A foreign city

alina noir

The sound of rain was turning the sky black. In that foreign city, women with umbrellas and transparent raincoats walked around in closed groups of three or four, each closely followed by a menacing yet disgraced man. Exotic birds screamed in large cages adorning old terraces. Unknown domestic odours attacked me from all the kitchens of the city.

I was a stranger, and night was coming. I was very young and reckless and some man had told me to come there to find him, so I went because I had nothing else to do. I was up to anything really, as long as it sounded extraordinary. I had not yet learned that you can only find the sublime in the humble repetition of the same act, day after day.

I entered a bakery and bought a slice of local savoury tart; the woman at the counter had a violet chrysanthemum behind her right ear and was wearing a dress the colour of full moon. She asked me if I wanted something else and I answered that I would have really needed a coffee to keep me going but I couldn’t really afford it. She smiled and filled a paper bag with unsold pastries and gave me filter coffee in a takeaway cup. I thanked her and went out in the street again, the rain had stopped.

I had food for the evening and a sleeping bag, so I gave up searching for that man and while sipping my coffee I looked for a place to sleep. When in trouble I let my steps guide me blindly to safety; this time they took me in a neighbourhood with old churches, and ended up by spending the night in a hidden terrace with direct access to an enclosed garden.

It started to rain again towards the early hours; I woke up damp, sad and lonely, yet my real life started then and there.