Sunday, 16 March 2014
Houston is a city raised on money, nothing much else. Money is what matters, it makes the downtown skyline look like a mountain, it makes the River Oaks suburb populated by miniature but huge versions of Versailles, or Mexican adobe, or FLW Guggenheim, just take your pick. It is also money without quite the fun of enjoying it, and with plenty of the snobbery of having it, so in that way it is very unlike Las Vegas (for instance). Nothing stays long in Houston but reputation. But my aunt and uncle lived here all my life, and today I had to go to their home and sniff the musty air and see the leaves collected on the Mercedes, survey the vacant scene, peer in their drinks cabinet, hover over the old books, suddenly museum like, and standing there I didn't know what to say at all. That was a life, my aunts room like a shrine, my uncle's world latterly a clutter of old age belligerence. But guess what, their cat, Ella, was still there, still singing, a little more mangy than I remember, getting a bit belligerent herself. Poor Ella, that's it, and just heaps and heaps of stuff that suddenly becomes crap, unless you can summon up some sense yourself, and in that limited moment make some kind of evaluation not based on money, and it will be a photograph, a book, his wine cup, something like that, which is really left.