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The Hottest Day of Summer

It was when everyone was talking about Gatsby that his parties suddenly came to an end.

One Saturday, there were no lights in Gatsby's house or in his garden. A few cars drove up to the house, but almost immediately drove away.

I wondered what was the matter. I decided to go over and find out.

A new servant opened the door.

'Is Mr Gatsby sick?' I asked.

'No,' he said rudely.

'Well, tell him Mr Carraway called.'

'Carraway. OK,' and he shut the door in my face.

Next day, Gatsby phoned me.

'Are you leaving?' I asked.

'No, old sport, of course not. I've sent all my old servants away. Daisy comes over in the afternoons. I didn't want them to talk about her in the village. Some friends of Wolfsheim are looking after me now.'

Gatsby was phoning with an invitation from Daisy. She wanted me to have lunch at her house the following day. Jordan would be there and, of course, Gatsby too.

Daisy phoned me half an hour later. She seemed glad that I had accepted the invitation. But her voice was nervous and excited.

The next day was the hottest day of the summer. The smallest movement made you hot and tired.

I drove over to the Buchanan's house with Gatsby in his big, yellow car. Its green leather seats were too hot to touch.

The room where Daisy and Jordan were sitting was dark and cool. The two girls, both dressed in white, raised their hands lazily.

'It's too hot to move,' they said together.

Gatsby stood in the middle of the room in his elegant44, pink suit. He could not believe that he was in Daisy's own house. Daisy watched him and gave her sweet, exciting laugh.

At that moment, Tom opened the door noisily and hurried into the room.

'Ah, Mr Gatsby! Hallo, Nick,' he said, holding out his hand to me.

'Make us all a cold drink!' Daisy cried.

As Tom left the room again, Daisy went over to Gatsby and kissed him on the mouth.

'You know I love you,' she said softly.

When Tom brought in the drinks, we all drank greedily. We had lunch in the darkened dining-room and drank a lot of cold beer.

'What are we going to do this afternoon?' asked Daisy.

'And the day after that and the next thirty years?

'Oh, it's so hot,' Daisy went on, almost crying. 'I know why don't we drive to New York?'

She looked across the table into Gatsby's eyes.

'Ah,' Daisy cried, in her soft, exciting voice, 'you always look so cool!

They looked at each other as though they were alone in the room.

Suddenly, Tom Buchanan understood. His wife, Daisy, was in love with Gatsby. Tom's mouth opened a little. He looked first at Gatsby and then at Daisy.

Tom stood up.

'All right then,' he said in a hard voice. 'We're going to town. Let's go!'

The girls went upstairs to get ready. We went out onto the porch. 'Shall we take anything with us to drink?' Daisy called down.

Ill get some whisky,' Tom answered.

Gatsby turned to me and said, 'I can't say anything to him in his house, old sport.'

'I think Daisy's voice told him everything,' I said.



'She's always had everything she's wanted,' Gatsby went on. 'Daisy's voice is ... full of money,' he added.

That was it. Daisy's charm was the charm of the rich and spoilt45.

Tom came" out of the house with the whisky wrapped in a towel. Daisy and Jordan followed him, looking cool and charming in their white dresses.

'Shall we all go in my car?' said Gatsby.

'You take my car,' Tom said in a loud voice to Gatsby. 'Come on, Daisy, I'll take you in this yellow one,' he added, walking towards Gatsby's car.

But Daisy moved away from her husband.

'No, Tom. You take Nick and Jordan. We'll follow you.' And she pushed Gatsby towards the Buchanan's small blue car.

Jordan, Tom and I got into the front seat of Gatsby's car.

'Did you see that?' Tom asked us angrily. 'Where did Daisy find a man like that?'

'He's an Oxford man,' said Jordan.

'Like hell46 he is! He wears a pink suit!' Tom said angrily. 'I'm beginning to find out the truth about Gatsby. And it's not very pleasant.'

We were all hot and bad-tempered by now. When Tom reached Wilson's garage, he had to stop for gas.

Wilson came out slowly and stood in the hot sun. He looked very ill.

'Well, come on,' Tom shouted. 'Have I got to get the gas myself?'

'I'm sick,' said Wilson. 'I've got to get away. When can you sell me your old car?'

'Next week,' Tom said quickly. 'What about buying this yellow one? I got it last week. Why are you going away?'

'My wife and I are going West,' Wilson said. 'I'm getting her away from here. I've found out something . . .'

Tom stared at him.

'Never mind about that. What do I owe you?' he said in a hard, cold voice.

As Tom was giving Wilson the money, Gatsby and Daisy drove by in the blue car.

At the same moment, I saw Myrtle Wilson looking down at Jordan from an upstairs window.

There was a look of terrible jealousy on Myrtle Wilson's face. She thought Jordan was Tom's wife.

Tom did not see Myrtle. He was thinking about what Wilson had said. In one afternoon, Tom seemed to be losing his wife and his mistress too. He drove on, much too fast, until he was beside the blue car.

Gatsby stopped and Daisy called out, 'Where are you going? It's so hot. We'll drive around and meet you later.'

But Tom wanted to stay near Daisy and Gatsby. After some argument, we all drove to the Plaza Hotel. We took a room there so that we could have a drink. It was a crazy idea.

The room was large, but it was very hot. We opened all the windows, but it made no difference.

'Oh, it's so hot!' said Daisy. 'Why did we come here?'

'Stop talking about the heat. You make it worse!' said Tom, putting the bottle of whisky on the table.

'Why not leave her alone, old sport?' said Gatsby. 'You wanted to come, you know.'

'I don't like being called old sport,' said Tom, in a bad-tempered way. 'Where did you learn to say that?'

'If you're rude, Tom, I won't stay a minute,' Daisy said. 'Why don't you phone for some ice?'

We sat in silence, waiting for the waiter to bring the ice.

Then Tom looked at Gatsby and said, 'By the way, Mr Gatsby, you were at Oxford, weren't you ?'

'Yes ... I went there.'

The waiter came in with the ice. When he had gone, Tom said, 'When were you there, exactly?'

'It was in 1919,' Gatsby replied quietly. 'I was only there for five months. American officers were able to go to an English university after the War.'

So that story was true. I was glad.

Daisy got up with a smile.

'Open the whisky, Tom,' she said, 'and I'll make everyone a drink.'

'Wait a minute,' said Tom. 'I've one more question to ask Mr Gatsby.'

'Go on,' said Gatsby politely.

'What kind of trouble are you trying to make between me and my wife?'

'Stop it, please, Tom,' said Daisy quickly.

'Why should 1?' Tom shouted. 'Have I got to watch a nobody from nowhere47 make love to my wife and say nothing?'

'Now, listen,' said Gatsby. 'I've got something to tell you, old sport.'

'Oh, please don't say anything,' Daisy said. 'Why don't we all go home? It's too hot to argue.'

'I want Mr Gatsby to give me an answer to my question,' Tom said loudly.

'Your wife doesn't love you,' said Gatsby. 'She's never loved you. She loves me.'

'You're crazy!' cried Tom, jumping to his feet.

'It's the truth,' said Gatsby. 'We've loved each other for five years, old sport, and you didn't know!'

'I tell you you're crazy,' Tom shouted again. 'Daisy loved me when she married me and she loves me now. And I love Daisy too. I always have. She knows that.'

Gatsby walked over to Daisy and stood beside her.

'Tell him the truth. Tell him you never loved him,' he said.

Daisy looked at each one of us unhappily.

'I never loved him,' she said slowly. Then Daisy turned to Gatsby with a frightened, unhappy look in her eyes.

'Oh, you want too much, Jay!' she cried. 'I love you now. Isn't that enough?' She began to cry. 'I did love Tom once, but I loved you, too.'

'You loved me, too . . .' Gatsby repeated slowly.

'I can't say I never loved Tom. It wouldn't be true,' Daisy said sadly.

'Of course it wouldn't,' said Tom. 'Now I'm taking you home, Daisy.'

'You don't understand,' Gatsby said quickly. 'Daisy's leaving you.'

'Nonsense.'

'Yes, I am,' said Daisy, speaking with difficulty.

'You're leaving me for a little crook!' Tom shouted. 'He's a bootlegger. He's a friend of Meyer Wolfsheim. I've been hearing all about you, Mr Gatsby! You and your friends ought to be in jail!'

I looked at Gatsby. His face was hard, with a terrible expression. I could believe then that he had killed a man. He started to talk to Daisy, quickly, excitedly. Daisy did not seem to be listening. On that hot afternoon, Gatsby's dream was slipping farther and farther away from him.

'Please, Jay,' Daisy said suddenly, 'don't say any more. You must stop all this, please.'

Tom smiled. He knew that he had won.

'You go home, Daisy,' he said in a quiet voice. 'Go with Mr Gatsby in his car. He won't trouble you again.'

And slowly, sadly, Daisy and Gatsby had gone ...

It was seven o'clock when Jordan and I left the hotel with Tom. As we drove back over the bridge, I remembered that it was my thirtieth birthday. I felt sad and tired.


Date: 2015-04-20; view: 916


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