He had always been so shy. He was there now, staring at the woman he had always loved, his throat dry, his saliva tasteless. He began to sweat, his hands were chilled. She was watching him as if she was studying every little movement of his muscles, as if they could tell a story in the form of pulsing moments under his skin. Every fragment of the prelude to their sex was emerging from this moment they took to stare at each other.
There was silence between them. They could only hear the quiver of the window – panes. And only the light of a candle could save them from the darkness of the room.
They had wine, drops running from the corner of their mouths, a fluid of pleasure. They ran as sensually as the candle wax on the table, melting at the foot of the candlestick. And he undressed that candle with his eyes, he imagined it as his lover with her soft skin, the glimmering flame now brightening her face and hair.
As the flame of the candle was finally extinguished, their bodies were ready to fulfill the emptiness of their pleasure.
It was his last day in town, he was now under the crepuscular sky trying to disguise his disappointment towards the silence between him and the city. He thought about silence not as a concept linked to sound, but as the emptiness of expectations, a void. His needs hadn´t been fullfilled the days he had been there.
He was craving for a love affair but everything he could get was falling in love with a character he had met during the reading of a rare book. She was a piece of fiction, she was the dream which we all have about trespassing the boundaries life imposes to us. The character could do whatever she wanted, there were no limits to what she could do, she would repeat her actions everytime a reader would cast a eye on her lines. And then that´s what everyone calls fiction, living and living in those pages while he, who was not a piece of fiction, was there, empty under the crepuscular sky.
She was there, on the beach, listening to the sound of the waves which were breaking on the shore like an explosion of erotic sounds on warm summer nights.
Yet the beach was empty of voices.
She was drawing faces on a canvas, colored moves that were stumbling on the surface like drunk couples among sheets.
Yet, the beach was empty of lovers.
She was waiting for the dark hours to slowly swallow that landscape, to slowly swallow her sorrows and happy memories, but she had none of them. She was just.empty. Empty like that beach in the evening.
She was found by him wandering as a ghost, looking for the man who had hurt her. She carried scars like tracks which could be seen when under the dead light of a streetlamp.
She entered an old and sombre building. He followed her and discovered an entire word there, in front of a half-opened door. A candle laid on a softwood bedside table where the shadow of a dress, hung on a wordrobe door, fell on. From where he was, he couldn´t see the woman but could hear her shuffling, see the candle flame wave when she walked. Then she saw him entering the room. She made such an abrupt movement that the candle went out, the lugubrious smoke flooding in the air.
Only their voices could be heard and when he finally saw her face, he realized there were no scars there, only pain.
She was there near the window. He could see her backwards, her spine, the vivid shape of a salamander. The first sun beams running on her body as waves in a coulourful sea. He had never known anyone like her.
He was there, his head on the pillow, the sheets still like lifeless leaves resting on an empty street. Emptiness. That´s what he felt when he closed his eyes and fully realized she was ready to leave him.
She was still backwards, he could see her face reflected in the window pane, he tried to draw her features on his mind and frame them there, craving for them to escape the hands of time.
But he couldn´t do it. He knew that not only her features but also her shape, voice, and all she represented to him would fade away, would be asphyxiated.
When she was finally gone, he looked at the room, empty of her feminine figure. There was a subtle happiness though. She had left a perfume in the air. He knew he would always have her scent and the sultry memories.
He didn´t want much more from life, afterall.
He drank a gulp of vodka and put the glass on the window sill. There was still some of the transparent liquid left. He liked to do that, watch the day beginning to break on that glass, the drink touched by sun. But it would be a long journey into the night.
He tried to distinguish the shapes of his violin in the room, he had given up the candles because of the mournful look they brought to the place, his instrument turned into a ghost.
The loudest sound heard there came from the voices of the women wandering the streets. He would like to go there, talk to them. But he knew he would never go.
When the morning came, the voices were not heard anymore. The trees were motionless under the limpid sky. There was no wind, only a presage of sun and a coloured glass of vodka.
It was only him and his violin now, and the symphony of the voices echo in the room.
I am reading once more one of my favorite love stories, The English Patient, by Michael Ondaatje 🙂
Happy Valentine´s day, everyone 🙂