Fishing in Beirut

February 19, 2010

Part 4: Causality (scene 1)

Filed under: Character : Aria, Part 4 : Causality — fishinginbeirut @ 10:20

The car pushed through the world, in darkness. The girls were happily drunk, talking and laughing in the back seat. Aria knew she was going to get hiccups. The taxi flashed down the Right Bank Expressway, and she craned her neck around to see the Eiffel tower. At night it gave her goose bumps.
It was April. The car ascended, and began moving northeast towards Republique. Aria fumbled for the fare, not wishing to delay the man when they got there. They were dropped at l’Hopital Saint Louis, and walked home in two minutes. Laura started making toast.
“Do we have any of that wine left?” she asked over her shoulder, scanning the fridge for butter. Aria saw a half bottle on the counter.
“Yeah, there’s lots.”
They drank and ate, the light flickering softly, the bulb nearly gone. It was cooler now than in February, especially at night. March had been fine, and now April had taken this little dip. Presumably it was temporary. Aria worked in a café selling Swedish bread, American cookies, and overpriced French supermarket soup. Very rarely did she misunderstand an order, and Laura was amazed by this. Two months is not long, when you’re trying to pick up a language.
Laura always said it was to Aria’s advantage that she’d never done a French course, but Aria wasn’t sure about this. Whether it was true or not, not a day went by without Laura cursing her Sorbonne study. “Je deteste le grammaire,” she’d shout, screeching and laughing at once. The windows would shake when she did so.
They had jam, butter, wine and bread. They spilt crumbs everywhere. Aria loved this French wine, its simple, correct taste. Red wine in the evenings was lovely.
They heard a noise from outside. There was this guy who kept coming around, shouting obscenities about American girls. They heard the sound of a trash can being kicked, and knew it was him. He called out now about American foreign policy, and the treatment deserved by degraded American girls. He cursed and swore. Aria hated this, much more than Laura did, and she was terrified to even look out the window. It made her feel sick.
After a while he left. It was probably only five minutes, but it felt longer. Aria rolled her shoulders. Laura peered out to check he was really gone. It was bad enough having strange, silent men eye you malevolently on the Metro, without feeling trapped in your own home. They drank some more without speaking.
The evening had been fun; out in a few bars, exchanging a few glances. They tried to dwell on this part, rather than the other. Why wouldn’t that jerk just leave them alone? The toast was only half-eaten, and it was cold now, and Aria felt sad and ashamed just looking at it. This guy dug up her past for her unwanted, and the fact he didn’t know what he was doing was slim consolation. She felt small and unsure.
Soon after they went to bed. Someone was revving an engine, again and again and again, and Aria lay in silence, listening. She pulled the blankets tighter, and thought of her mother and sister. Two months was the longest she’d ever been away, and a little sentimentality can be excused now and then. She cried softly, and felt warmer.

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