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He leaned to the side and closed his eyes. Another persistent ringing at the door made him spring from his desk and leave his train of thoughts hovering over his rocking chair.

How much time has gone by? he wondered nervously. I must’ve fallen asleep in the chair.

Vasiliki’s boyfriend stood at the front door with his arms folded across his chest looking uneasy.

“Good morning, am I on time?”

“Come in… come in… have you lost something?” he asked seeing him fretfully fishing through his pockets.

“I’ve lost my time… the day ought to have forty five hours to accommodate Vasiliki. She wanted us to be out all the time… increasingly farther beyond our limits… you know what I mean?”

“Hmmm… Sit down… yes… there… on the couch. Do you owe her something?”

“Yes… time… I debited her my time and it was never enough. There was always a balance due. The night before the disaster, we were at her house. It wasn’t exactly a house, in the sense of a home, comfortable and tidy. It was always ‘a mess’, as Vasiliki called it. When we curled up on the couch at night she often whispered in my ear:

”‘I’ve fucked up again’”.

”Then she’d lay her head on my lap and curl up like a foetus. She felt comfortable in that position. But after a while she’d jump up because of fits of apnoea that blocked her breathing.

”‘I think I must have a knot in my throat…’ she’d say in horror and I’d look at her flabbergasted.

”‘What’s wrong? You’re scaring me!’ I’d say and she’d answer with a twisted smile distorting her lips:

”‘Glee gives away the whore…’”

His voice ignited at times, and the words would come out ablaze, then faltered with pauses and discontinuities like a music whose colouring followed the intensity of the moment. He was very tall and slim, with grizzled hair at the temples and faint freckles across the face. His poise was youthful but his age undeterminable. An empty ashtray in front of him caught his gaze for a moment. He longed to leave an amount of ash from a lit cigarette there…. But he didn’t dare ask if he may. He puffed as if his breath were rings of smoke and continued the narrative from where he’d left off:

“Whenever she ate something, she’d say:

”‘Ah, this will be the death of me…’

”She believed her entire world could collapse from the first bite, from a greedy kiss. And then she’d whisper to me with a laugh: ‘the sin of the mouth’ and winked.

”She was so enigmatic she frightened me; I wanted to run away to save myself and take refuge in the first football game on TV”.

Ezekiel Query looked him in the eyes intently for a few seconds and he unconsciously lowered his.

“I don’t know why I’m telling you all this… Probably because she played with me in the wings. She never played with me on stage.”

“Which play was it?”

“Oh… I don’t know that, either…”

“Do you happen to know the play’s setting?”

“Now you mention it, an image came to mind. She liked doing it in the bathtub… but I got turned on thinking of her bent on all fours… on the bathroom tiles… There’s no censorship here, right? She’d say…

”‘No, Augustine, no… not without…’”

“‘Without’ what?”

“I don’t know… That’s what she’d say and stare into space… somewhere beyond the bathroom tiles. She’d wave with her hand I should leave her alone for a while so I’d leave slowly, warily… I even held my breath not to wake her… Before she’d turn her back to me, she’d say feverishly:

”‘Listen, I’ve told you before: We don’t rap… We simply don’t rap… Anything that raps snaps, anything that snaps don’t rap!”

”I could see it, too; I could see it clearly… There was a hole right in the centre of the relationship sucking everything in: her, me… and objects whirled around us… a thriller of a reality! If I didn’t vanish from her sight immediately, she’d open her mouth wide in a scream I thought came straight from the centre of the beast’s abyss in John’s Book of Revelations. An energy flow lashed everything in its course… After the outburst, the only thing left in place pulsating faintly was the outline of her lips. Like a cyclone had passed through there and it’s only living trace was that reflection on the desert of her lips. Now I said that, an image of her eating came to mind…

”She never ate like other people”.

“She ate nothingness?”

“Nothingness… errr… I guess so… The mouth would barely open and the food would enter noiselessly into a secret crypt, engaging the teeth for the longest time. Very peculiar way of chewing… When I’d stare at her, enchanted by her rhythm resembling a ritual sacrifice to some kitchen god, she’d get angry; she’d scowl and throw in my face the same words her mother told her:

”‘Open your bloody mouth at last… chew!’

”‘Like hell I would…’ she’d say. ‘I’d sit there like a statue with my mouth full for as long as it took to drive her hopping mad. Then she’d go rabid, she’d growl and pinch my nose with her two fingers…So, in a deadly snare between chocking and breathing… I swallowed…’”

“Was there more to this scene?”

“The only thing she could remember was her mother’s lips and jaw quivering from the rage she’d brought on. Her mother would then grab a scarf and tie it tightly around her face to stop the quivering. The tips of the scarf stuck out like a bow on top of her head.

”‘The way she looked, like a crazed rabbit, put me in real danger of dying of laughter…’ she’d say and laughed a creepy laugh that pierced my ears.

The structural hole… the lack… could it be that, I wonder, which nips in and punctures every word so its verbalization can breathe better? Is it lack which gives breath to the “and” that separates and unites without poking its nose… or its goo into an incestuous brew? What are the omens of the feast, of the birth separating the enslaved son from the mother land of Egypt? The Exodus! “I will bring you out of the land of slavery…” Ezekiel Query thought and the biblical passage passed before his eyes like a flash.

“I couldn’t bring her out of the land of slavery”, Augustine said, unaware he was unconsciously continuing his analyst’s associations. “I told her: ‘I’m not Moses’… even though I struggle with the same stammer … every time I try to verbalize too many phrases together. I’m sure you’ve noticed it, this long, drawn out ‘ehhh…’ Other times I get stuck on ‘l’; I say ‘llletter’, for instance… Vasiliki taunted me about it, of course, and I felt I’d gladly punch her face in”.

“For such a slight stammer?”

“Yes… it’s irrational… but my hand would automatically clench to a fist ready to land on its target. I could already see her head bending backwards, her neck unable to support it, her throat snap and the blood colour the scarf tied to her throat… But before it got within a hair’s breadth from her pan, I’d stop and slam it hard into my left palm. I’d jump to my feet with pain. Then I’d throw some cold water on my face to snap out of it and carried on like nothing strange happened. But… I’m fed up to the back teeth… that’s why I’m here. I want to be cured of this anger which dominates me…”

Σημ.: Η φωτό είναι του Σπύρου-Ίωνα Μαρκάτη



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