Still Life of Claudia

It’s a rainy Sunday morning and we just finished a breakfast of freshly brewed coffee – from beans R ground by hand and which came in a package with a short piece of product fiction involving monsoons and exotic places; scrambled Welsh eggs and Bara Planc toast we picked up at Swansea Market the day before. On the radio the announcer says “And this was the most beautiful recording of any movement I know of”; I was inclined to agree and, yet, I only vaguely notice the fading voice of the announcer listing the name of the piece and the name of the performer as I turn my attention to R. suddenly reading to me from a book about art and american food that he is browsing. I think to myself that that’s perfectly fine because most attempts at reproducing unexpected remarkable musical experiences usually fail anyway, and I’d rather have the unspoiled memory of a soothing melancholy cello. Thanksgiving has been appropriated by conservatives as integration propaganda in times of heavy influx of immigrants, he says. It was originally proposed by a lady who wanted church collections on that day to be used to free slaves. It is a holiday of reconciliation with a past of slavery. The mallards are flying high today and landing in the pond underneath my window seat with that ungraceful, duckish splash. There is a lonely, season-blind rose blooming in the bushes of the downstairs neighbour’s terrace. I imagine someone paints this domestic scene and iconographers of the future look at it and see a dining room in a converted 18th century mill as a symbol of the decay of industry in England. The abandoned stained dining table we picked up on a sidewalk and carried back home through London street years ago – wondering later if it was really rubbish or were we stealing it – as some sort of evidence of thrift or a sign of a fashion for patina povera. Maybe I would be a symbol of the unrepentant nation who invented transatlantic slavery trade. I try to avoid the unresolved – in my own conscience – subject of whether my accident of birth should make me feel guilty of crimes against humanity perpetrated by unidentified ancestors. I look at R. and suddenly I see that he is on the opposite pole of the ethical spectrum: the child of immigrants from a nation plundered and raped by Conquistadores. Maybe we are ourselves an allegory of reconciliation.


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