Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Molly


Kidneys were in his mind as he moved about the kitchen softly, righting her breakfast things on the humpy tray. Gelid light and air were in the kitchen but out of doors gentle summer morning everywhere. Made him feel a bit peckish. The coals were reddening.
Another slice of bread and butter: three, four, right. She didn’t like her plate full. Right.
-Hurry up with that tea, she said. I’m parched.
-The kettle is boiling, he said.
But he delayed to clear the chair: her striped petticoat, tossed soiled linen: and lifted all in an armful on to the foot of the bed.
As he went down the kitchen stairs she called:
-Poldy!
-What?
-Scald the teapot.
On the boil sure enough: a plume of steam from the spout. He scalded and rinsed out the teapot and put in four full spoons of tea, tilting the kettle then to let the water flow in. Having set it to draw he took off the kettle, crushed the pan flat on the live coals and watched the lump of butter slide and melt. While he unwrapped the kidney the cat mewed hungrily against him. Give her too much and she’ll meat she won’t mouse. Say they won’t eat pork. Kosher. Here. He let the bloodsmeared paper fall to her and dropped the kidney amid the sizzling butter sauce. Pepper. He sprinkled it through his fingers ringwise from the chipped eggcup.

He prodded a fork into the kidney and slapped it over: then fitted the teapot on the tray. Its hump bumped as he took it up. Everything on it? Bread and butter, four, sugar, spoon, her cream. Yes. He carried it upstairs, his thumb hooked in the teapot handle.

She set the brasses jingling as she raised herself briskly, an elbow on the pillow.

She swallowed a draught of tea from her cup held by a nothandle and, having wiped her fingertips smartly on the blanket, began to search the text with the hairpin until she found the word.
-Met him what? He asked.
He leaned downward and read near her polished fingernail.
-Metempsychosis?
-Yes. Who’s he when he’s at home?
-Metempsychosis, he said, frowning. It’s Greek: from the Greek. That means the transmigration of souls.
-O, rocks! She said. Tell us in plain words.

Ulysses, 4.1-340.

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