Heaven On Earth

Entry by: jaguar

26th January 2018
All the colours of the past revealed by the curling paper. She laughed at the walls stripping like she used to. At least they revealed more attractive selves than the present day – her clothes were better looking than her flesh.

Something stuck in her teeth again, between the two that reminded her of an old couple, leaning on each other. Nothing should come between them, particularly not old vegetable gristle trying to resist its final journey. She teased it out with a silver toothpick and the bleeding started. Everything was on its final journey now, even her teeth.

She swallowed, savouring the tang of iron, such flavour. Each day she was more aware how much of her was water but it smelt and tasted so strong. Outside the wind berated the windows so she couldn’t hear the fighting. Most days the metallic sounds of war dominated, words spelt out by bullets now the dialogue's stopped.

The walls of her room groaned as if tortured while her building struggled to pull itself out of the ground, free itself from this cursed street. The sign above the apartment entrance crashed to the ground, half-buried by rubble. Just the last three letters of Olympus showed. She laughed at her own stupidity believing she might find her paradise here.

Yet it was once Heaven on earth. Not this cringing apartment building with its grandiose name but only a few streets away. A street-level house, a garden full of fig trees and flowers. Scent, colour and personalities too large to remain earthbound long. They’d risen like balloons, off on their journeys somewhere better but were the trees still there? Who'd hurt a tree?

Did she still believe the other side wouldn't, out of spite? She wasn’t sure. So many of the stories had worn too thin for purpose. She could see right through most of them. You get what you deserve, expect rewards if you work hard and don’t complain. Lives were torn as easily as tissue paper. As pointlessly, there was no overall plan. People were no better than wasps in a jam-jar, stomping the weaker down so they didn’t drown.

Yet that was how her enemies wanted her to feel – trapped in a tiny jar - about to go under their feet. If she believed that they’d won. She raised her chin and pulled the blind back from the window. The silence was so unusual she wondered if her hearing had gone. The wind had dropped and taken all the clamour with it, the shooting and the shouting. Her city was still and it was still her city. All of it not just these few streets.

She put her creaky boots on forcing her feet inside. Her outdoor shawl fastened she clutched her purse and her stick. For once the lift responded to her request. She hesitated before entering it but she had to die somewhere of something. To her surprise she was outside the apartment block before she’d realised she was going straight out. She was in the quiet street, blinking at the sun, thrown by the absolute silence.

She started walking fast, small steps that propelled her forwards with each touch on the ground. she didn’t slow even as she crossed an invisible border, the divide between her people’s territory and the enemy’s. Could they tell by looking at her she held different beliefs? Were they using her clothing to sort her, staring down their cold barrels, making up their minds?

She walked faster, almost running now, her breath catching with the shot of pain each step delivered. She stopped, retraced a few steps and swayed in front of a row of houses, a rubble-filled garden, the skeletons of fig trees. One hand covered her throat, the other reached towards the blackened branches. A fierce whine broke the silence and she leapt forward, fire-working blood.

Her last thought was of her childhood, of belonging, of being back in the sanctuary her parents created. Here but not here. Heaven on Earth.