Jayne L, dressed in green, beautiful and sad again, decorates the fireplace with photos of the past. I gaze out from within a black and white polaroid – another room, another season, cross-legged on a carpet (I remember it blue) at an open cupboard. I see her try the pictures here, here, and here. She stands back, shifts her weight from one hip to the other, cocks her head this way, that; deliberates, remembers. Her hair is orange – a victory roll and a plait like a rope. The cupboard shelves are filled with glass jars, and the glass jars are filled with playing cards, cards of many colours. They make me sad.
Suddenly, she is across the room, at the door, leant against the jamb, an old dial phone at her ear.
<are you going out?>
(one’s own voice always sounds so unfamiliar)
“Yes,” she says.
The woman generally carries her baby in a papoose, but today the baby is in a pushchair. When she nods hello I only half recognise her – whoever she is.
There was once a young boy called Darren and… I wonder if he still lives happily ever after?
At the far end of the basement is a small window that allows, on tip-toe, a view of a street. It is autumn in this particular version of Kreuzberg. Feet scuff the leaves. There is silence both inside and out, and there is yellow sunlight in the glass. Motes of dust float in the room. The silence and the sunlight gather as a delicious mix in the base of my stomach, just above, but quite distinct from, my groin. Perhaps this is the solar plexus?
I have made a barbershop of the basement and all around, on benches and shelves and hooks, are jars of barbercide, clippers and scissors. Within the blue liquid are the combs.
A bell sings and in come a crowd of people. One of them wants a haircut. It is Darren, although I used to know him as Taps D. Many years must have passed because he is now a grown man and his hair is grey.
As his hair collects on the floor we speak in clipped sentences of the passage of time. His skin is dry and flaky and I suppose this is not so unusual for an old man.