Fishing in Beirut

April 21, 2010

Part 7: Berlin, July 2001 (scene 8)

Filed under: Character : Aria, Part 7 : Berlin — fishinginbeirut @ 07:38

Aria brushed her hair in the mirror. The sun came through the window and onto her desk. She didn’t know why, but she always brushed her teeth in the bathroom and her hair in her room. It was a ritual or routine and it stayed because she liked it. The card with the number had been stored in a drawer to her right.
Staring at her own eyes in the mirror, one of her giddy spells came over her; a fuzziness, a rush. She jumped up, the feeling frightening but familiar, registering her breath spasmodic and short. This frightened her further. She ran to the door and then stopped, thinking frantically as to what had caused it this time. It was like she’d had a sudden recollection of something, now lost.
She went downstairs. Her mother was at work and her little sister was at summer camp. She sat on a chair in the back garden, the air bringing relief. Her body was shaking slightly, and she really didn’t know what brought it on this time. It was an unsettling stillness followed by suddenly remembering to breathe.
The shock she got began to go down slowly. Voices from the neighbourhood were soothing, carried lightly by the wind. As a child her mother would protect her after these episodes, wrapping her in her arms and stroking her hair. She stroked her own hair now to replicate that feeling.
There was a prickly sensation on her skin. Around her stomach and chest, it felt like tiny scurrying ants. Her legs were heavy and dead. She didn’t like this, the thought and touch of it, and jumped up again, scared. Now she had to let it go down again.
These episodes came and went. Her mother called them her giddy spells. It’s just a giddy spell Aria, you’ll be fine. The child had had them as long as she could remember. Aria sat down again, stroking her hair and thinking of something else. It was easier to do this when her mother was in the house.

She went for a walk. Out on the street took her far from the introspection of inside. She walked and felt much happier in her neighbourhood.
A dog ran along the road with a squeaky toy in its mouth – a black and white dog and a red toy. Whenever he swallowed the jaw movement made the thing sound, and Aria laughed, trembling, all fuzzy but in a different way now. He disappeared around a corner and was gone.
When she got back to the house everyone was home. She’d timed it so it would be so. She came around the back way and entered the kitchen, her mother at the sink and Anna drawing in a book.
“A cat is what I want for Christmas,” she said.
Mother and older daughter laughed.
“Christmas is not for a long time honey. Tell Aria what you got to do at camp.”
What Anna got to do at camp was make Batman out of cardboard, a wild mutant creation with pink painted legs and only one eye. His left arm was raised like he was waving.
“And the teacher said that mine was very good.”
They all sat down to dinner with Batman included. Fresh salad was slipped onto Anna’s plate, in such a way that she forgot this was unusual. She ate it, oblivious to her aversion, and Aria and her mother smiled but didn’t let on. Aria couldn’t recall her nerves from earlier.


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