Life in Blue


I wanted a real life; I have it now. Nature all around, not one electricity pole on the horizon. In the vicinity of the house, all is violent: the sea beating the breakers, the sun crushing us all year long, the sweltering heat in summer. On TV: ultra-tanned guys, overly well-endowed girls. This could sum up life in northern Queensland, Australia, and this is the life that I wanted to live more than anything in the world... except for the paparazzi who have been camping in front of my place for some time now. However, never in my life would I have been photographed had She not come knocking on my door one day in 2013; that is, precisely today. The role of biology and science can explain many things, but certainly not what has been brewing since She forced her way into my life. The minute She crossed my doorstep, I had an unpleasant intuition that the best was behind me. She was all blue, usually a sign of ill health, but this did not apply to Her at all. Rather a tough cookie, She could withstand tides, cyclones, earthquakes. It was clear that she did not carry the seed of her end from birth and this probably meant I would be stuck with Her all my life.

As She rushed into my place, She had the defiant look and attitude so typical of those who doubt nothing. True, She really was very beautiful, with her entirely see-through dress and her never-ending legs, but the speed at which She made herself comfortable still puzzled me. She started by redecorating the whole house, no less! I tried to put a stop to it with a good telling-off, but it made no difference at all; it was as if I were screaming silently and no-one could hear me, especially not Her. It was then that I realised I was caught in a fatal cycle. It was in this dazed state that I noticed She had swapped my tapestries for bright blue wallpaper, the crystal chandeliers for deceptively realistic algae-shaped decorations and the side tables for enormous rocks. I might as well face it: my house is now under the yoke of hostile occupation. I open a kitchen cupboard to take a saucepan; instead I grab one of those giant seashells that hold within them the sound of waves. So, yes, I may only be vulnerability, but She is just trickery. And to top it all, She is trying to seduce me! I see it in her way of leaving wet kisses in the hollow of my neck, some sort of carnal ritual. But in any case, I am deprived of the mental resources needed to turn her down. In these conditions, I have no choice but to tell myself that this will pass, that it is just a bad dream. I remain considerate, in total contrast with the state of our home. Even if the house is already well-battered, I intend to keep it clean and tidy at all costs, at least as far as possible. So I pick up the rocks She leaves here and there with her fervent comings and goings, I readjust the ripped netting on the bedroom windows, I pick up the rubbish dumped in the middle of the living room: used tyres and disembowelled tin cans. I start hallucinating, I feel that I am being followed by crabs. But the worst only happens a little later, when I find myself in a swimsuit and weighed down by a big stone, as if I were about to free dive, without tanks. Bizarrely, it is then that I feel the weight of the sea, here, on my shoulders. I have a lump in my throat, I feel oppressed, but, after a brief moment, inexplicably, I no longer care to breathe. From now on, my physical appearance means nothing. I rip out my messy hair, because it eases my movements, especially when I go looking for sponges at the bottom of my big bathtub. The weight of the water compresses my diaphragm and squeezes my lungs under my shoulders at their uppermost point. But I submit to the pressure without fighting, perfectly relaxed. As a child, I was told that my lungs were no bigger than an apple, but now they are swollen right up, they fill out my rib cage and feel huge. This thought heartens me while a sort of solemn gaiety fills me. But the feeling does not last; it is quickly replaced with total incomprehension, “Oh dear, what is happening to me?” Panic is taking over and, feeling that I am reaching my physical limits, I beg my guest to leave. Of course She refuses, threatening to break everything and to starve me of air if I ask her once again. Air, I have very little of, to tell the truth, as She is becoming increasingly jealous of the eyes that fall on me insistently. She categorically refuses to let me leave the house but, in a way, this is fine by me, because I am scared of feeling like an intruder outside my new environment. Indeed, She may know this and maybe She only means well, who knows? So I co-operate as much as possible, complying with her every summons, praising her off-handed ramblings. But, despite this, the situation is getting worse and, undoubtedly, reaches its pinnacle when She begins using witchcraft. She enters me and invades my body. She starts with my feet and works her way up. And there, where She passes, She makes all sensation disappear, all human perception. But it is only when She wants to make me melt into the background that I become conscious once again of where I really am: under the warm seas of the Great Barrier Reef. My eyes open wide and my heartbeat slows down gently but surely, and at the moment my electrocardiogram becomes almost flat, a speedboat rushes right by my head at full throttle. Everything is normally so calm and quiet; it can only be a little bothersome misadventure, maybe even the echo of a life lived on the run, where too many overbooked people just rush from one place to another. But, strangely, when my heart starts beating a little faster, I understand that She is not my finish line, on the contrary. I breathe once again, almost indiscernibly, air goes in and out of my lungs to the rhythm of my resurging heartbeat. It is then that, in a break from this vindictive embrace, I am ripped away from Her and She from me. The chorus of the song Je t'aime, moi non plus echoes around my skull and I realise with astonishment that She has left, truly gone, leaving the house in its original holiday-like state. Only a glimmer in my eye gives away my relief: so She has finally withdrawn, as only nature can do, like the sea with its tides. Transformed in my mind as in my body, I am determined to make the most of this second chance handed to me by my rescue from the arms of this possessive drifter over there, near the fringing reefs where, at times, paparazzi divers snap away at exotic fish dancing among the coral walls and, at times, they save lives.

O.V.


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