Blesok no. 23, October-November, 2001
Prose


Prisoner

Kim Mehmeti


    My dear, I told her, a bitter wound eats at my body. I lifted my shirt so that she could see the black spot on my chest that spread unchecked through my whole body. Instead of reaching out her hands and soothing my wound with caresses, she moistened it with saliva from a swallow and stubbornly claimed that her bites turned into a wound, and that they would eat me entirely, they would annihilate me. My dear, I coaxed her, reaching my hands out to her, do not build prisons everywhere and enclose yourself in them. Allow me to join with beauty, to gaze upon these endless wide spaces. Her eyes didn’t blink, and she had no place for mercy: she wanted to see me impaled on the claws of desire. Most of all she wanted me to fawn upon her, to hand her my soul in her palm. And then she would lock me up again, leaving me waiting for the dawn, crying. She left for who knows where, I couldn’t even hear her voice for days, I couldn’t see her shadow. She returned unannounced, as a usurer who knows that he had invested his wealth in a safe place and has come to collect his interest. And so it was. I longed for her to return as soon as possible, I rejoiced with pain when her silhouette appeared in the distance, and between her and the sun, it is hard to say who has the greater beauty – either when it sets or when it rises. “I came!” she said proudly. She unlocked the door of the cell in which she kept me imprisoned, and she let me caress her until I was satiated. As I devoured beauty and remained hungry forever, she would bite my chest, she ate whole pieces of flesh with her mouth, laughing triumphantly. I screamed, not with pain but with too much passion. “Hurts, doesn’t it?” she asked me, but I said nothing in reply. I didn’t want to destroy passion with the emptiness of words.
    My dear, I asked her, why do you keep me in prison, why do you impose slavery out of pride? Allow me at least to heal my wounds, to search for a medicine so my body does not rot, so my soul does not to break to pieces above the hot desert sand. She kept quiet. She either didn’t hear me, or she was beyond herself with passion. She would just look at me now and then pensively, checking the wounds on my chest, and at the moment I expected mercy to sound from her, she would open her eyes wide, utter a piercing “NO,” and, on top of me, she would smother me with kisses. “You received a greater punishment the moment I discovered the great secret that you don’t belong to me alone!” – she victoriously sealed the punishment with her determination, and she tied my hands behind my back. Then she returned me to my cell and left for a place unknown. I’d die on you, exhausted from long waiting, I’ll be spent, and there’ll be nothing of me to possess, I yelled after her as she disappeared into the desert. “And the memories, and the body I have turned into a bitter wound, so no matter where you touch it looks like a drained meat!?” – her voice victoriously echoed, becoming more and more distant and less and less audible. A plot, if I were to plot to prove to her that I loved her to the abysmal depths of pain, I’d not allow her to put poison instead of medicine on the wounds on my body. I made a significant decision the day she left and almost smothered me with her tits. “Here, bite them until you are full! Swallow raw meat so your hunger for warm flesh passes!” – she told me proudly and leapt like a lioness to suffocate me, to scar my body with new wounds. I wasn’t filled again. Only my anger grew, because she would never allow me to caress her gently. Nor did she lift her hair from her face so I could see her right cheek. She mercilessly sucked the sweetness from my pores and left nothing but bitterness in my body. The day she scratched my wounds with her nails, and bit my lips to pieces, I decided to execute my secret plot and punish her for all the pain she had inflicted on me: I prepared a bed for her in my dreams, so I could move her out of my reality. But she, with the cunning of a goddess, seemed to sense my intentions, and she left and did not come for several days to open the door of my cell, so that I would quench my thirst and caress her white skin. Eagles started flying over me, for they took me for a carcass. I didn’t want to give up, and from my cell I called to the passers-by to take me out so that with black tears I could cry out the white mornings without her and send out a curse for all the evil she had done to me. For days I called upon the scarf– covered camel riders, but the wind opposed me, redirecting my calls. Finally, I could express gratitude to an unknown traveler, who untied me, and he looked at me with pity, sick himself from the wounds that covered my body and oozed before my feet. “What evil it was to tear you in pieces like this!” So the stranger sighed, and he continued on his way after getting me out of my cell. I ceased being a host to indecision, not allowing it for a moment to redirect my resolve; I would go to Mecca, to search there for a balm for my wounds, to drink water from the Zemzem spring. I mounted a camel, bid farewell to the forlorn eagles that understood that I would not be their carcass, though she had spent my body and squeezed all moisture from it. Dark thoughts came over me once Damascus was far behind me, when a strange darkness kept the sunbeams from caressing the desert. It was not a cloud or sandstorm but a flock of ravens that flew over the desert in three layers, so the shadow would be as dark as possible. I don’t know whether it was fatigue or fright from that darkness that hung over the desert, but the camel howled pitifully. My body froze, my flesh separated from my bones and I wanted to yell out, but what good would it be to offer such inadequate sustenance to the emptiness and silence. In the distance I heard a loud cackling, which suddenly lay over my consciousness in crumbs. “Hey, whoever you are, I’m begging you to teach me how to be saved from this shadow, so no matter what, it does not swallow me!” My call resembled the cawing of a raven. When my body started growing weaker, all strength leaving me, a young naked girl appeared, as if she had sprouted from the sand. An experienced rider raised around camels, she jumped into my lap. I couldn’t hear what she told me, but I followed her body language, because she returned my strength with her warmth, refilling my veins with blood. “Tell me who you are. Are you just a road marker for lonely travelers lost in the desert?” So I asked her, caressing her gently, fearful that she would leave me as suddenly as she appeared. Without a doubt she could not understand me; my voice meant nothing to her. A she-wolf turned into a woman, that’s what she is, I told myself, another insatiable she-wolf that will devour my body. I surrendered to her mercy, for I had no other choice, and she had arrived at the right moment to ease my traveler’s nightmare. She was turned to me. In vain did I try to persuade her that it was bad luck to ride a camel backwards. She shut me up with kisses, and she sweetened my soul. Then she dismounted and stood in front of the camel. Her blond hair waved like a banner, and her body grew into a stout spear. I held her so she would not fall, and my arms secured her body to the saddle of the camel so the wind wouldn’t bend it. I became a standard-bearer, starting a battle with myself. When the distance swallowed up the raven calls, and the shade above the desert was erased by sunbeams, the girl dropped to the ground, and she threw a handful of sand in my face, blurring my vision. I didn’t see where she went or who she really was. For only a few more minutes I heard her cackling. My veins soon were bloodless and my body drooped. You won’t get far, you leech swollen with my blood, I yelled after her, exhausted. I continued riding, now sorry I had left the cell Fatushe locked me in to protect me from the insatiable hunger of the desert foxes. I might have died if I hadn’t seen the hills of Mecca. The gurgling of the Zemzem spring gave me the strength to manage. And so exhausted, I started through the streets of Mecca. I asked the passers-by to show me to way to Arafat. When I arrived there I rubbed my face with the holy sand. My sight returned, and the cracks on my face healed. There I met Fatushe. She brought water to the saints so they could wash their faces. She held a torch in her hand so they could bow unencumbered. So, it was with them that she betrayed me? When fatigue presses you, swallowing the freshness of the body, you come to these old men to be absolved of your sins, but I wanted to reproach her, yet I remained frozen. She was naked to the waist but she no longer had the beautiful tits I caressed all night. A transparent cloud floated on her breasts, and from there my blurry face looked back at me. Fatushe, I murmured, so as not to disturb the old men dipping their heads, so as not to let sin enter their bows. She looked at me sweetly. She never appreciated my investment in her greed. She whispered, brightening my face for a moment. My dear, why do you serve those who should be your servants? I asked her. She smiled. She looked to the west, where the moon bid farewell, kissing the desert. Then Fatushe sang. She sang the night lullaby she once sang to me when she smothered me with her body.


Translated by: Elizabeta Bakovska




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