Calling Adrian

A few days later, I called the number on Adrian’s business card. A woman picked up. I didn’t recognise her voice. “Hello. I was after Adrian, well actually I wanted to speak to Katy,” I said.

“Katy who,”

“Katy Charleston,”

“Oh, the English girl,” said the woman,

“Yes, she’s staying at Adrian’s. I’m a friend of hers,”

“She’s not available at the moment,” said the woman. “Do you want me to book you in to see her?”

“Um, no. It’s ok. I’ll try again later,” I said, hanging up.

I was sitting at the desk in my apartment, my dissertation notes hidden by notes about Katy and her life. I felt exhausted. I called Connie. “Katy is driving me fucking nuts!” I said,

“She obviously doesn’t want your help,” said Connie, “if she did, she would just crash at yours until she got her life sorted out.”

I went for a walk. I was hungry, but I wasn’t sure what for. Some days I love the city. Some days it just feels dirty. A big square grid, made by ambitious men. And peopled by people who don’t care about one another. New Amsterdam, now New York was originally built as a base for the Dutch East India Company. Back in the days before the free market. When companies were government granted monopolies. Men in parliament granting rights to their old school chums to exploit a foreign territory. Back in the days when the true businessman was “the little guy” and the crown was “the big guy”. I passed a billboard for a Jean Paul Gaultier perfume. A corseted model with huge hair pouting nonchalantly at me. Pretty girls are always for sale. You can hire a pretty girl in New York for anything from $20 to $10,000 an hour. I missed the woods. I missed the ancient rocks carved by thousands of years of rainfall. I missed the wild ponies ambling across the moor, contemplatively chewing the grass, and sleeping in the rare sun. I wanted to walk through a wild tangle of forest and eat dark berries gathered with my own hands. I laughed, thinking that Starbucks would make me a drink with berries, a slim reminder of the world, a fleeting taste of The Truth, a bitter fruit tempered with squirts of syrup. I bought a latte and went to a yoga class. If I did the class with my eyes closed I could forget I was in the city. The air on my face from the open window was dirty and warm. I was short of cash and tempted to call Rupert, persuade him to take me on a trip, somewhere unspoilt. But no. I must not ask him for anything. If he calls me he calls me. If he doesn’t, he doesn’t.

Image: Poison-Berries by Connie


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