|Just because this is what I picture when I read this|
by: David Kinloch
From the window of the Hardie-Condie Café, I see the ghost of a rich friend of my grandmother drive down Forfar’s Main Street in a Rolls- Royce I was sick in as a child. Behind me the watercolours of stick girls walking through trees are misted blobs percolating in coffee steam. Mother comes in like Scott of the Antarctic carrying tents of shopping. The garçon brings a cappucino and croissants on which she wields her knife with the off-frantic precision of violins in Hitchock’s shower scene. Soon I will tell her. Show her dust in the sugar spoon. Her knife gouges craters in the dough like an ice-axe and she tells the story on nineteen Siberian ponies she queued behind in the supermarket. Of Captain Oates who boxed her fallen ‘Ariel’. The chocolate from the cappucino has gone all over her saucer. There is a scene and silence. Now tell her. Tell her above the coffee table which scrapes with the masked voice of a pier seeming to let in some waters, returning others to the sea, diverting the pack-ice which skirts around its legs. Tell her a fact about you she knows but does not know and which you will tell her except that the surviving ponies are killed and the food depot named Desolation Camp made from their carcasses keeps getting in the way. From this table we will write postcards, make wireless contact with home and I will tell her of King Edward VII Land, of how I have been with Dr Wilson and then alone, so alone, in day-blizzards just eleven miles short of the Pole and ask her to follow me. I am afraid she has been there already. She smiles like the Great Beardmore Glacier and goes out into the street with stick girls to the thirty-four sledgedogs and the motor-sledges. You are too late. Amundsen is in Forfar. She has an appointment. Behind me I can sense the canvases, the dried grasses pressed into their grain like eczema on an open palm. Later I will discover her diary and what I told her.