Living in my mother’s loft, at times, feels like a Wes Anderson movie. How in them the camera moves through the walls with the movement of the characters. How there’s the implication that they’re all living separate lives within the same cramped space. I’m working at my desk on my laptop, when I see something flickering in the yellow trees of the window, the ones by the creek across the way. A squirrel in the branches. He, in his loft, working hard at some nuts. Me, in mine, staring at him.
A voice from below. I lean over the bannister, answer, and tell her to put the kettle on. I turn, the camera suspended next to the chandelier, and begin down the stairs. The walls are transparent as the camera tracks me, dropping as I descend. Now in the kitchen, which is also the dining room as well as the living room, I search for some green tea. I’m not used to the geography of these drawers and cupboards quite yet. Then, two mugs.
The boiling water leaving the kettle and hitting the ceramic of the mug sounds like a train pulling away from a station, or perhaps pulling in, recorded, and reversed. I don’t know the difference well enough to say.
Wes Anderson has these hyper-focused shots which usually take place on tables and document processes such as making sushi or checking out a library book. While the tea is steeping, I peel two oranges and every so often go back and forth between the mugs dipping the tea bags in the water as one is supposed to.
Nothing shakes my vegetarianism quite like butchering a mandarin orange. The fragility of its flesh, the way the white snaking tissue connects the hole where the stem was a moment ago to the bottom, where the skin is held together and both of these points to every other point on every other segment of the so-called endocarp. In order to get all the skin off I have to quarter one of them, getting some blood in my eye.
Mom is lying in her bedroom when I bring in the two mugs and the oranges. She tells me that it’s good to have a cup of green tea every day, but she doesn’t want any oranges so I eat both, section by section as she tells me about the birds that have been eating her marigolds.
“They nip them right down to the bud,” she says, “and then they just look stupid. Can you look up a way to get rid of starlings?”
I tell her about the other morning when I was half awake and overheard her asking her fiancée if he had a pellet gun, that it was a fine morning to kill some starlings. She doesn’t remember saying it that way.
Walking out of her room, empty cups in hand, I imagine the camera fixed in the space where the fridge sits. I place the dishes into the sink and walk out of frame, back to my loft, back to my laptop. My favourite line from The Darjeeling Limited is spoken by Jason Schwartzman’s character Jack: “How can the train be lost? It’s on rails...”