This kind of swerved in the end. But that's okay. I decided to have it relate to the actual series. Anyway, I like this one. I hope you do too. It's a nice break from my more light story "Of Snow, Winter Wonder, and Relentless Boys". But I digress. This story is based off a Bob Dylan song; Tangled Up In Blue. He is genius. It's almost verbatim from the lyrics. Check it out.
These solitary hills have always been dear to him.
He was walking down the stone-embedded path; slippery moss creeping its way through the cracks, catching the heel of his boot on every thirty-third step. But he went on with the night dark and suffocating, a bottle of booze loosely held by his fingertips. The night was quiet. The night was loud. He couldn't see much in front of him except the pine tree's branches reaching out to graze his leather coat, just as softly as the snow that was falling around him. The snow wasn't sticking to the ground though, and what a sad sight it was. Such a beautiful creation, fragile and small, absorbed by the sneaky moss and cold stone as if it were never there to begin with. He watched as each individual flake turned into a tiny pool of water at his feet until he passed on by, stepping on what was left it.
The wind was chilly, but not unbearable. It was odd, he thought, that the weather was acting this way so early in November. Never had it snowed this early. Never had it been this cold. Or at least compared to what he was used to. In the distance, through the thickness of the darkness and the needles of the pines, he could see those hills luring in the night. His heavy heart turned to a blanket of led. But he kept walking, the moss slippery under his feet, scathing, trapping…
The moon was a large and white mass that swallowed the nearby stars with its brilliance. Its glow was the only light that graced the slippery stone, bathing it beautiful even with its thick traps of treason. Again he shivered, and his legs begged to recoil from every step he took. But his mind overpowered the will of his limbs, and on he went.
The night was cold, but his heart was getting colder.
It only took a few more steps to come out of the path. His boots met hard concrete, dark and glossy from the melted snow. Emitting a low hum, a neon sign burned ahead. The building to which it was associated with was small, quaint, and desolate; just like the rest of this empty town. No one was on the street either, so he crossed it, stepping over the yellow street lines and then onto the sidewalk. The stars continued to bloom above, peaking timidly from around the moon, leaking through the empty darkness in a mass splendor of light. The stars were burning, he realized dizzily, just like the neon sign that beckoned him toward the door. But they did not hum of artificial ectoplasm. They simply twinkled, mocking him with their beauty, knowing all too well what they reminded him of.
He crossed the empty parking lot with only a few cars here and there. He could still hear the grasshoppers hopping and chirping and mocking and laughing. So he opened the door and left the night behind.
Inside was hot. And he suddenly wanted to be outside again. A creepy-crawly feeling was teasing its way into his stomach and he wasn't sure what it was. Music pumped its way into his ears, and he didn't like the sound. It was slow and drawling, sensual and full of despair. But it was beating like a steady drum, beating, beating, beating, the techno stereo beating.
A man in black reached his palm out as if he was expecting something. He could see the man's fingertips trembling with music; wavering, spinning.
But he pulled his wallet out of his jacket pocket and gave him the money and flashed him his ID. The guy nodded but said, "You can't bring that in here." He looked down at his hand, noticing the almost empty bottle of whiskey, nodded, and put it on the nearby table and continued on through.
The room was filled with smoke that spiraled up and around each dizzily grinning man like a lingering presence that unfortunately belonged. There was slurred laughter in the humid air and the sensual music. The floor was carpeted and stained, and the walls were dull and chipping. But a red light aroma was present, bathing the stage and sensually dancing women in scarlet light. He made his way toward the bar and got a beer, seating himself on the circular stool. He rest his head on the sticky counter; the world whirling and twirling more than it had a moment ago.
"Here you go." said a tired female voice. He lifted his head. Upon seeing his face she smiled coyly and leaned forward to rest her elbows on her side of the counter. He took note of the proximity.
"Not a lot of guys looking like you come around here."
"I'm not from around here."
"The better then." he looked her up and down. She had tousled red hair and dark eyes that searched him deeply. He continued to stare until she broke contact and retreated to lean against the other counter behind her. A decoration of an array of bottles and glasses littered the glass-stained shelves behind her.
He watched as she breathed in and out, her fit shirt revealing the small crevasse of her breasts and rib cage. He wondered if she did this on purpose. He took a swig of his beer. It tasted watery and dull.
They stayed there in silence, the only noise being the drumming of the stereo and teasing laughs of the swaying women. "So if you're not from here, where are you coming from?"
He took another sip and shrugged his shoulders.
"Don't be rude now. It's polite to answer a question that a lady may ask."
"It doesn't really matter."
"I bet its somewhere nice, right? I can tell by your jacket; very fit and nice. And that necklace. It must be silver, am I right?" She had a slight southern accent that emphasized the softness of her words.
He rubbed his eyes, "Yeah, it was a gift."
The woman smiled, tilting her head to the side, "A girl, I bet."
"Yeah, something like that."
She laughed at that. "I bet she was pretty. Was she pretty?" He only stared at her. He didn't trust himself to answer that question directly. He was afraid of the words that may leak clumsily from his lips.
"And how do you know that she is a "was"?" he said, playing with the damp label of his beer; something foreign sounding. She smiled again in that way as if she knew it all. But this time it was her who shrugged her shoulders. And there was silence after that.
He slowly spun himself around so that he could see the room. Glossy eyed men were staring up at the several low stages, a golden pole place above their eager eyes. He watched as the girls twirled and spun, hips slowly moving, eyes glazed over as they dipped their heads. He heard a shriek of laughter as one of the girls sat on top of a grungy looking man that smiled goofily and grotesquely. He watched as she played with his tie, her slim thighs wrapping themselves around his midsection.
And the music kept beating, beating, and soon his bottle was empty.
The drawling music noticeably slowed again, and a spotlight appeared from somewhere above on an empty stage. He watched as a woman approached it from the side, her steps slow and limber and clad in golden high heels. She was wearing a gold bikini bottom that looked as if made from heavy metal. The top was of the same material and texture, with small gold chains that dangled between the faux jewels encrusted on her breast. Chains hung from her navel, and she had a similar head piece that resembled a tiara embracing her skull. Her hair was a flaming, long red.
As she walked toward the golden pole luminated from the distant spotlight, he could not take his eyes away from the side of her face. He stared at her taut legs and the soft muscle that appeared with every step. He stared at her tight abdominum that jingled in the sweet air. He stared at her breasts that were round and full underneath the metal-looking bra. He stared at her blank eyes that never changed in size or in emotion.
A tight feeling squeezed at his stomach that made it painful to look, yet unthinkable to look away.
She had reached the pole, and breathless, he watched she bent her shape around it as if her body were made of a malleable substance that molded its way into men's pleasure. Her legs were long and golden and wrapped around the pole, spinning slowly as she dipped her head lower until she was nearly perpendicular to the ground. He could see the inhale-exhale of her rib cage as she slowly lifted herself back up. A few claps came from the small crowd, mens' eyes hungry for the feast upon the stage.
She had met his gaze for only a moment. But he knew well enough that she did not recognize him. It had been ten years, after all.
He felt as if he couldn't breathe. Every breath was strained and shaking that resulted in the paleness of his face and the lightheadedness of his conscience.
Yet he still watched. He still watched as each spin and bend grinded its way into the gaping hole in his chest. His eyes were full of pain and fire. A sudden rage engulfed his clouded mind that made him want to take his shaking hands around each and every one these guy's necks for even taking a glance at her. For licking their lips and tapping their feet.
But the show had ended, and she had joined the other girls in the main stage and blended in with the rest. The crowd began to thin. How much time had passed, he wasn't sure. But he never took his eyes off her face, her body, her curves. A sick feeling of sadness replaced the prickling, receded anger that he had felt. Had it been that long ago? Had so much changed since the time of the waves and seagulls and stars?
He stayed until the women left the stage and the men stumbled out the front door. He did not know what to do at this point, but he felt that he was to do the same.
Taking a last sideways glance at the bartender, he stood upright, swaying as if the earth, or some other external, fearfully powerful force were pulling him side to side. She had not remembered him. And so he would not allow himself to remember her.
But just as he stood up and faced the stage, there stood a woman. The red, dimming lights cast an odd light spectrum from behind her, giving her golden costume a wicked luster. Her face was soft and curious, but caked with makeup and a mask he was not accustomed to. She was nearly his height in the heels she wore, and he found it slightly unnerving. But he watched her lips part slightly and his mind ran blank. There was silence as he stared into her eyes. Because her eyes were the only things that peeked around the mask she wore, the character she bore.
He watched as she took in a breath, and then as the tips of her glossed lips turned slightly upward. "Don't I know your name."
He sucked in a cloud of smoky air, remembering that he had to breathe. But all he could do was stare softly and nod his head the slightest.
He watched as she mouthed his name. Her countenance turned solemn as she took in his disposition. He had only begun to realize how much he had changed as well. No longer was he the skinny next-door-neighbor boy he was at fourteen. No longer did he smile at evil or the sadness of life. No longer did he see life free of death, of pain, of hunger at sixteen. Time had made sure of that.
"Come with me." she said quietly, taking his hand. He followed her until they disappeared behind the dark veil that was the stage, and he found himself in a dressing room. He watched as she gathered a few of her belongings, and then led him to a narrow, spiraling staircase. It creaked and moaned as they continued upward for seemed like hours. His mind spun further.
He watched as she unlocked the off-white door with the number 12 crookedly nailed to its faux wood exterior. Soon he was inside. It was dark and frugal, with belongings scattered across the floor and furniture.
"I would apologize for the mess and make an excuse for not knowing you were coming. But if I did that, I would be lying." she smiled slightly, talking as she head toward what he thought was a closet. She looked back to see his reaction, but it was unchanged: soft and searching.
"I knew you were coming." she said, staring at him softly, "I knew because I had a dream about you."
His blood chilled within his veins as she said this. She saw his reaction only briefly. This is because she had vanished behind the closet, and came back with a bundle of clothes. There were no rooms in this apartment; the kitchen, bedroom, and living room were all in the confines of four walls, all excusing the closet. She smiled knowingly at him.
"Don't peek, ok?"
He swallowed, but nodded, and walked toward the couch that faced a wall. On it was a simple painting of a dark moonlit night, endless hills stretching outward with a dirt road carving itself through the grass until, in the faint distance, a cross-roads was met.
He couldn't help but stare at this piece of art, for it tickled his memory strangely.
"I thought you'd never say hello, you know." he heard her say. He wasn't sure if he was allowed to look back yet. But he heard the distinct sound of a match catch on fire. He turned his head and surely she was fully clothed, clad in a loose-fitted spaghetti top and bicycle shorts that revealed her legs in all their brilliance.
"You look like the silent type now." she took a drag of a cigarette, studying him as he sat down on the other side of the couch. She crossed her legs so that she was facing him, much closer to him that he had originally planned.
"Things have changed, Kairi." he said slowly, with care. His words had some sort of effect on her. Which kind exactly, he did not know. But she looked at him with an unreadable expression as she blew out the smoke from her glossless lips. He noticed that she had taken all of her makeup off and how dangerously beautiful she was in the firelight that he had just noticed was lit.
"Yeah. I guess they have." They stared at each other for a long time, both remembering the past that had burned away so many years ago. She broke the eye contact first as she looked down at the book that was in her hands. It was old and leathery.
"There's a poem in here." she said stroking its withered spine, "It reminds me of you every time I read it." She looked back up at him, all the strength and knowledge suddenly retreating from her eyes. She looked like the naïve fourteen year old girl he once knew so many years ago on the beaches of their childhood.
"Do you want to hear it?"
His soul felt heavy with warmth and a feeling he hadn't felt in a long time. It spread through every vein, cell, and atom of his body until he was almost drowning in this pleasurable feeling of warmth. He wanted to comfort the pain that was so evident in the young face he once loved. He wanted to her hold her hand. He wanted to hold her into his chest until he could soak up all her sorrow and relieve her of her pain. But he could not move. He could not flinch. All he could say was,
She parted her lips to say the poem, and as she spoke he felt like something was happening. Something was shifting in the air. Or perhaps within themselves.
"These solitary hills have always been dear to me.
Seated here, this sweet hedge, which blocks the distant horizon opening
inner silences and interminable distances.
I plunge in thought to where my heart, frightened, pulls back.
Like the wind which I hear tossing the trembling plants which surround me, a
voice from the inner depths of spirit shakes the certitudes of thought.
Eternity breaks through time, past and present intermingle in her image.
In the inner shadows I lose myself,
drowning in the sea-depths of timeless love."
She had finished and every part of him was burning with a softness that made his eyes water slightly. And every one of the words rang true and glowed like burning coal, pouring off of every page like it was written in his soul from him to her.
Without looking up, she said, "Its by Giacomo Leopardi. He was this Italian poet who was sort of a child genius, I guess. And for years and years he journeyed through the knowledge that was his books. But he shut everybody out and he became sickly and deformed, and believed that he could never be loved." She looked up then, and stared at the glossiness of his eyes.
"I meant to come back to you." he said with much strain, struggling to get the words out of his quivering lips. The room was thick with silence as her eyes mimicked his.
"I know you did, I know you did." she said as he reached forward to pull her to his lips finally after so many years. Their lips throbbed together, breaths rushed and heavy as he clutched to the small body of the woman that was before him. A women so slight yet strong, that he only realized then how fragile she really was.
He whispered over and over again how sorry he was, how he tried and tried and tried and never prevailed to come back to her after she told him to hurry back when they were sixteen.
He pulled back and stared into her eyes as she shook with quiet sobs. "I've missed you so much, Kairi." She stared into his truth-filled eyes, "I've never thought of anyone else but you." she took in a breath at his words, her face still between the strength of his two hands.
"And now you're here." he said softly, "After all these years." a moment passed.
"When I first came back I looked for you back home. But you weren't there; you left. I thought you gave up on me."
"I did." she breathed, a new wave of tears falling forth, "But I thought you forgot me. How stupid I feel now. But I thought it was the one promise you would forget." she took in a few more breaths, "I'm so sorry for giving up on you."
"You didn't." he said, each of her words hurting him more then she would ever know. He continued to breathe. Because they were there, together now.
"I guess we left each other in a way." she said softly.
"But I'm here now. And we can go home. At least for a while" he said softly, pushing her hair behind her ear.
"But…is it over? Do you…still have it?" she asked cautiously. His eyes grew old and tired.
"It's never over, Kairi."
She just nodded painfully, her jaw tight and sad, fighting her shaking nerves. Slowly, he tilted his head toward her lips, to a kiss that slow and soft and sad that she knew there was a future. It was far, in the distance, barely reachable. But all this pain, all this suffering, had to count for something.
She didn't believe that it would never end. Because she saw it in her dream. And in it was palm trees and blue skies and crying seagulls, and the man she loved sitting beside her just like he had once done.
So he leaned in close and captured her by her bittersweet lips and clung to that feeling of infinity.
review. it will make me happy :)