Fishing in Beirut

May 9, 2010

Part 8: Te Quiero (scene 13)

Filed under: Character : Karen, Part 8 : Te Quiero — fishinginbeirut @ 11:10

From the practical viewpoint, Michel was in trouble. He had no money of his own, and the rent contribution of his parents had gone up his nose. In more emotional or spiritual terms, his predicament was no better. The loss of his girlfriend had allowed all his confidence slip.
This confidence desertion was compounded by his poverty, because no money meant no coke. Cocaine was all he had without the warming sense of comfort brought by Karen. He had used it sparingly back then, more sparingly than recently anyway. He hadn’t seen Johnny in he couldn’t remember how long.
Six weeks? Possibly. It was the middle of April, and it was raining. He lay in bed and shivered, not sure if he could stop if he tried. The sound of a drill hummed outside.
Under the covers was hot, in a stifling, clammy way. He didn’t want to stay, but couldn’t surface. The drill pierced into his head, almost feeling like a rattling of his skull. The sweat on his hands was alarming him.
He was often tempted to ask Johnny for credit. He knew the answer in advance, but dreamed it anyway. Still, it was more than this imagined refusal that stopped him going. He didn’t want to see him, and had felt so for a while.
He propped himself up and looked around the room. His clothes were strewn about in disarray. Jeans entangled in shirts and socks, a jumper draped across a chair. He saw one of his shoes, half wedged behind a cupboard.
He got up and leaned out the window. He held this nagging insistence that Karen would call. It came and went, stronger, weaker, and it wasn’t so simple as to fade the more time passed. That morning it had been so real he was tense with anticipation.
A ladybird crawled across the windowsill and onto his hand. It opened its wings, preparing to fly. A rustle of wind kept the wings open, but the creature stayed put, its legs on his hand too small and delicate to be felt. The tiny black wing spots were perfectly round against the red.
It was Sophie who drew ladybirds, his five year old cousin from Bordeaux. She drew endless little pictures of these insects with grass and a sun. On the fridge of her family home, in her bedroom, smiling ladybirds eating or drinking tea. Michel watched the one on his arm fly off suddenly.
His nostrils itched. They were frayed and scratched and would occasionally bleed. He thought he’d rather stay at this window eternally than turn back to the room.
A queasy sensation came over him. He lurched forward and vomited onto the street. He could taste it in his throat as he gagged, the hot harshness of it. His insides stung, and the peace of the aspect was shattered.


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