Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Sea of Tears

Marian’s head is on my chest, her ear pressed against my heart, listening to every beat as though in the silence of the night I have a confession to make, a revelation that cannot wait for sunrise, perhaps because secrets only fully reveal themselves in the dark, like a flicker of light. If every pulse is a word, she might understand. She might understand that, ten summers before we met, I have known another girl, and that to this day her name still hangs on the edge of my mouth, like a goodbye that never got its chance to be said. Which is perhaps why Marian finds it necessary to kiss me as often as she can. Maybe there will come a time when she will finally be able to rub the name off of my lips.

But Marian’s hope comes at a steep price. Quarrels are inevitable, and the more she throws hurtful words the more she mentions the girl’s name, as if it has now latched itself on her lips, like a contagion, willed into existence by some uncontrolled hatred insider her, surfacing at the exact moment she has become too vulnerable she cannot help but cry. And it breaks my heart to see her that way, for she has become collateral damage to a past I no longer wish to revisit.

I take it back — it does not break my heart to see her that way. Because I am blind. I can only hear her, feel her. My eyes have never fully recovered ever since I was a child. My sight only knows some semblance of light and complete darkness. In between, my memory fills the few colors I can remember. Which is why, when people tell me Marian has the brownest of eyes in Paterondria, I can only hope that I would be able to see them one day, Marian most of all. And if only I can see her for one day, perhaps I would never close my eyes again.

That might make her freak out, though.

Tonight, I wish to make love to Marian. And while our bodies are entangled, I thrusting deep inside her, I will tell her I love her. Because I do.

The river bed meanders to the distance where the dunes disrupt the horizon line. The earth is barren, the wind humid, lashing against his face like invisible fire. He drags his shadow, a dark but weightless chain for a companion in this unforgiving journey to an unholy place where the sun does not seem to set. The thirst in his throat crawls up to his lips, and somehow he wishes he could drink the sand.

So he kneels, scoops a handful, and all too sudden the grains felt like water in his mouth.

But then he coughs. And coughs. Blood and sand.

Blind men can make love, too, though I barely remember when I first learned to, you know, stick it in. (“Chauvinist pig!” Marian might accuse me, though I recall she once whispered that I “stick it in” one cold evening, and out of frustration and a debased sense of self-worth I could not help but say “I can’t find where,” and Marian, perhaps momentarily forgetting that I was blind, laughed so hard I completely lost my erection and, instead, we ended up talking about, for some reason, the texture of pineapples.) I guess desire, or lust — same banana — is not always dependent on visual stimulation. But I think that is the exception. The rule is, as Marian told me once, that there is nothing more powerful and titillating than the human gaze. I take her word for it, and for that I envy her. I want to look at her so bad. If only fucking is done through eye contact, I would be impotent for the rest of my life.

And maybe all the other men in our village would have already violated Marian countless of times, and soon I’d be in prison spending time for multiple murder.

He takes a deep breath. Exhales. Stands. He walks, limping as though his foot is writing across the vast terra infirma a confession that will soon be blown by the wind. Wiped off. Forgotten.

He puts a hand in his pocket and checks. They are there. Moist.

The grin on his face mocks the miles of desolation ahead of him, as though victory is already at hand, consummated, and that conquering the distance is nothing more than a mere formality, an afterthought which, to his mind, is not entirely true. So he continues to walk, one hand in his pocket, the other hand wiping the blood and sand off his mouth.

I mean it when I say that I work as a masseuse, the “on call” type. Home service, as they say, which is enough to pay the rent, the telephone bill, and a decent meal on better days. When I was a kid I dreamed of becoming an architect, though later on I understood that it is quite useless being an architect when I can’t even see the beauty of my designs, assuming that I’d be able to make one in the first place. Which is why I ended up working with my hands. Just my hands. The form, the beauty of the human body is already there, and it comes in shapes and sizes. Literally. I just have to trace it with my fingers, press my palms against the flesh, massage the muscles where they are sore. Hell, they don’t even need to be sore because some people just want to feel good that they’d tell me to press harder so I’d double the pressure but in the end they’d complain that they feel sore all of a sudden.

Pffff. Humans. Sometimes we are impossible.

But if it’s any consolation, Marian says that she likes it when I give her a full body massage. I like it, too, of course. Nothing beats the feeling of caressing someone so familiar her body has become my only real, tangible indicator that I am home. Like a landmark, without which I’d probably be lost, not so much because I am blind. (“Objectifying women!” she might protest, and perhaps I’m guilty, in a way, but what is a man whose sense of touch is also his sense of sight supposed to do, or say?)

Five hours have gone by. He reaches the shoreline. The edge of the sea is at his feet, the gentle waves washing away the sand like a memory. Beneath the full moon, the open waters sparkle. Behind him, the desert hides in the pitch black horizon, together with the secrets he left. Except for one. Or a pair. In his pocket. Moist before, now dry.

“Now this sea of tears will finally have their eyes,” he says.

He pulls his hand out of his pocket and gently lays before the shoreline the brownest of eyes in Paterondria.

“Alright, ten this morning. I’ll wait at the address I gave you,” the man at the other end of the line says.

“OK, thank you Mr. Solomon,” I say in return and end the call.

“Who was it?” Marian asks.

“A new client.” She sits beside me, and I kiss her on the forehead.

It is night, but the weather is warm, the wind humid, as though the sun did not set. He walks to the sea. Farther. Deeper, until he is gone.

Ten in the morning.

Eleven. There was no Mr. Solomon in the address.