The Intoned Procrastination of the Living-Dead

By Riham Adly

In the Soledad Club Barroom, he wasn’t just a dream or a memory from another life and certainly not some wishful whiskey-induced hallucination. The crowd came between us. I stood transfixed like someone witnessing the end of the world while bodies swayed to the crooning, sandpaper voice of Billie Holiday. How could anyone dance to “Gloomy Sunday”? He took a step, just one step closer to the dance floor, and just like in dreams, my throat drowned my voice deeper into myself. I tasted the metallic comfort of bitterness as my mouth took shape with every letter in his name. I thought he was mine for good, on that rainy day, when his country forced him to run, when mine forced him to hide, when the world forced him to let go of his rose-red rosary faith, when working in the Soledad Club Barroom forced him to denounce his degree in Political Science because tips were good, and yes…when I forced myself to believe he was my twin flame. That’s when he decided he was tired of it all. He left the bar, the silver cuff links I gave him, and the scent of his touch. Outside, I watched him leave me, again, like leaves flying off without goodbyes. I also watched the trees resist the storm to stay rooted where they’ve been all their lives. Time cannot roll on itself like a carpet. If only it could stand still. I heard music: a serenade inscribed on a tombstone, and realized it was the wind’s secret language: Heaven and Earth only met in storms.

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Riham Adly is a first reader in Vestal Review Magazine. Her fiction has appeared in journals such Bending Genres, Connotation Press, Spelk, and The Cabinet of Heed, Vestal Review, Anti-Heroine Chick and Danse Macabre, and Writing in a Woman’s Voice. She has forthcoming stories in Brilliant Flash Fiction, Five:2: One, and Dastan World Magazine. She was recently short-listed in the Arab-Lit Translation Prize. Riham lives with her family in Gizah, Egypt.

5 thoughts on “The Intoned Procrastination of the Living-Dead”

  1. This makes separation from someone you love/like look so poetic, almost beautiful, despite the pain. I loved the simile – like leaves flying off without goodbyes!

    I found these sentences beautiful:
    He left the bar, the silver cuff links I gave him, and the scent of his touch.
    I also watched the trees resist the storm to stay rooted where they’ve been all their lives.

    Beautiful writing Riham. Poetry in prose!

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