Amsterdam (august 2002)

A cloud of smoke dissipated slowly in front of her, and behind it there were friendly faces speaking some unfamiliar language. The sound of it all made it even more unreal, like witnessing the making of a movie in which she was, absurdly enough, one of the main characters. It sounded warm, like winter evenings with red boiling wine, and the impression of déjà vu overwhelmed the strangeness. She was ok. For ages she had had beliefs and theories, maybe too many of those, and life had confirmed most of them. She thought she was the sum of choices and experiences, and she eagerly expected to find out what change this would bring in the fine texture of her being. In front of her eyes the last days were running like the film of one’s life, like this was it, like the smoke was engulfing her last breath. The curtain closing, the salty presence of the sea everywhere, the glow of the city at night, when the yellowish light kept growing together with the subdued buzz of the pubs and the people on streets, the shower of flowers, the pink sidewalks level with the street, paradigmatic image of the flatness, the sun on all faces, even while rain washed them plain, the curtain closing on the inner yard, the symphony that had gone through her in that hugely implausible way, through a squeezed hand, filling everything with the precise chaotic and orderly joy it was supposed to render, the paddlefight with yellow flowers leading (the yellow brick road) towards the unreal Emerald City of children playing on garden swings, the curtain closing on the terrace, the virtual pain in the ankle while having vertigo on the stairs, the mushy feeling of wet shoes, the wait in the canvas shop for one meter of thread, during which she had grown to adore the old lady who was doing her garden chairs in dark red and green, the blue teeth from taste-reviving wine, the ache of the plane coming down on that colourbook image, not being ashamed to scratch its surface, the too salty rice and the too spicy chicken, the bliss of the shower, soaking each inch of the skin and melting it into the plain clay of the beginning, the curtain closing on the flowers, the knot in her throat mixing happiness and despair, the welling of tears from too much to take in, the salad sauce and the bicycle ride, the overkissed spot just beneath where the body splits suddenly, bursting forth an arm, the scar spot (was it supposed to be overkissed, to make up, or was it awaiting, the small pit being the meant receptacle of all her standing kisses ?), the hole in the grey t-shirt, the right spot for the lithography, “I hope you have the time of your life”, the terrace on the water that seemed her private secret, the abstracted face of the bookshop owner while digging for “Le petit prince”, almost certain it had to be around there somewhere, a sort of Gepetto of books (she would almost believe the book was lost and needed help to find its way out of the whale-belly of the dusty shop), the curtain closing on her imprint in the place, the rain and the hot chocolate with whipped cream (on the side), the drowsiness and the neverending movies, the nest invented especially for her body, knitted from arms and knees and morning kisses, the sky is blue, the taste of beer, the meaningfulness, the faith, the necessity of thanking…

Another cloud of smoke dissipated in front of her and the merry faces were still there, in their foreign language movie, probably wondering what she had seen between the two inhales. They had warned her against the “bad trips”, but nobody had said anything about the too good. Nobody had imagined that she was now the perfect addict.

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