Fishing in Beirut

April 24, 2010

Part 7: Berlin, July 2001 (scene 11)

Filed under: Character : Aria, Character : Karen, Part 7 : Berlin — fishinginbeirut @ 10:07

They went shopping on Michigan Avenue. In a coffeehouse on the corner of Monroe, Karen again felt frustration from her mother ordering for her. She knew she meant no harm, but was stressed nonetheless.
“I’m not gonna have that Mom. I haven’t even decided yet.”
“Oh, I’m sorry honey. It’s just that normally you – ”
“I know Mom, I know.”
It was pretty busy around them. A lunch time rush in the centre of downtown, and Karen felt hurried and observed, maybe inaccurately. The kinetic jolts of her mother made her painfully aware.


In a snack bar in San Jose Aria finished her burger. She drank Sprite and watched the diners come and go. She surprised herself when the straw reached the end and she started slurping. All of the ice in the world was nestled in the cup.


In a café in the 6th, the newly arrived Michel Rigaudeau from Bordeaux fiddled with his napkin. His hair needed cutting and his shoes begged for repair, but this was only because he liked them, and resisted buying new ones. The waitress watched him curiously, but not in that way.
An old man called Boulier sat at the far end, an infrequent visitor, with his hat and his cane. He occasionally came here having strolled in the park with the pigeons.


Karen and her mother left the shop. On the street they ran into Dorothy, who was complaining about Archie and the ways he drove her mad.
“I’ll leave him one day you know, permanently.”
They said goodbye and went to get the El, pushing through throngs with the office workers freed.
“Hold that fucking door!” cried someone, pointlessly.
The train rattled westward, moving through Cicero and Austin, heading home. The heat was stifling, bodies everywhere and humidity high. Karen held her stick and felt sweat on her palm.
“It’s just incredible what crowds there are. I knew we should have tried to beat the rush. I said that honey, didn’t I, that it would be like this.”
Karen agreed, yes, you said it, wanting to be back in the garden, or somewhere at least. She heard a man selling cookies like a preacher from the slum.
“Oh yes, and then the LORD told me something. He said Leroy, for that’s the name I was born with, he said LEROY, you go out and sell those cookies, for ME, and for the CHILDREN. And I am IMPLORIN’ all you good folks here today, to BUY some of these here fine cookies, and help us all spread a little love. Every little cent’s another miracle.”
Karen closed her ears to him, concentrating on her breath. Her stomach rose and fell while the air flowed. This trip would end, this day, this month and whatever was coming. She would go to Paris and be happy, and start something new.


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