Two Hours Stargazing
Cursing the bite of morning from atop his throne, as it prickles at his vulnerable ears, he pulls the collar of his jacket tighter, just to feel it retreat further down his neck, cowering from the cold. Senseless fingers withdraw up into folds of unsympathising` polyester, as toes wriggle feebly in his trainers, in a vain attempt to generate warmth. He scans the outlines of those who currently inhabit the expanse of the park; and he hates them. Before blurs become features, before assumptions become personalities; he hates them. There is no beauty in this place, he thinks. Beauty is something instantaneous. Beauty is captured in a moment and preserved infinitely. An object’s beauty should be obvious, unavoidable. Undeniable. A woman is attractive instantly, she is not a project of the mind in which one moulds their idea of her to be somehow preferable, scratching away any undesirable traits. If this is necessary then she isn’t beautiful at all. Not really, not wholly.
A body moves into his range of focus, or at least reluctant interest; some overweight guy moving parallel to the bench at what looked an uncomfortable pace.
— Oh of course Marianne… yah, I’ll be at the office in no time darling, he babbles making a point of pursuing the limits of just how camp a grown mans voice can possibly be. He allows his arm fall into a whimsical swing, which apparently is too tasking a movement causing a rather large bead of sweat to shuffle into motion and trickle from his drenched brow, coming to an abrupt rest and forming into a tiny salted droplet, on the underside of his cartoonishly bulbous nose. His other arm is wound tightly around a maroon, leather briefcase and clad in the sleeve of a garish corduroy blazer, bring-up-your-lunch green. He’s probably an Antoine, or a Francis; no doubt, of his own choosing. His face is pointed skywards like some hideous spherical pixie, seriously deluded as to his own elegance, as he waddles past presenting the fine oiled islands that adorned the rear of his waxen scalp.
— Bald patches, nod towards wisdom darling, it creates an air of mystique, they’re endearing, he’d spew eloquently over the sloshing spirit level of his Rosé to Marianne; Marianne would nod. Francis plods out of the radius of the boys interest, all ascot and cufflinks and ochre complexion.
The boy reflects. You don’t condition your mind to delve into and salvage the beauty in music. It was there the first time you stumbled across the velvet underground. It’s there instantly hidden in your dad’s Blues attic library. The first time you heard Hendrix, you knew it was beautiful.
A black t-shirt bearing a Nick Cave album sleeve design dwindles into his eye line. Flicking his eyes up he’s confronted by the tall rotund profile of a middle-aged man. He is stood with one hand pushing his hips forward, his iPhone brandished before him in the other; a stance of power, wealth, poorly concealed self-doubt. He looks to be a cornucopia of sham assuredness. The band t-shirt is to highlight the fact that despite being on the worse side of 45 his social relevance was not to be queried. This guy looks like an English teacher. His haughty façade probably fortified by his BA in Literature, and thirteen years of experience in reading and re-emitting the works of someone, vastly more adapt in the same field than they are, to the stone-wall faces of thirty-something teenagers, who couldn’t possibly give less of a shit about the spew drifting from the front of the classroom and over their drowsy pre-occupied heads; A daring pioneer in the arts. His hair was a carefully fabricated mess, a show of faux despondency, lawlessness. The bed-head look.
— A rise in the price of Brylcreem?!,he would scoff in disgust half way along the Waitrose male grooming aisle. He’d throw back his head, thrust out his breasts and proclaim — Villainy! Boycott the shit, invest in VO5!
— Ah, Roger! He answers his phone and wanders out of earshot his smug drawl closely in tow.
A gust whips up in the corner of the park, churning up a miniature cyclone of crisp packets and baggies and tube tickets, acquiring and depositing items from the fine selection of crap at it’s disposal on each cycle. His own distaste still lingers in his mouth. Producing a cigarette from within the pocket of his windbreaker, and leaning forward to shield his lighter from the sharp breeze that cuts across his body, he glances up to contemplate what is visible of the Wembley skyline. When people write of London, the majesty of it’s history of violence and exploitation, the quirks of it’s dingy undocumented corners, they seem to do so with the intent to deviate from analysing what’s right in front of them; the bigger picture. Why? Is it to facilitate their artsy, romantic nuances or to help them ignore the damning realisation that their once great capital, the figurehead of an empire, is now little more than a squalid congregation for the dregs of society? Or simply good old-fashioned British patriotism rearing its backward head again?
To his right he see’s a shape stoop down and turns to see a boy not much older than him re-tie the lace of his brogue, they’re an aged mahogany brown. It took no straining of the imagination to fabricate an accurate realisation of this guy’s story, he thinks. Born into beige slacks in his father’s stately Berkshire abode, he grew tired of the life of wealthy suburban comfort, and moved into the big city, to find himself. into the apartment his Father’s weekly pay packet had afforded him.
His silver lined voyage of discovery, he hoped would distance him from affiliation with his privileged upbringings. He would live among us, he would be tolerant to people of colour, and the gays, and the Eastern Europeans, and the humble working class. He would hold no prejudice for he was one of us now, a real life, living, breathing product of the metropolis. One of the common people. He rises and flicks his shoulder length blonde curls out of his vision moveing away with a sick, palpable arrogance swaying slightly due to the weight of his force-fed ego.
Maybe London is a grower, he thinks, but how can this laborious pursuit of beauty, if such an acquired taste, be considered beautiful at all. But the merit of a city does not lie in the scenery, or the infrastructure or even it’s content. It lays in the people there, the people who make it, and the capital seemed very much to be made up of the same sort of detestable idiots that can be found in any corner of the country. The park is empty. The boy spits tobacco-tainted phlegm into the dirt, stands, zips up his jacket and leaves.
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