Tuesday, May 30, 2006
A bit of fiction. This was an exercise – I was trying to get a certain tone. I don’t think I succeeded, but it seems interesting enough to post. Do comment.
I swear I was thinking of you the whole time. I was having lunch in a restaurant. You’d said you would be home by late afternoon, so I was trying to pass the time.
I was making an attempt to appreciate this odd-looking quiche, which refused to be penetrated, psychologically or physically.
But that doesn’t really matter, as you know by now. The whole place started falling apart when I finally managed to pry a piece out. Coincidence, of course. There was an explosion somewhere nearby, and I popped under the table, almost by reflex. Half the ceiling turned to bits and rained down on us. I was glad I had removed my coat before entering the dining room. The floor started rocking alarmingly, and I clutched my chair to steady myself.
The man at the next table seemed to be wondering whether to remove the pieces of plaster from his dish and continue or to ask for a replacement. He changed his mind and hid under the table, where his wife was waiting for him.
The noise of the explosions kept on, but the hotel seemed to have chosen a certain level of collapse and stopped at that. We were all looking at each other, trying to figure out if it would be any use to say something.
So I closed my eyes – and there were dragons there, flying over the city and making it jump into flames. I didn’t know what was happening in real life, but it seemed irrelevant.
I could hear the low whispering of the man at the next table, saying something to his wife.
“Excuse me, lady,” she said to me. “Do you think my husband will get to finish his lunch?”
I opened my eyes and smiled at her.
After a while, everything went quiet. I realized you would be waiting for me, so I headed out of the restaurant.
There was an old man in the lobby, lying with his limbs at awkward angles. I thought it would only be polite to say goodbye to him, so I said it as tenderly as I could manage. Then I took my coat and walked out.
The city, already ragged and tired, as you like to put it, had been smashed, skewered and cut up. But it was still my city, I loved it. In fact, if we don’t consider you for a moment, it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.