Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Cup's Corner 1

Sidney, who had just come back from the Manette house in Soho, checked in at the wine bar he frequented and recieved a round of greetings from his little gang at the 'lost and found,' as he liked to refer to the place. He felt he required a bottle or two before showing up at his partner's house. This chore was being scheduled earlier and earlier lately as John's marriage had resulted in the cessation of the after midnight planning sessions for the next day's trials and his bachelor digs had given way to this voluble estuary scheduled in and among the artifacts of marriage. John's wife, of course, hated Sidney Carleton with a disgusted passion and only barely managed to tollerate his drunken but necessary intrusion into her happy family life. Sidney, for his part, found her trite and the two of them oriented to some of life's most superficial values. He was sure this was driving him to drink, he suggested loudly and in a rather flippant way, and was furthermore positively inclined to cooperate in that endeavor with a fervor, currently. As his friends laughed, drank, and encouraged his wise decision (as he had so eloquently stated it), Sidney discovered his mood had turned sour and taciturn suddenly.

Another force was playing in Sidney. He found that he suddenly was remembering the time, an unusual time, when Lucie had persuaded him to have a cup of tea (before he’d even had his first brandy for the day) with her as they sat in the weakining afternoon sun under the plane tree in her yard. They had laughed and talked, just the two of them as two lovers or a brother and sister would. It was such a simple pleasure, one filled with warmth and pale sunlight but it had flooded into the shadowy places where he spent most of his life and rendered plainly for his view what it illuminated there as if he had brought light into the room where a tuberculosis patient sat. What he saw, hiding in the dark recesses of his life, was pale and sickly and troubled – a mere characture of something healthy and living. He looked around him at the loud talking, drunken men as if he were watching from another room and the sound had been muted by the distance. He saw a bunch of people whom he little knew or cared for and, as he watched from this imaginary distance, he realized that they likewise neither knew nor cared for him. How convenient, he thought, and draind his glass. Suddenly he was back amid the noise and laughter and he called to the bar for another bottle.

One bottle became several and soon the earnest drinking became a series of semi-conscious, decidedly slovenly individuals who could not be roused for even the most trivial of amusing banter. Sidney’s still surprisingly active mind sat sulking in a corner like some unhappy child as the chagrin of how late it had become (and what an unpleasant confrontation it would be at John’s door) flooded over him. He found that he was starting to feel sorry for himself and hated himself for that indulgence in such unworthy behavior. So he adorned himself again in his best ‘Sidney the arrogant, obnioxious, cynical drunk’ costume and began to struggle with a decision. He wondered if he should just go home and simply show up for court in the morning or brave the confrontation with John in order to have the pre-trial planning session which should have taken place several hours ago.

Again, unbidden thoughts of Lucie came to him. Should he go over to see her? Even at this unlikely hour he would be welcomed (somewat sleepily) at that door. No, he thought, that would be a meaningless disaster as well. Everything seemed to have turned into a disaster! He was now quite angry! He arose and paid his bill. His mind made up, he stumblingly stomped off to John’s.
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