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Thread: Love's Chemistry

  1. #1
    Registered User beroq's Avatar
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    Mar 2009

    Love's Chemistry

    The first rains of the fall came from the north and brought along a sticky mist and cold weather. The city was inundated with muddy water. No one knew it would be that bad. No one had ever known it would have been that bad in each fall in the past sixty years, nevertheless, everyone always knew instinctively that something awful was destined to happen.

    And there was a black humor behind all this: The country has been undergoing a sustained drought and the villages have been abandoned by their perennial dwellers. As people flocked into the urban areas in large numbers and as shantytowns protruded overnight, the city was crushing under its own weight.

    In this dirt, turmoil and apathy something very nice happened in the city: A young man loved a girl. He was 24 years old and knew he could have fallen in love a little earlier. But he was used to being a late comer when every possible good thing in life was in question. Every possible good thing. Thinking of possibilities, he could make a reasonably long list of possible yet belated good things.

    But he had no time to contemplate over what he could not get at all or could not get fast enough. The city had been awash fresh the last night and now it looked clean and neat. Dark stratocumulus clouds were hanging heavily over the city and you could not tell if it was early morning or late evening. Every single object, moving or still, had worn the charming tulle of uncertainty and elusiveness.

    The young man walked silently in the street where cars parked on both sides. There were few stray cats trying to get their daily nourishment out of the rusty trash bins. Even the trash bins and the cats looked clean and fresh. And the windows of the shops were shiny under blinking neon lights.

    He loved the cats. Cats loved him. They knew intuitively that they did not need to be afraid of him. Cats always seemed very intelligent to him. They could understand you better than dogs. Maybe they understood you better than you understood yourself. They looked into your eyes that way. The young man always wished to have a cat. Actually once he had one. He loved him, also. But he got old and left him. It was one of the great things cats were able to do: They knew when they would die. So they knew when to leave and die silently unlike men who caused lots of trouble when they felt they were going to die. Cats braced death bravely and in a very good manner. This made them great and intelligent and unreachable and the young man loved them. And he did not believe his cat had died. He had never seen him dead. He believed he was still alive and well and intelligent.

    Today, in this late afternoon, the young man knew he could do better. He could give the things that he normally did not love one more chance to be loved by him. Would that be of any importance to them? Would things feel better when he started to love them? He believed they would. This made him twice as important as he had been yesterday. Twice as mighty.

    Now he loved someone else. Someone that he hoped he would not lose untimely as he had lost his cat. Someone that looked into his eyes as deeply as his lost cat used to. Someone you could believe in. Someone you could rely on. Intelligent and sensitive. Understanding and... Well, he could not name the rest but there were a hell of a lot of things he looked for and, hopefully, found. He was a first-timer in love and he hoped he was not asking for too much.

    People in the street, men and women wearing thick clothes and yellow raincoats and hiding under the shelter of their umbrellas, did not look unhappy or unsatisfied. They were walking fast, without showing much emotion, yet still carrying something warm and lovely behind their eyes. Eyes that were almost always directed at the first step they were going to take.

    The road was wet and slippery and the drivers were fast and reckless. He was walking on the right of the sidewalk, close to the road. Not looking, just judging by the strength of the wind exploding on his face, he could tell how fast they were. This might be a foolish thing to do but he did not care. Actually, he enjoyed feeling the blow on his body.

    The young man walked on until he came to a restaurant on the corner where a bank and a department store faced each other. He stopped there and he tried to look into the large dining hall through the misty glass. He was able to saw just a silhouette sitting at one of the tables far from the door. He felt his heart beat wildly. It must be her, he thought. No, it is her. Who else would she be? I am at the right place at the right time. Just as I promised. And she is at the right place at the right time. Just as she promised.

    He opened the door. The small bell over the door clanged. He felt the smell coming through the kitchen in the back of the hall. He looked at the table in the corner. Then he dropped his eyes for a second and looked again, this time for a relatively longer time, at the old man sitting at the table. He had a long, black topcoat and blue jeans on him. His wool, checkered, Herringbone cap was on the table and he was not her. He is not her, he thought and felt very foolish. He is too old to be her, he thought. Then he stepped clumsily toward the table next the one the old man was sitting at. He tried not to look at the old man but felt his eyes on his back.

    "There's more rain to come," said the old man.

    He turned back on his chair. The old man has blue eyes eyes with deep wrinkles on both sides. His white hair was long and straight but his beard was curly and short. There were red spots of sun burns on his hands and he looked like to have spent long years in the open seas.

    "You bet."

    "I know it," said the old man. "No one knows the country better than me. I've been here for a long time."

    "Good for you, old man."

    "You are waiting for someone?"

    He thought. Waiting. That could be it. Waiting seemed beautiful. It did not seem beautiful before he knew he would have to wait.

    "You bet," he said.

    "Would you like me to guess?"

    "No," he said.

    "I wouldn't," said the old man.

    "Thank you."

    "I wouldn't," repeated the old man. "In your case, there is no cloud to look up at and predict. Now let me order something for you."


    "Hold on, boy. You have too many no's to spend fast." The old man beckoned the waiter to come over. "But you still have time to go bitter. Now you just drink something warm. You don't want to catch a cold? Do you know how you cold you are?"

    "I am not cold."

    "You might not be. Hope you never feel cold inside. But still you might."

    He talked to the old man and watched the time pass by slowly and painfully. Then he began to feel a little cold inside just the man next to him said.

    "Are you OK?" asked the old man. "Please try to be OK. Maybe she's about to turn the corner." Both turned their heads and looked out at the street corner blurring behind the large window. Both men felt a little sorry. The young man felt a little sorrier for himself. The old man felt a little sorrier for the young man.

    "You'll be OK," the old man assured. "This always happens and young men finally feel very good and great. Don't you feel great?"

    "I am feeling dirty. I walked all the way to the restaurant."

    "This is how this thing gets better, boy. You feel cold and then very dirty. You feel being ripped inside. Then you begin feeling better."

    "I don't feel better now."

    The old man's deep blue eyes searched something in the eyes of the young man. He asked, "Are you angry with her?"

    "I don't know. I don't want to think about this." He got up. "I should get going. Thank you for the drink."

    "Take care," said the old man. "I am sure it will get better."

    It did not. When the young man stepped out of the restaurant into the street, the evening looked very sad. The sky was behind the dark clouds and they had no charm. He felt cold and buttoned his jacket and walked back quickly along the street that he had loved half an hour ago. This time he was careful not to be close to the left-hand side of the pavement. He did not like to be washed by the reckless and selfish drivers hurrying up to their homes.

    Then he remembered his cat. Now he was missing him. There was nothing good in losing him unexpectedly. This was not fair. He was feeling lonely. He was plunged deep into loneliness and did not know how to get out of it.

    Maybe he knew. It is a matter of time, he thought. It is a matter of time and choice... and I can replace something with something else that is dearer and lovelier.

    He saw the trash bin ahead, shining brightly under the light of the street lamp. He quickly made out the lovely cat that he had seen a little earlier among many others, standing still on the rim of the metal bin like a statue and his eyes glowing like two pieces of amber. He approached the cat and stood by him. Can we be good friends, he asked the cat. The cat looked up and did not move.

    The young man thought. Something was gone in him. He knew he did not want to live with that emptiness. Love's unexpected outbursts and retreats were too heavy for him to bear with. He was not a child anymore but still feeling very young and inexperienced and susceptible to hate and forget. He hated the emptiness. And he wanted to forget this bad evening that was supposed to be a good one.

    His eyes rested on the eyes of the cat. Are you trying to tell me something, he asked. Then he began to understand. Tomorrow, he said. Tomorrow could be different. There are millions of possibilities waiting for their turns tomorrow. Is this what you are trying to tell me, cat? Can I keep hoping?

    Can I keep longing.
    ars sine scienta nihil

  2. #2
    Registered User Delta40's Avatar
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    Dec 2008
    Fremantle Western Australia
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    Beautifully written and so easy to follow this young man's journey of hope to heartbreak and more hope for a sunny day tomorrow.

    well done!

  3. #3
    Registered User prendrelemick's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
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    You are a philosopher beroq, and the story is a good one.

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