Fishing in Beirut

February 16, 2010

Part 3: Blue, July – Sept 2002 (scene 13)

Filed under: Character : Aria, Part 3 : Blue — fishinginbeirut @ 10:05

Aria ate quietly. After, she washed the spoon and bowl, and replaced them where they belonged. She stepped outside. The garden was bathed in sunlight, some clothes hanging on the line. She smiled at the sight of her little sister’s pyjamas. When she was fourteen she had crouched out here in darkness, smoking a Marlboro Menthol with Laura they had taken from her mother. Coughing and spluttering.
She looked around and kicked gently at the grass. A radio could be heard from the neighbour’s. Every now and then the feel of the sea entered the garden, and it did so now, wonderfully. She breathed salty air. She went over and touched the clothes, kneading them in her palms to check for dampness. None remained. Her sister’s pyjamas, her own T-shirts and jeans. Her mother’s red blouse. All were dry and flapping.
Clothes feel different. From each other, and in wet and dry states. It would be possible to correctly identify your T-shirts, blind-folded. Possible with practise and awareness. Aria closed her eyes and experienced the fabrics, the clothes on the line in the garden. She stood on sun-warmed grass.
She was thinking of Paris all the time now, and took this as a sign of further improvement. The future was seeming very possible again. She rubbed her tongue over her teeth, and could taste the remnants of cereal. Sugar and mushed up wheat. A bird alighted on the grass nearby, a magpie. One for sorrow unfortunately, but then it was joined by another, and she laughed out loud at this lucky spectacle. Black and white birds, who would kill each other for a shiny piece of crap.
“What are you thinking?” asked her mother.
Aria hadn’t heard her approach, but wasn’t startled.
“Oh nothing, just thinking.”
Her mother drew up alongside, and smiled, ruffling her daughter’s hair. All of this had been hard on everyone. The magpies took off, one and then the other, and her mother squeezed her shoulder gently.
“Two for joy honey.”
“I know it,” said Aria, and they took each other’s hand. Sweet breeze ruffled grass.
“You’ll be able to go soon you know.”
“I know.”
“The past won’t even matter.”
Aria was amazed by her mother’s strength. The shock of what she’d learned and dealt with. Her daughter had been driven to a shadow world of pain. Benny the absent father, who’d left so long ago. Hollow, desperate, amateur photography; sad, explicit poses. Aria, attempting to repair the breech of childhood night abuse. Mother and daughter had been forced to educate themselves on trauma, but had emerged stronger, clearer. Despite the sometime ache, the past contained the worst. Aria had reclaimed herself.
The cat joined them in the garden, and little Anna too, just dropped home by a neighbour. Eight year’s wise, a pretty little girl, jumping and laughing on the grass. Describing her day in detail. Pictures and games at summer school.
They all stood together, a broken family no more, and early next year the eldest daughter would leave for France. Aria plaited Anna’s hair. What promise in the Parisian air; what would happen, who would she see? A white cloud drifted by, looking like an oval, or maybe like a plane. Yes, looking like a plane, singing softly of possibility. Anna counted her knuckles.


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