L’Esprit d’ Esacallier: Three.

by | Nov 24, 2023 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

He plopped in two dice of brown sugar and stirred.

Lucien half filled a wide ceramic bowl with thick, creamy milk. He placed it in the microwave oven and set the timer at two minutes. He poured the previously boiled water into the cafetiere and balanced the mesh on top of the black, frothy liquid. In two minutes, he would fuse the two liquids, to create his meagre breakfast.

The ping of the microwave signalled the start of the process. He slowly plunged the handle of the cafetiere home observing the coffee straining through the fine mesh. Taking the bowl from the oven he licked his lips at the globules of yellow cream floating on the off-white liquid. Lucien poured the coffee into the bowl, watching the two fluids entwine in a cloudy storm. The result was a concoction the colour of a mediterranean tan. He plopped in two dice of brown sugar and stirred.

Coffee made, he retired to the refuge of his lounge. He stretched out on the Louis XVI chaise longue, the only deviation from his post aristocratic world, and his most expensive acquisition. He sipped the weak, milky brew from the wide receptacle, and closed his eyes. The absence of a proper breakfast had given him more time to reflect; a dangerous activity for a man such as Lucien. Animation was the antidote to the toxic hand he had been dealt. Inertia was its lifeblood. Nevertheless, he indulged for the time it took to drain the bowl.

Lucien’s mind wandered to the day ahead and the tiny consulting rooms on the ground floor. He knew it would be busy as he was ‘between partners.’ This meant that the previous one had finally got the message, and he was yet to find someone gullible enough to replace her. The morning would consist of a mixture of poverty related ailments, interspersed with the ravages of old age. This double tsunami of conditions would have him drowning by lunchtime.

Following a light lunch of stale bread, salami and cheese, he’d be ready for the ‘Walk-ins.’  This lottery of human conditions would stretch his knowledge, and his patience to the limit. Add to this the trepidation of the evening ahead, and he wished he could just expire on this elegant velvet tribute to the Bourbon family.

He placed the bowl on the floor and closed his eyes.  Before the tiny dose of caffeine could kick in, he was transported into a semi-dream like state.

*

September nineteen eighty-two. The quadrangle of the University was teaming with life. Groups of people, made up of one child and two adults danced around like molecules under a microscope. Elsewhere, gaggles of young students huddled together, laughing and giggling with familiar abandon. A new day, a new semester and a new life for some. The return for another year for others.

The young man, sandwiched between the older couple, was stunned at the view before him. Like himself, he saw fear and trepidation in his peers and, like his parents, he observed deep melancholy in their guardians. A huge separation was about to take place and the scene was awash with emotion.

Just then, through the crowds, the young man spotted something. Like a diamond in a slab of granite, a rose in a bramble thicket. Her face. It was his dream, his life. From that moment, young Lucien Muersac’s existence would never be the same.

*

An insistent banging dragged the old man from his doze. He slid off the sofa, kicking his favourite bowl across the floor. It hit the giant book case, taking a chunk out of the black mahogany, then promptly broke in two.

Lucien shuddered at the double calamity. It was nothing compared to what awaited him. The thuds were accompanied by high pitched renditions of his own name.

“Doctor! Lucien! Come quick, please!” He knew the voice to be that of his neighbour, Caaisho, from the landing below. Ignoring his own mishap, he rushed to the door. On opening it he was confronted with the large Malian woman, her ebony face bathed in sweat.

“Doctor. Where have you been? It’s my Cheick, I think he’s having a heart attack!” The vice that crushed Lucien’s daily life, tightened once more.

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