June 5, 2015

Fiction By Charles E.J. Moulton: Leaf In The Wind

Previously published pieces of mine have been published in Skirmish, Socrates, Aphelion, The Woven Tale Press, Idea Gems, SNM Magazine, TWJ Magazine, Shadows Express, 365 Tomorrows, Shadows Express, Redhead Magazine, Aquarius Atlanta, Vocal Images, Cover of Darkness and CLR India. I am the Chorus Master of a Chorus in Germany, a big band vocalist, an operatic baritone and an exhibited artistic painter.

Leaf in the Wind

The rich taste melted apart into a variety of ingredients upon my tongue. These ingredients felt like a rich rug of fertile fruits rolling around inside my mouth. I could almost see the hills and plains of Spain rise and fall as the magnificence trickled down my throat. In my mind, I could see myself plucking the grapes directly off the branches again. The rugged flavour of the oak barrels, the scent of bittersweet enigma, the soul of a thousand people's energies at the Rioja vinyard swimming inside my glass.
The fullbodied weight of the wine was the liquid version of the Flamenco music on the small stage in front of me. The long black hair of the guitarist hung in long strains across his face. His head shook, his nostrils flared, the pentatonic scales giving me the flair that I stood somewhere in the Alhambra listening to the echoes of moric occupation, augmented chords followed by half-tones and minor keys filled to the brim with excitement.
The guitarist wore one red ribbon around his waist, tight fit and in a shiny silk-like fabric. Despite the many stomps he made, the fabric didn't waver an inch.
In fact, it only seemed to grasp his hips tighter as he stomped.
The woman throwing her red dress back and forth was obviously his wife. That's what the poster said, anyway. For every stomp the man made, his fingers racing up and down the guitar strings faster and faster by the second, the woman threw her head to the side, her eyebrows pressing down toward her eyes, her nostrils flaring, her teeth gritting, her heels clicking like crazy upon the stage floor.
Then, their voices erupted in a straight line of passion, soaring above the plains of humanity and igniting a flame of desire inside everyone. In unison, they wailed their Spanish lyrics about hot love, jealousy, dusty roads, flamenco, spicy sauces and salsa dancing.
When the woman wailed what I expected were high B naturals, the guitarist undoubtedly played his song in the key of E, he joined in by moaning his frustrated pentatonic growls. We, the members of the audience, witnessed eruptive musical sex in action.
The orgasm was preprogrammed, prepared by a bouncing proverbial ball between the two of them: his yells, her shouts, his stomps, her clicks, his drumming on the guitar, her castagnettes. Finally, the couple came in unison, singing together, their faces red, their palms sweaty. Just like while having sex.
The thunderous applause erupted as vehemently as the loud last chord had resembled an erect manhood skyrocketing millions of fertile babymakers into a female furry apricot. The couple grabbed each others hands and bowed toward the standing crowd, throwing their hairdos about and grinning, feeling like a million stars.
Some people around me banged with their spoons and cutlrery others hooted, some whistled, the noise resembling a lifting jetplane. One that, in fact, would not stop flying. In effect, the crowd insisted on an encore, stamping their feet and making the entire room sway.
Paco and Rosita, those were their names, arranged themselves to agree.
This time, when everyone sat obediently waiting for their laterna magica to light up and restructure itself, the song was as soft as mellow rain.
The text sounded fantastic, sexy, spiritual and eternal.

"When you are crying, make love to the rain. When love is flying, I will be your plane."
It sounded even better in Spanish:

"Cuando lloras, hacer el amor con la lluvia. Cuando el amor está volando, yo seré tu avión."
For the longest time, about two hours now, I had lost myself in Paco's and Rosita's art. Hearing this song, however, so full of love and longing and promise, opened Pandora's Box in my heart. It was a box that I had believed would remain closed if I went back here, back to the place where we had been before I lost him.
I remembered Pedro, his smile, his voice, his bouncy temper, his joie de vivre.
“Oh, God,” I muttered to myself, hearing the advice my friends had been giving me again and again, over and over, hearing their words in my head.
“Jennifer,” they had told me. “Let him go.”
As the sweet sounds of romance dwindled down, the tears pushing to come out of my eyes, my sorrow almost killed me. I could barely see enough to pay for my one glass of red  Sangre de Torro Rioja. It also felt completely compulsive to hold back my tears. I nodded at the waiter, looking uptight and angry and God knows what else, and ran out, feeling like a confused and lonely schoolchild.
As soon as I pushed out toward the parking lot, though, my insane guffaw-sounding sobs reverberated incontrollably between the houses. My heart ached like it never had before, my belly literally shaking with pain.
I think the worst part of it was that I couldn't have him back, no matter what. It wasn't like Pedro had gone out of town or left me for someone else. Pedro had been ripped away from life and I had not even said good bye to him the day he died.
I opened the door with my key, barely being able to do the job well at all. As I sunk down into my car, leaning my head on the steering wheel, soaking it wet with my tears, I let loose and screamed out my sorrow, realizing that I had only held it back for a while. It was too early to go back.
The silence inside my car made the emptiness seem like a catacomb.
“It went so well,” I mumbled to myself once the worst weeping had dwindled down, hearing my own weeping voice die out into the dead acoustic of the vehicle, not really knowing if I spoke to myself or to Pedro's soul, who I knew was around me in one way or another. “I went back there, Pedro, just like I told myself l would. I drank a glass of our wine, I listened to the concert, I didn't go home in the intermission and I did all that for you, my love. You would have wanted it that way – and maybe you still do, somewhere.”
I looked out into the darkness of the Californian night, trying to make out the shapes and sizes of houses and trees. Then I heard the song playing in my mind. Our song.
“When you are crying, make love in the rain. When love is flying, I will be your plane.”

“Cuando lloras, hacer el amor con la lluvia. Cuando el amor está volando, yo seré tu avion.”
I paused, searching for answers. Any answer would do. None would come. Just silence arrived at my proverbial doorstep with a strange inquiry rolling across its lower lip.
“Who are you, Death?” I mumbled insecurely to myself. “Why did Pedro have to go so soon? Why did he have to leave me here all alone?”
My lower lip trembled again and the tears rolling down my cheeks felt like burning hot lava stones rushing down a mountain.
“We wanted to get married, God damn you.”
This time, once my sobs ripped my chest apart to an even harsher degree, I found myself fighting this self pity. Angry at myself for not being able to let go, I rummaged in the handbag I had thrown on the passenger seat, literally throwing hankies and coughdrops and rouge all over the place.
I finally found my pack of cigarettes, took out the lighter that I had stuck into the pack, and catapulted out of the car, shaking like a leaf in the wind.
God, that had been him, too, hadn’t it?
“You are like a leaf in the wind, my dear, sensitive, graceful and poetic.”
The warm summer evening breeze tickled my cheeks as I lit the first Marlboro that evening. To think I had been that strong at all. Me, the leaf in the wind. Going to Pedro's favorite club and giving up smoking for the evening.
Too much of an amazon for a leaf in the wind.
The first puff was a kick, the second already boring.
I was just about to call it quits and save myself from getting raped on the parking lot, shaking my head at my own misery and turning to get into my small Chevy again, when I saw a familiar person stroll out of “Pasión Española”, a person that had served Pedro and myself our favorite Paella dish on many occasions, a person who even had come to Pedro's funeral.
Her red dress with the diagonal cut, complete with the rose in her hair, caught my eye and gave me something that could derive my attention from pain and suffering. Red was the color of blood, of life, of Spain, of wine, of roses and of red pepper.
Filippa's frame froze for a moment, followed by the typical tilt of her head.
Calmly and with a careful glance back at her workplace, Filippa walked over to me, her high heels clicking and her hands folded almost as if she was praying to her beloved “Madre de Dios”. She stopped two feet away from me, giving me a kind smile.
“Jennifer, Sweetie,” she whispered in her sweet Mexican croon. “You left in quite a hurry there. My boss even asked me if he had done something wrong to make you leave us.”
I shook my head at her. “God, no. I just ...”
I waited and sighed, looking at Filippa, trying to find the right words to say.
“You know, it's the first time I've been back here since Pedro died. I even remembered picking grapes with him in Spain and I didn’t cry about it. Until Paco and Rosita sang that last song, it didn’t matter. Hearing that song, though, brought it all out again. It was our song, Filippa. I had to go.”
Filippa reached toward her neck and untied the red scarf that served as a company decoration. She walked up a step closer to me. “They give these out for free. Dry your eyes, dear. Your mascara is blotched.”
Suddenly overcome by self conciousness, I took it, turned around to find the light from the lamppost, but couldn't quite get it to shine on my face so that I could see my face in the car window. Filippa saved me, though, took the scarf back and cleaned me up.
“You know,” I continued, “I didn't even get to say good bye to him. We wanted to make some Mexixan food at home and decided on rice. We didn’t have any, so he took the bike for a spin to get some at Walmart. Rice, for God's sake,” I yelled, feeling my hands shake again. “He died because I wanted rice. It was all my fault.”
Filippa eyed heavenward while cleaning my face with the scarf. “You must stop doing this to yourself. It wasn’t your fault at all.”
“The driver must have taken a wrong turn somewhere,” I said, sort of ignoring her wise advice. “It was hit and run. We never did find out who it was.”
Filippa shook her head. “La sangre de Dios, unfair, no?”
I nodded as a reply.
“Yes. The worst things are the sleepless nights. I lay awake crying for hours on end.”
Filippa cleaned off the last ounce of runny mascara and nodded.
“You know, I lost my grandma when I was seven years old,” she began. “I kept
thinking I had made her sick because I hadn’t finished my rice pudding after school one day. We fought about it and then she died. But then my school teacher told me that we all have our moments, our days that we can be here on Earth and enjoy what we have to enjoy. We are all destined to be here for as long as the good Lord has meant for us to be here. The teacher also told me that every time somebody dies, God has a new angel. So I stopped blaming myself.”
    I looked up at the sky. “I know he is with me.”
    Filippa smiled, pinching my face with one of her long red nails.
    She pointed at my chest.
“He is in there, as well.”
For one moment, one sweet moment, I glanced at Filippa and noticed that I felt good. Maybe Pedro had not left me at all. He was still here. In another way, of course, but still here.
“You want to come back to our club? Paco and Rosita are sitting at one of the tables in the audience now, playing Buddy Holly tunes.”
“That’s not very Spanish, is it?”
“You’re not Spanish, either, and yet you come and hear our music, no?”
I smiled. “You’re right, actually. Pedro liked Buddy Holly. Maybe I will come and have another glass of wine. But only one.”
I reached into my car and gathered my things, grabbed my handbag and locked the door. Filippa and I walked with slow and happy steps back to “Pasión Española”.
“Ah, live a little,” she sing-songed. “You don’t have a long way home. Besides, there are quite a few handsome men in there.”
I shook my head. “No one like Pedro.”
Filippa stopped, turned me around and pointed at my face.
“Pedro would want you to be happy, wouldn’t he?”
I nodded, feeling like an unruly teenager.
“Give it a chance,” she spat, “if it doesn’t work out, screw it, but give it a chance.”
So it came to pass that I wandered back into “Pasión Española” with apprehensive steps. Soon, though, I sat next to quite a few elegant gentlemen, singing beautiful songs. And you know what? Pedro was there beside me and he was smiling. And I felt like a leaf in the wind, but with an important distinction: for the first time in one year, I was truly and honestly happy.
~Charles E.J. Moulton

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