I am the air

It all started when my voice couldn’t get out, like a bird trapped in a velvet cage, as Erica refers to my mouth, ‘cage’ since I don’t converse much and ‘velvet’ because my lips must be baptized in incense, she says, to grant her that sensation which she describes as tender and valuable, but in my opinion Erica thinks so because of the fashion in which I employ them to explore her body before making love to her, touching and not touching, my lips hovering an inch away from her skin, my tongue wetsnaking its path upwards, travelling over her legs, knees, waist, her back, spattered with freckles I love to gaze for hours, losing myself in the mazes they form without ever finding my way out, over her hands which flinch at my touch and her neck, that awkward slope leading to her hair, soaked in female smell, damp with the mellow scent of sleep that slowly overcomes us as I lie breathless over her, until morning arrives in the dingy room of the hotel we have rented for the night and she’s still by my side, mine, not his she’s married to, but mine, fondling my lips with her fingers, folding my lips between hers, whispering they are soft and sealed, love, just like a velvet cage, but that morning she was fast asleep when I woke up to find out my lips were sealed, or at least the voice within was, since I could not utter a word, which I first realized when greeting the doorman on my way out to buy a newspaper and cigarettes and my lips moved but no sound followed, and later, when I tried muttering words on the street without success, I was sure my voice was dead and I felt cut off from the world but didn’t worry at the time, I’d got a bad cold I thought and forgot about it, walking unhurriedly, observing the people on the streets, the city resembling an enormous amusement park filled with couples enjoying the Saturday sun after so many days of rain, going in and out of shops, chatting, buying clothes, comparing prices, young couples holding hands, laughing, children going around on bikes or playing quietly in the yards of houses until I realized that it was not the city or the people that were quiet but rather it was I who could not hear any sounds at all and I stopped dazed where I was, looked around and no sound reached my ears, not of cars on the road, not of people talking, not of the traffic lights for the blind, not of birds, not of the television in the café in front of me transmitting last night’s match, and I thought I was going mad, so I tried to talk to someone, anyone, I stopped a random stranger, a guy in his mid-thirties wearing a peculiar red hat who frowned at my lips when they didn’t produce a sound and left, believing I was mocking him, but I wasn’t, the fear on my face must have shown, so I started back to the hotel, intending to call a doctor, before remembering I couldn’t speak, so I panicked, quickened my step, fear mounting inside me every moment, while I was trying to say something and didn’t hear a single sound, I was deaf but with no apparent reason for this illness, passersby staring at me whenever I shook my head violently or attempted to speak, so I started running, one thought carved in my mind, find Erica, Erica, Erica would call a doctor or drive me to a hospital, and I kept running, until I reached the hotel and bumped into a woman on the stairs, she looked back angrily but I was terrified, because I hadn’t felt her, I hadn’t felt her, I touched my body, my face with my hands and I couldn’t feel it, I put my palms on the walls, on the staircase, nothing, I started hitting myself without consequence, I could touch but not feel, I lost my balance and fell, but in the end I reached the third floor, turned the key in the lock and went inside to find Erica still asleep on the bed and I approached her, afraid I would never be able to touch her again, but I did, I touched her cheek though I didn’t feel it, she muttered something in her sleep which I couldn’t hear and dread seized me, I was screaming noiselessly one moment and the next I had fallen onto the bed beside Erica, unable to move, paralyzed, the inhabitant trapped in his own body, so I tried to calm down, draw a breath, but my breath didn’t exist, I could not inhale air and I thought I was suffocating, but I wasn’t, I was still alive, for a minute, two, six, ten, for half an hour the world outside was moving, Erica was sleeping with her bare back of complex constellations towards me, but I didn’t die nor breathe, with my mind in a state of chaos I couldn’t think of anything, no god heard my prayers, my tears didn’t run for when I cried nothing came out of my eyes and Erica was so close and yet so far away until she turned and faced me, smiled and put her hand into mine and closed her eyes again all in a second, during which I could do nothing to tell her, nothing, there was nothing to do but wait for Erica to wake up and discover me, so I remained staring into her closed eyelids, longing for them to unlock like windows and throw their light upon me, I never wanted to see her eyes more than then, when suddenly everything went blank, neither white nor black, something I cannot describe with words and there were no colours, colours, shapes, forms vanished in an instant and I was still there, an undefined mass, existing but unable to see anything, not the room, not Erica, nothing, I had lost my sight and although I knew I had been seeing colours all my life, I could now not comprehend what they were, colours and patterns were but a mere idea in my mind, a concept, and I was alone and never again did I know where I was and who was next to me, although I prefer to think I am still there, next to Erica asleep naked tranquil in a moment suspended but I know I may be anywhere, a hospital bed or even believed to be dead and buried but often I wonder if I am alive, can I be if nobody can perceive me, feeling neither heat nor cold, pain and hunger not existing, immaterial having lost the sense of time I drift into the world and I am the air the wind that blows on the streets


i am the air

Kandinsky – Solid Green