Sunday, June 14, 2009


He gets drunk again. He passes out on the couch again. He sleeps the sleep of the dead. Again.

In the morning she comes to him. They lie in each other’s arms and murmurtalk. She sits up and sees the knife on the coffee table. She stares at it for a while and eventually asks him, why is your Shun on the coffee table?

He looks at the knife. It’s a beauty of Japanese craftsmanship. So balanced. So sharp. It’s one of his beautiful things. His pen made from wood and stone. His mobile phone. His laptop. His special coffee cup from that market stall all those years ago. His Shun knife.

I don’t know, he says, I don’t know why the knife is there. It’s not where a knife should be.

They both think about this. He got drunk again. He passed out again. The warm living room, their soft place, it’s not where a knife should be. They both stare at the knife until she gets up and takes it to the kitchen where it belongs.

All day long he thinks about this. Why the knife, why there, why does he get so drunk? She probably wonders the same. It disturbs him a little because he really can’t remember. Things are not good, but are they that bad? There are still laughs. There are still wonderful people, the thought of them can make a smile. Are things that bad? Why the knife?

All day long. All day long, he wonders.

Then it’s time to go. It’s cold out but they want to go for food and wine. They want to go out and be amongst others. He must get dressed now. He thinks of his shoes. More of his nice things... and then he remembers. He is relieved and amused, tips his head back and laughs the laugh of the living.

What, she asks, smiling, what are you laughing at?

And he laughs and laughs.

Because he tried to go to bed. He made it into their bedroom. One shoe off with a drunken slip. The other shoe not so friendly. No slip. Stuck. Trapped. Struggle. No finesse with tight tight knot. Fingers fumble. Only one solution.

And true enough, there is the evidence. The shoe, slashed lace. They laugh and laugh, relieved. So him. So typical of him. So hopeless. So funny.

He threads new lace, smiling, knowing this will be fodder to make them laugh, but the fact remains, as the smile fades, he’ll get drunk again, he’ll pass out again, he’ll sleep the sleep of the dead again.


isabelle said...

lovely. well, sad and strange, but lovely.

Pure Gin! said...

this is really nice. I'm glad the foreboding I felt at the start was unfounded.

I had to look up "shun", though.

Lee said...

A perfect compliment, Isabelle, from someone whose writing I admire. Thank you.

And you too, Gin. Funny, but this was supposed to be a funny piece. But it started writing itself and it came out differently to how I thought it would be.

And Shun knives... oh my God. Things of beauty.

Y said...

Hahaha. Loved this. Now you've written an ode to a knife, you're less faux cheffy than you claim :P

Lee said...

Not really an ode to a knife, Y, but I see what you mean. I'm definitely faux when it comes to chefing though. Like it, just not where my heart is.