SURREAL ADVENTURES FROM THE SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Who's afraid of flying?

After my ordeal with the Orsinian tycoon, his Head of Cabinet and their manic fits of rage and pride, I felt very disappointed; almost disenchanted. It’s amazing how some people’s childish super ego can grow to burst with imperial arrogance in the most typical Freudian fashion, making you feel from small to insignificant.

The roads were frozen outside and the streets were blanketed with ten inches of snow, so I decided to stay at Ed’s place. Besides, I felt floaty, lightheaded, and my stomach was starting to bother me. Soon the ground became spongy and I felt like I was going to fall. I flopped down on the sofa.

- Are you okay, Leni? –he asked-
- No. I’m dizzy and have a very upset tummy. –I answered-
- Lay down on the couch, please. I’m going to examine you.

Jeez, I forgot he had been one of the best physicians in Burdishland in his previous life! But that happened in the 17th century, so I asked myself what kind of examination was this going to be. Go figure! Actually… he had already examined me and explored my body as he pleased several times before, but not exactly for medical purposes.

To my surprise, he opened what appeared to be a doctor’s bag –like those that doctors of yesteryear carried on house calls- and took a stethoscope and a digital tensiometer out of it. He helped me undo my shirt very professionally, and checked my blood pressure. I was puzzled: they had none of these systems during the Age of Reason in Burdishland, but he seemed to have taken a refresher course in modern medicine.

- Your blood pressure is within the limits, Leni, but very much on the borderline. Let me auscultate you, please –he said, looking serious-

I removed my shirt and he carefully listened to my chest.

- You have a rapid heartbeat. Has it always been like this?
- Yes.
- And you say your stomach is upset.
- Yes. It started this morning. It comes and goes. Over here
–I pointed where it bothered-
- Excuse me for such a silly question but, do you think you’re pregnant? –he asked, shyly-
- No, I’m not. –I answered, in a whisper-

He stopped and sighed deep.

- Then… you know what I think, sweety? –he asked, removing his stethoscope-.
- No, tell me. –I answered, intrigued-.
- I think that your life is full of hassles, deadlines, frustrations, and demands. I think that you put a lot of pressure on yourself with your writing and your hard working, and this is the result.
- I’m happy with my writing. It doesn’t stress me. Quite the contrary.
–I said, a little bit offended-
- But you don’t get enough sleep. You write several hours every night after a long working day.

I sighed, very annoyed.

- It's ok Leni, I won’t say anything about the writing, because I know you like it and it's important for you; but I‘m concerned about you. I feel responsible for your health. You need to allow some private time for yourself, even if it’s just sitting on a bench in the sun, watching the people pass by. I do this from time to time: I lay down in my room, close my eyes and then escape to one of my favourite fantasy worlds: a desert lighthouse in Doom Rock, where I have been many years ago. I remember the sound of the waves crashing all night long against the cliffs; the feeling of safety and warmth within the lighthouse’s big round wall. I sometimes dream of an unnamed beach in a tropical country, where I once swam when I was young. I remember dropping pebbles in the water. Just a splash and they were gone, moving with the waves making a most peculiar sound; I also dream of a lonely small chapel at the steep coast of North Burdishland, where I wrapped myself in a warm blanket and felt instant warmth and comfort. I slept there one night, during a long pilgrimage along the coast. All these reveries give me a feeling of deep peace and satisfaction and help me recover my mind, body and soul quickly. What is your trick when you need to calm down, honey?

I looked down. I had such a hectic life and little time for myself. I had neither personal paradises nor places that I could remember as my favorite worlds of fantasy. I wish I had, but I hadn't travelled around that much, so I simply could not recreate in my memory those beautiful gardens of Eden.

Whenever I wanted to escape, relax and forget about my troubles… I simply wrote. Just with the help of my pen and my imagination I could travel to far away places, meet interesting people and live amazing stories. Not many circumstances could keep me away from writing. And if I ever failed that daily evening rendez-vous … then it meant something bad was happening to my soul.

- I have no tricks, Ed. –I had to admit-
- Then you need to find yourself one, love. Modern life is rubbish. Everybody is entitled to have a dream or a sanctuary to take shelter and find peace. It’s a self-defence and protection tool. Think of it.

I no longer had the strength to carry on with me, so I just nodded and smiled, weakly promising that I would.

- The butler will bring you a cup of warm tea now. That will help you soothe your stomach. And then you’ll have a tranquilizer.
- I don’t need one of these.
–I said, pointing at the pill he was offering me-
- It’s not a drug, Leni, it’s just a soft medicine that will make you feel better.

The ghost butler brought a tray with a cup of steaming hot tea. I was feeling so bad that simply drank it and swallowed the downer without protesting.

Some minutes later I fell in a sweet state of drowsiness. I slowly leant over to Ed, until I ended up light sleeping, my cheek resting against his chest. The tension had melted away.

- Let’s make a fantasy for you, Leni. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to fly? I mean… not enclosed in an airplane... –he asked-
- Like a bird?
- Rather more like being carried into the sky by a giant balloon.
- No.
- You mean you’ve never imagined what it would be like to take a ride in a hot air balloon?

I shook my head. He started to talk in a steady, soothing, relaxing voice.

- That is one of the most peaceful experiences you could ever dream of. Up in the air you’re isolated and unreachable. There’s nothing there. Just the open sky. Nobody that can bother you. You can throw away your cellphone and pager; the keys to your car and house; your notepad; your pendrives; all the contents of your handbag. You don’t need anything there.

He took his magic fountain pen –the one I gave him for Christmas- and draw a big circle in the air. The circle grew hugely, finally becoming a giant red balloon that filled the room up to the high ceilings. He gently took my hand and we jumped into the large wicker basket.

What happened then, I still don’t know if it was real or was a mysteriously wonderful trick of my mind; but I do remember it as a perfect moment.

Nobody made sounds anywhere and it felt real warm in the basket. Suddenly the room disappeared. Ed fired the burner to reheat the air and the balloon started rising elegantly, slowly, drifting gracefully over the stunning landscape of the Sandwichian country all covered with snow. We were carried away by the wind from the mountains to the sea, over bridges, rivers, waterfalls and edges in the island.

- Have you ever floated like this through the sky, low as a cloud, free as a bird?
- No, never.
- Then enjoy this unique feeling of freedom; the air on your face…

I held him tight and forgot about my extreme fear of heights.

I forgot about my deepest sorrows.

All the bitterness vanished right away.

And when he kissed me, I felt safe and forgot about everything.

I simply felt alive.

15 comments:

Grass said...

Auscultate? I had to look in the dictionary for the word.. thanks for the new addition in my vocabs sis.. hehehe

For those who want to know: "Auscultation is the act of listening, either directly or through a stethoscope or other instrument, to sounds within the body as a method of diagnosis."

This is an interesting entry because Ed had said the longest litany about relaxation that I quite agree. Yes sis, you have to slow down. I know you love writing and get on with it but don't let other things (work and stuffs) get in the way of your rendezvous with your literary characters. Writing is such a good outlet for all the stresses in life. Yet, you also have to try other things also. Flying in a balloon or even riding a carousel, stargazing or simple people watching.. you should do this too once in a while :-)

This is the most relaxing entry you've written so far.. I could still imagine myself flying. Not in a balloon though but with my white wings.. *winks*


xxx

Crabtree said...

Jules Verne , "Cinq semaines en ballon" the exploration in unknown territories !?

Connaissez-vous mon Andalouse ??

C'est que ma belle amante est belle,
Lorsqu'elle se mire en mes yeux !
L'étoile ne luit pas tant qu'elle,
Et quand sa douce voix m'appelle,
Je crois qu'on m'appelle des Cieux !


Do you know my Andalouse??

This is that my beautiful amante is beautiful,
When she gazes at herself in my eyes!
The star does not shine as long as she,
And when his soft voice calls me,
I believe that one calls me Skies!

Leni Qinan said...

Hi sis!
Well, you know, Ed is genuine Burdish and a doc and he probably thought 'auscultate' was a world commonly used, so there you go. (I bet this won’t be the last medical concept to be appearing in this blog, LOL).

And therefore, in the middle of this most peculiar relationship we have… he cares about my health.

I know you care too, sis, and I appreciate. I guess I’ve been quite hyperactive all my life and Ed’s words about relaxation left me wondering. On one hand, I admire his strong will and wisdom. I could be listening to him for hours. On the other hand, I need to find my own way to get rid of some of my stress.

Writing is the best way I know. Stargazing sounds real good to me –imagine… to look at the sky on a hot summer night at the countryside, smelling the fresh air… I love this fantasy.

I’m happy that you found it relaxing and you could fantasice having that beautiful flight with your white wings –white??? Oh my, I always thought you were my mischevious naughty little sis… your wings should be red!!! LOL-.

Big hug.

Leni Qinan said...

Bonjour Crabtree !

J’aimerais bien passer cinq semaines en ballon avec mon cher Ed et explorer avec lui des térritoires inconnus!

J’ai tombé dans la temptation de chercher le poème complet « Connaissez vous mon Andalouse » et j’ai vraiement aimé l’érotisme des mots. Je ne savais même pas que Jules Verne avait écrit des poèmes ! C’est toute une découverte. Et ce poème… oh la la… (vraiement joli!)

Bisous câlins. ;))

Dick said...

Wonderful, now I really need to get a magic fountain pen.

Leni Qinan said...

TRANSLATION CRABTREE / LENI:

Bonjour Crabtree !
I'd love to spend five weeks in à balloon with my dear Ed and explore with him unknown territories!
I've been tempted to look up for the complete poem " Do you know my Andalouse » and I really loved the erotic style.

I didnt even know that Jules Verne had written poems! What a discovery!
And this poem... WOW (it's so beautiful)

Kisses & cuddles.

Leni Qinan said...

Hi Dick! Thanks!

You know what? I think we all have a magic fountain pen called... imagination, and it works wonders sometimes.

Anyway, love sometimes hurts, but it always works wonders.

Take care! :))

max said...

Leni,

Just 3 words: Take it easy, ok?
I know you work too hard, you live too fast and you love too intense. Take a break from some stuff and enjoy the simple pleasures of life from time to time.

Big kiss.

Grass said...

Max, glad to see you here once again . :) how are you doing buddy?

Hey sis, I thought I should be a white angel for now, while a baby is with me.. Can't afford to be a bad influence, can I? *winks*

Stargazing's our favorite hobby at nights (Abner and me, I mean).. I'd be teaching gugu some astronomy as well, when she/he (i'm dying to know the baby's gender!!) And the best place to do that is on a secluded beach... ;-)


xxxx

Grass said...

.. when gugu's old enough to understand astronomy, i meant to say... hehehe


xxx

max said...

((This is for Grass))

Hi sweety!

I’m doing fine, thanks, traveling a bit, working a lot but also enjoying the bright side of life in the most typical Monty Python’s style, lol. I’ve been out for a while, this is the reason of my absence here. But I’m back –I’m a faithful regular-.

I hope you’re fine too –do you eat enough to feed your baby? And don’t work too much, you need to be fit to take care of your baby when you become a mom!-.

A most platonic kiss. ;)

Leni Qinan said...

Hi Max,

Man, you make me look like I’m kinda ‘Too fast to live, too young to die’, that book written by Sid Vicious (yeah you must remember, you’re old enough to have been a teenage punk, LOL). (Sorry, that was a low blow, now some people here might be calculating your age, HAHAHAH).

I try hard though. But as you can see, sometimes I need a bit of help. ;)

Big kiss 4 U 2.

Leni Qinan said...

Hi sis!

Hm… to be honest I always thought your wings were red –you must admit you’re a bit rollicking, LOL, which is nice and in my opinion not necessarily a bad influence for your baby-. But I understand that as a future mother you want the best for your baby. So ok, your wings are white, hahaha.

I hope you’re told about your baby’s gender very soon –I’m very curious too-, but the most important thing is that both of you are ok! I’m sure she/he will be a very cute and clever baby, so you won’t have any problem with the astronomy class, hahaha.

Take care and big big hug!

Grass said...

Max! That's really sweet, I know you care! :-) And yeah, I'm doing my best to keep me and Gugu healthy.

Wow, you've been travelling.. that's pretty cool. I missed travelling also but I can't do it for now since I'm getting too big to travel around much.

We're both faithful regulars here. Gosh, isn't Leni lucky to have us? LOL

Take care buddy!

xxx

Grass said...

Thanks sis.. You and Max will be the next (Daddy will be the first, hehe) to know about Gugu's gender.

Hugs and kisses!