Sunday, April 01, 2007

Lovebytes 3

She was the kind of girl who had been stepping on and off escalators her whole life. He was the kind of boy who could remember the first shop in his town to get an escalator: Allied Carpets. He and his childhood friends used to ride up and down it to the consternation of the powdered faces and pouffed-up hair of the old ladies who worked there.

Falling in love with him, she said, had been like letting go at the end of the tube train when it hurtles past you on the platform. Standing at the edge of the platform, toes on or just peeping over the yellow line, the carriages in front of you, doors beeping closed, slower, then faster and faster they streak past. Flick, flick, flick! Go your eyeballs as you look at all the passengers flashing past inside. You become lulled by its rhythmic rattling in front of you, its colours white, red, blue, black, London Underground colours. Ca-clack, ca-Clack, ca-Clack! And then it ends. If you've been staring hard enough you sway slightly forwards as the last carriage clatters by.

Falling in love with him, she said, was as if just at that last moment when you sway forwards with the end carriage, you let your soul go and hurtle along behind it, alternatively carressed and buffeted by its momentum. That is what falling in love with him was like.

Falling in love with her, he said, was like that moment in a song when you've been following the harmonies while they flowed round and around you, up and down. Enchanting, like mermaids, drawing you into their song, the sirens of the sea. Then that moment when just as you have truly immersed yourself in the music and let your soul swirl with it, it ends. You sway trying to catch onto the final fronds but they have vanished; it feels like falling.

Falling in love with her, he said, was like finally catching that final note and holding it tight, making it grow and swell again, drawing the melody and harmony back around you. That is what falling in love with her was like.

And so they fell, with their city and their music, in love, together.

Lisa Payne

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