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A carousel at crossroads

June 29, 2012

There was an awkward sensation of detachment. As if, while climbing down the stairs of the hill, he had somehow diffracted in two, and had separated his soul from his body. He had the bizarre sentiment of watching the world from a higher perspective than his height would actually permit. It was like he was sitting on his own shoulders and his body was just a vehicle of his self, mechanically performing the walk. It did not bother him a bit, on the contrary, he was analyzing it as a curious phenomenon that was happening to somebody else, and to which he was a simple observer.

   He started to look around to see if anybody was noticing, however, there was nobody to be seen. Therefore he decided to study attentively the streets that he was passing by. No difference whatsoever. He had walked thousands of times on this route and knew every detail, from the deciduous trees mathematically aligned along the streets to the flowery vines climbing in anarchy on the walls and to the garbage cans abandoned empty on the side of the road. It must be Friday, he thought, the garbage is picked up on Thursday morning. He wondered if he was to make a jump from his body and separate more from himself, would he watch his own body left abandoned on the street, just like those empty cans? He imagined being liberated and a part of him wished he could do this.

He was walking for about 15 minutes when he suddenly realized that it was taking him too long to get to the bottom of the hill. He must have changed the route at some point as he did not think he was ever in this part of the town. He remembered how he used to take Nadia with him on his walks, escaping the mundane and very small apartment that they were living in. She used to point at all the big houses along and they would try to imagine them painted in crazy colors of chartreuse and magenta.

His mood changed and he became angry. Stupid life! The image of Nadia’s corpse in the morgue rushed up to the surface. He never cried, not a bit. Left there, on the cold steel table, her body was laying in an obscene position. He refused to recognize her. Simply refused. And was still searching for her. There were moments when he believed that he would see her blue dress fluttering somewhere in the crowd, just for a split second, or he would distinctly trace her honeysuckle perfume and her presence in his empty apartment.

He falled back into his own body and felt heavy. He was a whole again, a dark and lonely whole. His feet were dragging on the asphalt and he wished he could summon the lost feeling of dissipation that he had before.

At the end of the street there were shadows moving. Probably the street cleaners, sweeping the road in their blue uniforms, it must be early morning now. As he drew closer he could distinguish amalgamated forms, reduced to their geometrical appearance, a Cubist painting that he was still trying to decipher. There was a faint sound, like a broken mechanical pianine left in the middle of the street. The metallic screech of the chords woke him up and raised his interest. Something to do or see, anyhow, something else to think about. Speckles of light welcomed him through the fog.

   As he approached the crossroad he realized that in front of him was a carousel, which somebody probably set it up during the night. It worked, but nobody was around it. The carousel was spinning slowly, as if only the wind would move him in a concentric direction. He jumped on and he seated himself on a wide bench. Due to the whirl of the machinery, the feeling of detachment came back to him. On the walls of the carousels there were paintings of trees carefully planted in rows, of streets with lampions, that he was sure he walked them by, of houses painted with bright Caribbean colors and somewhere, in the back of the scene, the silhouette of a woman in a blue dress.

“Jack, run! Turn off the machine. Somebody got inside!” the worker shouted.

“What happened?” bellowed his colleague, running to the carousel, that gave a last spin.

“I cannot feel his pulse” the other man said.

    The honeysuckle vines growing on the city walls were sweating profusely their heavy perfume.   

by Elena Cochia – Vochin

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 29, 2012 5:36 pm

    This is an exercise in style – it is inspired by Gino Severini’s painting The Carousel (or Festival at Montmartre), and I tried to write in noir fiction style. The painting is the second one on the page above.
    I have introduced a couple of symbols: the blue dress – for the ephemerality of love, and the honeysuckle scent – representing death.
    Also, the carousel itself is an allegory of life and change of luck.
    Any comment is welcomed.
    Thank you for spending your time reading it.

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