Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Good Afternoon

And my name of A Good Afternoon will live in your memory until memory fades. For years you will whisper that it was “A Good Afternoon”, and your eyes will sparkle with the recollection. You will sit at the bar of the pub round the corner from your flat and say, “Hey mate, did you ever know A Good Afternoon?” And he’ll say sure. Maybe he’ll think of a golden afternoon on the lake with him rowing and ducks quacking, or maybe he knew a girl called A Good Afternoon, or a song or a poem or a band of that name might be the thing that he recalls, but he’ll nod and say sure and try to remember it before he slides off his bar stool to stagger home.
But for you there will always be a crispness to the name and to your memory of me. It will not fade. Tomorrow you will wake with it, and the next day, and the next. It will not tarnish with time. If anything, as long as your mind is intact, the recollection will grow more and more poignant.
And you can pay for this privilege of having known A Good Afternoon now, or later.
How you will make this payment remains up to you.
It will never be up to me, and you can open the door that leads to me as often as you like, but for each time payment will be due.
I mean that you will be plagued with the memory of me, the sweetness of it will burn the heart like cinnamon until you make music of me, or poetry, or tight little packets of data swimming through digital channels or even sugary confections. As I said, you will choose how to pay, you will pick the currency, but pay you must, now that you know me, A Good Afternoon.
Your debt will be carried over even into the next life. After your memory of this life dissolves and the body you thought of as you grows cold, the terrible tingling tremble of your debt will remain. It’s best to pay it in this life before moving on. You can always open the door and know me again in the next if you choose.
Your debt may also move backwards through time so that as you sit tying your gym shoes for PE time at age 12 you will feel the ache and throb of your debt. It will make you want to run away from home and join the circus or form a rock and roll band. It will make you want to paint murals on the sides of the gymnasium. It will drive you to run up to that girl and say,
“Hi. We can live forever for a moment together, I must share with you A Good Afternoon.” Or you might shout, “Bye bye to the Blair potato son.”, or more reasonably, you might manage to stammer, “I wanted to know if you want to come have mashed potatoes with me for lunch.”
If you were to follow through with any of those impulses your debt would be paid. With it I will experience a renewal as another learns to utter my name in ecstasy and grief.
Then you will be free to leave off my name and my memory. But until you pay, you will wake at 6:15 each morning on fire with the desire to share me and if you are too selfish, too frightened or too particular to pay, then you will grow old, still owing. And so haunted by A Good Afternoon you will eventually blow away like a leaf into the next world, ready to pay, but no longer graced by the remembrance of what it is you are paying for.

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