V. Recently my Eyes (II)

I saw not a thing and not a soul until I saw the sea again. The bridge floating over its surface stretched from the shore I drove on into a city on the other extreme of the world. The buildings on the other side rose in queer harmony, notes of stone and glass and concrete on a musical score of wind.

Couples, children, and lonely people, many of them old, walked and laughed and played on the frozen waters between the two extremes. Had I spoken any Swedish, I would have told them to stop, I would have warned them against their own foolishness, I would have made them realize the impending danger.

I decided to park the car next to the only wooden bench facing the sea. Driving backwards, disturbed and distracted by the latent possibility of tragedy, I nearly ran over the small old lady dressed in yellow, like a wrinkled sun watching the sea, who standing by the bench. She stared at me as I got off the car and before I could say a word presented me her own apologies. It is all my fault! I said as I watched her go, evidently afraid of my presence. I melted on the bench, drained after the incident, looking at my shaking hands for a while. It was this numbness that made me drop my red notebook in the only part of the sea that wasn’t frozen when I was fumbling inside my bag looking for my camera.

A woman made of black hair and milk or porcelain came by my side and stuck her hand and arm up to her shoulder in the waters. She produced the notebook smiling and handed it back to me. A second woman, shorter and with golden hair, was now standing next to her. When I thanked her and explained her how clumsily I had dropped my precious notebook, she sat on the bench and said: Don’t tell me you’ve come all the way down here just to take a picture. She had the voice of woman who has smoked too many cigarettes. It started snowing. The white layer of the sky was disintegrating. I sat in the middle of the two women and told them about Father, the lawyer, the cliff, the tower, and about the old lady I had almost killed.

They waited in silence as I stood up and went to the edge of the road in order to, at last, take that much desired picture. I was just about to when the pale woman stood off the chair and with the speed of a gazelle got inside my car. The small one followed and took a seat as her copilot. I ran as fast as I could and got on the car through one of the rear doors. I was a passenger in my own car! And I couldn’t take the damn picture!

Here comes adventure, said the pale one laughing. She sank her foot on the accelerator and the car went off like a lightning backwards. We avoided by a few inches three or four passersby, among them a police officer who wore on top of his yellow mane an enormous orange top-hat. We ran out of luck right after that. A speeding car hit our tail and a second one our frontal bumper. All the crystal in the car blew up in fragments. We span like an old vinyl record. When we finally stopped, there was only silence. The short woman opened the door on her side and dropped on her hands and knees, drops of thick blood falling from her nose and ears onto the pavement. The pale woman, bleeding profusely from an gash which made her shoulder look like a ripe watermelon cut in half, helped me get the blond one on her feet, and, dragging her, we left the scene on foot, making our Via Crucis through the terrified crowd.

Seconds later, the car exploded in a ball of flames.

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Basteph’s story.