Midnight All Day
Ian lay back in the only chair in the room in Paris, waiting for Marina to finish in the bathroom. She would be some time, since she was applying unguents – seven different ones, she had told him – over most of her body, rubbing them in slowly. She was precious to herself.
He was glad to have a few minutes alone. There had been many important days recently; he suspected that this would be the most important and that his future would turn on it.
For the past few mornings, before they went out for breakfast, he had listened to Schubert’s Sonata in B Flat Major, which he had not previously known. Apart from a few pop tapes, it was the only music in Anthony’s flat. Ian had pulled it out from under the futon on their first day there.
Now, as he got up to play the CD, he glimpsed himself in the wardrobe mirror and saw himself as a character in a Lucian Freud painting; a middle-aged man in a thin, tan raincoat, ashen-faced, standing beside a dying pot plant, overweight and with, to his surprise, an absurd expression of hope, or the desire to please, in his eyes. He would have laughed, had he not lost his sense of humour.
London: Faber and Faber. p. 157.
The official Hanif Kureishi web site (includes original writing)
Schubert: Sonata in B Flat D. 960, performed by Alicia de Larrocha (1923-2009)
Lucian Freud’s Art available here