Sunday, June 23, 2013
Pierre doesn't smoke cigarettes, but he has nothing to do and nowhere to be and it's a sunny morning and old country songs are playing from the cafe speakers and a cool breeze is blowing down the narrow cobblestone street in front of his table where a clean, blue ashtray rests next to his small cup of black coffee on its perfect white saucer. His umbrella provides a calming shade. He inhales carefully so he doesn't cough, so he can enjoy it, taps the ash into the clean, blue glass, sets the Gauloise in the tray, and stares out at the street, watching tourists stroll by, fat cats search for more fish, gulls float in the sky. He takes a sip of his coffee and its smell mixes with the sea and the smoke on his fingers. He picks up the cigarette, takes a few more puffs, sets it down again, leans back in his wicker chair, and feels the pleasant softness of the cushion beneath his buttocks. He watches the cigarette disappear as it leans on the ashtray, smoke curling from the end and hanging in the air briefly before it is whisked away. He begins to feel hungry, perhaps a little dizzy. He wants to keep feeling the breeze and watching the gulls and smelling the sea, and he takes another small puff, but its near the filter and it burns his throat, and perhaps it wasn't hunger but nausea he felt so he crushes the butt and leaves a black smear on the clean, blue glass. He leans forward in his chair, tapping his toes and flicking his tongue against his teeth. He has nothing to do and it makes him nervous, jittery, bothered. The nausea has passed and he is hungry, thirsty too. His mouth is dry. He must find the waiter to pay the bill and leave and find something to eat, maybe nap. Does he have coins? Will the waiter be angry he can't make change? An old woman approaches him and with her hands out. The skin on her face is worn and loose to the point Pierre can barely see her eyes. He has to pee. Where is the toilet? If he doesn't pee now he will have to wait until he returns to the riad. Can he hold it? He stands. Where is the waiter? Dogs start barking. A motor bike roars by. A gust of wind blows dust in his eyes. He glances down at his blurry table. He sees the brown watermark on his empty coffee cup on its perfect white saucer, the lone smoked cigarette lying in the blue glass, surrounded by ash, sunlight creeping across it. It would make a nice picture, and he takes it with his mind, and stores it in his memory with other fleeting moments when things flowed together, and senses blended as they were supposed to, fleeting moments more unpredictable with each passing hour.