Fishing in Beirut

April 18, 2010

Part 7: Berlin, July 2001 (scene 5)

Filed under: Character : Johnny, Part 7 : Berlin — fishinginbeirut @ 10:17

Johnny and Lorena carved a melody. She was a Spanish girl who came here sometimes, sitting beside him on the piazza and tuning up. Their guitars wove in and out and intermingled.
Her lines were clean and fluid, Andalucía tinged creations complimenting his, drawing out their sweetness. When he sang she underpinned with fills and flourishes. He leaned back and clicked through his teeth, his tongue flicking out as he hissed to complete a rhythm. Lorena murmured something meant for no one but herself.
Her hair was pulled back tightly, clamped in an almost aerodynamic ponytail. Her eyes danced about and her legs jumped like shivering. She’d once told him smiling that calm would not be found in her dictionary.
The sun shone on the Pompidou glass, and across the far side from Johnny and Lorena, an African wearing a loincloth was folding himself through a tennis racquet. His sizeable audience whooped and cheered when he emerged. He bowed and made some reference to his skinniness; they could see him indicating his bone structure, and drawing a laugh. He climbed onto a tiny bicycle and pedalled around.
Johnny abandoned playing. She continued, forming chords high up the freeboard, creating a high and beautiful delicacy, as she changed with little hammer-ons and runs. Her nails flicked the strings with her thin right hand.
He watched her, rolling two cigarettes absently. When they were ready he placed one on her knee. The body artist folded himself into a crab shape, and scuttled across the smooth tiles at speed. Little kids and their mothers observed agog.
Lorena told him of a dream she’d been having, where all the people in the world somehow knew each other. They didn’t know that they knew, but a chain existed connecting everyone alive, built on physical contact, mental interplay, and the lightning rush of desire. It was a dream in black and white, with bursts of colour.
“Out of sex and guilt I have filled an ocean,” she whispered. “All my dreams of an alternative, perfect life.” She used the Spanish for ocean and alternative, and French for the rest. She often left castilian endings on similar words. She smoked the cigarette he’d earlier made for her.
A dead bird came hurtling out of the sky. It fell directly in front of them, the violent impact creating a mess. Lorena flinched and stared at it, the beak and feathers mixing with blood and tissue. The internal organs and claws had become inseparable and blurred, a pulpy mass of outside and in. Johnny found himself wondering had it died before landing.
They got up and left it there. There was no means or incentive to scrape it away. They walked down to the Seine, descended to the quai, and sat along the bank with the water below them. Lorena was visibly shaken, shivering.
The tourist cruisers rolled past – the sun on the water, the tourists up on deck. Johnny saw a girl wave and returned it lazily. He didn’t mind seeing that bird die, not the way Lorena did. It wasn’t a tragic event but merely an act. She curled into herself and clenched her fists, and he was going to put an arm around her but declined. The spray from the engine of a boat found them on the shore.


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