The Page

A tale of intimacy and loss

Tag: beautiful bodies

A bad dream

DreamingIn his sleep, he hears Melissa get up, leave the room, walk to the entrance door. She unlocks the door, and let four people in. He sees them as clearly as if he was standing above them, a fly on the ceiling (maybe he is): four women in grey uniforms, wearing the ugly symbol he so fears.

Melissa’s talking to them, in her soft schoolgirl voice. They listen, lips tight, hands on their hips. He observes their faces, the face of his lover. Sarah must be deep asleep and has not noticed anything. One of them looks up at the ceiling, as if she was aware of his presence there.

He closes his eyes. Sleep returns.

At dawn, as he listens to the chorus from the trees outside their window, he watches Sarah and Melissa, fast asleep in each other’s arms. He sighs, gets up, shuts the door carefully.

In the kitchen he prepares coffee as silently as he can, his usual routine. On the balcony he scrutinises the street, at present deserted. The sky is cloudy, there is a hint of autumn in the air. Then he notices the van, a grey thing without marking, with a small arial on top. He’s never seen it since they moved in, but perhaps it is some workman on a nearby project. Coffee aroma fills the living room. He turns on his laptop. First he checks his mail, expedites current business, letters from his publishers, letters from readers, notes from colleague writers he follows.

He now checks the news line: last night the city police arrested some suspected terrorists, not far from their place. There is no indication of who they are, nor whence they came from. There is a picture: a young woman officer walking next to another woman, a civilian, in handcuffs. The officer wears the grey uniform of the federal border guards.

Sarah comes in, wearing an ultra thin nightshirt. She smiles, goes to the kitchen, comes back with two cups of steaming coffee, sits next to him. They kiss. “I slept like a log,” she says, “Melissa is such a nice bed companion!” They laugh.

He stands up, walks to the balcony: the van has gone.

Her World

two-facesIn her world there is no real peace, only the struggle for awareness, her refusal to fall back into nothingness, into the total darkness which is worse than dying, the obliteration of her soul.

She does not mean harm to any of them, neither to the girl Jane – ah! how Jane reminds her of herself, the young Melissa, no longer the child, and yet for most, a full woman, but she knew how little of that was true – nor to Julian, whose boyhood she had sought to protect, against himself, against the jealous others, and, maybe, though she would not have admitted it at the time, against herself, her smothering love.

Nor does she wish any harm to the woman, to the woman Sarah, who owns Julian, who dominates his life, the guardian of his body, and of his soul. But she knows: Sarah is the enemy, perhaps a reincarnation of the girl she once saw, walking next to Julian, once, and, yes, how painful that memory is, even now… And how sharp was the pain of jealousy when she saw them. She said nothing, but wears the deep open wound in her heart.

What she hopes, is to see him, to see his face, to tell him, perhaps, in her own words, that she has forgiven, that if, for her, time stopped then, as he stepped out of her life, she understands that his life is his. Could he make a little place for her, for the wraith that used to be Melissa? She does not need much space, she lives in between, in the unreality of her memories – and his.

She does not know how to achieve this. Finding him took so much pain, a journey she could not describe, only evoke in fragments, pictures she somehow rescued from the wreckage, and things she finds on those waves that Julian appears keen to surf…

Chi… this is what she has to do, try again to attract him there, perhaps early morning, before its beaches are invaded by the young people who love its sand, their beautiful bodies, and the waves… The girl Jane will help her…

Wax VanitasJulian ~ I am still very affected by what we saw on Melissa’s page, despite Sarah’s continuing doubts about its authenticity. Can it be an hoax? Is there even any correlation at all between the page and Jane’s encounter on the island, or just a weird coincidence? I am confused, but the one thing I do not doubt is Melissa’s death, so long ago. Worse still is the fact that memories I had wanted buried for ever in the deepest cellars of my mind, have come back to me, intact, in the sombre colours of nightmares. The years when Melissa and I walked those streets, in the old town, are happy years for me, at least by comparison with what followed: that time of loneliness and horror I wanted to forget for ever.

Yet, some of the posts on the page are incorrect. I did notice some errors of names  of streets or buildings, and some photographs have just been lifted from current sites on the web. For example the picture of Chi is not original work, such as the screenshots Jane took, but an existing view from one of the Second Life web sites. Other material is manifestly genuine, including the pictures of me and my class. So it may well be that someone – someone alive now, who may have known Melissa, has in some way got possession of some of her photographs and of her biography, and constructed that page. But for what purpose, and why attracting my attention to it?

Could it be some relation? I cannot recall if Melissa had siblings. Some facts have escaped my memories completely. But others are clearly engraved, as if it was yesterday…

So I am counterattacking, determined not to let myself be depressed: I am exercising ferociously, have cut down on booze, and I am running ten kilometres twice a week. Jane calls frequently, making sure I am not hiding in my corner, and also to chat with Sarah.

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