Wielding my freshly purchased second-hand Gatsby, I pull up a seat at the bar.
The barman gives me a quizzical look but I’m not unmoored. Having lived in New York City once upon a time, I learned there is always someone who looks worse than I do.
Armoured in my blue jumper (discounted), jeans (discounted), trainers (discounted), peacoat (discounted), grey knit cap (discounted) and striped wool socks (full price), I order.
“One beer please, Mr Barman”.
One beer is placed on a black napking before me.
A man sitting two stools to my left causes a great stir. “Fuck! Fuck!”
He must be watching the ponies, I say to myself.
“I’m sorry,” he says, pointing to the football match playing on his miniature screen.
Ah, of course, the Copa Del Rey. The poor fellow is a Madrista.
I assure him he has caused no commotion. For a moment I contemplate if, as a Spurs supporter, I should empathise with him. I leave him be, content enough to flip through my Gatsby.
I wonder, Should I read Gatsby during or after I read the Fernando Pessoa biography? That’s a thought for later. I must go.
I quickly finish my beer and return to the frigid mid-Atlantic air.
At the Trader Joes I purchase two days’ worth of rations: portabella mushrooms, mixed greens, two salmon filets, a frozen BBQ pizza and a $4.99 bottle of red wine.
Walking to Eastern Market Metro Station I realise the bottom button of my discounted peacoat has wriggled free. I pick it up, place it in the inside pocket of my peacoat and create a mental note to revisit the dry cleaner tomorrow.
Protrudring from the south-southwestern horizon of Eastern Market is the domineering US Capitol dome, inescapable in its amazing sight. How I would rather walk its gardens and stand by the frozen pond, staring at the frozen glass.
How I would rather cast the world aside and not hear a single sound but for the crumpling of snow under my discounted trainers. How few sights I’d rather see than snow resting on barren branches.
I think to myself, It’s only a five minute walk from here.
Having wish-casted enough, I slink into the tube and am jettisoned back home.
I flick on the lights, place the grocery bag on the table, throw my peacoat on a chair and throw myself onto my bed.
Only twelve hours ago I had awoken from this very spot, irascible and irritated. Little has changed since.
I stare at the ceiling and comb my fingers through my hair, like my mother used to do when I was a youngling.
After a moment I bring myself upright again, move to the kitchen and preset the oven to 450F. I unpack the frozen BBQ pizza and unscrew the $4.99 bottle of red wine.
A brief moment of inspiration strikes me, and so I flip through my records until my index and middle fingers land on my favourite.
I pull it from the shelf, place it on the slipmat and step away to pour the red wine into a glass.
I step back towards my second-hand turntable, place the needle on the black vinyl disc and close the lid.
Fitzie’s track of the day: Redondo Beach, by Patti Smith
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