Shine down upon the broken...
Christoph's hand had this slight movement as if his fingertips swayed in a caress over the shining surface of the back of the white square. He caught my glance and he smiled.
“Sorry if I made you wait,” I said just to say something, to put an end to this awkward silence between us. I didn't have any fucking idea what this was all about.
I was supposed to meet him!
“It's OK,” he replied. “Want something to drink?”
I didn't know what to answer. What was appropriate? I was thirsty indeed.
“Did you come alone?”
He threw a fleeting glance outside the window and then looked back at me.
“I didn't know what to expect. But I didn't bring her, if that's what you mean.”
I looked again at his hand on the table.
He smiled again and pushed something on the table toward me, a piece of cardboard. A postcard!
“You really wanted to know who's been sending those?” I smirked and dragged another smoke from my cig.
I didn't lift the postcard off the table, I only read what was written there: an address, a street, a small town in Spain and the name of this coffee shop.
My shadow's shedding skin...
And this was our long talk. He didn't need my words to realize.
“You are still irremediably in love with him, aren't you?” His only comment.
I didn't know, actually. But I knew that for all that pain, I would have rejected him as well, just as I rejected Till.
“When was the day that you realized that you were all over this?” Till needed to know. He wasn't even looking at me. He kept his head tilted, his forehead against the coolness of the tiles, and his eyes closed. His husky whispers echoed in the small room.
“It wasn't one certain day,” I replied on a gentle tone.
I just refused to allow myself to be consumed by all that shit – the abuse, the differences, the constant running in vain toward something that was only in my head. I wasn’t the defenseless, good for nothing boy anymore.
It wasn't one certain day. It was all the days put together. It was that clenched muscle in my chest, those long claws with which I clung to all the stupid things, as if they meant the whole world, my whole life. Me, clutching with both hands to hang on to those things that caused me the most pain; a lunatic walking alone on a side street at night, talking to himself, howling, not wanting to let go. They did such a great job, making me choose the brand of chains, the type of ropes with which I would tie myself to all the canon balls of misery, as I was struggling to convince myself that it was the only way. That life can't be anything but that.
It was day by day, bit by bit, speck of dust over speck of dust. Until my soul was a desert pressed by tons of sand – the perfect place for all the ghosts to ramble.
I'm alive when you're touching me...
“What if it were a lunatic? A crazy fan, a...?” I stopped and dragged another smoke from my cig.
Christoph rested his chin in his palm, putting his elbow on the table. The waiter brought me my coffee. I was wondering whether to tell Christoph that I had no clue how I had gotten there... had I taken a hit for old time’s sake and passed out on the beach? Worse was that I couldn't remember that I was supposed to meet him there, at that certain restaurant.
Maybe someone was playing a prank on us. Someone who knew about the postcards. Someone who... Ah, my head was swirling already.
“It surely seemed like someone who knew my every move.”
Christoph took a sip from the beer, as I tasted my coffee.
I never wrote on those postcards, I knew he would recognize my handwriting.
I wondered if he would have a one night stand with me. Well, during the day, but... It was only us here, in this country, in this town. Just once. Only one time.
Bang my head upon the fault line...
I never feared again going into that old town and seeing them, like vapors above the humid ground after heavy rain. I didn't even fear seeing her purple dress and orange umbrella again. I was too busy for that. I didn't care. That dead old town was just that... dead. It wouldn’t grab me with its claws anymore, like a monster, and devour every inch of my soul. My innocence. I always have my island, I always know I have somewhere to go back to. I have my life-saving rope.
There, on my island, in the New World, I could finally see myself. I could see who I was. I detached from that shapeless mass where we all were in my old country, on the old continent, and I became singular. For the first time I could see how I was, in contrast with how all these people in this new found world were. How to know the light if there are no shadows? How to know what being me - born and raised and educated and shaped by where I was born and raised and educated and shaped – means? I realized my traits only by seeing the traits of others. There, in my new world. On my own island of hope.
And Till got that, on that night, even if he was a bit tipsy. Oh, he always gets things right away, all the depths and insights. He smiled again at me, like in that older brother's role he always got to play.
Rest your trigger on my finger...
“You must be really curious, then,” I said to Christoph. “I was actually...”
I paused and looked at him. His blue eyes. The calm, endless blue.
“I was thinking that you...”
That blue sky, that endless Spanish sky. Why here? Why this place?
“That I what?” he asked gently.
“That you were just tossing them into the garbage. The postcards, I mean.”
He shook his head.
“That you would get annoyed and ...”
I stopped and put out the rest of the cig. I drank more coffee.
“I wasn't expecting it to be you,” he said, shifting position again.
“You wish it were someone else?”
“No. Oh, no! It's... It's perfect, actually.”
“What do you mean?”
He played a bit with the beer bottle.
“Why did you send them?”
I fixed him with my gaze.
“I won't ask you how you managed to do it. I guess it's not too complicated. I mean... it must be possible to do it, and that the effort wasn't really big. But why?”
“Did you keep them all?”
He chuckled, but he didn't answer.
To be continued...