Eternities : Erko

At the journalist’s party a man sitting on two blue plastic milk crates piled one on top of the other loses his balance and begins to topple slowly backwards into the greenery. His fall so protracted that the man sitting next to him has time to take from his outstretched right hand the glass of a particularly fine red wine before any more of it cascades down over his white trousers and brown sandals and onto the concrete below. The half dozen other guests sitting around the table, the dozen or so standing nearby, take only a mild and passing interest in the progress of the falling man : it isn’t likely he will hurt himself, even a little bit, but there may be collateral damage to his dignity or his amour-propre that might be worth seeing. The only one paying real attention is his girlfriend, who gives a cry of alarm and half stands up from the chair on his left side where she has been sitting listening to the balding, earnest man on her other hand pay twisted court to her. The falling man sees all of this, including his own agonised topple, in slow-mo : the ballooning, comically distorted faces peering down at him; the drooping greenery of palms and vines rising up over; faint brown stars in the night-brown sky . . . sounds too are booming, elongating, doppling, as if he was falling into some kind of vortex, as if an aperture in spacetime had opened behind him and some equivocal force from beyond was sucking him into an alternate, probably malign, universe. Well that’s of course true but it won’t be for long, moments only; then he’ll rise, blush, dust himself off, apologise, reassure, reclaim his drink, re-establish himself. And yet : in those moments some ineffable translation happens, some occult adjustment of soul, some realignment of possibilities, after which he will be profoundly altered. And all else too. It is as the book says – the redeemed world will be the same but not as this is. It’s theology without god. It’s nothing. Everything. He sips from the savioured glass. The faint brown stars in the brown night sky go silver again. The sky forever black. And the blood trickling silent and unseen over his left shoulder blade and down his back the ichor of a wine dark sea.

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