I am thinking of the office I would have had. (In matters of interior design alone do I plan so far ahead.)
I am thinking of the bookshelves that would have risen from floor to ceiling at one side of the room. Those shelves stuffed with texts running from old favourites – the Hemingways, the Roths, the Steinbecks, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love – to newer things, to books I’ve had in online shopping baskets for years but not yet gotten round to buying. Those shelves giving just a little with the weight.
And on the other wall – the way I’m thinking of it now – there would have been paintings. Paintings laid out on canvas by these hands of mine. This one of a jazz trumpeter in white suit, all Tony Manero running into wingless, worldly angel. These others, all three of them, portraits of my guitars. And this self-portrait. And this new one, finished today after getting the news, of the view of my room from behind my computer – everything monochrome except for the blue sky between curtains and the amber scotch in short glass.
That whiskey makes me think I’d have a bottle at one end of the bookcase, and so my focus swings again to that side of the room. But not for long.
The desk is where the work is. The work that I was planning for, but which I maybe won’t do now. Sheaves of paper unkempt on top of thinly-varnished pine. A laptop – just the same as the one in the painting – with a few files open on it; all of them unfinished, half-done at best. All of them waiting for me to return, to start back with my typing.
Above that, around that, behind that, the window gives way to wet grey of concrete and damp green of grass. Leaves are out on top of both, browning. Mist hangs in the air, and I can’t make out faces within it, but know – in these thoughts I’m now having – that in each of those forms there is something that links them to me. A wanting to learn, to have more crowding their minds than before they arrived. In some way, or another.
Unclear as they are, there is something permanent about them. Something perpetual. Everymen and Everywomen are the human race’s great winners, because they never alter and they never leave. They’re always anonymous, but they’re always always as well.
They are there now, outside of this daydream, and they will still be there later. Beyond some window or other. My office or not.