Day 1 in the Season before Chaos
These were the days before the glitch. The weather was acutely neurotic, four seasons compressed into one week, then a week of endless rain, then another four seasons compressed into the following week, then the sweltering days that promised summer in November and the carpet of snow that covered the early daffodils.
The future bionic woman didn’t have a chip incrusted on her cranium yet. She had no idea chance was about to randomise her existence. She had no idea what the future had in store for her. She didn’t know she was going to become a cyborg. She didn’t know a quantum leap was about to snatch her up. She knew nothing. There were no signs foretelling a prolonged holiday from her usual self, just the habitual vicissitudes of climate change and the average sweet and sour twang of global city life.
She had made a few adjustments to her life, though.
She was ready to start a new phase.
On the 28th November 02, she had highlighted the word ‘orgasmic’ from a book about dreams. It wasn’t a word she necessarily related to sex or to the feel the advertising industry attaches to the surface of its products. It was a word she associated with discovering ecstatic pleasure in unsuspected things, jouissance. She had printed the word in Adventure Subtitles N Bold lower-case size font 16, cut out the A4 paper into a third and placed the big note on the wall above her PC:
She wanted to tune into the orgasmic side of life. Choose her own parameters. Dodge life’s drudgery or at least minimize its impact. It would require constant effort and vigilance, it was a juggling act that wouldn’t always be easy. Daily mortifications were always around the corner. But she now had a new project. She had decided to seek out beauty in everyday life. In a way, she thought about it as modern life’s heroism, or should we say ‘postmodern’ life’s heroism. Deleting urban jungle fallout in one stroke, postponing it, isolating it, absconding from the A to Z.
Not knowing where Yann was, she went to the garden and lied down on the grass: a head of natural black hair, a small body in a red tracksuit, surrounded by tall grass. She continued reading the book about dreams. It was called Slumberville. She identified with the main character, Eureka. It was from Eureka, a neuroscientist who specialised in dream activity, that she stole the word ‘orgasmic’ and made it hers. Eureka used the word ‘orgasmic’ rather a lot. And she soon realised it was her word. It was what she was seeking out in life: transcendent gleams which will glow amongst the debris. She was reading this book in an ultra-relaxed way, lifting her glance from the page to look at a branch moving, at a swift squirrel, at the timid sun or at a plane that left a definite white scratch across the sky. There was no sign of Miumiu, Kiki, Mississippi or Jessica, her beloved furry creatures of enigmatic minds. They were nowhere to be seen. They probably were in the adjacent gardens, their territory, living out their parallel lives, each garden presenting a different scenario for their remaining six lives. From a feline point of view, her garden wasn’t the best of all possible worlds, but just one world amongst so many others.
The grass was tall. It reached her knees on the chair. Gardening has never been her forte. Besides, she liked the garden like that. Wild. Wildness had its own inner logic that created an equilibrium or chaos that was just right. Weeds flowered and died off and brought along other startling weeds. Or at least she knew that every year different growths, plants and flowers appeared in her garden without her actually lifting a finger. She didn’t know the names of the flowers that grew in her garden. But she knew that the previous year the flowers were lilac and this year they were unexpectedly growing yellow. She had grown fond of passive gardening, just watching the lush square of nature doing what it knew best. Sometimes she trusted an invasion of poppy seeds to scatter dots of red amongst the grass and weeds, aware that hope was insufficient to call up a wild field of poppies.
She lifted her red tracksuit trousers and watched her hairy legs focusing on how the sun light was projected onto each single hair with different intensity. She liked watching the variable light, how the light hit or caressed things, heightened their reality and even turned them into ghostly outlines or settings for future psychodramas. She felt too lazy to go upstairs to the toilet and she urinated behind a semi-secluded tree, hoping that no neighbour would look out from their window at that very moment. Now and again, she liked doing that. It reminded her of childhood, peeing behind a car in the street, knowing that it was a no-no, the no of noes, NO. Squatting, she made slight movements up and down to get rid of the last drops of urine and gazed at the sun.
She lit a cigarette.
She liked being all by herself.
She strode across the tall grass half-listening to the fragmented thoughts that swam about in her head: nothing in the fridge, have to look up the dental appointment in my diary, shit, only two cigarettes left, a hundred and one socks and not a single one that matches … an orgasmic existence? Who am I trying to fool? Which planet have I just landed from? And how can anything orgasmic ever happen when my stepmother, an emissary of the apocalypse, a black magic practitioner with Hitlerite biorhythms and a taste for melodrama, is visiting me, even if she’s staying in a hotel?
Some years she had been so busy that she had ignored the garden altogether, as if just looking at it from the window exhausted her. She had recently re-discovered it. Undoubtedly, this year the garden produced nanoparticles of something that made her feel good. That was one of the redeeming features of the nation of London, that suddenly you could step outside of it all just by visiting your patch of green: the wide-ranging rat maze dissolved at the backs of houses.
Gone. No trace of it. Orgasmic.