In the cloister

by Sisyphus47

Crusader So we are here. The three of us travelled along the long motorway, through those flat landscapes, the infinite horizon. We arrived in the morning and walked around the old town. For me it is a unique experience, you, Sarah, my only one, and you, Melissa, my long lost love. And I cannot distinguish you. I speak to Sarah and it is Melissa who smiles back at me, and then Sarah who teases me: “Our boy is lost, just relax my darling…” I am OK, just don’t want to think too much about who’s who right now.

The old church is there, standing dark despite the morning light. We stop at the little bridge, unchanged since Melissa and me walked over it, enlaced, both of us children. The three of us look at the flowing green water, but I cannot see the kingfisher…

The town is quiet, there is little traffic, the porch of the church looks inviting but stern. Melissa’s leading us, her pace enticing, her red hair flowing in the morning light. I turn toward Sarah, and I see Melissa’s face. I blush: Sarah’s walking now in front of me, her red hair flying in the breeze.

Someone takes my hand: we are walking through the porch into the ancient church: I hear the low grunt of an organ. Candles burn bright between the tall dark columns. I am following my two women, who are walking ahead, hand in hand. The air is cool in the scent of inscense.

I know this is decisive, perhaps fatal, but cannot resist the charm: I belong to them both, and time is no longer my own. They come close to a low door cut in the medieval stone. A sign says something about lengthy restoration, thirty years of searches in the ruins of the old cloister…

I see Sarah opening the door, and, silently she and Melissa walk in. I follow: the cloister is full of sunlight, and we are alone, or so it seems… I see them walking past ancient statues, knights and saints, then stop near a column in a shady corner. As I turn round I see the saint: a tall, austere figure who looks straight at me. I can no longer hear the organ, and now I can no longer see where the women are. I am suddenly afraid: the sun appears to have gone down, but it is still early morning, or so I believe. I look back at the saint, his eyes are now fixing me, of the pitiless stare of a crusader: I feel petrified, I wish I could call for Sarah, but she’s no longer here: I am alone. Time seems to flow around me, the stones suddenly look more ancient, and the saint more alive. I force myself to look up: I see the sky, and it’s not the sky of the old town. I know I am elsewhere. I try to shout, but cannot, I feel my mind is here, but no longer my body: that has been left behind in the cloister…

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