Conversation (short story, writer link up)
Today I'm joining a writer's link up. Feel free to read other stories and find out more about it here. It is organized monthly by blogger +Natalia Lialina and everyone is welcome to join in. My story is about 1100 words long and titled Conversation. Original version was twice as long and written in Croatian, so I guess this is a rewrite. Without any further ado, here is my short story for this month.
I was in a hurry, running to catch the bus and doing my best not to look ridiculous in the process, when suddenly I saw a familiar face. He was sitting on a bench in an ordinarily looking park that started where the bus station ended and despite the fact I couldn’t see his face I recognized him immediately. His back was slightly hunched and the tips of his wings, dragging on the grass, haven't been white in ages. Their colour was more ash like and perhaps there was actual ash on them, among other things, among dirt and dust that is characteristic to any city. Why does a large population of human beings always result in greyness? There is something grey in the dirt of the cities. I cut my meditation short and decided to approach him. The bus left sometime between my first and last thought. In a few steps I was there next to him. He was smoking, as someone who doesn't really smoke for pleasure but is merely trying to find a way to entertain his hands. His eyes seemed focused on nothing in particular, as often happens when we feel lost.
‘Good morning’, I said and searched his gaze, caught it and smiled.
‘It isn't exactly good’, he answered and smiled with the grace of those who like to joke about their own misfortune…. those that perhaps even enjoy it at some level. Yes, a certain grace was there in his smile, but the style was missing big time. What he lacked was passion, the one that martyrs have, but then you can't expect enjoyment in personal misfortune to be quite on that level from someone who is in fact an ethereal creature. It is new to him, being run down by the world, despite the fact that he has been watching this world for centuries.
‘It’s just a figure of speech.’ I said and sat next to him after locating a part of a bench that didn't seem so terribly dirty.
‘Many things are just figures of speech.’ he answered and seemed to place his glaze on some meaningful place in the distance that only he could see. He tended to do that, when he said something ambiguous. He looked magnificently sophisticated this instant, perhaps contemplating and meditating on important issues. Probably he was just feeling numb and empty, but on angels even that can seem terribly deep and mesmerizing.
‘She left me, you know’, he added and gazed at me. His face turned into a grimace giving him a bizarre appearance that was almost ugly. Almost I must stress almost, because angels can't really be ugly. Sadness or melancholy was not befitting to those facial features, only joy or meditation.
‘How about drinking ourselves under the table?’ I asked in all seriousness.
‘I'm not in the mood’, he said and tossed his cigarette angrily, suddenly realizing it has burned to its end in his fingers. He spit in his hands and rubbed them with irritation. His beautifully tender angel hands, like hands of a pianist were an art work in their own right.
‘Come on, you do that every weekend’, I said and scratched my horns. The sun was starting to get too strong for my liking and my horns were itching badly.
‘Maybe that is it, maybe I need a change.’ he said sounding quite serious.
‘We can try drinking wine instead of other stuff.’ I responded. ‘We might even find some wine road.’
‘Yes, we might…. Say isn't this a stereotype of some kind?’, he asked me, smiling loudly.
‘What is?’ I asked and instinctively put on my most charming smile.
‘A demon trying to talk someone into doing something’, he said.
‘Hey, I was just trying to help.’ I answered feeling honestly offended, whipping the smile from my face in an instant. ‘I even missed my bus because of you and you know how much I hate being late’.
‘I know, I'm sorry…but isn’t that what we are all trying to do? I was just trying to help her and she ended up hating my guts…never mind. Do you have other clever suggestions?’
‘No, I don’t have any. You angels always think you know better anyway.’ I said suddenly feeling less interested in his case or his troubles. Why doesn’t anyone ever trust a demon? Or does he think he is the only one this ever happened to? I half made my mind to turn by back on him and catch another bus.
‘Don't get touchy.’ he pleaded and there was honesty in his voice, but so it is when you're an angel. His voice was pure honesty…or maybe his voice was merely tuned like some magnificent instrument. His voice was perhaps what drew me to him, what started our conversations long ago.
‘We were angels once.’ I said driven by some strange urge that I didn’t care to analyse or suppress.
‘I know.’ he whispered and there was almost sadness in his voice. He got up and I followed him. First his feet were dragging but then suddenly he quickened his pace. We crossed the crossroads and smiled equally loud at the chubby baby staring at us from the back of some car. We were making our way towards the beach, it was one of our silent agreements, and soon enough before us the sea danced its dance and sang its song inviting sun and wind to join in. Angels love that sort of stuff. The nature, the elements- one of the things we have in common. Now, that I think of it…one of many things we have in common. Better not to mention it to him, he was never too keen on reflecting on our similarities. I couldn’t even present it as an interesting theological debate to him.
‘How about searching for some shade?’, I pleaded, gazing at the sun that has just evolved from too strong for my liking to merciless. ‘ …and yes, I do realize the irony of a demon complaining about the heat’, I added, but aren't you afraid of burning that fair skin of yours? It looks very sensitive.’
‘I always wondered why we must all look the same. I hate these curls to tell you the truth.’
‘Well, you're not exactly the prime specimen with those bags under the eyes.'
'We can joke all we want. After a certain time in the material world, all spiritual beings become subject to its influence.Perhaps this material world is influencing me more than I care to admit. I should have know better than to fall in love. They don't call it falling for no reason.'
‘Everyone makes mistakes, even angels.’ I replied. ‘Take it easy.’
‘Not all mistakes are bad, some make us repent and steer us towards the good. It is never too late to admit you're wrong.’ he said and his eyes shone like stars on a cold winter night.
'What's your next line? We can all learn from our mistakes? Let me help you make the right thing. That's what all the dictators in this world say you know.', I answered and yawned. His reaction was pretty close to a smile, but he fought the temptation to surrounded and then shrugged his shoulders.
‘I shall not argue with a demon. You're so damn eloquent and I'm not entirely silver. How about a swim instead?'', he asked.
'I thought you'll never ask'. I answered.