Thursday, August 27, 2015

During the rare intervals when the English summer sun shines unobstructed it has a venomous ferocity, as though angry at having been veiled so long by clouds. I rolled up the collar of my jacket as I sat in the Hyde Park playground, hoping I wouldn’t get burned. Jackie played on a large swing with a family that I guessed was Iranian. I wondered whether they were very rich or very poor. Probably very rich.
The day before, we went to the London Eye. We had a dreary, sodden lunch, seated around a trash-strewn table by a tree, with rain falling through the branches and the leaves. I ate a tomato and mozzarella Panini that had the peculiar blandness of international tourist trap snack-stand food. Water pounded our Ferris wheel car, forming rivulets that blurred the views of Big Ben and MI6. There was Coca-Cola everywhere, in refrigerated cases along the queue to get in, at the snack bar outside, in the gift shop at the exit.

When we returned to Eddie’s house rain had leaked through a fissure in the ceiling and was dripping on the shag carpeting. We placed a bowl on the floor and suddenly the water went plunk, plunk, plunk. Greeting cards on a side table were soaked, including one of Mary, Joseph and the Baby Jesus that played “Silent Night” when you opened it.