Wednesday, February 15, 2012

(Relax and let the right one in)

Sirens of distressed ambulances warned the walking busybodies of the city that they must get somewhere immediately. Heads turned swiftly as gravel hurled to their feet from the speed of the ambulance. Murmuring sounds of people anxiously trying to get to their 9-hour shifts on time could be heard like a fading beat, as they rushed into the underground wondering whether there were to be a delay on the trains. The outbursts of youth on the unswept streets of Athens had left their traits of deep disaffection behind. Smashed windows of stores in Kolonaki, the city’s only remaining clean and, until then, untouched area, awakened these citizens to new wonders. The month of April 2009 was happening for the first time. This marked the event as singular. Were all events exclusive, wondered Myrna as she walked away from the arresting scene of police crime at Constitution square and towards the lovers’ scene.

Outside a run-of-the-mill Costa Café, just at the beginning of darkness, Clement and I froze in a lock of gaze, the kind that holds you in a time where memory never seems to have existed. The arms of Clement wide open, the shape of desire and need (Barthes) unfolded as my longing eyes captured that zestful moment in a warm embrace. Two bodies met; their soft mouths lured each other’s breath. The heat between us lovers intensified as did the rage of the disaffected. And just as I was suspended in what seemed like a timeless moment, only several kilometres away the city of Athens was turning red in flames and fury, the fierce police fumbling for opposing inhabitants to drag to their dungeon. Trouble usually starts from authorities, overregulated and under, barring dissenting voices, and ignoring the injustices they help generate and keep in tact. Echoing and embryonic voices waiting at the line. One minute people are ready to slip off the slithering edge, and the next, they are just pending… without witnesses, an unimagined tomorrow and an unimaginable moment of the present.

And as the rioting environment came to a break and I released myself from the curved clasp of Clement, it occurred to me for the first time that I wasn’t the only one disconnected from the political passion surrounding us. The next day would swallow up the remaining tear gas and smoky air from the blasting molotovs; the enraged would still feel enraged, perhaps with a real sense of the city now vacuumed of several functioning shops; the government officials would turn their attention to new 'criminal' records; and it would seem like the purpose of these outbursts was to destroy a few small shops.

Published in The Moment at SMITH magazine