Fishing in Beirut

March 24, 2010

Part 6: Things As They Are (scene 4)

Filed under: Character : Aria, Part 6: Things As They Are — fishinginbeirut @ 08:39

Laura dusted the apartment. It was a cold but sunny morning, and she lifted and replaced glasses and CDs, getting at the nooks and crannies with her duster and cloth.
She was happy but apprehensive for Aria with this new boy from Ireland. Aria spoke like she’d known him forever. Laura had yet to meet him. She paused for a second letting dust float around, and then resumed cleaning while a bird broke into song. There was a radio from somebody’s window.
Two weeks before, Aria had come home so happy, full of joy from this Frank guy. They’d met and then gone to the movies. Laura was suspicious of anyone who spoke to Aria, though she was careful not to show this, wondering whether they sensed the same sweet vulnerability she did. In bars, did she protect or stifle Aria? She wasn’t sure, but felt her intentions were good.
She dropped the cloth and knelt to pick it up, spying one of Aria’s socks half-trapped beneath a chair leg. God she felt like her mother. She fished it out and threw it in the wash pile, and laughed at herself, 20 going on 40. She suddenly felt dowdy in her flip-flops.
She was a beautiful girl and they made a good pair, out on the town getting noticed in the clubs. Aria’s French was so good now. Laura watched out but thought sometimes she needn’t, although the knowledge of what Aria had been through made her instinctively. She had been hurt, and she was younger.
Laura was the girl who made you laugh to show she loved you, but the boys she’d met thus far tended to view such girls platonically. Lukas was an exception. Her self-appointed shepherding of Aria didn’t help either. She was popular with boys, could punch and mock them easily, but sometimes there were moments when that didn’t seem enough. She’d found it hard to get closer.

That night she worked on a college assignment. The paper was due the next Monday. She yawned and stretched and started writing again, a girl in a window with a lamp and a desk. She heard bins being opened in the courtyard.
The paragraphs came easy, and it would certainly be ready for Monday. She took a break and walked slowly round the apartment, eyeing the areas she had earlier cleaned. It looked bigger with the dust gone.
She had liked Lukas, but he turned out a fool, the male equivalent of those girlies who just can’t ignore their hair. She’d been tricked by his eyes blue and beautiful. The exotic newness of his speech and his style, the detached intelligence of the Scandinavian mindset, had led her to believe she’d found a soul of depth. All she’d found was the seashell.
She sat back at the desk and drew a space monster, a small boggle-eyed creature in the corner of her notes. She gave him fur and a nose and whiskers. He smiled up at her, and she coloured in his fur with a purple felt-tip pen. His eyes got light blue irises. Settling back to her schoolwork, she would glance at him occasionally. Then laugh and resume writing.
When Aria came home they could drink wine together. The bottle sat on the shelf with the cork half jammed back in there. Laura opened the window feeling air upon her face, and then the sound of Aria’s key in the lock made her smile with joy and loosening. Her baby was back from her travels.


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