My Fallen Rover

 

The cliffs were a cavity in the face of the earth. Dark and volcanic, boundless like the very night sky. In fact, they look like the night sky of millions of years ago, fossilised. If archaeologists were to excavate it they would unearth shards of extinct stars.

“Are you ready Alfred?” She screamed as they put the ropes around his waist. It was like strapping a baby into a stroller.

“Fuck no!” He said looking down, of course, no one means it when they tell you don’t look down.

“Come on don’t back out now!”

“I feel like someone should be asking for my last words.”

She laughed sinisterly. But it was a laugh that bit its own tail for she was next. “Well?”

“What!”

“Any last words?”

“Fuck off!” He turned away from her. The man who took care of the bungee jumpers looked like he was moving away. So he closed his eyes and in his mind thought his last words:

Though the night was made for loving,
And the day returns too soon,
Yet we’ll go no more a roving
By the light of the moon.

“Byron,” he sighed in a whisper.

Then came the leap.

Incredible how silent everything goes. You could hear no wind though you know you ought to. Nothing moves though you are flying. Your body is outside itself. It’s like the first emptiness before death. And yet: it feels a hell of a lot like being alive. Ten times alive. And nature is only wind. History is but a moving window. And when it stops:
A voice you recognise as your own screams out of your throat.

“How did we come to be here, Alfred, in these woods, on these rapids? If I was younger I would think, I’m here because God willed me here. Now, I don’t know. But if I thank Him for the goodness I would have to blame him on the ill. And it’s a waste of time, isn’t it? Imagine if I were to get cancer, a thing that is a part of me yet it must kill me in order to survive, would I have energy to waste hating the Almighty! It’s such a waste of time.”
The landscape was changing as they rowed down the ever-quickening river. All the birds were disappearing. The river was no longer dependent on them for its own consciousness. And they were deprived of the sustenance and nutrition of seeing and listening. It was all a torrent. They laughed with fear in the corners of their mouths.

Though the night was made for loving,
And the day returns too soon,
Yet we’ll go no more a roving
By the light of the moon.

“Calm down, Alfred! Just go with the flow and let’s aim ourselves to the riverbank.”

“I’m calm, hell, I’m calm. You know what? If I die here, I don’t care. All my ancestors from three billion years ago must have died in a place like this. Dying here isn’t a waste of life, it’s just a sneeze in the infinite time-span!”

“What? Say again – the river’s too loud!”

Then on the ladder of the earth I climbed
through the lost jungle’s tortured thicket
up to you, Macchu Picchu.

“Who was that?”

“Huh?”

“Who wrote that?”

“Pablo Neruda, I think.”

“Who else. It must be it must be. Fuck I’m exhausted.”

“It’s the air. It’s so light. I feel pissed, you know, when you’re edging over the border between tipsiness and vomiting-happiness?”

“I’d laugh if I had enough oxygen.”

The landscape, the very mountains around them, seemed to be haunted by the body-less blood of those who suffered here. Everything here was designed for suffering. From the very air one breathes to the temples of bloody sacrifice. So why is everything so damn beautiful?

“Why do we find everything so beautiful here, even if it’s killing us!”

“I don’t know and I don’t want to know. If I did, I wouldn’t be here.”

“I love you, Elsa.”

“That I know, Alfred.”

She smiled a smile wide than the mountain peaks. And then, there it was: Machu Picchu. How is it that we are above it, Alfred thought? We’re like the cosmos looking down on heaven. Now, now: I feel truly breathless.

“And now, please rise, ladies and gentlemen, Elsa’s husband would like to say a few words.”

“I’m going to read a poem I’ve always loved since I was small, a poem of Lord Byron. I must have read it to Elsa a thousand times when we were abroad. Today, I’d like to read it to her one last time:

So, we’ll go no more a roving
So late into the night,
Though the heart be still as loving,
And the moon be still as bright.

For the sword outwears its sheath,
And the soul wears out the breast,
And the heart must pause to breathe,
And love itself have rest.

Though the night was made for loving,
And the day returns too soon,
Yet we’ll go no more a roving
By the light of the moon.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. The literary references add to the surreal action.

    Like

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