Fishing in Beirut

March 22, 2010

Part 6: Things As They Are (scene 2)

Filed under: Character : Aria, Character : Frank, Part 6: Things As They Are — fishinginbeirut @ 08:47

Aria saw the graveyard boy on the subway. He saw her too, but she didn’t know that. She found herself looking repeatedly, which was strange, because since that day she hadn’t thought of him at all. He looked fuller, more whole now.
She gently made him notice her, watching until he had to glance up. She wanted to show she remembered him. He remembered her too, trying and failing to conceal this in his eyes, and she studied them, and knew.
They got off the train in slow motion, her from one door him another, and sat down on Metro benches, silently. They were twenty metres apart. The station emptied like sink-water, passengers gurgling and spilling through the gates, and finally Aria’s trainers made echoing squeaks as she jigged. Frank watched her minute nervous movements.
“Tu parles francais ou anglais?”
“Les deux.”
“But English is how you were born.”
“Yeah,” she laughed, finding the sentence amusing.
He stood up and shuffled much closer.
When he was standing before her she smiled at him, and he smiled back without fear. Her beauty was anything but frightening. He wanted to feel how her nose felt, but you can’t just do this off the bat. God will grant it if it’s meant for you.
Some people appeared on the platform, scattered randomly along, and Frank and Aria stood up and passed though the exit. She was aware of her hair and her jawbone. Their arms touched as they moved into daylight, accidentally, or not. Both felt so strange and so calm.
The station they’d emerged at was St. Sulpice, and they sat on a bench on the church square, while pigeons inspected them for sandwiches. A man tuned a violin in the sunshine.
Frank and Aria listened to him – the half-escaping notes, which he would soon turn effortlessly to music. The instrument whinnied and conformed for him. He commenced a lilting waltz made from sorrow and rain, an inappropriate sound when two lovers have met. It bound their first encounter with finality, reminding of transience, and endings. It didn’t bother them in that moment.
Later in a cinema, with Aria drinking Coke and Frank ablaze with new care for her, they let their knees touch one another, through jean fabric. The actors emoted on screen. They sat by the river after, lost in the eyes lost in their eyes, while tourist cruisers passed. All was maintained by the light falling.
“So you think you’re going to stay forever?”
“Yeah,” he said. “I can’t see any reason to leave.”
The purple sky wrapped the day up in night-time, leaving the American girl and the Irish boy to stand wordlessly, and depart the quai-side. A dog barked from under a bridge. Frank took Aria’s number carefully, writing it precisely, and clarifying twice. She smiled and her lips held him spellbound. As he walked home southward and her northeast, the dog by the river found a sandwich in a drain. He wolfed it hungrily, stale lettuce splatting on the cobbles. He sneezed from pepper mixed with dried mayonnaise, rubbing at his snout with his right front paw. There was a used smack needle lying next to him, under a leaf.


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