Sedartis appears out of nowhere and joins me on my train journey from Zürich to the unfortunately named Chur, making his presence felt in the empty seat next to mine, as I glance out of the window.
(When I say ‘Zürich’ I mean a small lakeside town outside Zürich, some ten minutes along the track, where I had boarded the train, having spent the night on the other side of the hill with friends and colleagues, talking mainly about things I am only ever half sure I half understand, but which nevertheless never fail to feed my hunger for thought, invigorate my imagination and massage my malleable mind.)
Where did you suddenly come from, I want to ask him, and how is it I know your name; but before I can speak we are already in conversation:
‘So’, says Sedartis, ‘wouldn’t you like a boat on Lake Zürich?’
‘Most certainly not,’ say I in reply, though the question seems scarcely to warrant one.
‘Why not?’ Sedartis insists.
‘Why,’ retort I, ‘what would I with a boat on Lake Zürich?’
‘Whatever you fancy,’ Sedartis enthuses: ‘sail on the water, enjoy it, splash about a bit in it!’
The puppy dog wag of his voice wearies me.
‘I enjoy water much as I enjoy women,’ I say in measured tones, unsure of the ground I’m suddenly treading on, without consciously having made any choice to foray at all, onto ice thick or thin: ‘from a distance. To look upon and marvel at their splendour, be it shallow or deep. I have no need to sail upon or splash about in them.’
Sedartis seems saddened by my lack of alactity and produces an apple, far too symbolically. He contemplates it for many a long second and then takes a bite in a manner that could, though perhaps it ought not to, be described as ‘hearty.’
He vaguely reminds me of a character in a book I undoubtedly once would have read, but I don’t remember the book or the story (not least as I’m unsure I’ve even done so yet), and I feel that now he’s here it would be rude of me to dismiss, blank or reject him, or send him away; and so part of my onward journey he simply, unassumingly and—I am inclined to say—innocuously enough, he becomes.