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Adagio for Strings

You cannot describe this. You are standing in front of a window in M’s apartment after a meal.

You couldn’t eat that much. The hangover was still too heavy in your head and you were only trying to eat instead of simply swallowing what you’d been given. The pasta was cold and you hadn’t expected that. There had been some kind of weird spice on it that you couldn’t quite name. You’d looked down at the pasta. It had some tiny pink crumbs on it and you reckoned that this must have been the spice. It was weird. You imagined that if a clitoris had been ripped from some woman’s vagina and ground with a mortar and pestle, like garlic, then this would have been the spice that you were trying so hard to identify. You disgusted yourself. You could have asked about it but it would only have had some foreign name and you would have ended up having a long discussion about it while getting no closer to the truth. You didn’t feel like talking anyway.

The night before you had lost your glasses in the lake. You had screamed “Fuck” over and over in desperation, naked, with the water splashing round your thighs. Some locals had watched you calmly from the bridge. You had watched the water spilling over the ravine and you had known that, at some point in the future, your glasses would be going the same way, the lenses scratching against the rock. But, for now, they were still buried somewhere, in the shale at the bottom of the lake.

Michael had said that it was a bad idea to go back to the lake again, that it couldn’t possibly be as good as the time before. You had felt that this was all the more reason for going. You had wanted to try and push it too far, make it dull and old. But, first and foremost, you had just wanted to swim- to feel the cold water on your naked body again.

By the time you had gotten to the lake it was getting light and everything was green-grey. But not really. The trees seemed to be stuck in between night and day and nothing really had any definite colour. Everything was ‘in-between’ colours, it seemed. Someone must have opened the dam because the waterfall was so much more powerful now, you could hear it loud and clear from a good distance away.

The women were all timid this time. They were prepared. They’d gotten into swimming gear beforehand. You’d thought that they looked strange in these outfits. They were like all over-body-suits, you couldn’t even make out a breast or anything remotely resembling the human form. S looked strangely like a man. You thought that she looked like she were dressed in a boiler suit, as if she were heading out to work on an average day of handling dangerous chemicals. She carried herself with an indifference that unnerved you.

There was nothing resembling beauty in any of this. You were still drunk. Everything was hidden. The women seemed almost titillated by this, they were drunk in a different way. You weren’t able to make any of this out.

We had all walked back as the morning began to take over. People were walking their dogs. You were still wet. You looked over at M. You became amazed at how young she looked with her hair all wet like that. You remembered her screaming as Michael had carried her on his shoulders, messing around, You had watched as he’d plucked her knickers from her, as if it were all just a series of magic tricks. You remembered him pulling them out of the water, smiling… or was it her who had done that? You tried to remember. You couldn’t even remember what colour they were. You imagined both of them as children. You had almost stared at M as everyone walked back. She looked like a child with her hair wet. As if the contact with water had somehow brought her back to a place far back in the past. None of this is beautiful to you now, looking out of the window. Thinking about it almost disgusts you. Still, walking home that morning had been fun... in some way.

You are worrying about being seen by the locals. You hadn’t been worried at the time. You thought they were your friends, everything being blurred as it was. You remember screaming “Fuck” again. You are worried, not simply because you had been naked but because you had been naked and in distress. Being naked and laughing is one thing but the idea of being naked and in distress disturbs you. And- to think that it was you who had been screaming! (...and not some other poor unfortunate who you could of pitied and then forgotten about) You feel embarrassment for those who had seen this display- as if they’d been watching a fish skewered on a sharpened stick, thrashing around in a shallow rock pool... as if they had been watching something die, ...slowly.

You’ve had thoughts of killing S. It’s been going on for some time. You’ve wanted to strangle her in her sleep. You know that none of what you have been thinking about is serious- that you are just drifting off and fantasizing. You know that S loves M, there’s no doubt about it. You’ve imagined her fucking M. You’ve thought about her chewing on M’s pussy. You don’t think that this is the reason you’ve fantasised about her dying.

You don’t even know if you are thinking these thoughts only in order to entertain yourself, to pass the time, or not.

You know it doesn’t matter. You know that you and her do not even speak the same language, that you can hardly get through a basic conversation without faltering somewhere. You know that you don’t even like her. And this is what you have chosen. You had never wanted to talk to her or like her. You had only wanted someone else in the same room as you and the odd fuck to tire you out- as if you’d been hoping that this would stop you from moving around in any way- of doing something.

You had been lost in the waterfall. You had been absolutely obsessed by its power and your obsession had grown in strength as you had gotten closer to it. You had listened as the spray pumped your face, neck and chest, ...leaving marks. You had screamed at it, knowing that no one would hear you over the roar of it. You had gotten close. You had gotten close enough to feel it pounding on your back. You were not ready for it, you had felt it pulling you under the water. You had moved out from under it but stayed close- where you could still feel the spray.

You had wanted to take a picture of Michael as he’d scrambled naked across the rock. You had shouted for him to be careful but he hadn’t heard you over the noise from the waterfall. He stuck to it like a gecko. And, after, ...well, ...he must have plunged in.

M has put Albinoni’s ‘Adagio for strings’ on the stereo. You stare through the window and out, across the balcony. There are a few rooftops. Everything is bathed in bright gold sunlight. Your prescription sunglasses shield the extremity of it from your eyes. It is cold in here, with the air-conditioning pumping. Out there, you can almost imagine the walls of the buildings blistering like sunburnt skin. You fix your eyes on one building in particular.

M is telling S a story in Japanese and the music is still playing loud, through her expensive speakers.

You keep staring. It’s an apartment building.

You fix your eyes on the stairway that runs up against the right side of the building. It looks brand new in design and faintly reminds you of the Guggenheim Museum that you saw in New York. But, of course, there are no paintings in this place. No originals, anyway.

An intense feeling grips you and you don’t know what it is. You touch your aching head. You panic. You can feel the music swelling. S is talking away and you want to punch her or something, anything to shut her up, to stop her talking over the music. You know that she’ll only start screaming or going apeshit and then you wouldn’t hear the music at all. You continue looking at the building outside. A kind of desperation. A feeling of willful imprisonment that sickens you...

You listen as the music fades, the violin- signing out.

You go back to the table and try and drink some soup. They both look over at you for a second and M laughs nervously in the silence. You look up at them and it seems as if they are waiting for you to speak. You move back to the window and you almost turn round and say something. You scan the rooftops ...but you cannot describe this.

Later, ...exhausted, you sit on the couch and S comes to you and mumbles a worried ‘Daijobu desuka?’ don’t answer. You look into her eyes for a moment. You hug her and kiss her and you are almost in tears. You rest your head on her shoulders and she holds you. You mutter, ...‘I think I’m going crazy’ ...and you apologise and she whispers ‘Kinishinai’ in your ear and you slump down onto the couch and sleep.

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