SURREAL ADVENTURES FROM THE SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The perfect day

After spending a long time cogitating about what to do with Ed’s birthday gift, I decided to throw caution to the wind and travel to Burdishland: I was bound and determined to deliver it myself. If the mountain wouldn't come to Mohammed, Mohammed would go to the mountain. Therefore, my first trip to Burdishland had nothing to do with tourism: I flew there last 10th of April, impulsively acting out of love.

My plane landed at Bad Hershfield airport -the capital city of Burdishland- at 11AM local time, after an eight-hour scary flight. I don’t speak a single word of Burdish, but using the sign language I painfully managed to get a train ticket to Bad Sallund, the tiny southern village where Ed’s ancestral home is.

My train was completely empty. I was the sole passenger on board. For an instant, I was afraid that it would drive back to the shed to stay overnight, preventing me from reaching my destination. But at 1PM sharp the ghost train took off with me in the direction of Bad Sallund, making smoke and puffing out of the chimney.

My trip to the Deep South lasted four endless hours. I was already knackered, but I had a mission to accomplish and you don’t know how dilligent and determined I can be sometimes. So no gripes. No complains. No regrets.

Upon my arrival, sadness hung heavy on my heart. Bad Sallund’s train station was deserted. There was not a living soul there. Something was telling me I wouldn’t meet Ed. I could feel it in my bones. And I was aching with longing for him.

Bad Sallund was the cloudiest place on earth. I never thought the sky would look so gloomy. But a stargazer and lover of the skies would have enjoyed the sight of the dark little town, suddenly flooded by bright moonlight when the clouds broke.

I buttoned up my coat as the snowflakes twirled around me in the misty air. The frogs croaked in the streams. The dogs howled in the dark. The silence was muted by the haunted whistling sounds of the wind blowing through the trees in that lonely afternoon. It was strangely beautiful.

I had never felt so much cold before in my whole life. My feet were chilled to the bone. My fingertips were getting numb. I had to blow on my hands to warm them up.

The village had its charm. Forcing a metaphor, it looked like a snow ball into a Grimm’s fairytale. The houses were decorated with finials, treetoppers, garlands and all kinds of Easter ornaments that would be hanging until the early days of Pentecost.

As for the natives… they were not hostile, but peered up at me quietly. It was unsettling to have all those people staring at me constantly, but I wasn’t surprised: Bad Sallund is a very little town whose population doesn’t even reach a hundred persons. They seldom receive visits from strangers and it’s pretty obvious that I’m not a Burdish citizen: My dark eyes and hair often give me away in northern countries. Besides, I stood out being so small. The vast majority of Bad Sallund’s inhabitants seem to belong to a superior race: they’re huge, blue-eyed, and most of them gorgeously blond. In my eyes, they carried an imperceptible halo of melancholy above and beyond their heads. The same halo that made Ed look so desirable.

That dash of sorrow was contagious. I walked through the street market vendor stalls as I started getting overwhelmed by powerfully toxic blues. A kind soul offered me a cup of hot tea and sweet fruits covered with caramel, ring-shaped pastry, Easter eggs and chocolate bunnies.

I managed to ask for directions. I needed to know where Ed’s house was. To my surprise, nobody had ever heard of Ed Davies or Edward Davies; not even of Lord Davies, or whatever the hell his name was. I was not sure of anything anymore.

After an incredibly nonsensical discussion in broken English with a greengrocer about that particular subject, a mysterious man approached me and said:

- His real name is not Ed Davies, but Edvard Davidsen.
- You must be wrong. We’re surely talking about two different persons.
–I said-
- I’m not wrong, miss. He left Burdishland as Edvard Davidsen and came back from the islands as Ed Davies. His home, Davidsen Manor, is about a half hour walk from here.

Gosh, Ed never ceased to amaze me. Was he really Edvard Davidsen instead of Ed Davies? When and how did this metamorphosis take place? And for what reason?

I walked in the drizzle to Davidsen Manor –that name gave me the shivers-, ready to put the disappointment of finding there some unknown person called Davidsen, who would have nothing to do with Ed.

I was soaked to the bones. I knocked at the door of the beautiful country house and to my huge surprise, Stoicescu -Ed’s ghost butler- opened the door.

- Welcome, Miss Qinan. Please, come in. It’s very nice to meet you here.
- Oh Stoiko, you don’t know how glad I am to see you again!
–I said, letting out a sigh of relief- I must apologize for not telling Lord Davies about my visit. I know he didn’t expect me to come here today.
- You’re always welcome, Miss Qinan
–he said, bowing-. But I’m afraid he’s not in. He had to go on a business trip to Orsinia with Miss McGuire.

OOH SHIT! Misty McGuire!!! That bitch from Hell!!! I was about to throw a fit of extreme rage, but I pulled myself together, breathed deeply, swallowed my anger and asked:

- And when is he supposed to be back from his business trip to Orsinia with Miss McGuire?
- Within two days. He went there to launch her last book.
- Oh thank you for this valuable piece of information.
–I said, ironically-

And yet he refused to publish my books. Awh... fuck!

- Tell me something, Stoiko. I asked for directions in the village and they told me his name is not Ed Davies but Edvard Davidsen. How come?
- That’s because Lord Davies changed his name long time ago, when he...
–he suddenly shut up-.
- When he what?
- I think you better ask him, Miss Qinan.
–he said, looking down-

Of course I would. What kind of personal reasons had led him to change his name?

- But please, come into the house. It’s cold and damp outside.

I walked into the lobby, almost in tears.

- Would you be kind enough to give this to Lord Davies, please? It’s my birthday gift –I said, giving him the birthday parcel, wiping away my tears-

He stared at me sympathetically.

- I will give it to him, Miss Qinan.

Mission accomplished.

I took my backpack again, ready to start a gruelling return trip to the South Sandwich Islands.

- The late wives of Lord Davies would be very pleased if you accepted their chambers and stay overnight in their residence. –he said-
- Please tell Lady Ioana and Lady Lavinia that I really appreciate their offer. They’re always most kind to me, but I must be going back home now.
- Wouldn’t you like at least to come in and have a cup of tea to warm you up before you go, Miss Qinan?
- It’s very kind of you, but no. I must be going now. Thank you just the same.
- Safe paths and good luck, then. I hope we meet again someday.
–he said, bowing-

I waved goodbye and walked in the drizzle to the main road, drowning into longing and melancholy. Then, little by little, he closed the door to the mansion.

I took my cell phone and dialled his number. It was my last desperate attempt to reach him, but all I got was his voicemail: ‘I’m not available at the moment; please leave a message after the tone and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible’.

He probably was at the Marriott-Hilton-Sheraton cocktail party, enjoying a spoonful of Iranian caviar harvested in the Caspian Sea, sipping 42-years-old Compass Box Whisky and smoking a Marlboro light, mingled with the celebrities, next to Misty.

Shit. I needed so badly to hear his voice. I only wanted to make the perfect day for him.
Crying in a fit of rage, I looked for a good place to throw my cellphone away. And then I saw that well in the middle of the garden. No sooner said than done: Absolutely furious, I took off the diamond ring and threw it inside the well too.

- Autsch!!! –shouted a croaky, throaty voice from the well-

I peered into the abyss, but it was too dark too see anything.

- Autsch!!! Kopfschmerzen haben!!! –shouted again the voice from the well-
- I’m sorry, but I don’t speak Burdish… Do you need help? -I said, not quite sure if it was sane to speak to a voice coming from a well-




"Perfect day" (Lou Reed & friends)

14 comments:

max said...

Aww... Leni, despite your perseverance... what a sad story! And what a sad country!
I really hope you can put things right with Ed, though he doesn't deserve it, in my opinion.

And I'm very intrigued about that weird Burdish creature in the well, hahah. Who is it?

Have a nice day!

hanny said...

Oh, Leni..sorry to hear about your short and bad trip. It must be disappointing to travel to see him and finds out he's gone. It's his loss not yours!!! Hope he can make it up to you (although he had no way to prepare and to be there for your surprise visit).

What did you do with the ring?! Hope that thing in the well would give it back to you.

Hang it there but don't give Ed all the chance to take advantage of your love for him.

Regards! :))

(Still waiting to hear from Grass and Gugu)

Leni Qinan said...

Hi Max!

(*sobs*)
I still hope I can put things right with Ed, whatever it takes.

I know there’s something strong between us, though our fate makes fun of us too often.

Come back soon to meet the weird creature in the well, LOL, you’ll love it!

Nice day 2 U 2!

Leni Qinan said...

Hi Hanny! Nice to hear from you again!

Yeah, too much hassle for nothing (*sigh*). Like that wonderful book and film say… it has all been a series of unfortunate events; sometimes we go through bad patches and rows of misunderstandings, and we have to struggle to put things right.
But there are always unexpected twists and turns here, lol. Just wait and see.

I am ashamed to have thrown away the ring –an unforgivable fit of rage that I should have controlled-. But of course, the ring is not lost forever. Ed is not disappearing from my life so easily. I take your advice and won’t give him all the chance to take advantage of my love for him. That’s wise, Hanny.

About Grass, I’m quite sure she enjoyed a very lovely Mother’s Day yesterday with Gugu (congratulations to you too, I hope you had a very nice day and a lovely present from your baby girl!).

Best wishes!

corticoWhat said...

Love the Lou Reed connection.

Creatures that live in wells rarely WEAR jewelry. ;)

Leni Qinan said...

Hi Bob! And welcome!

Glad to know you’re a fan of Lou Reed too. I love this song, and it brings me very sweet memories. Perhaps this version is a bit baroque, but in any case, beautiful.

Creatures that live in wells rarely wear jewelry? How do you know? (At least I hope this one doesn’t wear diamond rings) ;))

Best wishes!

Fernando said...

Hi, Leni.

A very interesting post. You´re doing it great.

Is Burdishland near of Zenda?

Have a nice week.

Moot the Hoopla said...

Ooh the TWIST! Edvard!?

Narcissus sure loved that pond..he must have dropped something in it?

I have a headache sounds the same in any language..
it is universal code for meh.

Ed schmEd! Go into town and find some handsome sparkly Vampyres!

Leni Qinan said...

Hi Fernando! Thanks!

If you read back what the creature of the well said (translation from the Burdish: I have a headache!) you’ll find that Burdishland is not near Zenda, but near another country where they have wonderful autobahns and fast cars, eat a lot of Kartoffel and very kind hearted people who work real hard live.

Nevertheless, a little bit of magic geography now: as I told you recently in your blog, the Sandwich Islands are close to Zenda, Sildavia and Orsinia.

Be well and safe winds!

Leni Qinan said...

Hi Donn!

You might change your name and your pic, but I gotcha!
Yeah, Edvard! That seems to be the long name for Ed in Burdish.
I’m not surprised that you have a huge Kopfschmerzen, just like the weird creature from the well after being hit by my cell phone –boy, your current skull is quite something!-

I know vampyres and Twilight are the fashion now, but they give me the shivers… lol.

Take care!

INNER VOICES said...

*has been waiting patiently for the next installment*

Leni Qinan said...

Hi Zack!
Yeah, I know you're here ;)
I'm there too!

Take care!

Grass said...

That's really sweet of you, to have to travel to Burdishland just to give him his birthday gift. But really, it's also annoying when you don't speak the local language, I can empathize perfectly. Remember the incident with that abominable woman last year? Tsk tsk..

Too bad that your plan didn't work out well but I'm really intrigued about the end of this story.. Huhum. Who would be in the well?! A frog? LOL I mean, a talking frog?!

Sorry it took me a while to get online. I'm really busy with my baby at the moment.. ;-)


xxxx

Leni Qinan said...

HEEEYY GRASS!!!

Congratulations! Let me be the first one to send you a big virtual hug! Gugu took his time to appear, right? LOL.

My most warm wishes to you and Abner; I hope mom and baby are ok.
I’m very happy for you and I know you must be enjoying these precious moments of your recent motherhood with your baby. It’s the miracle of life, Grass. A very special gift reserved only to women.

Hanny, Max and I were wondering and counting the days left to receive such excellent news. I’ll tell the Captain too –he must be sailing now, lol-. I hope some day you can post some pics of the baby (but no pressure, ok? You must be really busy now).

No need to apologize, sweety. Your baby needs all your attention and care now and will be very busy from now on, so you have to prioritize. And so, I really really appreciate your comment. Thank you very much!

Lots of love.