Never before in my life have I seen anyone without that indent on the lip.
“May I come in and sit? I just need to talk to someone.”
I hadn’t realized that Nadia was with me at the door. She reaches out and takes his hand. He almost smiles as she guides him to a small table surrounded by chairs in one corner of a great room.
“Sit. All are welcome here. Can I offer you something to wash the weight from your spirit?”
“No thank you. I don’t believe that you have anything strong enough to do that here.”
Nadia sits down near him but does not respond. I sit in another chair by the table but move it back slightly into the shadow. A candle is burning on the table and the wax spills over onto the dark, whorled wood. There are many cigarette burns on the table. There is also a ceramic ash tray with four small hands holding it up, one on each corner and a map of the world intricately painted on it as if the world was flat in the center, with the oceans spilling out onto the cigarette rests. The map iscovered with old wax.
The man is wearing a heavy raincoat made out of some type of dark cloth. I notice that his back is slightly hunched beneath his coat. This creates the illusion that his shoulders are rising above themselves.
As Nadia crosses her legs, the skirt she is wearing slips slightly open. He does not seem to notice and begins speaking again.
“I am waiting for my father. He will come very soon and then I will be gone.”
“Has it been a long time since you’ve seen him?” asks Nadia.
He almost smiles again. “Yes, quite some time. If I did not know how this meeting would go, it would be better for me. My conversation with you was the only thing that was unclear. I knew that it would take place but the content of it was a mystery to me.”
I want to ask how he knew how the meeting with his father would go, but it’s as if my lips have a seal upon them and cannot open. I realize that I am only there to observe and record these events in my memory so they might be written at some future time.
Nadia chuckles and puts her face very close to his. He does not move away. His nostrils flare out and he breathes in deeply.
“Your scent is startlingly pleasant. I remember it in my dreams, when I can sleep.”
“You like the way I smell,” says Nadia, and it is not a question.
She rises slowly and takes his hand. I watch them walk together to the back room and close the door. Alone again, I take out two tabs of morphine and fix. My hand does not shake this time. After rinsing the hype, I let it rest in the glass of water. My eyelids drop over my eyes. The dreams come.
Someone taps my shoulder. Nadia.
“He is sleeping,” she says. And then she tells me his story.
I don’t know how long I listen, or how long she speaks, but afterward I feel very tired, as if I’ve been awake for days. I feel very sad, as if someone very close to me is about to die.
Then he, she calls him Simon, walks back into the room, shrugging his coat over what looks like a pair of large grey wings.
Simon places his hands on her shoulders and speaks.
“There is nothing I can do for Samuel. I will look after him when he comes to us. The child will not be his. It will be from us, from tonight. My father does not know everything, for I did not know what was to take place here. You are a good woman. One day you will leave here and your name will be different. I cannot tell you when or how this will come to pass for it would change everything.”
Nadia cries and the tears run down her cheeks. He takes his finger and catches one of the tears, lifting it to his lips. He then places his finger on the indentation above her lip and she closes her eyes. She sleeps.
Simon looks at me. Suddenly there is a great wind howling in my ears.
“My father is coming. I am out of time.”
He reaches out to touch my lip, but I pull back. He pauses and the furrows in his forehead deepen.
He says, “Memories are made of this.”
The next thing I know, I am very sick, dope-sick, like I was 48 hours without a fix. The wind is just outside the door. I hear it open. I hear it close.
I reach for my stash. My hands are shaking. Nadia will not help me this time. I let her sleep.
A door opens behind me and the Troll and Ron de Veux come out of the kitchen while I am fixing. Ron scratches her crotch and the Troll wipes some spittle from his chin and asks, “Did a storm pass this way?”
“I thought so,” said the Troll.