David in the Rain by Féilim James

HIM

Here is David. Here is rain. A sopping wet suit adheres to his dark skin. He mulls. Mulls over a conversation moments old. It is night. He is in the city. It is Friday, sounds swell. Tall and lean, twenty-seven, he marches on, mired in thought.

HER

Her house he comes from, his lover, ex-lover now he supposes, a work colleague, her married anyway, David seven years her junior, Sandra her name, fair-haired, pale-skinned, an executive in the firm, her husband high-up in a different firm, a man of hubris who keeps a diverse collection of musical instruments, unaware nonetheless of what was being done on one of these when he was away, his wife being penetrated by David on his sumptuous, black grand piano, having said her husband was far too besotted with the thing and so she desired to defile it, wanting also to hear the music her buttocks would play on the keys, rocking back and forth from David’s perhaps over-zealous thrusts, the music dissonant and grating, him not quite understanding the fetish but going along with it anyway, as he is wont to do.

INTERIORITY PEEK

David doesn’t really know what he’s feeling, which makes him angry. The water trickles down his neck as he heats with frustration, irked at the manner in which Sandra severed ties, her levity and apparent indifference. He is vexed now at the acknowledgment that it was this very imperviousness to consequence that so drew him to her in the first place.

STATISTICS REGARDING THE BRIEF DALLIANCE OF DAVID KIMANI AND SANDRA O’HARA

  • 3: the number of months they have been engaging in regular sexual intercourse.
  • 63: the number of times such sexual intercourse has occurred.
  • 4: the number of occasions David ejaculated too early, resulting in mild embarrassment on his part, and pensive hmm’s from Sandra.
  • 9: the amount of times David ejaculated far too late, resulting in strained post-orgasm silences on his part, and mild to moderate agitation on hers.
  • 25: the number of occasions Sandra did not reach orgasm, most resulting in generous offers of a finger-finish from David, all of which Sandra refused, though not without a note of passive-aggression in her voice.
  • 12: the number of instances the pair engaged in coitus in Sandra’s conjugal bed. Both parties often noted privately the increase in aggression on such instances, concocting different explanatory theories for this, all pertaining to their subconscious minds.
  • 14: the amount of times unprotected intercourse took place, for the most part when Sandra’s husband was away on business trips, leaving time to clean away any stains born of leakage.
  • 16: the number of instances of anal penetration, divided evenly between both parties, penis for Sandra, finger(s) for David.
  • 7: the number of times David’s ejaculate was received by Sandra’s mouth.
  • 3: the amount of occurrences same was received by Sandra’s anus (including on the night in question).
  • 1: the number of household items in the O’Hara household destroyed as a result of the affair. A polished vase adorned in an ancient Celtic design, smashed as a result of a flailing female foot. Excuse provided to husband: she knocked it over while yawning, bored in his absence.
  • 3: the number of instances that, to David’s astonishment, Sandra would lower her mouth mid-blowjob, cool as you like, from penis to anus, there to perform a brief but intensely measured rimjob.
  • 0: The number of times David reciprocated this daring act.
  • 2: the number of occasions the pair went on semi-public dates, always in near total silence.

THEM OTHER HIM 

The following is an account of the conversation between David Kimani (27) and Sandra O’Hara (34) at 404 North Circular Road, Inns Quay, Dublin, at 9:21pm, Friday, the 8th of September, 2028, as recalled by David ten minutes subsequent to the cessation of the conversation.

Started with something like, some indirect mention of him while you were in the kitchen afterwards, something about the toaster and him being away, her saying yeah her blurting out that this can’t last forever and it might be better to nip it in the bud, and you thinking what bud I’ve bloody nipped your bud well and good at this point, but then that sinking feeling as you utter some confused words, her saying well it was fun but I love him, and you thinking yeah but it’s not like I love you, before merely saying I know, yeah, and her stiffening herself, business-like, such strong eye contact it’s almost painful at times, looking at you, yoghurt in hand, spoon in it still, saying I don’t think we should continue with it anymore, as you ignored the sinking feeling, replaced it with a screen of numbness, forced apathy, also wondering at the irony of her saying this after, yes, after the sex, unprotected cos he’s away, your cum still warm deep in her ass, fuck me, cheek of her, played you, or did she, you don’t know, you saying well all right so that’s that, half-saying it like a question, eyeing her, her eyeing you, and then she turns flippant, playful, placing your arm over her shoulder, and not for the first time you realise just how short she is, around five three you think, yeah, but quite commanding nonetheless, her being all flirty saying it was fun, fuck her, fucking selfish bitch, well no David you shan’t, shan’t fuck her no more, and that time she implied you weren’t the first in the firm she’s had an affair with, nor the first young man, could be one of your mates next, christ, her deferring again to him, him, god-like, absent him, saying she’s married to him, you replying I know, her talking quietly for once I do love him I just need an escape now and then, and god knows he’s up to the same, you asking how is that a healthy relationship, her response find me a healthy relationship and I’ll fuck you in front of the entire firm.

Few more awkward words and you left.

DAVID REFLECTS

That in the film of his life it is currently the part where a sad song plays, though with regard to the present downpour the fallacy is a bit too pathetic.

That this scene isn’t important to the film, that the contents of his thoughts now aren’t important, so long as he sticks to the script, and is suitably heartbroken, suitably sad.

That such moments of interiority being omitted from the big screen, especially nowadays, is surely a major flaw which the aesthetes must call out.

That they indeed may have and he might just not be aware, given that his cultural range doesn’t extend quite as far as others in his firm like to pretend of their own.

That he’s warm despite the rain.

That the bridge which he crosses now always fascinated him as a child, being as there are both a canal and a railway under it.

That there will probably never be a film of his life, and if there is, this series of events would not be included, unless of course he went and did something significant right now.

That there really is nothing he could do tonight for which he’d become known, barring a freak of circumstance where he saved a child’s life, or stopped a rape – unless of course he did something evil (that thought sending an icy sensation through him like some winter snake).

That he could do that, he could kill someone, many people, any of us could, easy.

That that thought is weird.

That that thought should stop.

That he’s hungry, and if he’s hungry he couldn’t be too distraught, or so his own set of pseudo physiological beliefs suggest to him.

That it’s quieter now past the canal.

That the chipper up ahead could be where Johnny Cooper was stabbed.

That the chipper up ahead could be where he whets this appetite.

That it will be.

That this sadness, felt once before in a case of lost love five years previous, is something that will probably happen again, and soon.

That there are unsettling sounds floating from the chipper.

DEM SOUNDZ

‘Hahaha.’

‘Hahaha.’

‘Fuckin mad yoke you are.’

‘Four cans and he’s off his rocker.’

‘Gerrup on the table der Lee.’

‘I will in me hole.’

‘I will in your ma’s hole.’

(The last phrase reaching David’s ears, yielding wry remembrance.)

‘Hahaha.’

‘Hahaha jaysis.’

‘What he just say?’

‘He said your ma is a fine upstandin gentlewoman.’

‘Daz not even a word!’

‘Says who?’

‘Second name Airy, forst name Diction.’

‘Airy diction? Wha?’

[Will I won’t I will I won’t I you’re hungry but what if they – they won’t.]

[…And fuck them if they do.]

(Light of the chipper upon him as he near throws himself inside the door, without so much as a glance inside. Wishing he had alcohol on board. Black-white chequered tiled floor, onto which he drips. A glib, pasty whiteness to the place, so common to establishments of this sort. And the four of them, seventeen, eighteen, clad in dark shades of Nike, Lacoste, shifting their mildly bloodshot eyes from the table to watch him approach.)

[Eyes on the menu. Fucked if they do.]

HIM APPROACH

Situation Physical Sensations Emotions Unhelpful Thoughts or Images Consequences

What did you do about it?

 

Chipper. Him sauntering with affected nonchalance up to the counter, drip drip. The four young men watching. Flustered within, just get a fuckin cheese burger. Their wordless gaze like shackles on his body, stiffening his limbs, drip drip. Halted at counter. Willing chipperman his way, but not before words come:

‘How’s it goin buddy?’

 

 

Sweat gathering on skin warm-wet. Heart a-patter, hard-held breath. Muscles taut (drip drip). The world now seeming weightless, hardly real, drifting soft as cloud.

 

Manxiety. Dread. Frustration. The faintest strains of a thrill.

 

Thoughts

They’ll say something they’ll say something they’ll say something they’re lookin for trouble anyway fuck im like a sitting duck just order and leave but I’ll be here a while stuck here cos have to wait just stop be calm twat just

calm.

 

Images

Blood. Glow of in face. (Or wetting further the floor [drip drip.])

 

Remained. Endured.

Heard.

Replied: ‘Not too bad man, yourself?’ Ordered quick, paid subtly. Listened as the largest of the quartet continued, something inside you calming somewhat.

CROSSLESS REMEMBRANCE

‘Not too bad at all, just enjoyin a lovely meal on this sssssplendid evenin.’

David laughs, tentative, responds: ‘Rubbish evenin, isn’t it?’

‘Brutal. Fuckin brutal.’

Another voice booms, chubby face, dim eyes: ‘Looks like ya got the worst of it yourself.’

Sniggers.

‘I did indeed,’ David confirms, looking himself over, his arms now raised, drip drip, a tepid smile on his lips, resembling for an instant a Christ without a cross.

One of the heretofore silent members of the group, a sullen-sulking individual, lean and firm-shouldered, now speaks up: ‘Do ya say ya could take him, Lee?’

A tense silence, twisting once more David’s fretful heart.

‘Mmm… Yeah, I’d say so Christie. Black lads are always strong as fuck though.’

‘And have giant mickies.’

An abrasive chorus of laughs. David frowns before he can stop himself. Christie watches him, continues, his dark eyes unwavering from their subject.

‘Probably has a bigger Mickie than you, Lee. He’s a big lad. He’d probably have your mot screamin with that thing.’

Lee, to David’s surprise, registers no slight from his friend, keeping his dumb, drunk gaze fixed to him instead.

He tuts. ‘You wouldn’t do that to me now would ya, me black prince?’

Chortles all round. David’s eyes are wide at both the irony and fragility of the current situation. He shakes his head, breathes an airy ‘No’.

He reddens, looks around for any sign of his food. The smell of blood delights Christie’s nose.

And then David sees it. Sharp, sudden, the old familiar, fingers clasped in snow. Her blood dotting the white, drip drip. Him vanishing round the bend, unscathed. Free.

David slips his hands in his jacket pockets. Exhales. Returns his eyes, jadedly, to the four young men, the warm waters of his quiet rage smothering the fires of anxiety.

Speaks: ‘No Lee, I wouldn’t do that to you.’

He looks back at the counter, turns. Hears the hiss of meat and steam, watches the chipperman’s working hands. Feels Christie’s stare upon him, hot as the hob, as his own burning pulse.

BUDDIES AND PALS

‘Ah don’t mind them pal, they’re only messin with ya.’

‘Yeah bud, no need to be so fuckin touchy bout it.’

‘No worries lads.’

‘For here or takeaway?’

‘Takeaway please.’

‘You not stayin to eat wirrus pal?’

‘No, best be off. Pleasure lads.’

‘Take care buddy.’

‘Talkcha pal.’

‘Here, can I ask ya one question?’

‘Go ahead.’

‘Where ya from?’

DAVID, TURNING TO LEAVE

‘Dublin.’

CHRISTOPHER, SCORN-BEARER

‘Me arse.’

DAVID, IN THE RAIN, RELEASES

A cathartic fart of triumph into the sodden dark.

HUNGER PREVAILS, AS WE WATCH

Not wanting to traipse the further ten minutes home, not wanting to have to eat his food half-cold, David pulls up. Trods towards the granite steps of a building, imploring the rain to stop. It doesn’t, patters obstinately on. He sits nonetheless, salivates. Through his suit pants he feels the spread of water, doesn’t care.

The paper crackles as he removes his meal. The smell of meat and hot buns mingles with the odour of rain. Bowing his head, he launches the burger straight into his mouth. Bun, pickles, ketchup, cheese, beef all fuse in oral pleasure. He munches, savours, swallows, munches, munches, savours, swallows.

We take a step back, watch this man, here, eating his fill in the rain.

Grey steps; dark, silent building behind; the railings to his left and right acutely gnarled, strangely menacing; frail cast of lamplight; emptiness, silence save for the rain, distant shouts, distant bass-hardened songs.

And him here, alone, wet and exhausted, tucking into what pleasure he can. His eyes droop, the cold takes root in his body. His limbs tremble, faintly. His chewing slows.

YET THAT IS NOT IT AT ALL, BECAUSE

David is content. In spite of the termination of his affair with Sandra, her borderline insulting apathy to it all, the unequivocally insulting comments from the two young men, his immense dampness of body and incipient chill, and his failure to protect his mother eighteen years ago, he is content. A piteous sight, perhaps, but he is content. The warmth of the food in his stomach, the delectable, dopamine-firing bites, are simply all he needs on this the most erratic of nights. He feels the universe has merely achieved a state of cosmic equilibrium: he has lost – Sandra – and has won – his dignity, he thinks, surely, with those two brash men. Strange, strange redemption.

All of a sudden he sees Sandra’s desk in work, having been at it only once or twice. A certain feature had stuck with him, which he again perceives. Words above the desk, blue lettering on plain white A4 backgrounds:

Innovation       Efficiency      Growth           Adaptability

Accountability           Transparency           Synergy

Swallowing a lump of burger, he chuckles to himself, reflects. Told what to do all her life, and now she rebels in private.

Fuckin synergy.

The rain eases. He takes his final bite, chews, ingests, licks his fingers clean. Where are those words when real life happens? Snug on their walls, in their dictionaries, decorating their power points, cold and dead.

He frowns in the darkness, the final drops of rain kissing his brow. Then what are you there for? Just money I guess. Enough for me to live and Mom to be happy as she grows old. He shivers, coughs, stands up. Can’t take it all too seriously. Become like Sandra. He strides for home. Oh she’s not that bad, don’t be bitter.

Fine.

DEAR WHOEVER

Tonight I learnt something. The most beautiful things are always tragic.

Tomorrow it probably won’t be true.

THE REMAING RAIN

Drip drip.


Féilim James is a writer from Dublin, Ireland. His poetry and prose, written in both English and Irish, have earned him a number of awards and publications. His work in Irish (under the name Féilim Ó Brádaigh) has won seven Oireachtas literary awards. Visit his website here and his Twitter here.

 

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