Midnight Son

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Sometimes things just happen, and as much as you’d covet a linear explanation, a solid answer, an indubitable reason that alternates like day and night, obscure twilights are seemingly here to stay. No one said it was supposed to be easy.

Submitted: December 27, 2011

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Submitted: December 27, 2011

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Sometimes things just happen, and as much as you’d covet a linear explanation, a solid answer, an indubitable reason that alternates like day and night, obscure twilights are seemingly here to stay. No one said it was supposed to be easy.

It was summer in Amsterdam, and the world was slowly embracing a solstice of its own, one of a slightly different kind. A season of change was ambling our way as an end started fading into the fragrant buddings of a Mayan tomorrow.

Miles Davis called on me while I was passing a sleeping neighbourhood, breathing in the last hours of my trip. He gently drew my feet to the fecund smoke clouds overcasting the dimly lit bar. Thuds of laughter played melody to the tapping feet and sapphirian eyes of the lone dancer as three beers clicked the mahogany counter. The two men who had probably seen twice of this life as myself drummed time on their knees and stools and the Zoroastrian owner howled along. The lone dancer, still stupefied by the allure and elusiveness of our fledgling minds, kissed their foreheads between songs; clenching his hands in qabbalistic gratitude as he mooched back to his chemical satori near the door. Nothing was strange or alien except my foreign eyes yet a soothing radiance and a reassuring pat on the shoulder from the man in dreadlocks pierced the veil and eased me in my chair.

From my corner I could barely see the only other table across the bar, only when she leaned back did I get a chance to see her chestnut hair fumble the simple white dress, clamouring to caress her tiny naked feet and their crowing golden anklets. My veins warmed and thoughts started juggling insecurities and dreamy hopes. Solitude teaches how to spot an angel when you see one. She was obviously engrossed in a calmly distressing conversation. I got a feeling it was a guy and just as I was miring my soul in pity and lamenting the orbits of cosmic will, she turned and looked straight at me. I shot my eyes to my bottle and kept them there for a while. A few cigarettes later, as I squeezed myself past her table to get to the restroom, I realized a little shocking fact. She was also alone and the conversation was getting heated.

I strived hard not to divulge the tears that clouded my head. There weren’t many paths to find out why and it took a rivulet of beer to grease the decision to a tentative reality.

“Hi! Do you mind if I bump a cigarette off you. The tobacco ran out on me!”

“Have a seat, it's bad to smoke alone.”

Had I ever seen a more melodious face... a sadder smile. I don’t know. The world seemed to flow in a different realm in the reflection of her dark glimmering eyes; time took on a faraway scent as it swayed around her tender neck.

“Have you heard the news?” she asked as she handed me a rolled cigarette. There was nothing on the table but her tobacco pouch balancing 3 beers on each side.

“Can’t say I have!”

“Well let me tell you the news then, the one you go after though, not the one they shove in your head...hold on, do you need a drink”

“Thank you, I still have mine.”

“So where were we?”

“The news!”

“Oh… the news. What can I tell you…where can I start. I heard the hour has gone away, never to return. Rumours go even a step further, that it was never here in the first place. They say there is no way out. That this is here to stay. I’m trying to get my mind around it but I can’t, the more I dive in to unanchor the boat, the deeper the riverbed falls. And once out of the murky water, the shores melt away in the dawning twist. You end up not knowing what is here and what is there, you try and muddle your way in one direction, only to find the stars splitting away and the flood takes you back to where you thought you came from just to get smacked on the top of your head, forced to contemplate nothing but your feet. They say tomorrow the weather is fine, that all we have to do is sleep it off till she arrives. Sad part is, very few seem ready to do it. Everyone is scared of waking up. Some out of fear, some out of guilt, some out of love. Some just don’t know any better. So where to from here, the signpost has been flipped. No matter which way you go, you end up in the wrong place, you settle for parts devoid of a totality, a valley without a zenith, a room without a window. Take my doorman; he doesn’t even know the landlord. He has never cared for the tenants. How can I sleep soundly knowing he is the one pretending to keep guard, how can I undress as I dance across my room and out on the balcony paying homage to the jubilant sky? For here is the thing, here is the best piece of news, you can’t go in clothed. You have got to strip naked to let the wind smother the insides of your thighs. Turns out it is a nudist party while everyone stacks layers…and once in no one gets out. Why? Who knows, maybe there is no in or out to start with. Still, if you are lucky enough, you might remember your name when all is said and done. They say all this gravel can be turned to gold with the breath of one man, that all this garbage can be tamed to paint the wings of butterflies as they flutter to greet the sea. Do you know what else they said, that the last words were never uttered, that all we have seen could very well be naught, that all we have felt was implanted, that maybe there is no 10 after every 9. And just when we thought we had crashed the party, the whole thing blew up in flames…anyway fuck the news…who cares about the news. I’m tired. I want to go home. Would you come along with me?”

“Well...yeah… I would love to of course. I need to take a piss first though!”

She was gone when I came back. I turned and asked the bar tender through the screen of smoke enveloping his face, “Where did she go, you know the girl I was just talking to over there.” He stared at me for a split of a second, chewing on the cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth and sticking a towel in an empty glass. “What girl my son…what girl.” 


© Copyright 2017 Omar Refaat. All rights reserved.

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