Diary that evening free. Traffic going past, the vehicles pulled on invisible wires of destination. A sideline. Sidelined… It meant something different. Those small, domestic catastrophes, kettle boiling dry while the stroke victim lies a few feet away on the kitchen floor. How was it the journey had vanished from her, and she had grown cold and mechanical, with no more scent of lemons, sweat or sea-salt than a speedometer in a car contains traces of moorland heather or sudden flurries of snow? But he was wry: a person is a teacup, the storm of life swirling inside; and a proprietary mole, mistaking his molehill for a mountain. It was natural to be shaken by hurricanes and typhoons, but foolish to care too much what happens after the dainty china has shattered, brittle smithereens littering the ground. Storms make no note of your address or license plate no. The pool only looked deep because it held a reflection of the fathomless sky, so perfectly blue that cicada noon. Angela had cancelled, and Bobbie moved away. She had discovered the empty centre. From now on, he imagined, he would have to live here. Existence under these conditions — well, it was forced, artificial, like those new capitals invented by tyrants or economists, entire cities concreted into swamps or jungles, whole populations displaced. Why weren’t people more cautious, he wondered? There was ever-present danger, and each moment was a story with a clear moral, like the skeleton of a gazelle decorating the edge of a drying waterhole. The ends would never meet now. There was the TV, programmes to watch and form opinions on. She had never felt so desolate. The wipers began to sweep away the first flakes of snow, and, because he was at the wheel, the car began to accelerate.

 


from the series construct (2012–present, ongoing)

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