(I’m imagining here the bar Vida herself is imagining… I remember a bar packed on a Sunday night, people dancing well into the night because it was Sunday and they’d have to begin their workweek in just a few hours. In Toronto where I had made my home people partied like this, packed bars, on Friday and Saturday night but on Sunday they were going to bed early, to prepare for their work week. It was the opposite pattern here, Friday sometimes quiet, people resting up but Sunday letting loose… a kind of resistance in partying, resistance against this system of selling our lives, as laborers, by the hour. I’m reminded of the work of George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, Metaphors We Live By, how expressions of time as quantified, like a commodity, didn’t exist in English before industrialization when we started selling our labor by the hour. Expressions like ‘time is money’ and ‘quit wasting my time’ make sense only if time is measured and commodified.)
That bar, the one at the end of her street, doesn’t even exist anymore, has been boarded up for two years. This fury is idleness, and Vida would have to stay low now anyway for fear that the occupying forces will figure out how it was that she distinguished herself. She might pick up the children and be back home before noon if the buses start running again; that is her adventure. She will go back to Mrs. Williams’ house to pick up the children.
It’s going to get very hot today. Already the humidity is rising after the rain, the air getting thick with a foggy haze across the hill. Vida looks up to see it hugging the green ferns that grow near the top. This is body rot hot weather, and Vida is a nurse after all. She can well imagine what might be happening to a body in this heat. A body does not cool quickly in death. The blood does not circulate, but the organs continue to produce heat, so the body temperature actually rises. It is the skin that changes first, the blood settling according to how the corpse is laid out, and the areas of skin where the blood does not pool changes to a dusky grey. That is the look of death. It tells the story, is unmistakable and the changes happen within hours; there is a death fever. But Vida knows what she feels is only her own heat, and that this is the rising heat of the day, that she knows nothing, has no idea what is happening, of how they might dispose of Art’s body if there were a body. She repeats this as a mantra to herself: I just don’t know.
Even living bodies. She must stop thinking about this, about the way that touch is dry and soft as silk and the way dry tenderness transforms to wet with passion in its rainy season. All this is past and she must turn her attention away from what she desires in order to turn her attention to strategies. The subject of bodies is not to be addressed, not now, not again, not soon. She must consider strategies.