Carrie Viens

A Drift

There is a room; this room is gray and dimly lit. The edges of the room seem obscured by darkness. A woman sits alone on a dark colored sofa. Her knees locked closely together with her hands laying in her lap, right over left. The woman’s face is hidden by shadow and thick disheveled hair. She does not move just sits there looking grayer than her surroundings. Slowly ever so slowly she slides her left hand from beneath her right and places it on top. What little light there is, quivers as if in a power surge and then she is lost into blackness.

~ ~

A gray man shuffles down a long seemingly endless hallway full of windows and doors. Everything looks as though it is under water, as faint ripples of light undulates over the walls. The man’s shuffling stops and he turns toward one of the outlets in the hallway, it is neither a door nor a window, just an opening filled with blinding white light. The man is gone.

~ ~

Now the man’s face lays tilted to one side distorted by a sheet of translucent plastic. Breathing heavily he smiles and his face contorts with laughter. Heaving raucous laughter, he stares ahead out the corners of his eyes. The man’s face disappears in a fog of heavy breaths.

~ ~

Condensation rolls down the auburn haired girl’s window pane. Outside the sky is cloudy and gray. One of her pale delicate fingers traces spirals and curves over the misted glass. Her rich auburn hair stands out against the glass as she stares blankly at the sky and hums some sweet sorrowful lilt. Without warning the auburn haired girl screeches and slams her fist through the window. Her hand is bleeding and she laughs pathetically as tears roll down her cheeks. Little red droplets of her blood speckle the window frame and then are smudged by the falling rain.

~ ~

It is a sunny breezy day as the auburn haired girl, dressed in a red and white polka dotted dress, swaggers along a sidewalk of her green tree lined university campus. Her red M.O.D. sandals click and crackle on the concrete as she approaches a large brick class room building.

Inside she sits in the back of the vast lecture hall. The professor, a ‘Wall Street Cowboy’ in his three piece suit and boots, scrawls notes across the dry erase board. The class would progress as usual for everyone except for the auburn-haired girl. The sound of her professor’s lecture would be muted and the sight over shadowed by something else.

The auburn-haired girl saw, as if projected like some old home movie, bodies writhing and pulling at each other crammed in the back of a car. The man’s body is tense and thrusting with arms tied around his body, steam covers the windows as legs tightly encircle him. Translucent and jittery the lust and animalism intensifies.

The film in her mind’s eye is unduly switched off by the slam of a door. All the students have vacated and the professor is packing away his things. She does not move until his duster is on. Then she quickly escapes out the back door. Bright sun light fills her eyes and she is blind.

~ ~

Red M.O.D. platforms crunch against broken glass on the wet tarmac and a cigarette extinguishes itself in a puddle. The night is cool and breezy; music from the bar nearby fills the air. The parking lot reflects neon colors out into the night.

~ ~

The auburn-haired girl sits among techno beats and pulsing smoke filled colored lights. She is alone lost to this place, but she is not all at the same time. People sway and twist all around her to trance harmonies. Across from her two figures sit staring at her their mouths moving but she can not hear them. There is no sound to be heard, other than the droning of the techno music.
 
The couple seems strangely familiar and altogether foreign. One male one female: both with long dark hair clouding their faces; both are thin, pale, and dressed in black. Their body’s are still but their mouths move feverously to no avail; she can not hear them. The auburn-haired girl screams and screams to these figure but they do not stop or alter their position. Her screams like their words are muted by the thunderous music.

She tries to leave to run away but she can not stand. Her body feels as though it were strapped in place. The more she fights to leave the more these figures mouth words with no meaning. Soon moving as one they descend upon her, still chattering noiselessly. Closer and closer the blank faces with ceaseless lips move to her face their hands out stretched to touch her. She is falling, falling to blackness the music fades as do the images of colored lights and swaying figures.

~ ~

The auburn-haired girl’s knees and palms ache as they dig in to the pavement. Rocks and debris cut her tender flesh. Her purse and shoes fall out from within a stylish black car. When the door to the black car shuts it nearly hits her; as she is crouched down on all fours just outside it. With a roar, the gagging taste of toxic fumes and red tail lights the black car disappears into the night.

Her red M.O.D. platforms crunch against broken glass on the wet pavement as she drops her latest cigarette in a puddle. The night is cool and breezy and music from the bar in front of her fills the air. The parking lot’s wet sheen reflects neon colored light into the night sky.

The auburn-haired girl feels sick as she lights another cigarette. She disappears into the night, into a bar, into a bottle, into herself. She is gone for awhile, but will soon return to click her platforms along the pavement once again.

~ ~

Little red droplets of her blood speckle the window frame and are smudged by the falling rain. She stares blankly at the sky and hums some sweet sorrowful tune. Pale delicate fingers trace swirls in the watery blood on the window sill. The words “Trust me” and “You’re special” drifts in and out of her mind. She screeches then laughs pathetically as tears stream down her face.

~ ~

The auburn-haired girl sits stirring her coffee smiling. She and some friends sit talking and laughing in a very urban coffee house. The sponge painted and mural covered walls echo the nasal acoustics of spoken word poetry. The air is light and filled with the scent of coffee and vanilla. The auburn haired girl’s face is alight; she looked like the fresco of an angel painted centuries ago.

Abruptly her face is drawn and blank her angelic light gone. She immediately stands and rushes away from the table, so suddenly that coffee spills all over. One moment she is there standing in the door looking back at the jovial café the next she is gone into the lonely night.

~ ~

Alone in a gray room the auburn girl sits alone. Everything is so very dark in this little room, and she sits there in this darkness staring at the wall ahead of her. Her hands lay cupped in her lap. Within her hands is something small, shapeless, and far blacker than the darkest corner of this little gray room. A lone ceiling fan moves in this place; whooshing and creaking as it oscillates above her head.

Flashlight beams pierce the blackness of her little room. The light cuts in and out of the darkness as it moves along the windows at her back. With the fleeting beams of light comes in distinct mumbled voices; happy then furious, but all mingled with nervous laughter. The voices stay chattering in her head long after the searching flashlight has disappeared. She clenches her fist and what she held there oozes like blood from between her fingers. The murkiness all around her seems to tremble and then she is gone.

~ ~

Red M.O.D. platforms crunch against broken glass on the wet tarmac and a cigarette extinguishes itself in a puddle. The night is cool and breezy music from a bar fills the air. The parking lot reflects neon colors into the blacked out sky. Small amounts of blood trickle from her scraped knees. Her palms ache and feel bruised as she lights her lighter. Water splashes beneath her feet as she is enveloped in the head lights of a passing car.

~ ~

The auburn-haired girl strolls lazily around her university campus, it is a beautiful day. The sun is warm and high in the sky. She takes off her sandals to walk barefoot in the grass; but her childlike fancy is interrupted by the intrusion of another.

~ ~

Staring faces pressed and distorted beneath translucent plastic leer eagerly out the sides of their eyes. Crude lascivious smiles creep across their knotted faces. Both mouths open, their eyes are wild as they mime laughter or maybe even screams. Condensation collects on the plastic obscuring there mouths, but it leaves the bulging crazed eyes to stare for a long while before they too disappear.

~ ~

The police officer saunters around the property scanning the area with his flashlight. The auburn-haired girl stands a distance behind him making apologies for dragging him out so late at night. He is sweet and congenial as he assures her it’s no problem. She shifts nervously in place her hands moving in and out of her back pockets. “Just stay inside tonight” is all he says before driving away.

~ ~

The ‘Wall street Cowboy’ a wannabe wetback in gringo skin, watches the auburn-haired girl drift around campus. Barefoot like a child she prances through the grass. She is like Daphne Zeus’s favored nymph, carefree and dreamy; but clever still. He felt a bit like Hera as he approached her, jealous of her innocent revelry.
  Her face fell; she looked as though she had been caught stealing penny candy from the local store. “Are you alright?” he questioned.
“Yes, I’m fine.” She smiled nervously and looked down at her toes digging into the dirt.
“You’ve seemed distant in class lately…not like yourself.”
“I’m fine.”
“I think you’re very special and if you need to talk my door is always open. Don’t worry you can always trust me.”
“Okay, thanks.” She does not look at him just focuses more and more on her toes buried in the green earth. The professor passes by her, patting her shoulder gently. The auburn haired girl seems frozen in place staring at the ground; envisioning the worms and other creatures of the soil crawling and swirling around her foot.

~ ~

Outside the lively little café the auburn haired girl paces and sputters curses to no one in particular. She hugs herself against the cold but feels it more inside than without. Her shoes click fiercely on the side walk as she paces ranting to herself. “Fuck ‘em, fuck ‘em all. Every single one of ‘em should die and be left to rot. Fuck the bastards.” Tugging hard on
a cigarette she continues to mutter as she wonders away from the light of the café.

~ ~

The man arches his back so he can push deeper inside her. Hear legs splayed one on the backseat and one on the front. He holds her wrist hard against the side of the car as he presses himself into her. She bites down hard on her lips, before letting a gentle moan escape them. Their heavy breaths fog the windows concealing the raw passion within the black car.

~ ~

The auburn haired girl sits quietly on the railing of her back porch smoking her third cigarette. Her mind busies itself with nonsense fancies; attempting to block out much darker things.
 
In her mind she sees a chorus of starlight dancers parading around to the exquisite tinkle of circus music. Everything seems full of magic and color at this moment. With every puff of smoke she sees some new extravagance. Fire breathing acrobats, masked and made-up clowns; all somersaulting through smoke rings then off into the night. The happiest and brightest sounds and colors fill her eyes; to perfect to be real and too real to be a dream. The auburn haired girl stares out into the night at the wonder hidden within it. That is until her daydreams are lost to real sound and motion.

Somewhere out in the darkness beyond her line of sight something hums and moves over old dried leaves and branches. Then the sound comes to her, the bitter sweet melody of ‘Gloomy Sunday’ sung by the rich sorrowful voice of the ‘Lady Bird’ herself. The song is faint but audible as it floats through the night, chilling the heart and begging for the soul to weep.
The auburn haired girl looks as if she is mesmerized my Ms. Holiday’s mournful word of unrequited longing and loss. They are reaching out to her. The tune carries her mind away, like the black carriage of sorrow, to a place she can not be followed. The song ends with the fading cry of a brass horn.

It is then that the auburn haired girl feels a rush of uneasiness deep in her belly. With the ending of the song came the slam of a car door and the hurried rustling of feet through the tree line. The auburn haired girl jumps from her familiar perch and sprints to the house locking herself in.

~ ~

A girl with cracked and broken lips lays pressed against glass washed by her tears. Her dark circled eyes stare blankly out silently pleading for rest. Then the hand of a man pulls her back and out of sight.

~ ~

The auburn hair girl paces a circle around her kitchen, cursing and sputter vehement accusations and frustrations. The man’s words churn in her brain mingled hate, fear, love, and anger. “What’s wrong with you?”, “You can’t keep doing this.”; “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” These and a thousand other painful phrases create a fervent rage in her stomach. She tears at her hair and throws herself all about the room. She tosses her mother’s dishes and appliances all over the kitchen and beyond. The auburn haired girl slams herself hard into the refrigerator. Then she lets out a scream, so powerful that she herself could not stand it and falls to the floor.

The auburn-haired girl awakes on the floor with the taste of blood in her mouth and decimation all around her. She is able to move but doesn’t possess the will to. So she lays there on the floor just as broken as the dishes around her. Soon her ears are filled with the sound of sirens and great feet thudding through the house.

~ ~

A man and woman laugh and lean close to one another. They are surrounded by the smell of coffee and vanilla and the iambic droning of beat poetry. Delicately placed hands on shoulders and knees capitulates fierce enmity from eyes looking through the colored window panes.

~ ~

The music in the dark smoky club thumps its own heart beat into the bodies of it’s captivate audience. In the back of the smoky pink and purple club a small group of people stick out among the throng of dancing bodies. Their bodies are still but their mouths move feverously, two facing one. They reach their hands for each other and then they are gone first one, then the others disappeared into smoke and mirrors.

~ ~

There is a room a gray little room and the auburn haired girl sits alone here. Her hair now losing its reddish shine and her once rosy skin grows pale. She is turning as dark and as gray as her dim little room.

~ ~

The auburn-haired girl sits staring out the window at the falling rain. Her pale delicate fingers trace spirals and curves over the misted glass. Her mind wanders and she hums a sad ‘Lady Day’ tune, while looking out over the dull gray landscape.

With unexpected liveliness the auburn haired girl jumps back away from the glass; as the face of a girl appears before her on the other side of the glass. The girl at first seemed very close, practically up against the window, but then seemed quite far away. Her hair was dark and plastered to her pale face. The girl’s eyes were dark and sunken in their sockets as if she were ill or very tired. While the auburn haired girl stared at this seemingly fragile imp, the girl raised her right arm reaching out to the window.

The auburn-haired girl nearly fell back upon the floor as this weary girl outside her window made impossible movements. As if she was a flickering light. She appeared close then faraway rapidly changing position back and forth. The girl’s eyes grew wide and her head inclined with her mouth opening noiselessly calling out to the auburn haired girl.

Terror and confusion filled the auburn haired girl as this specter pleaded with her. This horror made all the worse by the appearance of a man’s face pressed against the glass. He sneered at her through the glass and laughed a most terrible laugh. The sad figure of the girl soon to was pressed against the glass, violently so and the blood from her lips mixed with rain water that ran the pane of glass. Then she was gone as was the man.

The auburn-haired girl stood frozen, paralyzed by shock. She could not pull her eyes away from the window. Slowly she moved closer to the window once again scanning every inch of scenery for the ghastly duo that she had just seen but there was nothing; only rain.

~ ~

Red M.O.D. platforms crunch against broken glass on the wet pavement as she drops her latest cigarette in a puddle. The night is cool and breezy music from the local bar fills the air. The parking lot’s wet surface reflects neon lights into the night. Small amounts of blood trickle from the auburn haired girl’s scraped knees. Her palms ache and feel bruised as she lights her lighter.

~ ~

The auburn-haired girl digs her toes deep into the dirt. She looks down at the ground mesmerized by what she sees. There on the crisp green grass she sees, as if projected by some 16mm home movie camera, bodies writhing and pulling at each other. Crammed into the back of a car the man’s body is tense and thrusting with arms tied around his body. Condensation covers the windows as legs tightly wrap around his back. Translucent and jittery the lust and animalism intensifies on the leather seats of the little black car.

The image of the lovers in the car changes as quickly as it had appeared; to the image of all the creepy crawlies hidden in the earth. She sees damp muddy earth filled with insects squirming and writhing over each other. The auburn-haired girl laughs childishly pulling her toes from the ground. She skips away leaving her visualizations on the ground to be burned away by the sun.

~ ~

The auburn-haired girl screeches and slams her fist through the window. Shattered glass flies every which way and pain shoots up through her arm. She weeps pathetically as her racing heart pushing blood out of the jagged gashes in her hand and wrist. Bright fairy lights like water ripple over her face catching her eye. She watches it slowly undulate over her and the walls; then she slowly fades away.

~ ~

A very gray man makes his way down a curved and narrow hallway. This hallway would be as gray as him if not for the faintly bluish white light; flowing and churning like water over everything. All the doors and windows that line the hallway are shadowed by this ethereal light and all are locked to the man.

He disappears into obscurity around a sharp corner. After a time the hallway fills with radiant white light. Everything is erased in the whiteness of the light. Then as suddenly as the light came it vanished and the hallways is lost, plunged into unutterable blackness.

~ ~

Pulsating visual flashes emerge from nowhere of the man, the woman, the light, and the dark. First slow then in rapid succession like a stop motion picture show. The beautifully melancholic declarations of ‘Lady Day’ float on the air as she sings ‘Gloomy Sunday’. The man and woman are graying changing to become pitiful shells of humanity.

“Sunday is gloomy, my hours are slumberless; dearest the shadows I live with are numberless. Little white flowers will never awaken you, not where the black coach’s sorrow has taken you. Angels have no thoughts of ever returning you. Wouldn’t they be angry if I thought of joining you? Gloomy Sunday, gloomy is Sunday; with shadows I spend it all, my heart and I have decided to end it all. Soon there’ll be candles and prayers that are said I know, but let them not weep let them know that I’m glad to go. Death is no dream; for in death I’m caressin’ you. With the last breath of my soul I’ll be blessin’ you. Gloomy Sunday; dreaming, I was only dreaming I wake and I find you asleep. In the deep of my heart here darling I hope that my dream never haunted you. My heart is tellin’ you how much I wanted you; gloomy Sunday.” * 

The song continues and the flashes change: it transverses through sunny days, tearful bloodied faces, and twisted mocking laughter trapped beneath plasticize; then through the gray little room, parking lot, car, and club.

The strobe like flashing stops and all that’s left is blackness. The ‘Lady Bird’ is silenced after one last utterance of, “…dearest the shadows I live with are numberless.” Then in the darkness of oblivion, all that can be heard is the click and crunch of wooden heels on pavement and the subtle hiss of an extinguishing cigarette.

*'Gloomy Sunday' was written by Hungarian pianist and composer Rezső Seress in 1933, based on a poem written by László Jávor.
 

Carrie Viens © 2010