Like a charging elephant, shot between the eyes, summer stumbled forward and fell in a cloud of dust. The silky shifts of Tishreens*, weathered by the harsh sun, blown away by overdue storms vanished from a cruel calendar. The opulence of an oil painting, fat with hues of yellow and loud with shades of blue swiftly altered to a harsh charcoal sketch of a dead chill. The subtlety of a water-colored autumn landscape lost in these times of common strife and personal ache. Would the pastels of spring ever survive, or will they too fall victim to the brutality of a heavy adamant winter? Only extremes, like idiots and thugs, seem fit for survival. I have no place to go, no time to be.
It’s not all about beginnings and ends. The man with the creased forehead sitting there at a corner in the café had a mother once who combed his hair and tucked his shirt in. He had kissed the girl next door behind the blue shutters when they both were ten. He had walked under a rainbow and danced in the rain. He had worn-out his salad days at the Copacabana with gorgeous women whose names had long been lost in the labyrinth of his fading memory. Then, till dawn, they hugged and kissed, his beautiful Mexican sweetheart and he, on the bank of the Mississippi river while New Orleans lay sleeping.
There’s a first kiss, there’s a last kiss and there’s a kiss in between. By virtue of purity, the first one is remembered. By virtue of loyalty, the last one is honored. By virtue of exquisiteness, the one in the middle is forever cherished. The sweet taste of strawberry, the rich smell of roasted hazelnuts, the hot feel of slipping grains of sand between the fingers bring her back. The taste of her lips, the smell of her hair, the feel of her body, tight, so close and now gone.
He hasn’t strolled over the Great Wall of China, the man with the creased forehead. He hasn’t seen the northern lights of the aurora borealis. There are mountains he didn’t climb, bikes he didn’t ride. Untasted wines, undanced songs, unread words, undiscovered angels and demons. A novel to write, a fish to net, a hammock to hang, a cottage to build. A ship to sail, a sea to cross...
A life to live.
*Tishreens = October & November