Chapter 5 – Diane and Bowie
It was very romantic. They met by the small, battered fridge they shared. He, all bleary eyed, hair all over the place, yawning and rubbing his belly, emerging from his door in crumpled T-shirt and underpants; her looking immaculate in a clinging black dress with long black hair tumbling over her shoulders.
They both froze, shocked at bumping into each other so unexpectedly. Danny had become used to being on his own over the weekend and had begun to think of the landing as an extension of his flat. To find someone there was a total shock. The same went for Diane. The two girls had hardly been there and she had become used to having the fridge and landing to herself. To suddenly be confronted with a strange man in a state of undress was not what she had been expecting.
Diane had been away in Birmingham, staying with friends and catching a Bowie concert. She was mad about Bowie.
As far as Danny was concerned Bowie was alright but nothing too special. In Danny’s opinion Bowie was too keen about becoming famous at all costs; the music was incidental – a case of too much image and not enough substance. But Diane idolised him.
Danny was immediately attracted. Perhaps it was the slim body and long dark hair, the tantalisingly red lips or beatnik black clinging dress that did it. Or it might have been that days had passed since he broke up with Cheryl and every female of a certain age was becoming more alluring by the minute.
It seemed that Diane was not adverse to Danny either, despite his dishevelled appearance. Her eyes betrayed her. That was good because they were next-door neighbours and they shared a fridge.
She, gathering her wits first, invited him in for a coffee, seeing the funny side of it as the dishevelled person stood there looking stunned. She chuckled at his embarrassment. Danny wondered if he ought to get dressed first. They both laughed. It seemed easy.
Danny went and quickly got himself as presentable as he could manage. It didn’t take long. He breathlessly rushed back to Diane’s and rapped on the door. Diane had set the table. She actually had a table, and chairs. Her flat looked interesting, orderly and homely, with lots of books, artwork on the walls, photographs, incense burners, Indian pattern cushions and throws, delicate Thai Buddhas and models of dancing girls. He looked round in wonder. It seemed to him like a cross between Aladdin’s Cave and an eastern bazaar. It certainly made his newly acquired flat look like a dingy hovel.
Diane had been busy. She’d already made the coffee – real coffee in a cafeteria. The scent filled the room, along with a delicate hint of incense that seemed exotic.
Coffee turned into breakfast with toast and marmalade. Then breakfast turned into lunch and they sat on the big cushions and talked. They talked about their lives and where they’d come from. Diane expounded about her travelling through India, Morocco and Thailand. Danny was more mundane focussing on his student days, music and failed relationship. But the content was unimportant. It was their voices that caressed them.
Lunch turned into an evening meal and they were still talking and smiling.
That first night was great. They sat up all night drinking wine, smoking jays, playing Bowie and talking, talking, talking, interspersed with which was a lot of laughter and giggling. Diane had a big mattress on the floor with an Indian print bedspread. She sat on it cross-legged in some tantric yoga position that looked excruciatingly painful while Danny sprawled next to her, propped up on an elbow. They fell about giggling a lot. Danny expounded on the nature of reality and infinity. Diane was profound when it came to Bowie’s use of costume and mime in his act.
As more wine and spliff were consumed Danny was beginning to concede that there might be more to Bowie than he had thought. The music sounded OK but then it couldn’t stand up to the likes of Beefheart and Harper. At one point he went and grabbed a few albums to demonstrate this to her. She listened politely but he could see that she was not convinced. Nobody could hold a match to Bowie in her eyes. He let it drop.
As dawn broke, the light streamed in through the window and they made love sweetly on that mattress. It was intense, passionate and as natural as breathing.
Diane dropped off to sleep and carefully Danny extricated himself and dressed. He looked out the window out onto the patio and garden. Mr Rose was already out. He was touching up the paint on the patio. It was a big flat layer of concrete on storey up. He’d painted it in an intricate design of bright colours that was almost a mandala, a psychedelic pattern. There he was with a paintbrush tied on a stick so that he did not have to bend down. The tins of paint were lined up and he was carefully applying colours – an old man in his eighties painting psychedelic designs.
Danny watched him at work.
A man has got to have a purpose; he’s got to have a creative outlet. He could see that Mr Rose was pouring his into that garden. He would have to investigate more. He’d heard about the fabled magic garden but had not yet ventured into it.