It’s 5 am. I’ve been up all night. We’re supposed to be. The doors and windows are open. Seeya’s body is in the living room. The candles are burning down.
I was bone tired today. And yesterday. My thoughts are largely incoherent. It’s all been broken down to human relation. Recognition, memory, how are you, thank you, good bye. If I try to talk about anything abstract I simply don’t understand. I feel like a fax machine. A modem. 28k. I wish I hadn’t bitten that egg sandwich. I wish I hadn’t used my toothbrush to clean my pants.
My cousin needs to call a Somasiri in ten minutes. He lost an arm, Seeya helped him with a compensation case. Nanda says he’d want to know.
The night watch keeps dozing off in their chairs, heads down as if in prayer. It’s just me and Bon Iver.
One of the men dozing in the garden is Seeya’s cousin. His leg is injured such that he can barely walk, but he can apparently bicycle. He came all the way from Malabe, I think twice. Some people are habitually hardcore.
As a young man in the Air Force Uncle got in a bad motorcyle accident, ended up in Negombo Hospital. Achchi and Seeya were in Katunayake and they got word. He still remembers the bup of Marmite they gave him. He says the Marmite saved him. Perhaps coincidental, but still. I know how it feels, those small things, at big moments. You’re helpless in hospital. There are times when you just need someone to show up, when you need someone to carry you for a while.
Uncle has had 30 operations on his leg and it never quite healed. It’s bandaged still. How he bicycled from Malabe to Mount Lavinia is beyond me. And he keeps coming back. Achchi told him he’d said good-bye, to promise not to come back. He said he’d try, but he sometimes breaks his promises.
At the most vital moments, it breaks down to this. Showing up. Falling asleep in waiting rooms. Celestial or terrestrial.
I’ve been in jail before. It sucks. You just want someone to show up, but at those moments your Rolodex is mighty thin. Just family really. If you’re lucky. I have a friend in jail right now. Remand.
Seeya used to show up. Tha told me about a journalist he’d gotten out. He’d brought bunice, she said. I saw the case files, of the disappeared, of the war and the forgotten war. That’s what Seeya did, in his retirement, if you’d call it that. He went to law school, after his own son had graduated. He used to sleep in the office, in case somebody called. He used to wait. Through the night I guess.