Tiny Tales of Love (Pt. 2)
She blinked at the sky. Clear and blue. »What do you reckon«, she said after a while of silence. She was wearing her polka-dot dress, the one he liked so much on her. »Where do we go when we die?«
He blinked lazily against the sun. »I have no clue,« he said. »Never really thought about it.«
»For real?« She turned over onto her belly to look at him. »I have.«
»I don't know,« she said slowly. They lay on the back among the sweet-smelling green trees, and the wind blew his hair. Black as moleskin. She reckoned it would feel soft between her fingers like thick spring grass. »If you die peacefully, simply fall asleep, then maybe it's just like morning mist slowly dissolving in the sunlight.«
She shaded her eyes with her hand, as a jet crossed the blue surface of the sky above and trailed a white line behind. Like a chalk line that a child had drawn on the side walk. »But what if,« she went on, »what if you get torn out of life, bam, just like that, in a car accident or something. Like the parents of this one boy from America.«
»I don't know,« he said. »Why are we talking about death?«
She propped herself up on one arm, examined his eyes that capture the leaf-patterned light like the surface of a forest lake. »You must have some idea of it though,« she said.
She didn't let up. »You know, like being stuck in an intermediate state or like in this one movie with Patrick Swayze. Have you really never thought about it?«
He didn't answer. He closed his eyes, and she looked at his eyelids that delicately twitched with each breath. »Sometimes I wish my parents were dead, too,« he said finally.
»You can't say something like that.«
»It's true though.«
He broke off.
Then he said: »Who says we ever get anywhere.« He kept his eyes closed. »Maybe that's just it. No Afterlife, no Stuck-Inbetween. Just nothing.«
She looked at him for a long time. His eyelids twitched slightly, and the summer leaves cast pale shadows on his face that moved with the wind. Then she lay down on her back again.
»Yeah. Maybe,« she said.
A long summer has passed, his last sweet breath rises from the fallen leaves covering the ground underneath the trees, soft and warm. The birds are gathering. In concentric circles they rave above the trees, above the withered fields and the houses of the city, grey like the pigeons that scurry along the roadside and hunt for crumbs between cobblestones. They will stay. Unlike the murder of crows, that are meeting in the air like a clenched fist and drift apart again. Nowhere at home, always on the journey, always in between.
She shoves her hands into her pockets, cold and hard, where the frost bites her fingers. There it is again, his face, again and again his face. All of a sudden it appeared before her, like a shimmer, like a puddle on the road that flashes in the sunlight.
How back then they had lain side by side on the meadow. How she rolled over onto her belly and looked at him. »We are quite different, you and me, aren't we?« She said.
His hair, like moleskin. He said: »You mean because of dying and all that?«
»Well, just in general,« she said lightly. Picked a little blossom off the grass and twisted it pondering between her fingers. »And yet we are both unhappy, aren't we.«
Later on they went to the lake. The dark water swashed silently against the bank border. Night had fallen, fog came creeping across the lake, and she was now wearing his sweater that reached down to her knees.
»Is it true what they say?« She said. She said it quietly, as if every word was made of glass. »Is it true that you will die soon?«
She saw the truth in his eyes, she almost regretted her words, but at the same time was craving for the answer he would give her.
He turned away. »Why do you say that?« he said. She could only see his shoulders now and the silhouette of his hair against the blind black sky.
»I like you a lot, you know?« she said. He didn't answer.
His breath formed a faint mist in the air. Above them shone the stars, a pale glint amidst darkness. He tilted back his head, and she reached for his hand. »Can you see, the Ursa Major,« he said.
She leaned against his shoulder. »Yes,« she said, even though she couldn't spot a thing.
»I'm serious,« he insisted. »I want you to see the stars.« He looked at her.
»I see the stars,« she said. Quietly. Words of glass.
She leaned forward. His gaze was on her lips. Breath came out of his mouth like silver dust.
»Close your eyes,« she said. Just a whisper, a breeze. She could feel his breath pushing against her lips, so close she was to him. It was a cool, breathless kiss, and as she pulled away and looked at him, she could see the silver in his eyes. She squeezed his hand, and as she smiled she felt the tears on her cheeks.
Now she digs her hands deep into her coat pockets. Brown leaves are crunching underneath her feet, no brightly coloured leaves, only clutched fists of crumbly dryness. Leaves become most beautiful when they're about to die, she thinks. As if. The air that passes through her mouth is cold, and she presses her lips against her scarf.
»Sometimes things just die, without explanation. Remember the boy from America?« That's what he said. And smiled a sad smile, just as if the saddest moments were the most beautiful.His name engraved in capital letters, the first traces of moss have settled in the corners. The birds are gathering in the trees, soon they will leave their old home behind and slip into their new one. She blinks, as a bitter wind cuts her face. Autumn smells like change. She kicks at one of the chestnuts that rustles away through the foliage, and leaves the cemetery.