How to leave the city? Setting aside the why (perhaps one day?) how is the question. Maybe the correct answer is: we don’t, ever, we may be elsewhere, but our minds and hearts stay here. Maybe we’ll reminisce, as Frederick writing to Voltaire, much, much later (in fact many wars and forty years later) about Rheinsberg: I had the happiest years of my life there… It is impossible to forget anything: the tree-lined streets, deserted on Sundays, the granit monuments that remind us of the terrible events, the canals, the lakes, the sand, the Spätis opened all night, the parks, the crows… The little markets, the narrow lanes, a city from where one can travel, on an old bike, away from traffic, and lose oneself in deep forests…

We will long for the museums, the concerts, the sheer grandeur of those avenues, history always present, without fuss, without pretense. In many ways we won’t leave, even if, three months from now, there will not remain more than a shadow of our presence here, perhaps a stolen bike in some flee-market.

#Promptbox: Une Femme Est une Femme

The AdelphiHis dreams often found him, on islands of darkness, trying to reach out, to long lost lovers, to his parents, and, to her, the elusive woman, the shimmering silhouette. Sometime, he woke up, lost, looking for some way to find, an old phone number, an address, a letter. In the paraphernalia of his sleep he found an extraordinary luxury of details, a Proustian vault of forgotten objects, of rooms once visited, of family occasions, inaccessible under the light of day.

And always, she was there, along the streets of his mind, in cities that were once real, no longer inhabited, other than by her ghost. She walked fast, alone, ignoring the shadows. He wanted to call her, to let her know. In the suburbs of his dreams other things crawled, hardly visible, indeed unseen, perhaps nested in the interstices of another universe. She was not aware, he guessed, of even his existence.

Silent, he was searching, feeling his way, blind to the dawn that would come, for her and for him.

Inspired by “The City & the City”, China Miéville.

ImageThe Adelphi by Bill Brandt, 1939

#WritersWednesday: the Secret Space, Near You

” But in the end we talked all night. Every story has a time to be told, I convinced her. Otherwise you’ll be forever a prisoner to the secret inside you.” ~ Haruki Murakami, Sputnik Sweetheart 

Alone She longed to see him, to hold him as she used to. But he was no longer there, so she looked in other places. No-one can disappear forever, without trace… She tried to convince herself.

He must be somewhere, perhaps still looking after me, perhaps watching our place, smiling at me? Days after days she waited, searching, listening, expecting a sound, his footsteps, his voice. His voice: what would she have given to hear his voice?

One day she decided to go to the little town, the place of his childhood. It was a long journey. She had prepared herself, before entering the small cemetery. All soldiers there. Once they had visited, together, in the heart of an icy winter. She went to the grave.

Alone she stood. The grey stone held her gaze.

#FiveSentenceFiction: Forgotten

Forgotten, or the Sentinel

For Arthur C Clarke

Sentinel Their small group approached the monolith, step by step, grey on grey, in the rocky, icy landscape.

Its surface reflected no light, as each one of them felt the same longing in their heart: they bowed silently, in the solitude of space.

“I appreciate your loyalty”, She said, “few would have undertaken that perilous journey as you have…”

“Mother”, they replied, “Thou are not forgotten, your daughters are here, to worship you”.

Now the monolith was reflecting the light of the distant star: as the intensity grew they felt the irresistible pull, as they started their ascension to their Mother.

#WritersWednesday: September 12 – The Greatest Longing

Inspired by Wednesday Writing Prompt, courtesy Amanda L. Webster (@missmandy76)

The Greatest Longing

 He was away for a few days, the first time in nearly a year that they were apart for more than a few hours. On the morning he left she drove him to the airport: “I’ll be back in a sec…” he said to her, holding her high in his arms, his eyes locked into hers. Then he was gone, she got back to their place, suddenly silent.

In their study her pictures were everywhere, they had been editing the book they wanted to publish, soon. He was adamant they should do it, immortalise those precious forms, their intimacy. Her eyes were damp. She walked upstairs to their room, looking at the large bed, still undone, his books left open on the rug, a shirt of his on their chair, and… yes… his collar and hers on the little table. Slowly she showered, without him, on her own, the first time in months. Then she dressed, soberly, jeans, a black T-shirt, her hair in a bun.

Downstairs she got on with cleaning the kitchen, then the lounge. On the terrace she watered their “garden”.  She made coffee, and nearly choked in her mug, as she started crying, finally giving in. How will she cope tonight? Who would he meet at that conference? Will he call her? She thought of timezones, Japan was so far away…

In the evening she knew she would stay awake, waiting for his call. She got a text: turn on the Mac and the camera. He was calling her from his hotel room, on a video link. His face appeared on the large screen, smiling to her, incredibly clear: “First the good news”, he said charmingly, “I am back tomorrow, and expect you there on the dot!” She was now wet with tears and a little aroused. “And now for the very bad news: look at what I found in Tokyo!” He was showing her a little dildo, marvellously chiselled, in a beautiful wooden box covered with Kanji characters. Then his face came closer, his lips so clear, and she embraced the screen, her face flooded with tears of joy.