Thursday, August 05, 2010

Oil & Hay - 8

When I got to my hotel room I took off my shoes and lay down with her messages unread in my fist. My right hand still gripped the neck of my half-drunk magnum and kept it balanced on the bed. I examined the elaborate mouldings on the ceiling: the chain of decorative beading on the periphery, the stylised leaves in the corners and around the chandelier. I thought about the breach through which Lorenzo disappeared. My racing suit was soaked through with sweat and Champagne.

I perched the bottle on my belly and leaned it to my lips. The fluid tasted alive. Electric. It spilled down my chin and neck, drenching the pillow. I just kept staring at the ceiling and drinking. Finally the bottle was empty and the telephone rang.


"Mal, it's me."


"It's me."

"Where are you?"

"I'm still in New York. I was at the studio late last night."

"You must be tired. What time is it?"

"Morning here. Evening there."

"When can you come–"

"You sound drunk. Are you alright?"

"They offer Champagne to the victors."

"I heard what happened in the race."

"Word of my glory travels fast."

"No, Mal. Yes, I know. But I heard what happened."

I kept silent for a moment or two. It annoyed me that she brought it up. I'm rather ashamed to admit.

"So terrible, Mal! I'm so, so, sorry."

"He's the one who deserves the sympathy I should think."

"You really liked him!"

I paused again, resolving to be calm. "He was very quick."

"Mal, are you crying?"

"No, Mel. No."

"But I can hear it in your voice!"

"When can you come over? I should like to see you."

"I can fly to Brussels in a week. Is Spa near Brussels?"

"It's near Liège."

"Can I fly to Liège?"

"I don't know, darling. Perhaps you could fly to Paris?"

"I'll try to fly to Paris."

"I've got to get dressed for a party on a yacht."

"Try not to get too drunk. You know what happens to your energy when you drink."

I sighed. "I'll speak with you soon, Mel."

I hung up and got back on my feet.