Sonia and Bertolt

One of the white birds flew towards a window, open slightly to let in the summer air, to let out the taste of the past. The window was three stories up in a block of apartments that resided on the outskirts of the city center. The window looked onto a row of trees that cast a shadow over the road that ran through the street. Cars drove by in the shadows. People walked by in the shadows. The tops of the trees though were bathed in sunlight, from the window it was like sitting on a mountain, or flying in an airplane above clouds. On the opposite side of the street, other mountainous apartment blocks broke through the leafy barricade and stretched into the sunlight. Sonia looked down from the slightly open window, she rested her naked arms onto the cracked paint of the windowsill, and gazed dreamingly at the people that strolled below.

From the heights of the third floor she watched as all the Maxim Gorkis, Kuprins, Bloks, Sologubs, Remizovs, Averchenkos, Tchornys, Kuzmins, Bunins... and all the rest, walked below like small ants. She whistled a few notes randomly, then closed her eyes to feel the summer breeze warm her eyelids. The small white bird resting on the ledge of the window emulated the chaotic tune, then fluttered its wings and took flight once more. Sonia watched it climb into the sky, then glide on the thrusts of summer's turbulence. The people below looked like ants.

She turned her back to the window. Feeling the heat on her naked skin, she looked over the tiny bedroom and began to orientate herself for the first time since she had arrived here. In the darkness she had mistaken the red wallpaper for purple, she had mistaken the small room as spacious, she had mistaken the mess as Nuevo décor. She looked at the two wine glasses. One empty, one half full. She wondered which was she. Her hand she ran through her black hair, except for magenta streaks, her hair would have been night black. The room smelt of alcohol, alcohol and sweat. She dwelled upon how clichéd the room was, how "morning after" it felt, how "exchanged phone numbers" it hit her of. Scattered clothes, messed up bed sheets, a clock with the alarm clock with the alarm disabled. And two naked bodies. She thought she should lie back down on the bed, take some white paint and draw around herself and her lover. Immortalize themselves in a murder scene romance. The spilt red wine on the bed sheets looked like blood.

A large truck drove past outside on the road below the road. The noise sounded like a deep bowed note of a double bass. In its cargo it carried bottles that clinked together like keys on a grand piano. The leaves that rustled sounded like a sweet percussion, and the wind that rose from the wheels as they turned in revolutions created a wind section that loomed over the whole piece. The music rose in a moments crescendo then fell away just as quickly to be replaced by the all-encompassing silences. Her mind seemed to rise and fall in the room like small paper birds that flew in circles over her sleeping lover, waiting for him to waken, waiting for him to pluck them from the sky and unfold them and read the rhymes that were meant only for him. He lay tangled in the red wine sheets. In his mind were thoughts that remained locked in dreams and imagination, they refused to manifest, refused to enter the scene and float with her wishing-well wonders, refused to wander anywhere outside of his own boundaries. She wondered why she couldn't unpeel him, make him whisper an ounce of truth, or at least clarity. Why was there a difference? She didn't know, but thought it anyway.
When he refused to open to her, when he couldn't say more, she wanted to hear it so much she felt as if she could have ripped his chest open and stuck her ear against his heart beating. He kept walking away, she wished she could break his strides so that he would fall into her arms. When he stared at the ceiling she wished she could crucify herself upon the plaster above the bed so that he would be staring into her eyes.

There were times when he slept that she wished she were a succubus, she wished that she could walk in through his ears and dance with him all night long. It was only in rare moments that she ever seemed to make him escape from the barricades that he pegged around himself. When he dug his way out of his self-imposed prison walls, they existed in a moment of one thousand seraph raptures.

There were moments when in bed she would sit reading Russian plays, and he would read Bédard poetry. He had the inability to read to himself quietly though, so she would put down her tragedies and listen to his voice singing, his singing voice was beautiful, though he never realized that sometimes when he read the poetry that he was reading words that disclosed the way she felt about him. Her worries about his insular thoughts were inkblot manifestations in the words that he read aloud. Sometimes she thought though that he was simply acting out a parody of his own powerlessness to emit his true feelings. Then she wondered if in this parody he was trying to reach out to her.

These thoughts invaded her mind every time they were together. It was his alluring mysteriousness that maybe kept her coming back to him. Should he ever disclose much more than he was capable o, maybe they would bore of each other, maybe her dependence on this mystery would be wrecked. This situation seduced her with a disarming ease that she was continuously contemplating.

Sonia walked over to the bed and kissed her sleeping lover on the lips. He breathed out responding to the kiss but remained in his dream world. She sat on the edge of the bed with her legs crossed, wondering whether she should waken him. She wondered what they would do that day. She wondered whether they would go out this night. One of her feelings that had been floating in the atmosphere around them landed close to her foot. She looked at the small emotion that was folded up into an origami dove. She picked it up and unfolded its wings in between her fingers. She took deliberate care not to tare its feathers. After a lifetime of unfolding she held in her grip a small piece of paper with something wrote on it. She leant over to her lover and whispered them into his ear. As she finished, her rolled over and kissed her gently on the lips. His eyes flashed open, he was suddenly awake, where before he was so asleep. She smiled and kissed him again.

Bertolt yawned. His eyes stared at the ceiling of the apartment. He sometimes drew patterns in the dimples on the plaster, imagining that it was a vast solar system and he was the only astrologist capable of drawing out the new zodiac. In the four weeks he had known Sonia he knew still very little about her. He knew she liked subtitled films, she liked mashed potato, she usually slept with her back to him, when he touched her breasts it made her laugh, she occasionally spoke Russian in the morning when she was tired. He didn't speak Russian. They had met at the Ferry terminal where he had been sitting on one cold morning smoking a cigarette. He couldn't remember why he was at the ferry terminal on that particular morning. He didn't smoke.
He'd held his bags in one hand, his ticket to Russia in another. Then he'd stopped to help Sonia with her directions. After two days spent in between his bed and the various bars and cinemas of the city, he realized he'd forgotten to catch his ferry. He had also forgotten why he ever wanted to go to Russia in the first instance. He knew that she was the only girl he ever wanted to be with for the rest of his life.

The sun cast an aura around Sonia, a white glow around her slightly tanned naked body. As she sat at the end of his bed she smiled back at him as she stared into his eyes. As she moved her body slowly, rays of the sun broke the ring of the aura that protected her, and split off into fantastic directions until they collided against one of the walls or the ceiling. When he looked up again he watched Sonia's thoughts floating in the room, ever morning he would watch them, most of the time he was so absorbed in watching her feelings that he forgot to display any of his own. Most of time he lay there like an infant watching a mobile spiraling above him. He realized that he should show more of himself to her, but as much as he tried he couldn't.

Bertolt sat up. He faced Sonia. They looked at one another. He smiled. She smiled. She raised an eyebrow. He cocked his head and let his eyes turn upwards, before they settled back down upon her.

"Have you ever been in love before?"
"I don't think so, I can't remember."
"What do you mean, why can't you remember?"
"Well, I think I used to love a girl a long time ago... but I can't really remember her anymore."
"How could you forget her?"
"He who does not forget his first love will not experience his last..." he almost whispered it to himself rather than speaking it to Sonia.
"I love you..."
"I love you..."

They remained staring at each other for some time. Bertolt felt self conscious, Sonia felt uneasy. She kept wondering which glass was she, the empty or the half full. Bertolt lay back and stared at the ceiling, he tried to count the stars. Sonia shook her black hair with the magenta streaks and sighed to herself. She ran her hand over Bertolt's legs, he flinched away from her touch as she triggered his nerves with her fingers. As he closed his eyes she rose from the end of the bed and stood up. She looked around the room. She wondered what she wanted to do today. She whistled an out of tune melody.

She raised her hands and moved them as if she was conducting an orchestra. She thought about Russia. She touched the broken nail on her left hand. She had a moments doubt run through her mind. She watched her feelings that still floated aimlessly in the air around herself. She wondered if she had enough money to go buy breakfast. She loved Bertolt.

Bertolt loved she. He opened his eyes again. He wondered if he had clothes ready to wear. He thought about when he was a young child. He often thought of this. He tried to recite some lines of poetry in his mind. He watched Sonia as she leant against the open window.

He turned onto his side. He had a moments doubt run through his mind. He wanted to go swimming with her. He thought he should say something. He wanted to see through her eyes. He wondered if he had enough money to go buy breakfast.

"Should we go to the beach? It's a nice day..." Bertolt suddenly asked.
"...can we get breakfast there?"
"I don't see why not."
"Can we collect shells on the beach?"
"I think we should."
"Can I have a kiss?"
"Hmm, yeah, I think so?"
Sonia walked toward him. She was smiling. Bertolt sat up. He held out his hand to hold her. She took his hand. They kissed.
"Should we get dressed?" Bertolt asked.
"Good idea, can I borrow some socks?"
"If I've got a clean pair."

Sonia suddenly realized that Bertolt's feelings didn't fly like hers because they couldn't. They were probably more like fishes than birds. They swam inside him. They might be sea dragons. Or dolphins. Probably not eels or whales though. But either way, they couldn't fly like her birds. They couldn't rise out of him as easily and float around her. But that didn't mean she couldn't see them. She would just have to look into his eyes closer, she would just have to watch him more carefully in the future. She wondered if she ever pulled the feelings from him, would they suddenly flip around on the ground, would they slip and slide, would she suffocate them? She decided that she wouldn't try. She smiled a wide smile as she dressed herself. Her paper bird thoughts glided down towards Bertolt's eyes, he watched them come closer, their wings outstretched as they floated down from the air into his vision. He opened his eyes wider as they stooped to drink from his watery gaze. The little fishes watched as the birds sipped from his eyes. The little birds watched the fish with a naïve interest. The sun shone through the window of the room and captured the whole scene in a glorious spectrum of colors. Sonia lent over and kissed her lover on his bare shoulder. He turned his head towards her and raised his eyebrows with a little smile.

They continued to get dressed. Bertolt even found two pairs of clean socks.

As the couple left the small apartment they left the window open to capture some air. As they stepped outside of the apartment they became like little ants from the third story window.

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