Invent a memory of me. It can be anything you want, so long as it’s something that’s never happened… – Nico
It was getting rather late. Far too late for this crap. The symbols on the flickering monitor had started to doze off, glowing all blurry and washed out, and I felt the surrendering urge to join them in their slumber.
I needed to get out of this city. It was pulling me down, dragging me along its filthy streets face first, shredding away all ambition and aspiration, shredding away the last significant bits of my face. Years ago that had been different. Years ago this hole meant independance to me. Finally on my own feet, in my own appartment, in my own city. It was my life, and it was in my hands. I knew this was happiness. It was my first step into freedom.
How foolish I was.
I had walked into a cage. It had tempted me with its flashing lights and interesting faces. The longer you lived there, the more you realized how the old city resembled that cage, with its dead towers and rusty parks. The faces had dropped their masks and revealed grey shadows, creeping along the streets, one by one, each one resembling the other more and more.
I needed some fresh air, knew I would never get the papers done on time in this state. Reluctantly, I pried myself off the desk and made way for the balcony, leaving the glowing symbols to rest for a while. I slid open the shrieking glas door and stepped outside. Fresh, cool air enbosomed me as if it were trying to tell me something. For all I know, it could have been, “it’s ok now, you’re not going anywhere, but have a rest”. At that moment, it didn’t make much of a difference what it said.
The usual urban night sounds met my ears… a tumbling trash can here, a stray cat there, the occasional bypassing cars, and that familiar monotonous mumble that wove its way through the grey building blocks, gathering every little drop of noise in its path and assimilating it to an undefinable, collective matter.
I closed my eyes and absorbed it in its full essence.
“Are you coming?”
After a few deep and sighful breaths of air, I turned around and looked at you. Even now, standing in the dim light, sleepy and shaking desolately in frost, your seraphic silouette beckoned me.
My eyes swept over your delicate body and stopped at yours, which gently penetrated my clouded mind, as if they were searching through my entangled thoughts and sorting them out for me. Minutes passed, as I stood there transfixed, spellbound by your sorcery.
“Are you ok?”
This was it. This was why I was here. This is what held me here, what I was living for. I knew it now more than anything else. Fuck everything. Nothing mattered now. We had to get out of here, together.
“Yeah… yeah, I think so. I’m coming.”
A short story by Jerome Dahdah, May 2004