Love, Love Will Tear Us Apart, Again.
Her eyes engulfed him in perpetual longing. He lost himself in her pupils and the transcendent turquoise which gravitated around them like the rings of saturn. Her eyes could wash away from the soul the dust from everyday life, capture the essence of dreams and name the unnameable. Exquisitely perfect, they were only comparable to her deep red lips which were now speaking the words:
-* ** *
He held her gaze in the palm of his hand.
The phone rang.
-Is this all just mumbo-jumbo.
He rose from the bed, pulling the thin white sheets with him as he did so, revealing her silk-smooth naked body. She laughed with beautiful mirth as she too jumped up and quickly rushed passed him, fractionally beating him to the bathroom. She flashed him a broad smile of magnificent happiness as she closed the door.
He raised his arms in mock frustration before realising she would not be able to see his action through the door. He sighed and dropped his hands to his sides. The sun poured through the open windows through the pale and almost transparent curtains. Lines of dust particles hung in the air, reflecting and refracting the light from the glowing orb in the sky. He pulled on a pair of shorts and crossed the room to inspect the thermometer which hung beside the small mirror with the handcrafted metal pattern enclosing it.
-We’ve got to go. He shouted. They’ve been waiting for us.
-Take it easy, beautiful. She replied from within the torrent of shower water. There will always be people waiting for us.
He smiled and pulled a cigarette out of the packet which lay on the dressing table. As he lit it and drew in his first breath of tobacco a disgusting wailing sound filled the room. A venomous, vehement noise designed to shatter the ear drums and remove thoughts of care from the mind. He dropped his cigarette to the floor and stamped on it as he covered his ears.
The wailing stopped. She opened the bathroom door and beheld him in her sight. He stood motionless as she called out to him.
-Bello, what is wrong?
She moved over to him and placed her hand on his stomach. He looked at her with wide eyes filled with pain. She took his hands in hers and slowly pulled them from his ears. She glanced down to his palms and realised that they were laced with blood. His eyes saw this and began to fill with tears. She pulled his face towards hers,
-ooo ooo oo
-mmm mmm mmmm mm
She hurriedly pulled her blue dress over her body and took his right hand in her left as she led him from the room.
Out of the door. Along the corridor.
Crash into old lady leaving her room
Carry on, she’ll be fine. probably.
Onto the street.
The crowd is bigger than usual, and they aren’t milling around like they normally do. They are pushing and surging like the incoming tide towards the west. Squeezing the space out of the street. Chickens squark and jump around their cages, abandoned by stall owners. A taxi gradually forces its way through the tumult. She leads him over to it and opens the driver’s door.
-L’hopital, silvouz plait.
-No, no lady. No taxi, no taxi.
-I’m leaving. No no, no taxi today. Sorry madame.
Machine gun fire rattles out in the distance, it vibrates in subdued, muffled echoes, distorted by the arid dust.
The crowd panics and surges together and apart again, mimicking tuna in a threatened shoal. She pulls harder on his hand and drags him through the thickets of legs, arms, bodies and faces stricken with terror. A little boy sits with his knees pent up against his chest as he weeps in a stranger’s doorway. The sound of what she thinks is a firework whistles somewhere behind their building. Another round of gunfire, this time from the West, the crowd screams and begins to push their way back the way they were fleeing from. She grips his hand tighter and lets them be carried by the force of the crowd.
They emerge from their street into an empty space which was once packed with market stalls, swindlers, kind merchants and ignorant tourists. He begins to pull her hand backward towards the street. She turns to face him, places her other hand on his wrist and pulls him onward. As the crowd spill out behind them they disperse into crags and forgotten or lost alleyways and they are left alone in the market square.
A helicopter speeds into position above and hangs in the air as ropes extend and three figures drop down them. They hit the floor and the helicopter exits stage left. One of the figures pulls a television camera from his back as the three of them run, hunched towards where she stands with him. The media crew run past them towards the street.
His eyes are filling with red light, permeated by blotches of gold. He really needs a cigarette, or else something strong to take away this taste in his mouth. He scrunches his face and then tries to spit the overwhelming sensation from his taste buds. His tongue feels swollen with the flavour. He can feel hot blood filling his cavities and he knows it won’t stop. He’s going to choke on the blood unless he can spit it out and all the time the taste…the-taste-is-driving-him-insane-man-like-he-can’t-breath-he-can’t-feel-his-legs-his-thoughts-are-slipping-away-and-he-doesn’t-know-where-he-is-or-where-she-is-he-can’t-feel-her-hand-anymore-man-he’s-lost-her-he’s-lost-her-and-he’s-alone-and-he-doesn’t-he-doesn’t-know-what-to-do-and-the-sand-feels-nice-on-the-flesh-of-his-back-man-like-real-nice-it’s-so-comfortable-he-feels-like-he-could-just-lie-here-forever-man-with-the-warmth-of-the-sun-soaking-him-and-keeping-him-safe-he’s-enveloped-by-the-earth-he’s-part-of-it-all-like-part-of-everything-and-he’s-sinking ..slowly ..slowly sinking-into-the-ground-and-it’s-so-beautiful.
She places her arm beneath his neck and lifts him to his feet. His legs shake at first but then his eyes blink and widen and he sees her. She looks into his eyes and he feels reborn as she says.
-* ** *
She squeezes his hand and once more turns back to her task. But she doesn’t have to pull him so much now and he’s following her with ease. They reach the end of the square and she pulls him into the new street. It’s wide but there are two groups of men hiding behind stacks of sandbags with mortars, and at the other end of the street a tank is turning to face them.
And it’s as if drops of the galaxy are falling into his mind. Sensuously washing over the dirt and the sand which has been clogging his senses. It forms in pools of clarity in dark recesses which he had forgotten he had. He pulls her towards him.
-I love you.
And then the tank exploded.