dusk

Samuel Beckett gives me props

I knew  I was dreaming, because Samuel Beckett was standing behind the hedge at the bottom of the garden, smoking a cigarette whose glowing red tip floated in the twilight  like a firefly. The dusk had brought a thick feeling of summer and smoke to the air, and I wandered across the uncut grass to talk to him.

He was dressed all in black, wearing a leather jacket and turtleneck and jeans. His face was deeply lined and his hair stiff like a yellow brush, just as he appeared in photographs towards the end of his life. He was reluctant to make eye contact, and pulled irritably at his cigarette, which I noticed was held the wrong way around, so that hot ash and unfiltered smoke poured into his lungs with every breath.

What are you doing here? I asked.
Well, they say I'm coming back into vogue now.

He shuffled slightly, staring at his feet. He wanted to tell me something, but was looking for words that wouldn't sound false. Finally he looked up and spoke softly:

You've got a strong heart. I can hear it from here. It'll carry you through.

He flicked his cigarette into the grass and walked away without saying goodbye. It was obvious to me that he hated melodrama and falsity above all things, and that he knew, with a painful awareness, how hard it can be to communicate truly and sincerely in words, so that someone can understand exactly what you mean. I listened to my heart for a few seconds - that barely audible pulse in the inner ear that tells you you're alive.