Yesterday I cannot remember clearly. I climbed up the stairs to the rotten loft and tried to get at ease by counting the rectangles and triangles which the roof frames cut out against the sky. But a fuzziness clang to the buildings which made me feel as if looking at something completely unknown, like a velvet swamp. Why velvet, I ask myself, but I cannot remember. Later in the afternoon I had spotted the orange-blue kingfisher on the grounds of the boats-yard vis-à-vis. It perched on the wooden boat dock, motionless and piercing blue. Next, it was flashing along the canal bed and gone in a second. It was a wearisome lost-and-found day which had its climax when on Monday evening I found her letter stuck somewhere. It was outside in the yard, but I cannot recollect where exactly. Perhaps she had fixed it into the forsythia shrub like you hang up glitter balls on a Christmas tree. At least that’s the way I want to imagine it. The letter stood out white in the nightfall. At a distance, I had first thought of a pale face but then there was no body to it. When I realized that it was a letter I knew everything.Yesterday, behind her Sunday sunnies, she had already shaped the sentences for me. I grabbed the sheet of paper which was folded but without envelope.
I sheltered at the entry of an unfrequented indoor staircase and read her letter in portions, along with the interruptions of the stairways illumination. She was angry with me. Why I hadn’t answered although I had seen her fantastic future collapsing on the spot. She even blamed me of voyeurism. I had stripped her naked in a desperate situation by pretending to be sympathetic. People would always mistake intrusiveness for understanding, she wrote, but never before had she experienced such a crass behavior as mine. She definitely hadn’t wanted to talk about Saturday night. I should have sensed that. Besides, the gulls had frightened her, she had felt absolutely cornered after what she had gone through Saturday night. The barman had first complimented her on the beehive hairdo but later in the backroom he had mocked her about it. Beehives looked good on delicate European blondes with white skin, but not on dark Asians, he had said. And, most important, it always needed two girls to ‘act out a beehive’, as he expressed himself. It would pimp up the contrast of their girly, naive looks and their bombastic hairdos, which was so exciting for men and so on. Although she had felt offended she had let him touch her. At the end he had destroyed everything, including the beehive, and had split up with laughter about her embarrassment.
And when she was just licking her wounds on Sunday morning I had been so cruel to bring all that messiness to the surface and, in a way, I had videotaped her misery. She would never forgive me but she wanted that tape back. After having read the letter to the end I sat on the first stair and no longer worked the switch of the staircase lighting. I stayed there for hours, that’s all I remember. When I went to bed I put the letter under the mattress. It was in the middle of the night. I didn’t hear the Number 37 at the bus stop any longer and drifted away.