Fishing in Beirut

April 9, 2010

Part 6: Things As They Are (scene 18)

Filed under: Character : Aria, Part 6: Things As They Are — fishinginbeirut @ 07:40

Laura closed the door, leaving Aria and Frank by themselves. She had no destination in mind. She strolled to Belleville and bought a sandwich in a bakery, watching the woman make it with a delicacy of touch. Yeah, alright, he seemed nice – unpsycholike.
This was the first person she’d met from Ireland. He was gentle but not without energy, capable of anger perhaps. That’s the way it seemed to her anyhow. She put the sandwich in her bag to save for later.
Her old flat-mate Marie called when she was back on Boulevard de la Villette, a bad line making Laura strain to hear. Marie wanted her to come down, spend some time if she could. This sounded like a nice idea.
On the metro to Alesia, Laura watched a small boy scream blue murder at his mother. He was holding on to a bottle intended for his younger brother, his face red and bloated, his eyes upset and fierce. He was far too old for bottles and he knew it.
His mother wrestled it from him, embarrassed determined and drained, and the baby snatched it. She was raising two tiny specimens of will and greed. It can be hard not to look at such events and feel misanthropy, but they’re only children, and they don’t know. It’s kids in their twenties and thirties that make you puke.
Laura flicked out of her pondering, sneezing. Lukas was a kid and he was gone. The stops rolled by, Vavin and Raspail, and she got there. It was a two minute walk and two flights of stairs.
Marie let her in with her eye discoloured, a red and sinister mark upon her face. Laura did a double take and Marie stared at her. She was about to cry or shout or just fall down. They went to the couch and Marie began weeping, Laura hesitating, and then putting her arms around her, confused. She’d only thought they were going to rent a dvd.
Marie sobbed on her shoulder, desperately. A broken sound that made Laura feel the same. It took fifteen minutes to make her stop, and another ten to coax the explanation. It was Martin, but he was sorry.
Martin was an English guy who worked in Brit pubs. A sleazy chain for expats with bitter and darts. He was some kind of coordinator or boss, 27 years old, the last six in France. Laura remembered him from when she’d lived with Marie.
There was a knock on the door and Marie froze. Laura didn’t know what she was into here. She’d been pushed into this world, initiated without her knowledge, and now she was cowering on a sofa with a beaten and frightened girl.
“Marie!” came an English voice. “Ouvre la porte!”
The girls stayed perfectly still. A minute, an hour? It grew dark, and after they heard him leaving they refused to whisper or move. “He doesn’t have a key,” said Marie eventually. “He left it by mistake before he went.”
In the tension and adrenalin of the moment, Laura remembered thinking it was strange to hear Marie use English. Then she thought it was strange to even notice this fact. Her mind wasn’t processing properly, she was aware of that, so she didn’t question anything she felt. This was some kind of instinctive behaviour or automatic act.
She brushed Marie’s hair hypnotically, the girl prone and alert and her small fists clenched. Marie asked her to stay and what could she say.

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