This Room, This City, This World: extracts from The Floating Harbour

Download the whole novel, for free, as a PDF here: The Floating Harbour


     Plantation sugar blocks blend into the black sea, dropped in with unconcern.
     Coffee in a cup that belongs to me sits unsugared – don’t ask me how I got it.
     Ale-absent, the atmosphere’s a semi-serious, polite, and civil sharing ‘round of gossip. Tri-corned hats still upon wigged heads, long jackets (green, maroon, and blue): gentlemanly gentlemen gently gentrifying, generously generating general class.

The pouring out from silver jugs and
perusing through of papers;
the copper coffee pots on wooden shelves;
the standing ‘round and sitting at
the square and oblong tables:
I overhear two talking close behind me.

     “Ah, this damn place won’t stop changing.”
     “The coffee house?”
     “This room, this city, this world.”
     “Change is the only thing. It’s the only thing there is.”
     “When will that change?”
     There is a pause in the conversation. Or is the silence part of it?
     Perhaps one drinks, one contemplates; perhaps both look upon the people who are leaving; perhaps one runs a silver spoon between the fingers of a hand while the other scans the wall and begins speaking.
     “How did this place used to look? I’ve already forgotten…”
     “I don’t remember, either. I see an image, hazed, clear in colour with its edges lost, the form of each and every aspect alive yet irretrievable, the sense of it secure and safe and over. Gone, but unassailable for being so.”
     “The moment cedes its place, continues on to its destination. People talk of the future, but it isn’t the direction that we travel in. We emerge from tomorrow to illume today, then journey on to take our place in times gone by.”
     “Our demarcations, those lines we trace out over entropy: I know they are not based on nothing… but it seems so arbitrary.”
     “Any sense we make of life is arbitrary.”

 

Image credit – Yelp

 

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