There is still no sign of the book. I go for a walk; it is not there. I visit our favourite cafe: not there either. I put on my best clothes, as Keats used to do, hoping it will smell my aftershave. It does not work. I am on my own this time, with no one to talk to.
Perhaps, I think, if used a certain notebook, or fountain pen, it would come back to me. I decide on this excellent course of action, then proceed to waste the next three hours deciding exactly which notebook and fountain pen to use.
Eggs, I think, didn’t Hemingway love eggs? Or was it Raymond Carver? I go to the kitchen and set about making the eggs. ‘Fixing the food,’ Carver used to call it. I smile to myself, pleased to have dredged this titbit from nowhere. With no one even to witness it.
The eggs slide down perfectly, as eggs do. Since no one is coming home, I leave the washing up in a big pile in the sink, like when I was a student. I think back to those days, how I wasted them, with nothing to do but read, make eggs, and put things in notebooks. Where are those friends now, I think. I know where one of them is. I should call him, or send him a note. Do people still do that? Now I am warm, and happy, how far off those times seem, my records melting in front of the gas fire that Squirrel left on one afternoon. It’s lucky they didn’t catch fire. There but for the grace, I hear myself say. Teaching myself to cook, one recipe at a time, from Cooking in a Bedsitter. Didn’t someone make it into a play, take it to Edinburgh? I wish I had thought of that, I think. Why do I never think of these things? At least we had records then. ‘An obscene amount of twelve inches,’ a friend once said to me, unaware of her joke. I don’t play them now. I could, but I don’t. A while ago I met a man who told me he had sold the lot on eBay. Best thing he ever did, he said. You can be encumbered by possessions, he said. Going back up the stairs, I notice there is egg on my favourite suit.