The place they chose once they had arrived in Cancun was 5 hours’ drive from the big city, the lost countryside. They had to escape the trivial lights and the loud voices, the doctors said she would not tolerate the strong lights, the shapes of the tall buildings, the contour of windows would bring back too many lives, too many haunting scraps of bleeding wounds. Still, she needed the hot heavy air, she longed for it. They rented a “pity room” like Olivier liked to call it, an attic, forgotten, dusty and used once as a greenhouse. All glass, on top of an old apartment building, with a bed and a shelf. They used to bring their own reading lamp. Evenings were not as hot, the air had a peculiar friendly smell, a smell of ancient tribes inhabiting those lands. Windows were forever closed, like in a land of mystery. There was the trace of legends floating in the air, something she could never quite decipher on the old paint of the staircase, lives they had lived before, spirits, lucky charms. It was the shape of the freedom of times. There were no wanderings there, no searching, nothing like she had ever lived before or imagined or described, everything would eventually become clear and come to her in the shape of words and stories. There was isolation. WIth him. It was the story of the beginning of the world flowing through the veins of time over and over again. It was new beginnings, new pages she needed to write down in the memory of her soul. The sky was drawn in violet stripes, an easiness and a serenity she never believed could be found so far away from the poisonous past she held on to for so long, those streets, those hands, nothing bringing joy, nothing new being created. You know one’s soul is dead when nothing new is given to the world. The haunting, endless strive for perfection. Life would not be worth living otherwise.

It was smoking and dancing on the cotton sheets in the first night, on top of the bed, swinging in the thick waves of smoke, the sea reflecting the dim lights, the stars and the shining of their skin. It would be exhausting, trying to lift the heavy past from her shoulders. Ancient voices came to her ears as Olivier sat on the floor and read to her, random thoughts from books he liked to read when he was young, when the world looked different. Somehow, she felt she had lived those times too, she felt the burden of coming to the world long after he had been born. He kept on reading to her, those beloved words, the first way she had been born into the world, through words.

“Don’t let me become someone like anyone…” she pleaded…

His words mixed with the half old voices of the residents, dishes being washed, beds made, prayers said... It was life, in a freckle, the good one, the steady and poetic one, what they came to look for, what she needed in order to become anew. Darkness was never complete during night time, there was no time for sleep but dreams felt more real than any awakening.

Time did not exist, it was melting into space and space was lingering on the shelf and on the faded sand she could see on the edge of the beach. Like in a painting she had seen somewhere, everything seemed smeared with meaning while blending in the vast unknown of the universe, the only thing that mattered above the selfishness of the common life. She would not feel her body, her arms, she would feel easy as light while walking the beach for coffee or leaning back under the sun with his hands in her hair. Olivier would take her in his arms, sand scratching on the sheets and on their skin and say “Have a little faith in me…” as she cum with tears in her eyes while watching the horizon lines blending with the orange sea. 

 

The tulips would always be dry, not dead, dry, with an old heavy perfume. “Where does one get tulips in this place anyway?” she would ask every morning. Olivier’s laugh… Madness must be the same as the real encounter with art, or death or the deeper understanding between two people…there is no thirst, no coldness, no rush, everything is thought and everything is flowing. Hearts were very brave. She would draw a map on the steamy glass walls and be surprised by her own life, by how far she had come to understand it, to live in it. It was a calm madness, none of the few people she saw on the beach were in a hurry, they all belonged in their destiny, they would look at things as in a continuous meditation, as if everything spoke back to them, they wouldn’t fight it. It was in simplicity that one’s answers came, that one’s mastery caught life.

“I wonder how other people’s madness feels like?” she would ask him without needing any answer…But Olivier knew it was the way in which the healing would start, the veil would slowly be lifted and she would come back to him. It was what she lived for after all, a neediness for knowing the world but a struggle for making and owning her own.

She would start walking the paths of the old little town and find comfort in the peasants dry face and wrinkles. They told enough stories. She would come back to the small bar and sit next to him while drinking cold coffee. Olivier would always be there to listen.

“Maybe that’s how he felt, when it was his time…  maybe silence brought him back to life, the kindness of the ages, maybe believing in people brought him back to life…or maybe just believing…Maybe he believed in summer and he was brought back to life on a beach…”

 

M.

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