SUNRISE OVER CAPPADOCIA
The sun rose and then it set. It did this every day. What transpired below the glowing globe in those hours of light happened. The vast majority of the events were uneventful. Nothing truly occurs on a day-to-day basis that hasn’t been witnessed before by someone somewhere going about their innocuous business. This blindness is born from indifference. Footsteps are placed and then trampled on by further footsteps of unrelated people following the same path. Taking the steps that moved them forward. Left, right, left, right. Some in a direction pre-planned and others to the unknown. The multitudes walk for various reasons but the Sun is only governed by one. Rise, shine and then set.
The lone man walked. He was followed by others. They were all strangers. A train of traders walking to market to start the day of earning enough to feed their families or their habits, be they good or bad…
“ ‘Be they good or bad?’ What is that supposed to mean?”
“Exactly what it says.”
“Only in a shit piece of writing.”
“What is the premise to this piece anyway? It doesn’t feel like it is going anywhere.”
“I’m writing my way into it.”
“Great! Start something else, something that actually has a plot to it.”
A bright sun casts long shadows. David thought Emily was brighter than the sun, her reach penetrated into him, warming him, energising him. He had brought her here to Cappadocia as it was different. Just like she was. Nothing about Emma conformed and so he felt, no it was more of a compulsion, to try to exceed what she expected of him. He wasn’t deep and unfathomable, he wasn’t wacky and carefree, he certainly wasn’t afflicted by anything that could be attributed to an avant-garde nature. He was just David. She was more than her name. His actions had to be grandiose to be memorable.
“He’s going to propose. Whoop. Whoop. Boring”
“Some people like a good romance.”
“But this isn’t a good romance, it’s obvious.”
“Well the premise to a romance isn’t exactly complex; boy meets girl, they like each other, they kiss…”
“Blah, blah, blah.”
“Right. Ok. Fine. I’ll change tactic.”
The coach was unbearably warm, despite being advertised as fully air con. Brian fiddled with the air vent above them for at least half of the journey, which meant his growing gut and sweaty armpit….
“You can’t bloody steal someone else’s work.”
“She won’t mind.”
“I think she will. Write your own stuff. God! Seriously!”
“I didn’t think you’d even notice.”
“I read everything that Cathy Vella writes; she’s my favourite writer on the site. Did you read the one titled ‘Colin’?”
“Well…thanks for the support.”
“Write something of worth then and perhaps I’ll alter my allegiance.”
It was easy to sit in the sun and watch. He’d been staring at the rock formations for over an hour and yet he could find nothing metaphysical in their construction, certainly nothing divine. He wasn’t looking specifically for any answer that transcended time or expecting a dogmatic conversation by some unseen being, he understood his position, even if he wasn’t resigned to it. The only reason he was here was because she had wanted to visit.
There she was wandering around, taking in as much as possible in the limited time that they had here. Trying to memorise the images in front of her, and knowing her like he did, trying to abstract some sort of meaning – an understanding – for her own sanity. Seeking answers in rock formations was as futile to him as believing in last minute miracles or even worse…faith. Faith in what? He watched as she placed her head against the heated stone and breathed deeply – in, out, in out – she’d be doing that ‘mindfulness’ technique she had been introduced to at Pilates.
The only thing he was mindful of right now was the smell of pork, the smell of his own skin burning under the heat of the sun.
As she lifted her head, he saw the ghost of a smile on her face – stupid phrase he berated himself silently. Ghost of a smile. Phantoms of any sort didn’t exist. Chuckling, he shook his head. Silly woman, she had projected her feelings/worries/blah-blah onto the rock. Trying to comprehend or at least justify his imminent death; compartmentalising his mortality with the immortality of the rocks. But they weren’t immortal they just had a longer life span than he did.
Death comes to us all.
Death was a dick.
She had taken to wearing a gold cross around her neck. The small, thin pendant fell to rest between the valley of her breasts. When he fingered the symbol it was warm from her body heat; he thought nothing of the cross and its meaning to her, he definitely thought a lot about where the pendent nestled. Why not? He wasn’t dead just yet; all was in working order.
She turned to look at him.
He lifted a hand and indolently waved.
Raising the camera she took a picture. Pressed some buttons and indicated with a raised finger that she wanted to take another.
For God’s sake! Was she trying to find his best side?!
Was she really going to look back on this photo and think of happy times?
The smell of pork was making him hungry. He motioned to her that he was hungry, he knew rather than saw her roll her eyes and watched as she made her way carefully back over the rocky ground to his position.
They had packed a little picnic. She liked restaurants, liked to sit down at a table and spend his money on artfully placed food on a plate. A cheese roll, warm from being stuffed at the bottom of a rucksack, the cheese sweaty and stinking, filled him up just the same as some piece of meat coated in jus.
As she plastered a smile on her face he absently rubbed his chest, not that the contact could eradicate the pain that he….
“Keep going. You’ve finally hit on something here.”
“I don’t have the time.”
“Find the time.”
“Are you joking me? I am 38 weeks pregnant and have a toddler to care for and I am about to move house. Do you think I have time to continue a story about a dying man and some rocks?”
“Find the time.”
“He dies….the end.”
“Was it at sunset?”