Fishing in Beirut

January 28, 2010

Part 2: Aria (scene 4)

Filed under: Character : Johnny, Character : Karen, Part 2 : Aria — fishinginbeirut @ 10:22

Michel sat down beside him and they talked of this and that. Johnny wanted full payment for last time before he gave any more. He spat, and reminded Michel of his aversion to mixing business with pleasure. Coke was not discussed when the guitar was out. Coke was not dealt at Beaubourg. Coke was purely a minor activity to pay the bills, he was not a coke dealer, and if Michel wanted a coke dealer he, Johnny, was sure there were plenty to be found.
“Je suis chanteur,” he barked. “C’est tout.”
Michel, smiling to himself, shifted position on the ground. C’etait chaque jour la meme chose, and cajoling and haggling would be needed to derail Johnny’s righteous conversation train, and still leave with the necessary. He lay down on his back. Johnny’s guitar case served as a functional pillow, and he closed his eyes easily and thought of darling Karen, almost immediately beginning to worry after her well-being.

*

Karen walked the sunny street slowly, taking in the day sounds. Her stick tapped lightly. She held a bag of groceries in her left hand, and expected to be back at the flat around 11.40. The morning air was sweet and pleasing. Friday, February 6th.
She was glad of this change in the weather, what with winter’s wily treachery. Slippy and rushed, with invisible collisions potentially imminent, everywhere. Ice on pavements, and your stick can slip. Other people can slip, and hit you falling. You can have a nasty accident that way.
She reached her building and punched the code, and the lift brought her up to the third floor landing. Exit lift, turn left, first door on left. Her key had her name inscribed in braille – a gift from Michel. She turned on the TV, and could hear twelve year olds squealing as they were remade as sexy popstars. Could hear their talk of favourite lipsticks.
Karen ate and listened to TV. Warmth on her face through the window. She turned down the sound, left the TV on, and heard birds. There was a plane flying somewhere overhead. With the television sound gone, the room settled into the atmosphere of daytime. The fridge hummed in the kitchen area. She turned the TV off, and there was stillness.
All alone in the afternoon light, she finished the tuna. She exhaled and leaned back, slowly. Whenever Mom called it was to worry. Whenever Michel called it was the same. They’d never met one another, but in ways she felt they bore so much in common. They worried. For her.
The sunshine threw crystals on the vase by the window, but Karen on the sofa doesn’t care for light refraction. It isn’t pertinent. Way back one time when, and she fell on the Chicago street, someone had expressed horror at all that red. Of course Karen knew what she was talking about, even as a little girl, but she’d decided quite soon after that colour didn’t matter. Colour wasn’t there. Yes her stick was white, and yes her hair was brown, but what’s the use in knowing, if knowledge brings a blank. She stuck to the relevant, the pertaining. There was feeling, there was sound, there was touch and smell and moments. There was love. There was healthy eating and newspapers.
There is an exception to all of this. An important part of Karen, illogically so. She got a glass of water and returned to the couch. Sat there thinking calmly. There is a photograph above, above Karen’s head right now, in colour. It’s there for all to look at, and for her to know it’s there. It’s framed. There is a boat out on a harbour, and distant glinting shoreline buildings, the sea all speckled randomly with golden frozen jewels. The camera-captured sun on the blue Lebanese ocean. “Fishing In Beirut,” the taker called it.

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