Sunday, 6 June 2010

2009: A Club Odyssey, part 15

It was early, quite early, as she caught the little local bus - one of several she'd had to take over hill and through dale, dipping and sloping here and there. The sun was over the horizon by now, slanting and glittering through the trees, the sky a clear blue. She was tired; she didn't want anything more than to go home.

But she didn't have to go home in this way. She had a growing fear that she would come across someone and that he - the last suitor, the one she could not shake off - would appear. There was no way to know but to confront (possibly, possibly not) him; and so she was on this bus, going up, uphill, then veering along a residential street. She felt like the eagle that could look at the sun; the sun on the horizon that dazzled and stunned in equal turns...

...the bus crossed the bridge, yes that one, the view giving her a glimpse of so much she had just experienced, the dome, the tall buildings, the river; then it was gone and the bus went between the pavements and cars and all the greenness and freshness and vividness of the day began to oppress; this was too much like something else to bear up being itself, just itself, for too long. She saw a figure that looked like him - almost, but not quite - ahead, and knew as she looked that he in turn would look back.

She buzzed to be let out and the bus stopped at the corner. She had no idea where to turn, whether to confront him or no; the pull towards him was as strong as the push. She could not look at him; she knew he was most definitely looking at her. In her guts she knew one thing, that she had to go home, and so she began to run down hill, and sure enough he followed, yelling "Hey! Stop! Please stop! Don't go away!" But she could not stop.

And the hell of it was that the beauty of the day was in her face non-stop. The flowers, the light on the grass, the birds singing, but she was again breathless and finding her way down through the path to the field below, hoping she would not somehow be stopped, that she would not stop herself. "Please please stop, I didn't mean to hurt you!" he cried out. She could hear him closer now, calling her name as well and clearly, clearly not giving up. She had no allies, no friends here, in the dense intensity, the twigs and flying seeds in her hair, but all of a sudden some girls, some rather excited girls, loomed ahead. Their eyes were wide in ecstasy, honey and cream were their clothes and their hands were sweet. "HELLLLP!!" she cried out, and they saw him grimacing trying to keep up and in their madness they thought he was someone else, and set upon him like a pack of wolves. They shrieked, they chased, they did not let up--

--she could not pause as the path turned sharply to a side, the ground flattened at last, pavement reappeared, and the girls had caught him, she heard his shrieks and covered her ears. This is what it was like, and half of her wanted to go back, to help him, but she was simply too damn tired, from the night.

Somehow - perhaps because he looked like a woodland creature himself? Because he was stronger than he thought? - he did escape them, just barely, to run down to her, improbably; the pull for him was too much, and the girls, when they did reach him, could not agree, quite, on what to do to or with him. He was bruised and roughened up, but no more...

...he reached her, as she was still gasping for breath and sitting, more like lying on her side, looking at a flower. Those girls were not her. He sat down and looked at her, the only one who survived and who would survive. He had no special gift, and this is what saved him in the end. The sun shone on the grass, turning into gold, the birds trilled in the silence. They soberly looked at each other again.