Fishing in Beirut

April 11, 2010

Part 6: Things As They Are (scene 20)

Filed under: Character : Aria, Part 6: Things As They Are — fishinginbeirut @ 11:40

Aria packed her bag economically. It was only two weeks, she had clothes and cds at home, so she removed a few items and put the bag on her back to test weight. It was light enough to carry on the metro.
She was nervous about leaving Laura, after what had happened last weekend. They had arranged that Marie would take Aria’s bed, Marie’s old one, during the time Aria was away. Still, maybe the guy would come looking for her.
Aria didn’t know if she should ask Frank to check in on them. If Frank would like it, or Laura would. He could just call once in a while or text Laura’s cell phone, but she hadn’t asked him yet, and might not bother. She threw her bag in the corner and stood up.
It was going to be great to see her family. Ten months was like forever, and she couldn’t wait to see her sister in the doorway. Her mother was sure to make a fuss. She hadn’t made it home for Thanksgiving, so this would be a double event – turkey, cranberry, the lot. She had presents for everyone from Paris.
She put on some music from Lhasa de Sela. She sensed into her body as she swayed. The voice and the rhythm were intoxicating, spellbinding and heavy with thought, and Aria felt the floor, through her feet and her legs and her chest. To be holding herself as the world turned.
There was definitely a Christmas feeling in the air. It was more than just lights and consumption. When she walked in the streets there was a magic of some sort, a tingling anticipation of warmth or relief. The promise of nursery shelter.
She checked the flight time just to be sure. Re-calculated the right time to leave for it. It was fine, she would make it OK. She remembered that guy who used to curse them from outside, and for some reason he didn’t come round now. Here’s hoping he would never come back.
The clock on the wall had long ago stopped working. Aria never tried to fix it, because the ticking she could do without. It interfered with the rhythm of music. She went over to it now, the hands inert and functionless, and took it down and shelved it away. If Laura liked it there she could replace it. Then Laura returned and Aria said this to her, and Marie appeared through the door. She held a bag and a sheepish expression.
They ate dinner together, Marie shy, but the girls chatting to ease her. She was painfully conscious of her face. She had developed a way of letting her hair hang over it, but this required her neck to bend forward, and made her awkwardness even more apparent. She was gentle like a kitten or a child.
Aria watched her discreetly, feeling tears in her eyes as she noticed the tightness and fidgeting. It was searing to see such symptoms in another. Marie extended and re-clenched her fingers, her eyes looking up and down, seeking invisibility. Aria took her hand and held it tight.
Marie stared at her, startled and unsure. They’d never met before in their lives. Aria squeezed her fingers. For an instant the light flickered, then came back on stronger than before. Marie started crying. Laura looked shocked, but Aria was not, smiling imperceptibly to see the shaking in the limbs. Her hand grew warmer around Marie’s.
Marie cried for a long time. Twenty or twenty five minutes. She sat there in her chair with the dishes on the table, shaking and sobbing and biting at her lip. Aria just wanted to hug her.


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