Saturday, November 15, 2014

Episode 31 | Wrong delivery

nudity and sex

I had already realized my father's strong connection with 'his' Armand. I still pictured them as lovers, though Carlo was trying to be discreet. Even if for just a couple of days, two young males discovering the joy and pleasure of loving -- I knew so well how irresistible that was! And they had nothing to stop them on that lost island.

And now he had named it himself -- love! Filled with suffering -- the suffering of parting that I knew even better.

My mind delivered hypothesis at an uncanny speed, leading to my birth -- had Carlo abandoned his beloved friend because of Catherine? Maybe when he had found out she was pregnant? Which equaled to say he had abandoned Armand for me, even if I was the tiniest little reason in her belly... And then, thirteen years later, had he decided to leave Catherine and me to go back to Armand, closing the circle? 

The Law of Kharma -- the suffering I had caused with my birth had returned upon me, I was inclined to think. But I wanted my father to say it himself, and knowing he had his own pace, I had decided to allow him the time to do it.

"Nights on the island were specially lonely." Carlo recalled, and we were back on the Île du Blanchomme. "The immense silence, where even the flame of a candle was audible. Again, I had only my heartbeat to keep me company. Sometimes, it was hard to bear the vastness of the thick darkness of sky and sea around, stretching the limits of my vision until I got lost and almost afraid that the world had ended, and I was left alone. Then, the lights of the ships far on the horizon confirmed the existence of other human beings, leading me to think of the dearest among them -- Armand, maybe already disembarked in France, on his way to the Château de Montbelle, his warm presence as far in time and space as the stars."

I had never felt lonely before. 

I guess I had been content with myself -- no matter how poor I had been, no matter how hungry, there had been this feeling of being whole. It was this longing for someone else that brought in the hollowness of feeling lonely. And the need for love... I had never pictured myself sharing life with someone else, but now happiness on my own seemed incomplete, if not utterly impossible.

I recall this one night -- because it was the last night, that's why it comes back so clearly. It was sultry hot, and humid. There wasn't even the feeblest murmur of a breeze. The leaves of the palms and the surface of the ocean stood still. The weather was foreign to me in the Indian Ocean, and I wondered what season it was -- I recall having prayed to have the opportunity to experience all seasons on that part of the planet, to get acquainted with the weather, for a good peasant I was.

I had decided to sleep outside, at the bench by the palms on the beach, under the starriest sky I had ever seen. I had been reading  Armand's annotations on Herr Weissmann's journals, and learned he had spent many nights under the stars, before building himself a house. Though there was nothing to build, I felt inspired to do the same.

But I had many terrible nightmares that night, and when I woke up, sweating cold despite the heat, I did not want to go back to sleep.

I tried swimming to tire myself, but the warm water relaxed my muscles and decreased my enthusiasm to beat the currents. And though not being the least inspired, I even tried painting in the dark during that evening, like I had so often done at the old factory. The sound of the brushes against the canvas soothed me, but I still had this lasting, inexplicable feeling of agony. 

I thought one explanation might have been my grandfather Tarso -- he was old, was he ill? He was certainly as lonely as I was, but though it was central Italy, he might have been even more isolated than me, in the high mountains. I was expecting Armand's return, and I was sure he would return -- my body was shaken by pleasurable goose bumps when I thought about our reunion. And Tarso must have been waiting for my return too, though hopelessly. Was I sensing something bad that my grandfather was actually going through?

Suddenly, I again thought about Armand. And I knew he was thinking of me, too. Of course! It must have been him! That pain in my chest. Had his mother died? Had he confronted Monsieur de Montbelle yet?

As much as I had been suffering, and I could sense Armand suffering too, in a moment all the suffering that there was in the world seemed to fall upon me -- I thought of all the people in pain, ill, being beaten, raped, tortured, losing someone to death... At that very moment. 

At this very moment, Laurent. Do you realize it? Can you feel it, too? People living in war zones, suffering from hunger and thirst, children being mistreated or abused, women being beaten and raped, elderly people abandoned and sick, and the animals being mercilessly slaughtered, or tortured in laboratories -- I sensed all that happening around the planet, moment after moment, and I sat to calm down. During that meditation session, in my heart I felt all the suffering that there is in the world... I was so troubled, for I didn't know any techniques to transform and heal that feeling, back then...

A sleepless night, and I was too tired to work the following day. It was too hot as well. I was hoping the boat would come soon with the painting material that they had promised Armand to deliver at the island -- working in the cool rooms of the house would be nice for a change. I hang by the pool, and it was the last time I'd think "life is a beach", for it was soon to turn into a "bitch". I am sorry I have said that, Laurent... And you'll soon understand why.

Armand had warned me how invasive natives could be in their curiosity -- therefore I avoided being on the beach whenever I was expecting the boat to come to the island.

I spent that day mostly indoors -- Herr Weissmann had built the house several meters above the sea level, I had read in his journals, because of past tidal waves, and that had also made the house much cooler than the beach.

Even from inside the house one could predict the boat approaching by the flocks of seagulls that preceded it. Or missing that, hear its engine or the whistle they blew, and if not those, because of the noise the natives would make, unloading the provisions onto the beach. 

But that afternoon I must have been really tired from the previous night of torments and unrest, for I completely overheard in my sleep the boat's arrival and things being unloaded, to suddenly jump from my bed, startled by the sound of the distancing engine.

I still waited a few minutes more before leaving the house, listening to the boat gaining distance. When I was sure the natives who would eye me from aboard would see no more than a tiny figure on the island, I went down to the beach. 

I was so happy to see that the gallons of paint had been delivered. Most of all, I was intrigued with a backpack that was there as well, topping the deliveries -- I thought Armand must have sent me a gift, and my heart started beating faster!

In the seconds to follow, many thoughts crossed my mind, and because I had been meditating a lot, my mind was clear and I was able to observe them all, crisscrossing one another at an unbelievable speed -- Oh my God... wrong delivery... it can't be... she must have gotten off on the wrong island... what, now? wrong address... where is she gonna stay... shit, why did I wait so long... now the boat is too fucking distant... what if I scream... they have to come back... she can't stay... it's impossible...

"At last!" The girl whinged, angrily. Her voice sounded to dry leaves being crumpled and it surprised me, for it didn't match her petite figure. "They made ​​so much noise, and shouted, but no one came... I only stayed here because they assured me that there was someone at the guesthouse." She moaned, shrinking back against the barrels. "Where did you hide? Can you help me, please? But do you understand French?" She seemed suspicious, maybe noticing my total lack of action. 

I was stunned. It was worst than the first apparition -- there was actually another person with me on the Île du Blanchomme, and this time it was no ghost!

"We have to call the boat back..." I replied in my best French, trying to imitate Armand's pronunciation and cadence, as I always did in formal situations. "You cannot stay here."

"I'm delighted to meet you, too! Thank you for your welcome..." Affronted, she looked at me with sparkling hazel eyes, and again she groaned. "Is the guesthouse full, by chance? In any case, I need a toilet, before you show me to my room..."

Just then did I realize how sick the girl was, her skin almost the color of the elegant dress she was wearing -- pale green, with a yellowish tinge. Bu what guesthouse was she talking about? 

My God, she must have disembarked on the wrong island, I thought, and now she will be stranded here for a week or as much as the boat -- which at that point was an undefined tiny object heading for the horizon -- could take to return to the Île du Blanchomme.

Armand had never mentioned a contingency plan for when I needed the boat, out of its unpredictable regularity... Was there a light sign that I could use so that it was sighted from the nearest island? Should I light a fire on the beach? No radio, no telephone... no idea! What a tragedy!

"A toilet..." The girl stood up with great effort, her face contorted with pain. "Can I use a bathroom in the hostel?"

"There is no hostel." I mouthed right away, covering her last word as she was still pronouncing it. "This is a house, a private home."

"Can I use the bathroom in your house then?" she pressed on, exasperated.

"The house is not mine..." I was astounded, and again I felt like the peasant who had been once a newcomer to Paris, feeling totally displaced and not knowing how to properly behave. "I don't think you understand it... You cannot stay here..."

"How do you want me to leave? Swimming? I don't think you understand it!" She sounded indignant, and finally I realized how rude I was being to her. "Do you have no compassion either, since you seem to have no education?!" And thus she hit me twice, exposing how weak my practice of compassion for all beings had been, since I could not include the first human being that I had met in many weeks, and at once pointing to my peasant rudeness, which always left me feeling unhappy and inconvenient. "I need..." she gasped, and could not finish the sentence.

When I saw her stagger and almost fall over the barrels of paint, I stepped forward to support her. But she pushed me away, with a strength I did not imagine such a delicate girl would have, as she regained balance.

"Do not touch me!" She shrieked, walking away towards the stairs to the house. "Is it over there?" she inquired, pointing upstairs. "If the house is not yours, then whose is it? Is there anyone else here? Someone else hiding?" She screamed sorely. "Do you work here?" the girl eyed me from head to feet, noticing with disgust the dirt and the holes in my clothes, with a look of disdain that made ​​me blush. "Oh, you don't need to answer... Is there a manager or?..." And again she staggered, holding to the rail to ascend the stairs.

I instructed her on how to find the bathroom, and decided to wait at the beach. The bathroom had no doors, and if even with my mate and pal Armand it had been too embarrassing -- the doorless latrines seemed to be quite common in that part of the world, since the natives had an altogether different notion of privacy, or depending on the point of view, no notion at all, and Herr Weissmann seemed to have incorporated it -- that said, such a scheme with a girl would be impossible! 

But somehow we would have to manage it. 

Because I was starting to conform to that situation. 

The boat was gone, and would be back only within a week or more. There was no way to resolve it otherwise. I could possibly try to turn the radio on, but I hadn't paid close attention to Armand's instructions, and I was afraid to damage it -- I had already tried once, but to no avail, on my loneliest days. And those days seemed to have abruptly ended, with the arrival of that girl.

She would have to stay. I needed to prepare myself to spend at least a week on the Île du Blanchomme with Catherine Mortinné, French, resident at the Rue de Furstemberg, one of the noblest streets and, as far as I knew, among the most expensive addresses of Paris. It was all that the label attached to her backpack informed. 

Moreover, a complete stranger to me, and beyond unreachable, among all the girls I had met until then.

Ashamed, after having shown so much discourtesy to the girl, I decided to take her backpack up. It was actually light and seemed to be brand new, as if it belonged to someone who had been traveling just recently, and for a short time. 

At least she wasn't moving into the Île du Blanchomme, I thought -- but I was wrong, and how wrong was I!

Author's note: having been imported from a former version of the story, some of the comments below are dated previous to this post. Once the plot has not been altered, just the pagination, I am keeping them since they are very dear and precious to me.


  1. This was quite interesting. So Carlo was in love with Armand. Then the strange girl is dumped at the island.

    (I want to add that I found it a bit difficult to follow the conversation without the speech quotes. I had to re-read pieces because I wasn't sure if it was a thought or talking or who was thinking or speaking.)

    1. thank you for your comments and reading the story, Zhippidy.

      I am aware of that difficulty with the speech quotes -- since I'm not a native in English language, I found it easier to stick to the Latin system that I know better, so that I don't get too confused...

      And perhaps I have read too much Saramago to still make a differentiation between the talking and the thinking... sometimes it's even difficult to guess who is talking or commenting... sometimes the pic shows Carlo, but it is Laurent's thoughts you read about... This is done on purpose, and has a meaning that should be clear by the end of the story.

      Love and Peace to you.

  2. Ha! Gabriel is so intrigued by the story too he's just sitting there eavesdropping!

    It was a great thing what Laurent did, easing the tension by making a few jokes. It seems Carlo really appreciated it which is great!

    Like him though I am waiting to finally hear the story unfold!

    1. Carlo is slow...

      he has always been considered a slow person -- not stupid, not lazy, just slow... naturally so, like the rhythms of Nature in opposition to urban speed...

      and he is taking his time to tell the story... he is not eager to reach that point where there was not turning back in his life.

  3. Carlo realized he was in love... aww, how sweet. It's too bad he didn't realize it sooner. So that is how he and Catherine met, by chance when she misunderstood where to go. Poor Carlo, that doesn't seem like it would be pleasant at all for him, LOL.

    1. In solitude and silence, Carlo was finally able to listen to his own heart -- it was softly singing Armand's name. And in the distance, he felt he was finally able to embrace his friend, and even physically long for him.

      This is totally new and comes as a shock for Laurent -- how his parents met. Their first contact is not very promising, and Carlo is not appeased with the idea of having his tranquility disturbed by a stranger. But the boat is gone, there is not else to do about that -- unless trying to get along for at least a week.

      And we do know Carlo and Catherine are going to make a baby, so unless something terrible like an abuse happens, somehow they will have fall in love...

      Thank you for reading and commenting, LKSimmer!


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