I am in the heart of the Maeght foundation – its modern architecture housing the works of great artists. Fernard Leger, Alexander Calder, Joan Miro, Alberto Giacometti. I look down onto the village I came from, its delicate web of alleyways clearer from above, the intricate planning creates a masterpiece. From the distance, I see the fresh grass, laden with dew, swayed as the overpowering wind bent them. The millions of stalks skinny and weak; stuck with weights on their back. My hair tousled, swayed. It was lifted up to the glorious light, glimmering as each strand shone a red brown. The still townhouses stand surrounded with the green freshness of gardens, the blanket of olive trees, cypresses and grape vines - the only thing missing is the people who remain unconscious.
The courtyard is large – I walk from the glass doors onto the pale brown bricks and scan the scene around me. My eyes brush over the white concrete walls, skinny grey statues, a cobblestone wall. My feet tap against the surface, I walk forward but stop and beside me it was there looking at me; Giacometti’s masterpiece walked toward me. My eyelids blinked to clear my sight. It was the Walking Man: frozen in time, silent, mid step, malnourished. Its sunken eyes haunted me, bringing up the old images of the previous war – its atrocities. I averted my gaze, moving toward the elegant roses growing by the side. Each petal perfect, pointing toward the sun with eternal longing as the dew droplets collect inside. I walked home, retracing my invisible steps from this morning– passing the empty gardens. Looking closer, all I see is weeds. They have taken over. They concealed themselves once before but now stand tall, the wind can no longer break them. And as I walk through the valley, the sun shines down on me: my shadow stretched out behind me as though the walking man had followed me home.
My warmth lingered on the bed sheets as I got up, moving on toward the day ahead. The floor creaked as my numb feet stepped into the kitchen. Silence. There were no birds calls this morning. Perhaps they have begun to migrate early this year.
I flick the switch on, the radio woke with a crackle and then began to play. ’I read the news today oh, boy. About a lucky man who made the grade. And though the news was rather sad. Well, I just had to laugh…’ The singer’s velvet voice penetrated the silence. ‘I saw a film today oh, boy. The English army had just won the war. A crowd of people turned away...’ The song moved on, progressively until it all came together. A collision of instruments, elevating, dysfunctional. I turned it off. Silence once again. What was that? Why did I feel so strange? Why, could I not bear the sounds that broke this empty stillness? It was too quiet – the television flickered on.
A foreign voice rang out, sharp and intelligent. “It seems to me that most of you are poorly informed about the goings of the war. They say nothing about the right explanation of your persons over here.” The picture forms; black hair and a small face. I realise she is Vietnamese. The bare trees loomed behind her; their dark arms skinny and sharp. “Nothing is more confused than to be ordered into a war to die or to be maimed for life, without a faintest idea of what’s going on. Isn’t it clear that the war makers are tampering with your lives, while pocketing huge profits?” My head spun: I do not need such thoughts this early in the morning. I turned off the television; grabbing my coat as I made my way down the spiralling stairs, my hollow footsteps echoing.
“Test starting on 6th August 1970. 0800 hours. Minus one minute. Minus forty seconds. Close eyes. I repeat: close eyes. Minus thirty. Twenty five. Ten. Eight. Five. Four. Three. Two. One. Zero.” An almighty heat seared through the plain and though the cloud gathered in the air, there was silence. It had a brilliant flash: the bones visible through flesh and skin as people covered their eyes. Stretched shadows scarred the ground, cast over nearby structures now abandoned and scorched. After, they turned toward the beautiful cloud and the fantastic orange-black flame – its mass rising into the sky in a pure, enormous inferno. They turned to watch in awe while a ripple in the sky steadily enlarged. They saw the trees bend toward them and then they too had been blown to the ground. It was then a bang echoed, loud and clear – deafening. And then there was silence as the people glanced toward each other in both awe and horror.
The crisp air embraced me, creeping through my bones as I stepped out into the sleeping city. The fog hung over the buildings, creeping through the cracks of rooms to share the coldness. The loose pebbles crunched under my feet, dislodged and eroded. They left scars, the bare shells they once lived now sunken into the ground like eye sockets . The door slammed shut. I ventured forward on the narrow cobblestone path, winding my way through the maze of buildings. My arms outstretched, as my ice-cold fingers trailed across the coarse stone walls. My movements swift and calculated – my memory working to guide me past the trickling water fountain, its engraved grooves bearing the spores of fungi; past the barred windows bearing small trinkets and kitchen utensils with small tags attached; through the labyrinth of Saint-Paul-De-Vence. I found my way to the Place du jeu de boules where the century old plane trees spread wide and tall, their branches knobbed and stubby. And as I left the town centre I looked toward the hilly terrain before me, the protective stone walls stood behind me as the Tour de la Fondule, the village’s defence tower, surveyed the valley. There is a hum. It gets louder and louder only to fade away once again. The wings cut through the air until finally, it disappeared into the concealing clouds.
The planes flew by in a low drone. Thousands of people lined up in front of the arch which read ‘Let all the souls here rest in peace, for we shall not repeat the evil.’ One by one, they solemnly walked toward the centre; gazing through the arch at the peace pond and flame to finally rest their eyes on the remains of the Dome. They tilted their heads in a bow, respecting the ones who had suffered. A hibakusha, a survivor of the bombs, walked up with a slight limp and bowed deeply. She closed her eyes, a strange warmness emerging in her face and whispered “25 years… 25 years since we were in a living hell.”
Night has fallen. I walk through the narrow walkways of my city and remember the crackling radio as the instruments collided to create a thick, chaotic noise. I had heard there had been another test today. I wonder as I look up into the empty space above me. Those stars in the sky shine as they overlook this world – perfect and pure in all their glory. They are untainted as they watch each light on this earth fade away to nothing, as mere men destroy themselves. And they will turn away, to ignore this destructive mass – ignoring the ugliness life has become. Then, we will be alone in darkness; deserted. Waiting for the end – hoping for the white light to greet us. Would that give us peace? Or will that only further our misery? Will we meet our creator? Or will we meet his nemesis?
- Title: A day in the life
- Artist: 123_artemis
Drawing upon multiple contextual references and set on the 6th August, 1970. See if you can pick them all out. Another creative writing for my English course - Enjoy (though it is not the happiest of stories). Also, I should say that this is to do with the consciousness/thinking of the time during the Cold War Period - thus all the references to actual events/stories/songs.
Comment, Rate, Critique.
Thankyou very much
- Date: 08/07/2012
- Tags: life
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