|eugenie abler (gifted human) (waysided) wrote in repose,|
@ 2020-06-30 15:30:00
|Entry tags:||*narrative, eugenie abler|
WHO: Eugenie—and a Handsome Stranger™
WHEN: Today, flashbacks
WHERE: An airport, Athens
WHAT: Eugenie is homeward bound, reflects back on That Night in Athens—with apologies to that Old Spice commercial. Thank you to lobo for the coding!
WARNINGS: Consensual fade-to-black sex, non consensual power bestowal.
There’s all the usual sights at the airport. The American couple wearing every clothing article of patriotism short of the original signed Declaration of Independence. The exhausted parents with not so much bags under their eyes as suitcases, trying in vain to keep their clambouring menagerie of under-5’s in line. And what appears to be a first time flier judging by the nerves buzzing around her—except no, something about this doesn’t quite add up.
She’s young and pretty, with the slightly sunblessed skin and the worn in sneakers of a seasoned explorer. She speaks to the airport staff in easy Italian, but when she raises her cell phone to her ear and issues a terse check-in to someone back home, it’s in an accent that sashays across the Atlantic, anything from a kind of mid-western American (if you’re not an American, you’ll just label it as “generic” since it doesn’t swing and mellow like the South, or clip out harsh syllables like New York) to that rounded vow, slightly sing-song lilt that sits somewhere around Hugh Grant’s English, the diluted cadence that those who have lived a long time outside of their home country speak.
If they still call it that at all.
So no, definitely not a novice traveler. She is young and pretty, so the conventional narrative is that she’s a foreign exchange student, leaving a Latin Lover behind and feeling her heart more leaden with every footstep away from the Fontana di Trevi. Still she slips from this profiling. There were no soul crushing hugs and tearful farewells as she left, no one to throw one last, lingering look as she finally slips through customs into the land of duty free and the In Between which is neither Italy nor anywhere.
The exhausted parents are sitting exhausted over tepid coffees and ignoring their menagerie as they tumble and careen around vacant tables, but though the children may be of some interest in twenty years or so, that tale at this point hasn’t even drawn its first breath. Let’s flit back to our young woman before she disappears from sight.
Her passport claims her to be one Eugenie Grace Abler and a Taurean, if you put stock by such things. She refills her water bottle and finds what suffices as a quiet spot, threading one hand through the strap of her bag pre-emptively as she slides her eyes shut and tries to empty her mind.
Hello, ladies. Look at yourselves. Now back to Eugenie. Now at yourselves. Now back to Eugenie.
Sadly (or perhaps not), you are not Eugenie. But with a few more shots of ouzo and a dubious life choice, you could be. Look closer. Where are you? You're on a side street in Athens, one of those hidden nooks and crannies, with the man who reminds you of everyone and no one. A glance, a catch of the light and he's someone different. Doesn't he look like that actor? From that show? What show was it again? It's on the tip of your forehead, that spot just above your eyebrows where you might catch it if you squint. Ah, it doesn't matter. You can't quite put your finger on it, but he's like the ghost of a memory you wish you had never forgotten. A pleasant dream now a tendril of smoke in the first ray of sunlight.
Your hand hasn't left his arm all evening. This is how you know he's real.
She enters the transit lounge early, earphones in and turned half away from the greater body of it in that universal don’t-talk-to-me coil. She is flicking through photos on her phone. The line of her mouth tightens and tightens.
She still hasn’t found what she’s looking for.
Other travellers are relaxing or whispering excited recollections of their adventures abroad as they file into the lounge. Eugenie is the sore thumb in all of this.
What's in your head? What's not in your head? The future is an untrod page on the back of this night that has to end as all good things do, yet you're going to cling to it for as long as possible. Back to Eugenie. She's holding his hand, both leading and being led up the stairs to his hotel, with the promise of a bathroom and the sight of a red vintage he's acquired which tastes like the nectar of the gods. You can't leave Athens without trying it. You both know that you're not going upstairs for the wine. That is what we call an euphemism, in this case hiding something that can only be described by the true artists of the written word and not a rather drunken young thing abroad who's just now tugging a t-shirt up the torso of a bad decision.
We'll leave the two of them alone and slide back to the present. No, you can’t take one last peek. This is the realm of poets, gods and dreamers. I may be one or all three of those, but you are not.
Somehow she has a row of three to herself and she settles into it gratefully. They do not delay on the tarmac and they spring into air, the bodies aboard pressed gently backwards as the plane accelerates. Eugenie thinks this odd. Flight should be inclining forwards, not back—
She gives a brisk shake of her head as if trying to dislodge a jammed thought, tugs the blanket higher up her shoulders until her head and neck are the only things sticking out of this chrysalis cocoon. There’s a canister of sedatives she pleaded off a doctor her last full day in Milan tucked into the side of her makeup purse. She will take one, maybe two, once the seatbelt sign switches off.
Yes, that is perhaps the safest way to do it. She doesn’t often pray but she is offering a prayer of a sort right now, a plea for goodwill sent off to the unknown powers governing the universe.
Anything is possible when you're in Greece with an Olympian and the night is just that side of sultry. If you are Eugenie, you wake up with that ouzo haze having given way to the sharp hard lines of a headache and yet with the sensation of hovering above the laws of gravity.
Oh wait. That's actually happening…
She is speeding further and further away from that night in Athens right now, though runner that she is, she knows that you can never flee your past. It is the ultimate voyager, ebbing through to the present and resurfacing only the gods know how many years from now. Still she is taking time out from it, however temporary. The pills are pulling gauze over her thoughts, rendering everything indistinct and distant, and she poises on the cliff between consciousness and sleep. As she tilts further downwards, a face swims up to her.
Her hands twitch in her lap as she reaches for it, but then she rolls off the cliff and it is gone.