Friday, November 18, 2011

What is Richard Doing Right Now?

Higgins has pulled me kicking and screaming from my bed chamber this morning. He insisted that I resume my normal schedule and should attempt to put this recent tragedy behind me. After untangling me from the tassels and placing me in the bath he began to read over the days agenda. My head bobbed a bit as I drifted in and out. My thoughts floated away from the drone of Higgins' recitation of the days tick-tock and off through the clouds to the house on the hill. The gracious home with monogrammed door mat and the faithful dog whose bandana bore his master's family tartan. The sun was just about to disappear over the horizon and as I crept up and patted the old hound I saw Richard in his study tapping out one of his famous posts. The light from his antique desk lamp made that one window glow so brightly and I inched toward it, expectant. There with his velvet clad back to me was the man himself. Pipe smoke wafted over his shoulders and even through the double glazed windows I could hear the clicking of the keys as the gems tumbled out onto the screen. I inched closer. Maybe if I could just move in close enough I might be able to read something. Closer and closer I crept, but the words wouldn't come into focus. Finally I nearly at the glass, my nose about to press against the pane, when there was a shriek! No a yelp! Apparently I had become so transfixed on trying to read the post Richard was typing that I lost track of the dog's tail! Richard shifted, the pipe fell from his mouth, and just as he was turning around I gagged, my mouth full of bubble bath as Higgins yanked me from the tub.

Later that day Massimo, the craftsman charged with the restoration of my hot air balloon, stopped by with some sand samples. I was to examine the samples and choose one for the ballast bags. Why we were choosing sand when we hadn't even settled on a cloth was more than my mind could churn through under the circumstances and I sat there, inert, as Higgins and Massimo cleared the map table and arrayed the sands in shallow trays each with a small card indicating the beach the sand had been collected from. There must have been a dozen or more trays and as Massimo shifted briskly from side to side the whisking sound of the grains on the rare African hardwood lulled me into a dream state where I once again found myself ascending the hill to the grand house at the top. This time night had fallen completely. As I got closer and closer the facade of this great home stretched upward until the glowing lights of the windows seemed to give way to the stars in the sky. To my astonishment, the door was open and I could hear music and the chatter of crowds. It would seem that Richard was throwing one of his soirees. I continued my approach, but a sound cut suddenly through the air. Glancing up to the right I could see a private helicopter approaching. As it came to rest on the helipad I saw the unmistakeable crest of Richard's family emblazoned on the side. The door opened and waiters emerged bearing silver trays aloft each wearing the familiar uniform of the Rugby Cafe. As they filed into the servants entrance the smell of grilled chicken sandwiches mingled with the scent of flowers already potent in the night air. I turned back to the door, relieved to find it still open and walked in. People filled each of the large, tastefully appointed rooms. Their laughter and conversation was intoxicating, but there was one voice I was searching for. One voice that, like the library of Alexandria, could transmit all of the world's knowledge directly to my very soul. I pushed through turning this way and that, standing on tip-toe to try and see over the throngs of guests. I began to feel anxious, even panicked, where could Richard be? Of course, like any good host, he was likely on the move pollinating each conversation as he fluttered from petal to petal. But I had to find him. I began grabbing people by the shoulders and turning them around, but I just couldn't focus. It seemed like the crowd was growing. The rooms bulged and swelled and before I knew it I was caught. Trapped in a copse of tuxedoed captains of industry. I kept trying to squeeze by, but I could gain any ground. Then I started slipping. Down, down, down between the black shoulders of the tuxedos until they closed in overhead and there was only dark. 

The next thing I knew I was staring at a ceiling. But this time it was a familiar one. Clear and crisp. I heard a thick Italian accent saying something about sand, and then there was Higgins. Faithful Higgins looking down on me. He gently admonished me for the start I gave him falling from my chaise lounge and gave Massimo the order to pack the sand samples back up. Then with a helping hand he pulled my weak frame up and helped me back to my bed chamber where he administered some warm milk and nutmeg.

"Perhaps we'll try this again tomorrow," he said. 

Perhaps we will.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The First 48

What do you do when your guiding light is snuffed out? How do you carry on when the doors of grace and wisdom have been shut to you? These are just a few of the questions you ask yourself when you find that Wasp101 has erected a wall and left you on the other side.

And while I've managed to take a bit of nourishment, my world has grown very dark indeed. As the title of this post suggests, the first 48 hours are something of a defining period in the AW101 period that mark, one can only hope, the steepest and most sudden decline. It's only after these few hectic days and nights pass that one can really step back and appraise the various ways in which life has changed.

The most striking is the overall feeling of frailty. It's as though you're trying in vain to shrug off lingering illness. Your muscles and bones all work in concert to disobey your every attempt to move responding with aches and pains that are, in turns, dull and throbbing as well as stingingly sharp. As yet there seems to be no respite to this condition as the atrophy progresses with a cruel indifference that straps me, like Gulliver, to my fainting couch.

The other great loss, as one might expect, is the loss of appetite. I genuinely feel for Higgins, as he's tried every conceivable garnish trying to tempt my gusto from out of the rushes. Yet his fragrant preparations fall as folly upon the mahogany banquet table.

I don't know where the path will lead, dear friends. Perhaps it will wind for a period then straighten out. Perhaps it will lead only to a small clearing where it ends in wavering shafts of light. All I know is that this diary will serve as the markers on my journey and I shan't let my quill run dry. Good luck and godspeed to all those who find themselves wandering this lonely path themselves.