks about employment and alcohol with his father. He writes about the inconsequential comments of doctors and his hatred of them. He then lays his pen to rest. Feeling like a cigarette he creeps into the bedroom where his sleeping girlfriend lays and sneaks into her handbag for a Marlboro light. He rips of the butt of the cigarette, cutting away the light from the Marlboro, as he fires up the cigarette a voice from the corner of the room says “ I’ll have one and a cup of coffee too.”
He turns to find himself facing a man of such magnificent stature he is almost blinded by his presence. The man is soaking wet but shines like the sun.
“You’re an angel,” Wayne declares.
“Yes I’m an angel. A exhausted, overworked, soaking wet, absolutely knackered angel who could murder for a cup of coffee and a Marlboro, but not the light kind…
“I rip the ends off”
“I do the same”
Wayne remains seated diminished with astonishment. The angel sits down on the arm of the sofa.
“An angel who drinks coffee and smokes. Now that’s really something”
“ Nothing wrong with a good cup of coffee and a damn good cigarette” says the angel.
“No of course not” Wayne replies. “ But where’s your wings?”
“Cliché” Says Angel “ the wing idea comes from the notion that we fly but we don’t fly we just appear. Wings… I hate them.
“Right” says Wayne.
They sit in calm for what seems like forever ever.
“Look, you gonna get me this cup of coffee and a cigarette or what?
“Sure thing”
Wayne leaves the room looking back once to check if the angel was still around.

He doesn’t sleep. Later he has to see his father and he is afraid. His phone rings. It is 4.24 am. He leans over his sleeping girlfriend to answer.
“Hello son”
A long and telling silence follows.

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