Fishing in Beirut

February 20, 2010

Part 4: Causality (scene 2)

Filed under: Character : Frank, Part 4 : Causality — fishinginbeirut @ 08:37

Frank lay in bed. He didn’t want to get up today, but he knew he’d have to, eventually. Hunger and thirst would prevail. He could hear rain outside, the swish of passing cars, and he curled foetus-like into himself, against all without and within. The room was dark, a gloomy anytime darkness, but he felt it was around midday, and was depressed by this fact alone.
He remembered the moment of impact. It just came to him suddenly, and he physically flinched and tightened. His breathing and heart rate increased. He lay on his back with his jaw like a bear trap, clenched and protruding to the point of definite pain. The room swam momentarily.
He got up and made breakfast. He didn’t want to shower or sleep. He ate quickly, anxiously, and didn’t bother washing up. Then he changed his mind and did so. He suddenly had to leave the flat, and rushed about, dressing, grabbing keys, and checking he really had done the dishes. He cracked his hip off a chair and cried out. He made sure the oven was off, checked the water in the toilet wasn’t still running, and scrambled out the door. On the rainy street he relaxed.
He slowed his pace and walked northward. He passed the Metro station for Porte de Vanves, right next to his flat, on the southern edge of the city.
“Rather the rain than a train,” he said aloud, feeling better now, and smiling at the stupidity of this. “Rather the rain than a train.”
He turned right, went down Boulevard Brune, and took a left onto rue Didot, again heading north. This street was calming for some reason. He slowed further, and felt happy now, his hands warm, despite the cold rain. He smiled, feeling genuine relief. Three workmen were gathered around a truck, and, as he passed, one of them accidentally knocked against him and excused himself. Frank felt a beautiful tickle somewhere in his head, and it’s impossible to describe how comforting this was.
He walked on, feeling light and almost crying, squeezing his fists in sheer unbridled joy. So much energy inside. He came onto bustling Avenue du Maine, and up ahead was la Tour Montparnasse. A Parisian skyscraper. There were lights on inside, piercing in the midday gloom.
Newspaper shops stuffed with pornography were scattered around and about. He entered none. He came to the beginning of rue de Rennes, leading straight and true to Saint Germain-des-Pres. He bought some roasted chestnuts, but the idea was more interesting than the taste.
Halfway along rue de Rennes his ankle gave him trouble. He stopped, grimacing. He leaned against a bus stop and eased it gently back and forth, hoping to click it free again. This sometimes took time. A few passers-by were looking, but he was used to this, and besides, there were many others who just politely minded their own business. It popped free, and he gasped in sudden pain.
He continued north gingerly, and it loosened further. The cold and rain never helped. He was shivering now, drops falling from his nose, and the cold and congestion were dampening his spirits. Car horns and shopping bags. A dog pissed against a bank machine, a door-cloaked security guard eyeing it with distaste.
Frank reached the Seine, and sheltered under Pont Neuf. There is something inexplicably cosy in standing under a bridge in the rain, despite the fact that you are cold, soaking, and there isn’t even anywhere to sit. The river was misty, and had risen slightly. A cruiser went by, practically empty save for a few downstairs, and one lunatic braving the elements on deck. Foamy waves rolled outward. Frank rubbed his hands vigorously, and sang softly to himself.

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