Fishing in Beirut

April 28, 2010

Part 8: Te Quiero (scene 3)

Filed under: Character : Karen, Part 8 : Te Quiero — fishinginbeirut @ 07:34

Karen put down the phone and shivered for a second. She wasn’t even cold, it was just a body twitch. The typical office noise was around her, appliances, sales chatter. But now there was no Claire and lunch was long.
The phone rang again, and as she fielded some routine enquiry she thought of Michel. It was months before, pre-Christmas, since she’d heard from him, and anything he might do now would be too little too late. Time had simply parted them and she wasn’t sure how.
She took a stroll after work, just walking in the office vicinity before going home. A friend, and a lover, vanished in the past. She had compartmentalised her life – Claire her workfriend, Michel her boyfriend. Now these two were gone, and Janey she rarely saw.
The wind was biting, howling in and out of crevices, design spaces in office facades and vulnerable pockets of car parks. She tightened firmly her scarf, and lowered her chin.
Rounding a corner a gust hit her, whistling through her body and making her pause. She lowered her head still further and squeezed shut her eyes.
At home that night she listened to the radio. A jazz station playing John Coltrane. She wondered what it was like to make such notes from your breath.
The drums were frenzied yet clinical, the bass a slithering eel. It was cacophonous or perfect and she didn’t know which. She tied her hair into a ponytail, sitting on her bed fully clothed. A strand of hair behind her ear slipped out and hung down.
The DJ came on and said that track was from A Love Supreme. Then she went on about the suffering in Coltrane’s life. Poverty, spiritual anguish, shooting smack to relieve toothache and other physical pain. He was an unusual man who could pick his nose right in the middle of a concert.
Karen stood up and stretched. She went to the kitchen and leaned out the window into the night. It was too cold to do this for long, the air sharp in her nose and mouth. The occasional sounds were harsh on her tingling ears.

Back in the bedroom she lay down and slept with her clothes on. She awoke in the early morning shivering and climbed under the sheets. Traffic sounds were already audible, the beeping of horns like John Coltrane. Parp, parp, honk went the cars, and all that was missing was the scattershot fills of the snare.

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