In that now indelible evening, everything was as vapid and tepid as usually. Back from my wearing yet refreshing as idea of ‘professional vocation’ job, numbed by the 3 cups of milky and honeyed coffee that kept me going through that day only with a ham and cheese croissant grabbed in the morning rush, I decided to take a therapeutic bath.
The lime scented candle contrasting with the sweet marshmallow flavour of the bubble gel always has on me the same effect as an invigorating dive in an ever-welcoming sea. Expiatory. I lazily rubbed my skin with the abrasive sponge as to remove yet another layer of deceased cells, and flicked through my journal’s previous night entry. I had honestly laughed at the image of my pathetic and passionate scribblings, punctuated with negligent spelling errors and pangs of utter despair.
Such biochemical imbalance at this unfit point of third-of-life-spent-already! xxvii years out of the predicted average of lxxxiii for a human female in a developed world. Reasonably young, about xiii years of prime time of life still to go. Yet, just another organic matter shell of comprehended truths and fallacies, of withered and reclaimed ideas, of mercurial aspirations and crippling delusions, of delectable recipes repeated at dinner time for the years gone and the ones to come.
A foretelling perspective: soon, lovingly embodied chimera of prosperity and gain. Marriage, progenies, own spacious shelter, professional laurels, enriching trips and snapshots, a collection of fine wrinkles a few decades from now…and then?
Justifiable, even though futile lamentation? Very probable, considering the repetitive nature of human itineraries. And my generous vanity that has ever strived to tickle me with ideas of undeniable unicity yet continually failed to utterly becalm my sensitivity. Oh, such gloominess, such entrapping sense of vain!
I generally get tired, well, in fact exhausted, when I demand an impossible protruding of our transient nature. Aching temples, trembling limbs, eyes about to pour a few streams. A complete menu really. As I am cerebral and sufficiently capable, despite my self-involved character, to name my exact states, and as self-pity is one I cannot stand, I had decided to interrupt my splenetic sinking. I got out, slipped into my overly vintage-styled bedroom, and put a favourite record on.
“Live fast, die young…
live fast, die young…
live fast, die young…”
played a candid suggestion of plausible refrain in my feverish imagination. Wrapped in my silky black chemise, I started dancing around the fluffy Persian carpet, imagining a ritual of spells that would deny me the unreeling of such a trivial yet desirable destiny! Of petty mortal being. I went on for quite a while, even though I have never been a too keen or skilled dancer.
At the very precise moment when I felt a sudden twinge of total insight (or acute tiredness?), of late night cathartic revelation, it happened. A soft knocking on the entrance door. Once, twice, three times. Then, sharp. No pull of the doorbell. Instinctively I looked at the antique horologe suspended on the Eastern wall, piece of collection inherited from my now cassette-of-dust grandmother. Almost midnight.
I approached the massive, wooden frame of the entrance door with the rhythm of a snail crawling on a leaf. I couldn’t distinguish any sound beside that of my accelerated respiration and didn’t dare to look through the eyehole. So, instead, I stuck my body next to the smooth, glossy surface that separated me from outside, and listened tightly.
The steady race of a breath. In tandem with mine, as if mingling with it, yet clearly louder. I stepped back as burned. After an instant of hesitation and reproach regarding my ludicrous and unacceptable attitude (have always perceived myself as brave, even slightly fierce!), I moved forward again and stared through the hazy aperture. And then…then, I saw you.
I could not describe in poor decrepit adjectives the amount of warm pleasure I felt when I recognized you. I sensed as if the time and distance that stood between us for so long had dissipated at the sight of your bright as dew and heavy as oceans lights. I opened the door, pulled you in. Sat with you at my tiny bedroom’s elliptic table, grabbed your hands and kissed your beautiful ebony hair. You wiped my teary face with it, then pushed me back on my chair and handed me, smiling, my long-forgotten ring. You told me how you wore it next to yours on a burgundy velvet necklace, for all the ages that had passed since we last met…
You look around, then at me.
“It wasn’t the right time then, but now it is. You asked for it, and you still desire it, so now we are going to do it.”
A guileless play of alchemy: glassy globe, cordial palms, a kaleidoscopic chandelier in the bleak, unappealing darkness of improvised tent. Proffer me your ring, let’s grate a special rock between our golden circles. Now impart the content of the sacred chalice half equal. Rub it on your epidermis. The magic number begins. A karma request as starter.
Close your eyes, scatter this mysteriously pungent powder on the sphere, put the lamp’s dim light on me. What do you see? The minutes tear their seconds away as a downpour of pebbles rushed by a torrential, hazardous weather. Open your hypnotic scrims. What did you see?
“Compactness. Utter compactness. As if I can’t flay the emergence of your self’s impenetrable fortification”
“Pigmy apology. This is a total nonsense! We act as toreros whose bait is anything but scarlet, and whose bulls have effaced themselves as to prevent the disembowelment of the deluded bipedal warriors… Enough. Pull the curtains apart, maim to shards this contemplation of augury.”
“No. Only because your fascination has surrendered to scepticism, doesn’t mean it won’t work. At least for one of us. If you deliberately and wholeheartedly choose, you shall never un-choose. Else, all it is irredeemiably lost. It is my time now. Read me. Don’t act petulant.”
Without dogged pressure, I easily capitulate. Only for the ones I adore, for sure. I close my eyes. I strive to envisage you aside from the shadow of the retro buffet profiling behind you, aside from the demure mauve collar of your snowy dress and the green inquisitiveness of your flickering torches. A grayscale scene disentangles in my oddly limp vision.
Argent horizon, fleecy pellucid clouds, a Stygian tree. Beneath its corolla of nigrescent needle-like leaves you stand integer in a chiffon ivory dress, still and inexpressive as if awaiting a mutilating purgation. A rustling sound distracts your fixation precisely when I am almost convinced that you transmute into a timeless gemstone. You stare up, and now I see, the zephyr sunders the clusters of sable foliage from their vital stable source. The sour cherries left as buds in the centre of each bundle are red, raw and glossy as easily spurted blood.
They hurt my mirage.
As I am about to faint with weariness and painfully profuse deference, I discern the voice. A raging, aching, terrifying sound. And I see it. Ethereal as your dress, brutal as the zephyr, unfathomable as my self’s compactness to you, I see it. A melanistic tiger. An assemblage of apoplectic vibration, a definite mass of erotic, injurious liveliness. Unperturbed, you still stare up, as if the crucial secret of your redemption from this imminent jeopardy is throbbing somewhere inside those minuscule, sanguine pearls of sharp sweetness.
I hold my breath, and the feral beast impatiently jumps straight over you and impales its savage canines of flesh eater in the scarce spheres that shamelessly hang up there, the limpid objects of your rapt analysis. Then, to my utter dismay and disbelief, he gently kneels in front of you. As a devout pilgrim on the hassock of his idolized temple. As a damned criminal on his preordained guillotine.
With unvaried indifference, you collect every single bearing from between his splashed with bleeding juice fangs and swallow them in a frozen instant, without a single quiver of your humanly flexible mandible. You pierce your right forefinger tip in his edgy tusks and pour the colourless drops inside his eager wide-open mouth. He closes his eyes, and your fingers begin to stroke his immaculate fur. You climb on his broad slender back, and I clearly notice his muscles beautifully lifting him up on his irony scaffold of bones, while creating a river-like undulation on his complete guise. Barefoot, with unkempt hair and now gory lips, you smile.
You glance at me and now I see that your eye sockets are wholly white as well. You point your damaged finger at me, prophetically, and the feline observes me as well, for the very first time. As he sights me, I realize it. He’s got your haunting eyes. Verdant sapphires. As from an underground or upper ground realm, sheer echo of serenity, you murmur in a now tender and redundantly static atmosphere,
“A small price to pay for a vivid phantasm. Two irides for intimacy of inspirited yearning.”
A resounding reverberation. A corrupted lamp next to a breakable globe. At a wooden table, in a minuscule chamber with jetty curtains on, a silhouette. In her right outstretched palm, two golden rings. On her opposite side, a Gothic mirror with gilded frame adorned by immemorial symbols.
“Through alchemy, scoop my eyes, and then see. It is all worth it.”
The photos’ source