Back down there again. These days, summer is a bright, burning experience, and even though he never ever tried to make much out of avoiding sun at all costs, this is far from being enjoyable. These days, even more, he tends to enjoy the cool, quiet environment of these ancient walls, caverns, dungeons far below. Few candles amidst this place, a light comfortable in some way. Calmer. Less intense. The scent of the books surrounding him down here.
Notes. Photos. Fragments of diaries. A load of things he left down here before this world upstairs came to life. Old things:
“2006-08-07: The world seems cold way below the departure floors in these early mornings while only a few travelers dare to cross the border between night and day, stumbling through the neon-lit scenery like restless shadows almost invisible to the eye.
It’s still way too early for me. I just spilt coffee all across my newspaper, now astoundingly watching the paper change its color while slowly absorbing the brown, hot fluid. There might be better places than this, and better times of day to be there than right now, but, after all, my plane is scheduled to depart at 5:45 a.m. , so it’s just about dealing with an uncomfortable situation as good as somehow possible. Having an early breakfast is rather good, given the time and place, even though it mainly consists of coffee… and so I decide to make the best of it, ordering another cup while trying to get rid of my now unusable newspaper.
Maybe, again at the right time and place, the girl behind the airport cafe bar might have been a sight for sore eyes, a fairy from another world… but not now, somehow. Right now, she’s into preparing my very next coffee (the one which, lacking any more newspapers, I might spill across the table afterwards), and I watch her as she fills milk into one of the arcane devices used to create what she sells to early customers like me. Though she’s a thin person looking almost anorectic, her movements appear in a strange way clumsy, cumbersome… Some more people gather around the bar, chatting, laughing, fortunately being louder than the music in the cafe which is really not meant to make an early morning brighter.
Quietly, she provides me with my second cup of coffee, allowing me to catch a glimpse at her face, little longer than just a few seconds… Even by todays superficial standards, she could be considered beautiful, and yet there’s something more predominant. In contrast with her dark clothings, it’s not just the make-up and the neon light to make her fragile face look pale and sad – the kind of sadness to be left when another great dream fell apart, another illusion ended and things just didn’t turn out the way they should. That’s when you start selling coffee to strangers in early morning, forced to permanently stay on the ground where all people just are busily passing by, following their path through the world.
In a strange way, I feel touched. Somewhere between reality and illusion, I can’t keep myself reading a silent cry for help from her kind eyes, feeling tempted to do all to be done in order to wipe this sadness off her face. But then again, who’s to tell imagination from truth, to tell a temporary lapse of emotions from something more substantial…
The monotonous airport voice, announcing my flight, is getting me back from my thoughts. I still got to pay for two coffees and a newspaper before I make my way out of the cafe, heading for the terminal. Her eyes following me as I leave, the sad look on her face seeing another chance disappear – just a fragment of illusion, a strange effect of the early morning blues? The escalator takes me upstairs, leaving the cafe below, the music slowly fading away. My plane is ready for departure. Don’t look back….”
Confused, dropping the paper, kneeling on cold stones for a moment, as if feeling weak suddenly, struggling to deal with the images and thoughts arising again, all of a sudden, overwhelming him for a very few, very short moments. Stories unfinished. Stories of places that don’t seem to exist anymore. Stories of people that don’t seem to be there anymore. Paths that would have led elsewhere, way out of reach now, narrative paths at the very least. Did he really hear the sound of an airplane passing by at high altitude, way above his roofs? What might have been her path, after that very day.
Some things we just won’t know.