Fishing in Beirut

February 22, 2010

Part 4: Causality (scene 4)

Filed under: Character : Karen, Part 4 : Causality — fishinginbeirut @ 08:32

Karen dreamed in colour. She woke up and tried to remember, but couldn’t recall any images. Just colour. She got the bus to the office and fielded calls – handling enquiries, patching people through, talking to clients from Boston to Bordeaux. She liked the feeling of the swivelling chair.
For lunch they went to a local café. The food there was generally more pleasant than the waitress. It was just Karen and Claire, a workmate and a friend, and they ate and talked of Julie, who’d gone to Amsterdam. The waitress messed up the order.
Back on the street they walked in silence, digesting, taking a moment before work re-commenced. Karen never minded walking alone, but it was better with two. A pair of eyes at hand. They crossed the road and took a right.
“Maybe we should take another way,” said Claire, “there seems to be some kind of demonstration up ahead.”
They turned and retraced steps. Karen loved Claire’s London accent, possessing as it did a delicacy she felt hers lacked. She was sometimes conscious of being an American, in light of the roiling world.
“What did it look like they were protesting?” she asked.
“Non a la guerre.”
“That stupid fucking war.”
The rest of the day went by in a blur. The feel of the office was one of random chaos. Later that night she remembered pausing once to drink some water, and, in her memory, that moment seemed to take place in total silence. All the bustle and din temporarily ceased, and she was separate and detached, magnificently.
It’s funny how time can do this, create aching perfection from seconds long past. We slow down, speed up, alter unconsciously shaping events, and all to make things function, a life as a narrative. Karen in midday silence. When the water touched her tongue, it was like she could remember every other single time it had done so, clearly and distinctly. From birth and maybe before. It was remembering so as to forget.
Today Claire had told of how she’d miscarried aged 21. Seven years in the past. Karen had listened in sadness and shock, wishing then she could see her face in that café, and not merely touch her tears across a table. Claire had never told anyone before. There isn’t much to say with true pain, the loss of a child that was never a child. There isn’t much to say or to do.
“Non a la guerre! George Bush non!” The chants and screams of peace, another little memory.

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1 Comment »

  1. Part 4 Claire and Karen together talking things through, with tension building as a backdrop, is very well written and structured. It builds good atmosphere, tense and touching and very empathetic. These two characters work well together. I’m looking forward to reading more of their story. Steven Well done 🙂

    Comment by Poppy — February 22, 2010 @ 20:02


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