Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Colour of Rain

People, random people off the street* who recognized him, would describe Harold Waterman as ‘a man for whom the world is off kilter by just a scoatch.’ If pressed, Harold might laugh and agree that if not for the scent of green he might lose his tenuous grip on reality altogether. You’d be left puzzled by this, wondering what the scent of green might be but he’d stare at you with those mesmerizing grey eyes and you’d chuckle, pretending you were in on the joke. You might spend your whole life in pilgrimage to the ancient founts of wisdom searching for the meaning of the odd phrase, knowing your fingertips as the elusive philosophy escapes you. Then one day, when your feet are blistered and your eyes almost blinded by the light of the arid wastes at the top of the world, you find an old monk who nods and points the way to a door set at the top of an impossibly steep stairway. When you push it open and fall through, you find yourself in the tower room of a London landmark, where a dark-skinned gentleman in an Armani suit drinks tea. “The scent of green?” he’ll say. “Why, it’s merely the sound of sunlight striking a flower.”

*Assuming the street to be The Parkway or Dark Passage, where passers-by have a reasonable chance of being either neighbours or customers of his bookshop.

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