Uit: Fallen Angel
“Rain is lashing down as she emerges from the Tube station, gusts of wind angling the deluge almost to the horizontal. A tenaciously brutal winter had relinquished its grip only with grudging reluctance, giving way to some unseasonably hot and sunny late spring days, but this meant that it caught everyone off-guard when the heavens opened this morning.
Ivy had overheard a woman in the carriage talking about the recent warm spell’s contrast to the Beast from the East, saying she had almost forgotten what it was like to feel the sun on her shoulders. Ivy realises this is true of her too, but that doesn’t mean she has missed it. Living in London, she seldom spends much time out of doors. Her office and her apartment are climate controlled to within a decimal point of perfection. What does she need sunshine for?
Sunshine is a disinfectant, people say, as though bringing simply anything into the light is an unambiguously wise and healthy thing to do. As far as Ivy is concerned, the only value of sunshine is that it casts shadows, and that is where she operates.
The problem with sunshine is that it makes people believe everything is going to be all right, and in her area of PR, that isn’t good for the bottom line. It isn’t good for clients’ welfare either, to be honest. Clients need to be able to envisage an approaching worst-case scenario, so that they can take appropriate steps to avoid it, and the most appropriate step, always, is to retain her services.
She reaches Lincoln House on Remnant Street, where the Cairncross Partnership occupies two floors, hurrying through the revolving doors out of the downpour. There is a trail of water on the floor ahead of her, leading to where a woman has stopped to shake off a dripping umbrella, this action complicated by one of its spokes having bent. Ivy estimates her to be in her forties, probably a mother of teens from the look of her; lower-to-middle-tier manage¬ment, if that. Her body language is cowed as though apologising for her very existence: someone who has reached that point in life at which she realises all the things she once thought she might achieve or experience are never going to happen. Probably been kidding herself for the past decade and a half that the kids would make up for it, telling herself that raising them was a worthy achievement in itself before coming to realise – too late – just what a wretched con that was.”
Stagnatie bij de paspoortcontrole
je bent nu emigrant thuis
in het elders
mooi woord verledentijdsbestaan
asiel verleent je een zomertuin
bignonia-ranken hangen over het hek
vuurdoorn omzoomt de weg naar het huis
een woord als een granaatappel
de korrels op de drempel –
een traditioneel gebruik
is het te gronde gaan
het verzoent je met alles
Vertaald door Frans Roumen