I have since been seeing Mr Greene for a month and a half from the first time we met, we have been meeting not just in Tuesday but also some of the weekends, it was toward the end of November when he suggested this to me. He was reading my draft essay on criminal justice on the hotel bed after my service, he was showing interest to read my essays so I gave him my notes to read while I went for a shower. He lay very still as he read, I stood still watching his abdomen moving up and down, before my mind snapped back to the shower I supposed to go for. As I got back from the shower, Mr Greene has been remaining still reading my essay very thoughtfully, “You write very well.” he said. “I am sure you will find many students write just as well too.” I replied, smiling nervously. He made a gesture instructing me to sit down, I followed numbly and sat on the bed, he recited my passages on the criminal justice essay as if they were sonnets written by Shakespeare or Browning. He read them aloud with one arm in boisterous movements, I wished I knew what magic he put into my ordinary essay. He smiled back at me with triumph when he finished one of the passage, I smiled back with approval. “I have been thinking,” he began, sat up straight as if this would be a serious business, I couldn’t help feeling nervous over his gesture so I sat up straight “I would like to write a memoir, to note down my own life.” “That sounds wonderful.” I rejoiced with the idea. “I would like you to stenograph for me-” “WHAT?” I screamed in surprise, I was told I wrote well like Sylvia Plath when I was a teenager, but I put the idea of studying literature out of my mind as it seemed less compactable on job search compared to criminal law. While I was amazed by the comment he gave, I was at the same time suspicious of his comment – was he saying it for real, or was he just playing games? Mr Greene as if he already read my thoughts, flipped through the pages to point the passage that would validate his argument of me writing well, “I really think you made the law looked easy to understand.” He commented earnestly. He then lean toward me, look into my eyes as I was a mirror of his reflection. There was a sense of sadness within his eyes, “Over the years I grown tired of living…I am not even sure why I lived after all these years.” I couldn’t speak, not just I have had no idea what to comfort him with, but also the fact his situation seemed the kind of pain even an empathized word could not cure. “So I hope, through writing out my memoir, I would be able to come to some clue of why I kept on living when I should’ve died.” He looked up at me with guilt as he realized what he had said probably would scared me into pieces, we didn’t speak for the rest of the night, only a goodbye. “Are you serious?” Ada asked me as I told her the news at dinner, she found Mr Greene’s idea was extremely strange and his words seemed suicidal. I was not entirely comfortable about the idea as well, as I have had no idea about Mr Greene’s state of mind. Yet there was a part of me feeling that Mr Greene would not tell me all these things if he didn’t trust me, beside the words seemed real from his lips. It was days after the meeting, he gave me a text message as I was on my way to the School of Law for some administration work. “When we meet at Tuesday, please bring some paper and pens with you. I shall provide my own mini-recorder, and some cassettes.”
We decided to conduct this interview at a coffee shop call Froth and Fodder at four in the afternoon, the café was a favorite of mine for its quietness despite its location was right next to the main road. As he was not familiar with the geography of the university areas, so we were to meet outside The Parkinson Building. Parkinson Building was a building that looked similar to temples we normally found in Greece, along with its location and its name stuck at the side of the front staircase in bright gold, it was impossible for anyone to miss the building. I was walking down to the front staircase through the passages to the Parkinson Building through Baines Wing, the home of School of Healthcare. Outside was raining, so I was standing in the foyer of the Parkinson Building. Mr Greene was wearing a caramel coloured trench coat with his black suit underneath, he would’ve looked like a secret agent. He smiled as he saw me through the glass, I presume he was walking up as his polished leather shoes was wet in every corner. We looked first right then left as we crossed the road to reach to the café, we sat ourselves into one of the corners, there were books and leaflets for events stacked on the shelf. “Would you like anything to drink?” He asked, smiling. I requested a medium size of mocha, he came back with my mocha and a bottle with pink liquid. He then paid me the fees before starting. I got everything ready, my minds was full of questions flying in my mind. I told him that he was more than welcome to stop the tape anytime he like, as I state the procedure I felt I was some kind of scientist. We smiled to each other awkwardly as our eyes met, before I began pressing the button of “start”. “Tell me about yourself.” I said, as I switched on the mini-recorder and the circles began to record, I found them more reliable compared to the modern technology on recording. At the very least, you could track down whether the thing was still working. Mr Greene gave a look of discomfort and confusion, he looked around in distress, before he looked up at me with defeat. “I could not remember precisely when I was born,” he said, “I was born in 1431 because that was what everyone told me so.” I looked at him stunned, 1431? Was he kidding with me? “Was the life the historians understood about you, very different from the life you have had?” “I am not sure,” he looked down in distress, as if desperately trying to cling onto the memories he had to the most distant past. “All I remembered about that period of my life was…” He wiped his the side of his eyes with his left pinky finger, he quickly looked around the café with eyes of anxiety, and he even looked down to the side of the chair and under the table as if he was in the edge of the cliff. “A lot of fighting, one fighting the other to death just to have the one thing that was too abstract to have.” He wiped the side of his eyes for the second time with the trembling right pinky finger, “I just want my family to be safe.” I gave him a piece of snowy-white tissue for him to wipe his tears, I glanced in horror as I noticed red bloodstain on the tissue. He must’ve noticed too, as he gathered himself with few deep breath, “I am you,” he began solemnly, “and I am not you.” It was my turn to be confused, what did he mean? “I am you and I am not you.” Yet I quickly conjured up the possibility that what I was looking at, was something else under the same skin. “What was your earliest memory, about your life?” He took a gulp from the bottle with pink liquid, a melody written by Serge Gainsbourg was playing in the café, I was sure it was Initial BB the café was playing. I hummed into the melody, failed to notice until Mr Greene’s face drawn to mine. He smiled when I told him I liked the song (precisely pretty much anything written by Serge Gainsbourg) and began to ask me about my life. “I thought the interview was about you.” I smiled as he asked me about my earliest memory, the recorder stopped working long ago when he wiped his tears. “Let’s make a deal shall we say?” He smiled to me sincerely, “When you ask me a question from now onward, you tell me your answer to the question when I answer mine?” “Deal.” I pressed the button of record, as soon as we made the deal. “Ok, my earliest memory…” He began speaking of a world that sounded very ancient and foreign from my knowledge, wars between Christians and Ottomans, and the political struggle from one group to another. There was a time the threat from enemy hit his home so badly, he had to consult something supernatural – so supernatural to the point he could never be who he was. In the end, his country was safe for a while, but he had to leave. “I became something that would put my family at risk.” He smiled, the voice filled with irony, “I sold my soul to protect my family from harm, yet it seemed the harm never left us, just a matter of switch – from someone else to me.” He smiled sadly, his eyes looked as if he did not know whether to cry or laugh. I began to understand the meaning behind his “I am you and I am not you.”, I couldn’t be sure if I was ready to see anymore of him.
It was the first of December when that happened, I just finished my appointment with another client, he was lovely in character but he seemed to couldn’t help himself being rough on the bed. My vagina was very much in pain since he pulled out, it was a relief to know that he was satisfied but I might put him into a “to be considered” list in the future. When I say “to be considered”, I meant the clients were the group that need my second thoughts. It was already dark even only six in the evening, which to me wasn’t too late to walk home yet. So I walked through the millennium square up to the roundabouts outside the hospital, through the university campus and toward Devon Road. I was very close to the gate into my hall of residence, I couldn’t help walking faster. Until he caught me in the dark. A gloved hand covered my mouth and pulled me into the dark passage between my hall of residence and another hall of residence further down from the hill. I tried to bite him and kick but he was very strong, someone help me! I thought. I banged on the metal bars next to the passage, please someone! Anyone! Just answer me and save me from this! I looked in horror as under the dim night a face with eyes about to drop onto the floor, his teeth were incoherent as if someone artificially structured them this way. “Help! Somebody help!” I screamed loudly, my throat was feeling the pain because of the dryness. The man tried to pull me back into his arms, before something I couldn’t see pushed him down the passage. I turned around and saw Ada looking stunned so I turned back, the man was down at the lower end of the passage unconscious. Ada and I looked at each other, tried to understand what was going on. “Did you see something flying at him?” I asked Ada, “I think I felt some kind of movement when he was pushed.” “Something ghost-like?” She asked, dialing in her mobile to get the ambulance, or police, she was always very calm and under control. “Hello? My friend was attacked and the attacker seemed to be unconscious…” We walked carefully like a pair of scared animals, in case he would jump back up at us like a zombie. Yet he didn’t woke, he seemed sleeping peacefully. As the police arrived we were able to see the man in a clearer sight, he was for sure dead and gone – blood drained away onto the concrete pavement through two holes on his neck. Police were murmuring with suspicions over the body, they looked back and forth between us and the body, as if trying to make sense whether the puzzles worked together. “I hope you didn’t have a habit of biting people, Miss.” One of the police officer turned to me jokingly. “Our teeth weren’t sharp enough to kill the guy,” Ada in an instant draw herself close to the officer and open her mouth to show her teeth, “It’s my friend you should be concerning with, she got attacked by the freak!” “Sir found a Swiss Army Knife!” another officer handed him my Swiss Army Knife, oh god damn it! “We need you both to come with us to the station.” He said, his gaze – I was more than sure already judged the possibility of us being the murderer. We repeated our stories for god knows how many times in the police station, the ones who questioned me seemed have a particular interest over my choice of part-time job. I literally have to quote from one of the legislations that I have every right to sell sex to clients as I wasn’t doing it in the streets (I wasn’t poor enough to risk myself standing around the corners going into cars of strangers), therefore the police have no rights to charge me at all. The police upon finding out that I knew my laws rather well, decided to talk me out of selling my body as if I was Dumas’s Marguerite. “Ada!” I never felt so glad to see her when I was let out from the interview room, “Well they did ask if I was a sex worker, I was sure they loved the idea of charging us running a brothel.” We laughed together quietly, while waiting for the result of my Swiss Army Knife, I presume it fell out of my bag when I was being attacked. In the end the Swiss Army Knife was returned with result that cleared my name, we were free to go. Ada and I smiled to each other as we left, good god what a night that was!