Prelude between Interludes
By Kala Séraphin
It was three in the morning and I couldn’t sleep. Staring at the ceiling, eyes wide open, I went through all the reasons I should be sleeping. I needed the rest to be in top shape. It wouldn’t be very impressive to go to a job interview with dark circles around my eyes and yawning between questions. My mind should relax so I could properly focus on all my projects; even if they were all doomed to end before they started. How could I focus if I’m exhausted from a lack of sleep? I worried, I panicked, I cajoled myself but nothing worked. Being the fifth night in a row that sleep eluded me, I couldn’t deny it: I was suffering from insomnia…but why?
I tossed around in bed, sighing once, twice and then once again. It was impossible to find a comfortable position. Just like in my life. I constantly moved around to new cities, new homes and new friends. I could never find peace in my heart. Every time I would settle myself somewhere, my soul would cry out for something different, something more. With nothing more than a feeling, I would always follow my instincts and uproot myself. Being on my own, it was easy to throw everything away and start again. However, as I advanced in years, I found it more exhausting to learn a new job, decorate a new house and make new friends. An unfamiliar voice inside was beginning to speak up. It wanted stability. Fighting with it was the soul saying we hadn’t found what we were looking for yet…whatever that may be.
I looked at the digital clock by my bed. It was now three fifty and sleep still refused to kiss my eyes. I decided to give in to my wakeful state. Turning on my lamp, I dived my attention into my book. Reading about the history of humanity would either lull me to sleep or cause the night to quickly bow out to the morning.
Though my eyes took in the sentences, my mind refused to take in the message. Thoughts of past lovers started to invade me. Soft caresses and tired sighs of pleasure replayed themselves in my mind. A playful smile crept to my lips as I enjoyed memories of passions fulfilled. All those intimate nights slipped through the fingers of time. Where did they go and how come I was still alone? I started to wonder if it wasn’t some internal fatal flaw in me; to be forever alone. Was this really the fate of a nomad such as myself?
It was a futile effort to convince my mind to stay within the boundaries of the book. I violently threw it aside and shut off the light. After indulging in memories of my past lovers, my body vibrated with energy and desire. At this point, it was absurd for me to even contemplate sleep. Instead, I began a mental list of the mundane things I had to do. It felt like being stroked the wrong way. I couldn’t handle laundry, groceries and yard work. Instead, I saw myself traveling to a new destination. I wondered about South America and its possibilities. Columbia came to me as a teasing vixen, offering untold pleasures.
“Variety is the spice of life,” I mumbled to myself. It was a saying one of my family members would always say.
Suddenly, a loud roaring surrounded me. Violent winds snapped tree branches against my window as rain poured down in sheets. Lightning flashed, giving me a brief glimpse of the wild storm that suddenly erupted. It was just what I needed; a thunderstorm to reflect my inner turmoil.
The door to my bedroom slowly opened. My jaw dropped and my blood froze. I couldn’t move but I wanted desperately to hide. I was suppose to be alone in my house, yet some psychopath found a way in.
She stood by the door, looking at me with such a sad expression. It felt like one of my dreams had materialized itself. She wore an orange robe wrapped around her frail body and covered her head. She looked starved for food and affection. Her long auburn hair fell over her shoulders in a mess. With each flash of lightning, I saw her eyes filled with tears yet her jaw set with some unknown determination.
After a few minutes of scrutinizing each other, she finally walked into my room and sat on my bed. I could smell incense and trees and was speechless at how real she was, sitting so close to me. I wondered if I wasn’t mistaken. Could it be that I wasn’t dreaming but in fact quite simply mad?
“My name is Adagio.” She finally spoke, making eye contact. Her eyes hypnotized me. Never before had I seen anyone with eyes the colour of amber like hers.
I remained speechless, fighting the urge to touch her. I wanted nothing more than to run my fingers through her hair and smell her. She looked so fragile in her thin robe. I could see myself keeping her safe, feeding her and making her forget her pains. If she would let me, I wanted to make her smile.
“I need your help.” Her plea pulled me out of my paralysis. I shook my head, finally blinking.
“Wh…what can I do?” I asked.
This lost beauty smiled sadly and took my hand. It was so small and cold. “You have such beautiful brown eyes; so pure.” She whispered.
As a response, I took a quilt and wrapped it around her shoulders. In a whisper, she thanked me.
“I have a story that needs a voice.” She declared.
“I don’t know how I can help you with that,” was my reply.
“Please, just listen, and when the sun will rise, write it down. This story wants to be known. Send it out to the world to be read.” She calmly asked with eloquent words but her eyes wildly begged me . They implored my help. I simply nodded, once again hypnotized by her eyes and scent that drew me into a lost forest full of magic and wonder.
Adagio removed the robe from her head. I saw a strange tattoo bordering her hairline, going to the back of her neck. It was beautiful swirls of vines and other symbols that I didn’t recognize.
“Once upon a time, not too long ago. In a far away land, much like yours and mine…” She slowly began her tale. I listened to every word, captivated. Her voice took on a strange melodious tone as she took me to her world. I drank in every sentence greedily. My eagerness increased with every twist and turn in her story. I truly believed that these events happened to me in some other lifetime. I held my breath, waiting for the happily-ever-after of the story.
As the rays of the sun crept over the horizon, Adagio gave me a curl of the lips that could be a smile. Without missing a beat, I jumped out of bed and sat at my desk. I ran my hands through my short hair and poured out the story on paper. Word after word; sentence after sentence; the story came together with fluidity. It was like a tragic concerto, orchestrated by some divine being.
Once I emptied my mind of the story, I found that sleep wrapped its arms around me easily. I was a willing lover who fell in bed gratefully.
My eyes opened to a dark room. I had spent the day sleeping. It was a day lost in my dream, embracing Adagio. She smiled for me; a truly bright and happy smile. She also promised never to leave me. I sighed as the memory slowly dissolved and sat up. I jumped at the sight of her, still wrapped in my quilt, sitting on my bed.
Once more, she shared another story. Wordlessly, I listened, committing it to memory. Even my heart drank every one of her words. As dawn slowly stretched itself in the sky, Adagio concluded her story.
“What does it have to do with yesterday’s story?” I asked, feeling so engaged yet completely confused.
“These two stories are but the beginning of a series of tales. You may feel that they are disconnected but they are not. Soon, you will find the thread.” She explained softly, playing with a wild strand of hair from my head.
“In the mean time, just write.” At those words, I made my way to my office and repeated the wonderful tale Adagio shared with me.
For the next three months, she came to me every night. Sitting on my bed, she weaved her stories for me with wisdom, desire and understanding. Every morning, I would write them down, emptying myself of such a fascinating burden and find the most restful sleep I ever had in my life. As the weeks went by, I started to perceive a connection. I didn’t know if I was simply creating one or if it was truly there, between the lines.
Unexpectedly, the final night came. Adagio ended her amazing tale before the sun made its appearance.
“That’s it? Why? When will I see you again?” I panicked at the thought of this being our last meeting.
Adagio looked away from me and said: “Now you must send the stories on their way.”
I reached out to touch her. She was right, it was my time to fulfill my promise. Her journey was so subtle in its message, I now felt an urgent need to spread the word.
“Why me?” I asked.
Finally, after spending so many nights together, Adagio smiled. It was a shy smile, too tamed to let it go wild.
“I knew you would understand me. Our souls call out to the same dreams.” She whispered.
“At least stay with me for a little bit, until the sun comes up?” I asked.
She hesitated for a moment. Finally, her resolve melted and she slipped under the blankets, in my arms. I inhaled deeply, feeling at peace in my heart.
“Adagio, I lo…” She placed a finger over my lips. She didn’t want me to say what we both knew. I understood. How could I not. After hearing her tales, I knew where her heart lay. Though she was with me for the night, her heart would forever be with someone else.
I fell asleep listening to her rhythmic breathing. My whole being felt a kind of serenity never felt before. I disappeared to a land I still can’t quite recall. I would dare to say, a land much like yours and mine.
The next morning, I woke up alone, holding on to my quilt. I could still smell her essence and a small tinge of regret. Luckily, I found comfort in her stories. Writing them out perfectly, preparing them for the public gave me the illusion that she was still by my side, whispering in my ear.
Finally came the day when I had to release them. The stories were begging me to go out in the world. Greedily, I held on as long as I could.
Finally, here they are: for you, whoever and wherever you may be. In each story there’s a part of Adagio and because I simply could not part with her, you will find a piece of me in them as well. These stories found you for a reason; enjoy the journey my friend.