City 11.24

“I’m driving through a tunnel. The walls are blistered. Do you know where I could be?”

“Look for the green signboard. What does it read?”

“Reads… City Eleven Point Two Four.
Four kilometers.”

“What?”

“City Eleven Point Two Four. In large bold letters.”

“Is something wrong with you? It would read Pune.”

“When you lived here, did the hills come folding down? Wrap you cold?”

“What do you mean?”

“You were carried away, weren’t you?”

“By what?”

“The persistent chill. The smell of quaint houses. Of the fine, short grass, of deserted winding roads, the brittle air. All of it. ”

“It was never the city. It was us.”

“It was the city. It is always the city. Ripping our minds apart. Don’t you see the trap?”

“It doesn’t read City Eleven Point Whatever, the signboard. It’s just the way you see it.”

“That reminds me of the time you said nothing had changed between us; that it was just the way I was looking at things.”

“Keep an eye on the next signboard.”

“City Eleven Point Two Four.
Two kilometers. Should I stop? There is something amiss.”

“Keep driving. I’ve traveled that road for years. It wouldn’t deceive you.”

“I trust you.”

“How’s the weather there?”

“Strange wetness in the wind.”

“Forget the signboards. Keep driving.”

“I won’t know if I’ve reached.”

“You will.”

“How come?”

“Because I lived there.”

“I love you.”

“Wait, we’re not talking. You know that, right?”

“What do you mean?”

“This voice. It’s all in your mind.”

“You’re lying.”

“Drive on. You will figure it all out.”


Photo: Le Miroir, Andreï Tarkovski
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