Wednesday, 9 March 2011

I have a confession to make. I'm one of those annoying people that reads classic books in order to look smart. We've all seen them right? That one wanky douchebag sitting in a café reading Sartre, Nietzsche or Oscar Wilde trying to look like an intellectual. So, yeah, that's me.
The beauty of it, however, is that while trying to look smarter than I am, I end up learning stuff. Which means I'm slowly becoming less and less stupid. Maybe in a few years time I'll finally go through a philosophy book without having to go back three or four times on each sentence to grasp the concept.

I'm currently reading Adieux by Simone de Beauvoir btw. But that one I'm reading just cause she was such a badass.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

A daisy.

There's a man that goes to the same café that I do. Some days I get there at six, order something quickly and rush off to work. When I do, he's there. Sometimes I get there at seven thirty, order a nice breakfast and eat it reading a newspaper. When I do, he's there. Sometimes on the weekends I come with my flatmate at nine. We order hot chocolates, and drink it while throwing the marshmallows at each other, laughing. When I do, he's there, but never for long. He usually leaves at nine thirty.
The man looks old. He's very short, with a rather pronounced hunchback, as if the weight of his whole life still rests on his shoulders. He walks with the aid of a cane, a beautiful one, made of gorgeous dark wood. He wears woolen trousers, shirts that never seem to be ironed, suspenders and those hats that used to be exclusive to old men, but now are popular among teenagers. And everyday he comes to the café, he brings a daisy.
I think that's what sparked my interest in him. Everyday, he'll get to the café, order a coffee, put his daisy on a little vase and just sit there for 3, 3 and a half hours. He always looks... nostalgic. Not sad, but behind his glassy eyes you can almost see the past he seems to be remembering.
And it makes me wonder, what is that past? My imagination runs wild. I ask the girl with shaved hair that works at the café if she knows anything about him, and she tells me he never speaks much. He just comes in, orders his coffee, and sits there.
After some time I make wondering about his life my hobby. Maybe he's an imigrant. Maybe he came to this country forty years ago, holding on to a promise of money and easy work. Maybe on the way here he met a woman; a beautiful woman. Maybe they fell in love during the trip, but were sent to different places upon arrival. Maybe they kept in touch. Maybe they sent letters to each other every day, telling one another about how difficult not speaking the language was, how exciting their new life was, how they met tons of new people at the factories they were sent to work at. Maybe one day he finally gathered enough money to go meet her at the place she was living. He would've put on his best suit, combed his hair and wore perfume. On his way to her house, he would've picked a flower to give to her. A daisy.
Maybe after arriving at her house he would've discovered she was already married. Devastated, he would've gone to a bar nearby, decided to drink himself to death, not seeing a reason to live if he couldn't be with her. But as soon as he raised his first glass of scotch, she would've entered the bar running, her cheeks red, her hair blown off, the daisy he had given her resting behind her ear; the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.
And then they would've eloped. After that, life wouldn't have been easy, but they managed. They had a few children, raised then to be honest adults and watched them leave. One year, after the kids were long gone, she gave him a cane for his birthday. The doctor had said he needed one, and she secretly saved money for months in order to give him the prettiest cane she could find. It was the best gift he had ever received.
And one day she was gone. It was only him. So everyday, instead of staying at home and remembering the sound of her singing while making breakfast, the smell of her hair as she walked around the kitchen, the sound of her laugh when he told her how beautiful she looked that day, he prefered to come to the café. And he brought a daisy. Cause he never forgot her.
I finish my coffee, put the newspaper I wasn't reading away, and get my bag. As I get up, for one second I consider if I should go over to the old man. Pull a chair, sit in front of him and ask him what is his story. But I decide against it. To hear the truth would be to kill this perfect couple I have created in my mind. And I love them too much to do that.