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Ride Sally Ride Ride Sally Ride
by Katerina Charisi
2019-05-17 09:49:13
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I hold firmly the old picture on my chest, taking a deep breath, forcing my mind to go back and wander through my past to remember. I know this man. I knew him when I first saw him, while I had never seen him before. It felt like the last missing puzzle piece. The one needed to complete the picture. When our eyes met I knew it was him. I knew it would be him that my heart would beat for from now on.

How long is it since the last time I had someone sleeping next to me? Sometimes I feel my body aching with emptiness; the curves that would fit perfectly to another body’s shape. The deep sound of another heartbeat, aligning with mine. The feeling of not being alone. The safety feeling of an accompanying breath through the night. Being senseless, timeless, is all I am.

The man.

The place is silent. The room chilly. A weak candle’s flame shaking on the window sill. They don’t let candles around. But what would they know of loneliness? I hid some under the mattress. I’ve been careful. I like watching the dancing flame. I know where to put it; there’s a tiny crack in the left corner of the window and air is coming through. It gives motion to the flame. It almost feels alive. I almost feel it like a friend. It’s the least soulless thing in here.

emm01_400_01An old, forgotten and so known rhythm comes to my mind, out of nowhere. It’s a song. I can listen to it inside my head, although I can’t sing it. I don’t remember. Could it be the pills? I take something to help me sleep. I’m not so sure it does.  I sleep less every time. I keep saying that loud. How can I sleep since I do nothing all day except rounds around the room? My body never gets tired. I feel tired inside me. My body feels heavy, slow and numb, by immobility. Like I’m walking in a thick paste. I could get stuck in every step and stay there forever. No one listens. Who would?

Maybe it’s just the musty air in here. At times I feel it sour. The music gets louder inside my head. My skin gets paler I notice. Will I disappear…? It’s a terrifying feeling this slow deterioration of the body. I decompose into thin air. It goes so slowly that doesn’t terrify me anymore. It just saddens me. It saddens me because my given time wasn’t enough for me. I was wronged in that. I don’t know where to feel sorry about it. To myself? To my body? To my life? To the people I lost?

The ones that I don’t remember and the ones who decided to forget about me?

I know this song. It’s getting louder like it wants to stop me from making these thoughts. I can’t help it. I try to concentrate in my present but my mind drags me back with that music. And I can see the place. It comes into life right in front of me; the neon sign; “In blues we trust”. The blue frayed paint on the door, the tiled dance floor; the dark wooden bar. The music. And her.

She is back.

There’s no point to resist. Since she is here, an old forgotten memory of my past life is showing up, like a silent movie in an empty theatre. It’s only inside my head. I know. I see, I listen, but only inside my head. I see everything through my pupils, like a transparent curtain in between.

I feel more than giving up on remembering lately. Still, I shut my eyes and let it come.

I find myself sitting on a tall black imitate leather stool with nickel legs.  Men and women around me, all stuffed on the bar, the band at the far back of the hall, voices, smoke and lights that make my head spinning. All sorts of  people smiling, drinking, dancing, women with long fingers holding gracefully their drinks, while their bracelets shine; Men in their shirts smoking, flirting, touching their queens, drinking whiskey.

Every one of them could be anyone in the morning. During the night though the masks are taken off. Some of them are so drunk that put their head on their crossed arms and have their eyes closed. They have fallen asleep. A woman is laying on someone’s lap and I see the glass slipping slowly from her hand and drop down.

emm02_400_01Emily is behind the bar and pours beer on thick glasses by large bottles turned upside down that leak when she turns their valve off. Her hair shines. She holds her cigarette between her lips, smiling ironically sideways, eyes half close while the smoke goes up to the thick white cloud of smoke above.

She is dressed in total black. Always with her leather top jacket on. A man is staring at her breast and she leans on, takes his chin on her hand forcing him to look her in the eyes. ‘There is nothing else in there, love. Only what you have already seen”. She lets his chin and moves away, he laughs and gets back to his drink.

I love this song. It’s been years since the last time I listened to it. Separating my mind from my memory, I know I tap my foot on the floor, keeping the rhythm, snapping my fingers. I almost taste alcohol in my mouth. I feel slightly my eyes burning from the unreal smoke.

Emily puts a glass in front of me, showing a man with her eyes that he raises his glass when I turn my head and look at him. And then I just knew. The man in the picture. It was him.

Lost in that distant night from the past I feel sleepy and wrap myself with the blanket and sit back on the chair for not losing the memory. I’m afraid that if I get in bed the memory will disappear, taking away all these welcome, familiar feelings. Those butterflies in the stomach. The weight on the chest; the fastened heartbeat, all dead senses long ago that woke up inside. I don’t want to let it go. I fell asleep on the rocking chair and when I woke up the picture had fallen off my hands on the floor, the stuffy air was dissolved, the band had stopped playing, Emily was gone, I felt the cold in the room on my face and the man in the picture was a total stranger to me. I know that I know him. But I don’t remember anymore.

But I still have that song in my head.

Mustang Sally, think you better slow your mustang down
You been running all over the town now
Oh I guess I’ll have to put your flat feet on the ground
All you wanna do is ride around Sally…

Ride, Sally, Ride. Remember, Jinny.

I don’t know why I keep forgetting things I want to remember, while I remember things that have no point. Looking at the unknown man in the Polaroid picture, I burst into tears.

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