The Page

L' école

At home a medical check determined he had to undertake surgery. He felt ill. A long wait was starting. Yet he had plenty to do, a business to run, projects to oversee, the occasional technical challenge, papers, spreadsheets… What he wanted was to be back in the valley, feeling the rocks under his boots, breathing the clear and cold air. He wanted to see the pine trees, look at the white clouds disappearing behind the summits. He longs for solitude, and closer intimacy, a contradiction he chose to cherish.

He soon made up his mind to stand his ground: he would follow the advice of his surgeon, bite the bullet, train regularly, cut down on drinking and all those things that were now bad for him, and probably always were. He also decided to view her page.

Every month he took tests and followed the usual routine for cancer patients. He ate raw vegetables, got his will in order, transfer those assets that were still in his name to Sarah. She was positive and was no less tender or tough with her partner – as he deserved – than she’d always been. She was supportive in the only way she knew to be: by acting and living as normal. She was genuinely confident he would recover, defying statistics. She changed nothing to her normal work week.

Neither did he unless it was to see his oncologist.

And, finally, one evening, after a successful workday, he logged on to Mel’s page.

At first he was a bit lost. His own page was minimalist. Her wall appeared to be densely packed, with an impressive list of “friends” and pictures. He looked at her profile. The red hair, the young face, the green eyes, the full lips, a simple flowered blouse… a beautiful young woman, a little old-fashion. Something stirred at the deep end of his memories…  That picture looked strangely familiar, but still he could not recall who she was. He decided to read her profile. Mel had listed as much as she could, her schools, where she’d lived, where she’d worked.

She was born two years before him, and in the town where he’d spent most of his childhood. She’d also attended the same high school. He paused. Something was wrong with Mel’s page. One of her pictures was that of an adolescent, fresh-faced, athletic, standing in what looked like a school yard in a group of other youngsters. Julian looked at the picture, heart beating, suddenly transported in time.

It was his school, and that young man was him, probably a year or two before he left for the army – all those years back. He realised at last that Sarah was standing behind him: “An old flame has caught up with you?” she asked tenderly, with a touch of concern in her voice.

Yearning

The road was windswept and waves of rain submerged the surface in bends and hollows.

He could not relaxed his attention, there was so much at stake, and this great writer yearned to be right there when it happened.

His skyline’s engine roared through the night, visions of triumph, glory and fame floated through his mind, so much effort, time, blood, and, yes, tears.

As in a dream he thought of her, his muse, his lover, his wife.

He jumped out of the car, climbed the stairs four at a time, panting, the door opened, a familiar face was smiling: “Congratulations! It’s a girl.”

The Cliff

Alpine plant
Alpine plant (Photo credit: richardcjones)

They crossed the plateau, stopping from time to time to admire the alpine plants hiding in the crevasses of the ancient ground. Pools of clear rain water glistened between rocks. Marmots came out in the open to observe them.

They walked quietly, stopped on a small ridge, admired the line of peaks, so close now, crystals on the blue horizon… [continue to excerpts]

The Cliff

New Chapter

Hesitantly she walked a few yards on the patch of grass where she’d landed. She was on an island, to her left she saw a low building looking like a sea-side café. There were benches and a few wooden tables. To her right was a flight of steps leading down to a paved walkway. She could hear the faint sound of waves in the distance and the cries of seagulls. The sky was deep blue and cloudless. Her movements were awkward, the way of actors in very old films before the digital magic of remastering. Looking at herself on the screen she laughed silently, thinking that her brother would not recognise this small creature with a funny hairdo and ridiculous clothes. Luckily there was no one nearby. Some distance away in the centre of the island she could see a few people, more like shadows. She wished Julien was here with her, to guide and protect her. Gathering her courage she decided to explore.

© Pic-Homes

Regent Street

 Apple store Julian was walking down Regent Street, his Shuffle firmly strapped   to his jacket, inhaling the atmosphere of London on a spring  morning. He came to the junction with Oxford Street as the flow of commuters, the early rush, was beginning to ebb. This was not his most favourite part of London, this probably was Bloomsbury rather than Oxford Street and Soho, but he had fond memories there already, an adopted Londoner of some ten years.

On the right he’d soon find the Apple store, one of his sinful places (another being the Black Market records shop behind Carnaby street), where he could long for being richer than he was, smarter and somehow younger too. An IT geek in his mid thirties his thoughts often drifted to the way technology had shaped his world and his life so far, since his beginnings as a young test engineer to his role now, as a mid rank technical manager, proud of his experience and abilities. He walked in the store, smiling at the smiling boys and girls welcoming visitors at the wide entrance…

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Apple Store in Regent Street, it was my first ...
Image via Wikipedia

Text

Julian
Julian (Photo credit: joe holmes)

 One morning, as he was already at his desk (it must have been shortly after seven) he got a text message on his personal phone. It was from an unknown number. Julian would have deleted the unsolicited message but something stopped him: the text said I do want to meet you, you will not regret it. The number was a foreign mobile number, from a network Julian could not identify. But he never gave his personal mobile number other than to close friends. Who could have sent this?

Chi

Bronze statue of Buddha at Daibouts, Japan
Bronze statue of Buddha at Daibouts, Japan (Photo credit: National Library NZ on The Commons)

Hesitantly she looked up towards the statue, the dark bronze of the goddess, dominating this corner of the island. Behind her she could hear the distant sound of waves. Now she forced herself to walk, her bare feet silent on the stones, smooth and ancient, polished by centuries of footsteps. On both sides of her stood statues and small temples. A torch was burning at the end of the path, below a portal. Steps led down to the beach. 

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