I inhaled the dirt. I inhaled it and I swallowed it because of you.The sticky taste of the dry greyish earth in my mouth calmed down my pounding heart, my head and the pain that stretched from every bone in my body to the inner organs and back. With their boots they tried to push more earth into my mouth, and as they did, they looked like powdered squirrels, the grey dust shaking in a cloud around them as they nervously buried themselves into the ground. The bits and pieces in my mouth turned to mud; the mud conquered my saliva and left me choking on it in return. But I liked the taste. That way, they couldn’t hurt you.
Until I heard you scream.
A while ago, I don’t remember the exact date, but when I asked, you promised me you would behave. I’m not sure whether promising me actually made you break it. You were never really a fan of promises and rules anyway. I told you I would find a way out of this crazy life and you had this look about you, as if you believed, yes, not a word I was saying. But you nodded, promised, put your hand flat on my chest and leaned your head against it. I should remember the smell of your hair or the weight against my chest, but all I can remember is that you were gone the next minute. You left nothing behind that would allow me to follow you. When I was returning from the kitchen where I poured us two drinks, the Taria I thought I knew was gone. In any case, though, I wasn’t really expecting it. The smartest girl I had ever known made a run for it. You broke your promise two seconds after swearing you wouldn’t.
They said you would run but I didn’t believe them, up there in their eighteen storey house, penthouse apartment perhaps, clean and white and subtle metal bars on every window, every door. That’s where they talked to me, or shall I say, where they interrogated me. Without a doubt, they were looking for you rather than they were bothering to care about my trembling voice, my bleeding nose or my broken ribs. The same ribs I believe I now could feel a faint imprint of the hand you had placed there only some months ago. Wherewasshe and Wherewouldshego and Howdidshedoit were repeated over and over again until the words lost their meaning and the letters just accumulated to some unknown language I had heard what must have been another lifetime ago. But they did care in the end, didn’t they? Well, they had to. Because, I don’t know, perhaps they forced so much blood out of my system that I think my brain took one last blow until it decided to switch to self-protection mode and made my tongue form something that sounded like
I don’t think you’ve ever been to Dublin. You were a sun person in my head, with your blonde hair and the light freckles on your cheeks. In my mind, you were bound to the warmth and the heat, not to rain or wind; someone who would long to feel the desert sand between her toes rather than the wet roughness of a shore’s storm. And from what I last heard, Ireland wouldn’t be on top of your list of travel choices. Then again, whoknowswheresheis, so Dublin was just another option out of so many others. No particular reason why they believed me and flew with me to this city of low-houses, a city which bathed us in warm sunrays when we hit the city centre. So much for the lack of sun. The glittering water parted the North of the city from the South and squinting people crossed the streets, hushing sorrys to those they sunblindedly touched or collided with. I loved the one-storey houses, they eased the memory of my last nerve- and rib-wrecking trip to the top of a multi-storey building.
Shemustbesomewhereelse – words I dreaded to hear from them. After running up and down the city and past a thousand pubs with a thousand different names, these were the only words that did not stop coming from their mouths and that did not stop sounding like a warning signal. If shemustbesomewhereelse ever turned into sheisnotindublin, I knew I would be in big trouble. I think they thought my joke was not funny when I replied that is it not amazing that there isn’t one pub with the same name? That Grogans is Brogans around two corners and even though there are many heads around, the Turk’s Head is much different from the Stag’s Head or, say, the Brazen Head? Not funny at all, that is. And if I could keep my mouth shut I would, but I couldn’t because all these letters made me nervous since I had this little game I played shuffling alongside these weird people: every pub name was just another way of adding their letters until I would get your name. Once completed, I would look for the next. I think I spelled your name fiftythree times all over Dublin’s 1 and 2 and 12 and 8, just so you know.
Then we met him. At the cricket field of this very old and very weird college. Nice and sunny, it was, but to tell you the truth, there weren’t many pubs around so I couldn’t spell your name anymore. Instead, I kept an eye, in fact, both eyes, on the ground in case I had to avoid physical threats. Because the last time I didn’t look where I was going, I tripped over a lose stone in the pavement and the result was harsh kicks and boxing from both sides until I gathered myself and my lost shoe and walked and stumbled on. A split second then lay between my bad luck and my luck. The buses here drive dangerously close to the pavements so while I was still in the progress of gathering and stumbling, my keepers walked on, certainly distracted by my recent failure to help their cause and by their, I’m only guessing however, pains in their fingers, wrists or ankles. They were split-centimetres in front of me so they were the ones that got hit by a yellow and blue double-decker bus that speeded along the bus lane, exhibiting the latest moving pictures advertisement. Something very romantic was displayed there on the side of the bus, something in which I believe one of the main characters, after she finally got to be with her great love, got hit by a bus and so disappeared from the story of her life. I think it was ironic. I suppose my keepers, again, did not feel the same way. I took off my other shoe and walked on in socks.
So, like I said, we met this guy by the cricket field and because I was completely transfixed by the stones and traps underneath my feet that were still in socks, I did not see him until I felt a strong grip around my arm and noticed that my keepers were standing in a semi-circle around that guy that was dressed in a suit coming from the other end of the last century. A tweed suit I suppose you could call it, and he wore it with one of these round little, half-melons of a hat, dark brown, beige colour, and the appropriate moustache. For a moment I thought my following of the lines in between the stone cubes underneath my feet must have evolved into a pattern which in turn triggered some sort of time travelling, but while I quickly glanced in every direction I noticed that the people walking by were still dressed in contemporary clothes or at least, there was another guy with a yellow mohawk and a red-and-black chequered top of a suit, skinny black jeans and studs everywhere, even in his nose and ears. We didn’t time travel, but clothes weren’t Dublin best walking advertisement. But I’m getting distracted quite often, which is a problem and due to these little pills they’re giving me each morning. I do believe, however, that I went crazy because you were gone and I had no clue how I could find you again and what you actually did to piss off all these guys.
I found out eventually.
It weren’t drugs.
Nor was it prostitution, child trafficking or other plausible reasons for a seven-head commando to track you down.
It was a huge pile of dirt.
But then I learned that a treasure was hidden beneath the pile and everything made sense again.
That guy, the one from the other end of the century, he spoke weirdly, or was it only me? I had the feeling I didn’t understand a word and I doubt my keepers could follow his slurred speech. But they did and it amazed me how this fantastic figure could have any power over them, having seen them moving around this city so independently of any sort of command, sometimes even appearing as if they had no instruction at all. My cracked ribs felt uncomfortable so I guess I should keep the last thought to myself.
Anyway. Shortly after meeting this strange guy on that sunny day in that weird college, we were heading to Barcelona and suddenly I only heard weknowwhereshehides in my ear and thought, excuse me, if they know where Taria is then I won’t be of any need any longer which could mean two things. Either they let me go back to where we started or they plan on killing me then and there. So, thinking of the last option, naturally, I tried to force the plane not to land in Spain. After screaming my lungs out, faking a heart attack and even attempting taking hostages, I tried it with pure will power. The first three things didn’t work because the plane was chartered by the man with the melon hat, I later found out. They could have told me after the screaming, I suppose, but maybe they were curious what else I would try.
In Barcelona, the rain splashed down on us and I thought, this is the strangest confusion of weather conditions I have ever heard of. As soon as we landed – my will power obviously wasn’t strong enough – a big black limousine brought us to a huge pile of dirt on the outskirts of Barcelona city. I smelled your perfume in the little container that had been used by workers or the homeless or treasure hunting criminals and I knew you are still there. They knew I sensed you because I must have had a movement in my face, something very rare since they started giving me those pills, so that’s why they must have known. It wasn’t particularly my fault they found you, believe me, I tried to enjoy the taste of the smoking earth that didn’t bury a treasure anymore because you burned it all. It was money after all, but I never had the chance to ask you where the money came from, why you decided to destroy the money. After all, it was money. And I tasted the money gone ashes in my mouth and dreamed that if only you had told me everything we could have gotten the money and run away together, we could have had burritos on a Mexican beach while listening to noisy monkeys in the jungle behind us. It was our money, after all. The boots were so angry they only stopped when I screamed Taria and shesoverthere while choking and coughing up black dirt and green ashes.
Then I heard you scream and I knew I had a way out of this crazy life.