When she looked at him across the room, her heart broke with an
Except that, to be perfectly frank,
it had already
been broken in the summer of 1981 on a camping site in southern Italy;
and the halves had been fragmented further in Berlin, '83; and had then been
run over once more in the winter of '84, and, surprisingly, once more again
shortly afterwards in spring; and the shards of what survived
the prolonged pressure of '86-'88 had been systematically maimed
all through '89 and '90, so that her heart had no similarity left to
the clear, hard object it might have started out with (although I
doubt that, too); it resembled more a bag of dry-frozen carbonated sugar
crystals that crackle and pop in your mouth, Pop Rock Heart;
but (what I really wanted to say is that) now that she saw him,
those pieces, or what was left of them, melted into even smaller
fragments with a soft, but distinct, shhhhh.
In the last five minutes before the shop closed at 13:00 sharp,
he guarded the entrance, turning away patrons at will; king of
milk and cheese, ham, butter, eggs and pink grapefruit soda.
So, when she came rushing in late as she always did, eyes twitching,
the echos of sleep still blurring her moves, he would let her in,
let her walk straight past his immovable polite face into the
half-empty rows patrolled by curt white-coated clerks, to
get her four slices of cheese and some milk, pay, and leave the
almost empty shop feeling lucky because she just, so, made it.
Perhaps we're all slightly precogniscient, and falling in love
is nothing but the future memory of going to have spent time
with another, a memory that scares the wits
out of us, causing complications that prevent the future from
happening as we remember it. Perhaps love is just how it
feels to, in spite of the fear, do what one was going to do,
the bravery of the predictable.
She gravitated towards him; even out of sight, she could still
feel his pull on her heels. Her position in the world was
measured as distance from him, speed towards him, velocity around
him; at the end of her time she would fall into him, then be
crushed. Abandoning her ungrounded hopes,
she felt a sudden elation: gravity had stopped.