37: French Doors – Opening

I am in the library of the house that waits for me in the afterlife, sitting in one of the old-style chesterfield sofas, in the safe and sacred space that in my idle and involuntary waking dreams I come to almost daily. My childhood Encyclopædia is here, but now no longer worn and battered, but crisp and clean, together with all the other books I have ever read or touched or merely glimpsed in bookshops. And this large room, with its tall, tall windows and mezzanine level, has French doors that lead onto a garden with a pergola and bamboo, and further off, a summerhouse which, in these dreams, I have as yet to visit. There must be some garden chairs somewhere, but I have yet to find them and put them out. I think I can do that, if I want to, so I shall bide my time, and maybe I never will do this, not in my dreams, but I will wait until I am really here, when I know that at the end of my afternoon sitting out in the sunny garden, I will never again have to return to the world of my old life, the world that was for all those years the most awful source of the most awful despair, with its disappointments and endings and things wearing away, and people falling sick and dying, where everything and everyone eventually gets left behind, whether we want that or not.

There are fretwork covers made of polished hardwood that hide the cast iron radiators which, lined up in a row under the tall, tall windows, nev­er need to be turned on because it is always summer, and I do so like the intricate patterns of the fretwork. I cannot yet hear the conversations that I am having with my wife, so I worry that maybe they are not taking place any more, and that is such a fearful thought. It is the desperate hope of those renewed conversations taking place, somewhere, eventually, somehow, through some meta­physical wonder, that overcomes my wish to stop breathing.

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