Talk 21 – Apples
No cigarette for me, thank you. I quit.
I never took you for a quitter.
Before I eat I want you to tell me what you know.
Every day is a gift.
That’s all that matters now. No fancy names or graphic illustrations of his internal organs will do you any good. You are here to make him smile. Do your job. Cry at the funeral, get drunk, and live your life in his honor.
There is nothing that can be done.
We are gypsies but we are not idiots. Nor do we live in the Stone Age. My uncle is the head of a hospital in the city. One of the best. He knows everyone. For the past three months we have been ferrying him to every clinic and alternative healer between the two oceans. We have spared no expense. I have held his hand through countless treatments and listened to doctors tell me in their cold cautious manner that there is no hope. If I was a drinker I would be bathing in brandy. But I find cigarettes a better alternative.
I knew you would. Now eat, take a walk, and go back in there.
I don’t need a walk.
We will be changing his diapers. Unfortunately I will remember those graphic moments. But you can skip them so you can remember him the way he was. You will be better at your job of smiling that way.
No buts this is a direct order. Don’t make me have my other brothers drag you out. We love you, you know. You are family.
I am not hungry any more.
That is all fine. The food will be here when you are. Now give us half an hour.
I don’t see the old outhouse.
It was filled. We are yet to dig out a new one. Until then just walk five minute into the woods and become one with nature.
There is paper on he table outside.
I saw it. Everyone is gone.
They went for more brandy. They’ll be back.
I have never quite admitted to myself that I love it here. The way the grass brushes on my legs. The wall of trees. We have made love among those trees so many times. And now, no more. Memories. Now I am pulling my skirt up for other reasons, alone. The smell of wild mint is uplifting. I miss you. I miss your clumsy jokes and stiff smiles. I miss you telling me to organize my closet, not to watch too much tv, when you kicked me out of the house for making a fuss over nothing. I shouldn’t be saying these things to you, forest, but some things can only be spoken to trees and rocks. They are the best listeners. They take it all in and do not judge. They are wonderful. I better come back in now and make you laugh.
Did you take care of business, fine lady?
It’s liberation to do it in the forest, the air full of mint.
I have to agree.
Go in now, he is waiting for you.
I’m back my love.
They sent you out in the woods, didn’t they?
Yes, it was wonderful.
They are too lazy to dig out a new outhouse.
The forest was fine.
I know. Well, I get away with doing it in bed. It’s the absolute freedom, not very beautiful however. What else did you do in the forest. Did you confess?
Yes, to the trees and rocks.
They are the best priests.
They are wonderful.
I have been making a list while they changed my sheets.
Yes, of perfect things to do.
Let’s do them together.
First you edit my list. Then we sing it.
I love you.
Stay focused. I want to free the animals from all zoos. I want to make everyone stop eating apples. I want to ground all planes and make people travel less and focus on their families. I want to make everyone have a drink of brandy at the same time. I want to plant a thousand trees.
We will start with the trees.
Why not the planes?
They call that terrorism nowadays.
And the apples?
Why do you want to do that?
Maybe that the governments will be forced to build more hospitals. And when the people start eating apples again there will be a surplus of hospitals and even the poor will have where to go to.
But most hospitals are private, they are businesses. They will shut them down if they are not profitable.
And the animals?
Yes maybe. But where would parents take their kids on Sunday?
That is a problem.
You are right, we should start with the thousand trees.
I want to make everyone wear comfortable shows. I want to ban neckties. I want to make food free. I want to break all clocks and wrist watches.
You are going up against time?
We have the sun, the trees and rocks. They make a clock.
I hate neckties.
next chapter: TALK 22 – Dreams
previous chapter: TALK 20 – COLD LOVE
all chapters: TALK
more by PETER ODEON
photograph by Katerina Pavlickova