I’m writing a part of my book about being other, in another place.
Writing, thinking, feeling the sensory overload encountered while reading Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea:
There were trailing pink flowers on the table and the name echoed pleasantly in my head. Coralita Coralita. The food, though, too highly seasoned, was lighter and more appetizing than anything I had tasted in Jamaica. We drank champagne. A great many moths and beetles found their way into the room, flew into the candles and fell dead on the tablecloth. Amélie swept them up with a crumb brush. Uselessly. More moths and beetles came.
‘Is it true,’ she said, ‘that England is like a dream? Because one of my friends who married an Englishman wrote and told me so. She said this place London is like a cold dark dream sometimes. I want to wake up.’
‘Well’, I answered annoyed, ‘that is precisely how your beautiful island seems to me, quite unreal and like a dream.’
‘But how can rivers and mountains and the sea be unreal?’
‘And how can millions of people, their houses and their streets be unreal?’
‘More easily,’ she said, ‘much more easily. Yes a big city must be like a dream.’
‘No, this is unreal and like a dream,’ I thought.
The long veranda was furnished with canvas chairs, two hammocks, and a wooden table on which stood a tripod telescope. Amélie brought out candles with glass shades but the night swallowed up the feeble light. There was a very strong scent of flowers – the flowers by the river that open at night she told me – and the noise, subdued in the inner room, was deafening. ‘Crac-cracs,’ she explained, ‘they make a sound like their name, and crickets and frogs.’