He’s a fool and don’t I know it,
But a fool can have his charms.
I’m in love and don’t I show it,
Like a babe in arms.
– Bewitched, Lorenz Hart
He is a loser if you compare him to normal standards of success. He works in a piano shop where the walls are covered in sheet music and everything else is layered with saw dust. He is a virtuoso, a player, he speaks French, he gives me drugs. He walks through the market yelling ‘I’m an idiot’ in his thick accent, regularly to my embarrassment. We both sit upstairs with nothing but a blue light from the computer to see by.
‘I want to try something’ Adi says in his thick Eastern European accent. ‘I want to try to talk with out speaking’.
‘Your mental’ I say.
‘No more speaking’.
He puts his hands on the side of my face and I wonder if he’s going to kiss me. Then he lets go, now he is sure he is my only focus. I look at him, in his dark eyes and think ‘you’re a pervert’. I can hear what he’s saying to me, he’s being suggestive.
After a while we stop.
We walk carefully down the narrow stairs and work our way around to the front of the shop, weaving through pianos and many going through complicated alterations by Trevor, the owner. We sit and the front of the shop and open a massive fake book I keep at the shop. I know what number the song is I want with out looking I sing it so often. I dump the book onto the piano’s music stand and wait for Adi to give me his full attention impatiently. The two of us look odd together, a nineteen year old with badly dyed blonde hair and tall late-twenties Romanian who wears tweed suits. Eventually he sits down, a small crowd gathers as usual and I sing.
‘I’ve Seen a lot
I mean I lot
But now I’m like sweet seventeen a lot
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I
I’ll sing to him
Each spring to him
And worship the trousers that cling to him
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I’
Afterwards the spectators applaud and few people compliment me. Many shoppers crowd around Adi. ‘Play Chopin’ they demand, ‘Play Mozart’. He responds in his normal way by playing ‘Doe, a deer’ and augmenting most of the chords to make a hideous off key noise that still resembles the song. For someone so arrogant in his personality, he is humble when his playing is concerned. After the shoppers disperse Adi is given permission to go home and he helps shut up the shop.
We go to the little area between where the stables end and the rest of the market begins and I give him one of my cigarettes. The market has been closed for a while, I’m normally around after closing. It’s like being in an oversized shop after hours. The giant robot that fronts Cyber Dog shines in the moonlight and we hear noise from inside The Cuban Bar, the only place that stays open this late. It’s expensive, we don’t drink there.
Adi lays a tissue on the top of a bin, then rolls the cigarette between his fingers so all the tobacco falls out on to the tissue. He then does his usual ‘look left, look right’ and when he is satisfied no one is around he produces a small bag and mixes the green in with the tobacco. He then fills the cigarette back up with the mixture.
We head to the park, and stop of at ‘Camden News’ to get two cans of K Cider each. A really dirty drink, at 8.4 percent alcohol.
Adi sits on a bench and I join him. We light the joint and smoke it very fast as the paper burns quickly. Nothing happens for a while. He puts his arm around me and tells me about the politics in Romania. After a while the lights on the houses surrounding the park shine brighter.
‘Those lights look happy’. I say.
He responds by trying to convince me the moon landing isn’t real. He finally stops to say ‘Can I kiss you?’
‘No’ I laugh.
Flip on a switch, and everything’s fine –
No more lips, no more tongue, no more ears, no more eyes
The naked blue angel, who peers through the blinds
Disappears in the gloom of the mirror-blue night
‘Mirror-Blue Night’ From Spring Awakening
After sitting in the park for a while Adi and I get cold and decided to walk up to Loving Hut. Max and David are meeting us there. They disappeared about three months later and I never saw them again. My feet feel numb and free as I walk along the pavement. It’s dark and the windows of shops near the market shine and look like they are sleeping. After a few minutes of walking, as we get nearer to the restaurant, all the shops are like any others in London, chains that you can find anywhere. We pass the Argos where I saw an old Muslim lady get pushed out of a car and left outside the front of the shop to beg. There is the Waterstones I sat down in to call the NSPCC after I saw a man coercing along a young girl with long dark hair and a pink puffer jacket who looked drugged. My feet feel like they are folding in on themselves.
We turn into Loving hut.
On the wall Supreme Master TV is playing its footage. ‘The leader’ in a pink dress is talking about aliens who want to takeover the planet and how we should all be vegan. We always ignore the propaganda, or watch it to laugh at it.
The food is good, and you can pay as much as you like for it, so we go there often. The inside of the shop is a glare of white and metal.
I cannot move the way I want to, so I am grateful that the room is small and easy to navigate. We sit at a table near the door where Max and David are waiting. They are gay, and in love with each other, but not partners.
We wave to the man behind the counter who’s name I never knew and asked for tap water. From the look of us it was obvious we wanted tap water.
My feet buzz. My body feels like it is moving when it is not. It is hard to move my fingers apart and I constantly have the sensation that my nose is running even when, after asking for a mirror I know it is not. David provides me with a mirrored tile, the kind you use in bathrooms.
‘I didn’t expect you to have a mirror on you’ I say.
‘You don’t know want to know why I do’ David says and then starts to laugh.
David is skinny and badly shaven, Max is a little bigger with bordering on ginger hair. Neither have a specific aesthetic of dress sense.
Being stoned we all decide to get the vegan Chinese buffet. What would normally be simply pleasant food, now becomes an attainable dream. Fulfillment can be achieved by stuffing my face with people who were to preoccupied to care. Sleeping with Adi could also bring fulfillment, but I am too distant from internal thoughts to work him out.
My plate was pilled with rice and bean curd made to taste like moist beef. I only eat with a fork. I have a few mouthfuls and then feel hot, and claustrophobic, and needed to smoke more. That happens sometimes.
‘I’m going for a quick fag’. They laugh at my use of the word.
‘Hurry back’ I don’t know who said it, the voice was English, so not Adi.