Chapter 14 – 1

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Chapter 14 – 1

 

Chapter 14

 

TAN

– The Path of Lamed - The combination Gimel, Lamed, Samech.
The Vision of the Justice or Balance of the Universe.1

 

“Unavoidably, even in the most adverse of environments, even if the earth is sterile, life will lead its course.
And, as violent as the world may be, no matter how much one wants the desert to remain sterile,
there’s nothing that can stop the small flower from blooming,
and nothing that can stop her from useless trying to reach the blue bright sky forever out of her grasp.”

 

 

Part 1

Not surprisingly, I didn’t sleep well at all, between fragmented dreams where I walked alone through London’s deserted streets, the silence so completely absolute that I couldn’t even hear my own footsteps. The feeling of utter loneliness and abandonment became painfully real, and I was reminded of a similar dream, one that had tormented me a couple of years ago, as a forewarning of my parent’s eminent divorce. This time, however, I wasn’t searching for some fleeting shadow that always seemed to elude me. Quite the opposite. Although I didn’t run or scream, it felt as if I was instead running away.

When the same dream returned for the fourth consecutive time, forcing me to wake up gasping for air, damp hair glued against my sweaty forehead, I finally gave up on the whole idea of going back to sleep, and decided to get up. I went to the bathroom to wash my face and hands and sighed at my depressing image, my grayish face making me look sickly.

However, as I left the bathroom, my attention was drawn towards the stairs and, before I could realize what I was doing, I'd already descended the first few steps. Ignoring my ever-present, ever-alert inner voice, and trying to be as silent a possibly, I went on, my gaze flying towards the living room door that remained opened. For a moment I considered the possibility of no one else being home. The house was completely silent and nothing in the air denounced his presence. With careful, silent footsteps, I went to the door and peered inside.

For a moment all I could see was darkness. But then, as my eyes grew more accustomed to the blackness, darker shapes started coming into existence, among which was a pale, almost luminescent figure that practically made me run back to safety. It took all my strength to rationally think about what I was seeing. He wasn’t sitting in his usual place, but lying on the sofa, his back to the wall. His dark hair, still long, fell over his pale shoulder, sliding down over the couch towards the floor. He was bare-chested and somehow seemed too thin, even frail; his long arms folded, his elegant long hands abandoned near his perfect face. Lea, in the shape of a small cat, was curled into a black fur ball against his chest. Gabriel slept.

That strange image was so far from the domineering force and unmovable strength I’d felt the few times he’d held me that I had to blink, making sure I wasn’t dreaming or even hallucinating. Like he’d assured Lea, his shoulder was completely healed and I found myself relieved to know that.

Standing there, I couldn’t help stare at his perfect face, his expression now soft and calm. Sleeping like that, unmoving and free from the daunting presence of his cold, threatening gaze, he almost looked like what he pretended to be on a daily basis — just another teenage boy, the same age as the rest of us. For the first time I could easily associate him with the name Gabriel, which always sounded so fake, like a bad lie. Somehow, seeing him like this made me feel as if I was standing before someone very lonely, like he could be some lost boy, which didn’t make any sense! Not knowing why, I could easily picture him sleeping just like that, all alone, somewhere far away, surrounded by cold, unfeeling darkness, year after year. Recklessly, I wished I could enter that room and touch his white face, or even his long, dark hair, just to show him that he wasn’t alone, and that he wasn’t in that dark place anymore, as if that could melt his cruel frozen heart, if only just a little.

The alarm sounded too late in my mind.

Had he been awake, his terrible presence would had never allow me to digress like that! The small, sharp pain that I had so successfully ignored up till now became stronger and frighteningly real. And once more I realized I was trying to escape reality, as if that would solve anything.

The truth was, although I didn’t want to admit it, and it made me utterly angry and frustrated to do so, I’d felt truly relieved, seeing him return unharmed. I knew that, even though I had every reason in the world to do so, I hadn’t really wished him dead. Sure he terrified me beyond reason. But, other than that, all the other reasons for his presence in my life, like the Contract I had been forced to accept, tended to progressively dilute themselves, slowly integrating my everyday life. Lately I had to try hard to constantly remind myself of my own situation and, had it not been for Steph’s involvement in all that mess, which had made his true nature perfectly clear, I would have probably even forgotten to constantly keep that knowledge present in my mind.

I couldn’t deny he intrigued me, since I could never seem to understand his logic or predict his next move, and I felt curious about him, constantly wondering what he felt about my world. Maybe that was the reason why I'd started looking differently at him … the way I sometimes caught him, appreciating something that no one else stopped to appreciate.

I didn’t want to change! And yet I didn’t know how to avoid it. Probably that sleeping face that mysteriously had been able to stir up my heart was proof enough I had no salvation.

I went back to my room lost deep in thoughts that, although logical, were a confusing mixture of memories, conjectures and antagonistic feelings.

I reminded myself of my everyday life, of my gray, dull routine, before he’d shown up in my room, turning everything upside down. My other self had gone through life without leaving a single mark on the world, and without allowing anything else to come close enough to leave a mark on her. The only one able to make me feel awake, to bring a hint of color into my otherwise gray life, had been Michael, and so I had loved him. It had been inevitable.

And suddenly, between the anguish, the pain, and the tears that I was never able to cry, my world was brimming with the most shocking colors, and foreign feelings vibrated all through my body, thoughts consuming me until I felt completely lost, until I couldn’t understand anything anymore.

I’d been nothing but a shadow, yearning for and silently adoring a faraway light. Now the shadow was being dragged by a furious hurricane and, between the desperate attempts not to lose my precious light from sight, and all the others to keep escaping the darkness that threatened to swallow me whole, all I could do was keep fighting, trying not to drown inside of myself.

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