Chapter 11: High


Beautiful dawn

 Lights up the shore for me

There is nothing else in the world

I’d rather wake up and see, with you

 

Mark remembered the words very well, yet he couldn’t remember the name of the song. As he walked out of his hotel room, hands in his pocket and eyes on the floor, he could almost hear the song playing in his head. He slowly moved his eyes upwards as he approached Lana. She was standing on a small veranda in the lobby, watching the sun rise. She wore loose, blue cotton trousers and a white T-shirt. She wrapped herself up in a Luis Vuitton shawl. He didn’t see her face, for she stood facing the panorama-view window. She had been out of the hospital for almost a month now. Finally, she was able to walk again. Mark was going to leave New York after her parents’ arrival, but Lana begged him to stay. Her father told him it was important for Lana’s recovery to have him around her. He said he was going to pay for his stay there. Mark told him it wasn’t a matter of money – even though it was; not entirely, but to some extent – nevertheless, if Lana wanted him there, he simply couldn’t say no.

Now Lana’s parents had left for Cairo two days ago. Lana and Mark were to follow them by the end of the week. She just had to stay for her final check up with the doctor, and her parents had to leave because business was pressing back in Cairo and Sara was returning from her summer camp; she needed some company at home. So Mark offered to stay with her.

Things have been quite different between the two of them. What Mark had first taken for mixed signals now proved to be something much more real. Now whenever they talked, he could see that joy in Lana’s eyes that he once had seen when she talked to Baher. No, it wasn’t the same, it was so much stronger. Last week he touched her hand. She was reaching out for her cell phone and he handed it to her as he grabbed her hand. Their hands remained interlocked for a moment, then she pulled away hers, not out of disapproval, but rather out of bashfulness.

“Beautiful scene, eh?” he said standing beside her. She was startled; she even gave out a slight tremble. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you so.” He said gently touching her shoulder, feeling the softness of her Luis Vuitton Shawl. She looked up at him with her almond, brown eyes. They looked so different at this light; like they were shining yet at the same time fading. “I thought I’d come and watch the sunrise.”

“Oh, so it’s a scene you’re familiar with?” she asked still looking at him.

“Not really, no.”

“Yeah, me neither.” She now looked back at the sun. It was just beginning to appear. “As a matter of fact, I hate sunrise.”

He laughed. “Than why did you wake up at this hour to watch it?”

“I couldn’t sleep. I was thinking about what happened at the theatre; the accident, you know. And it just occurred to me that if I had died at that moment, I would’ve died without ever witnessing the sunrise.”

Mark paused for a while, then he resumed. “You know, I’m not the biggest fan of this time of day myself. Something about the color of the sky at that particular time gets me really depressed. It’s like neither light nor dark, just an in-between.” He pointed at something with his hand. “I hate in-betweens.” He said suddenly dropping his hand and loudly clapping it against his leg.

He looked at her; she was still staring at the sun. It was now almost entirely rising. The color he had just spoken of was no longer there, now the sky was starting to turn golden. Birds were squeaking loudly. Their sound was almost louder than the sound of the song playing in his mind.

“Are we in an in-between?” he finally asked. The phrase was at the tip of his tongue for a while now, yet he couldn’t bring himself to speak it up. It just kept going back and forth, playing somewhere in his brain and constantly annoying him. He nearly spitted it out. It felt like such a relief.

“What in-between?” asked Lana, at last turning her eyes away from the sun and straight at him.

He shrugged.

“I think we’re pretty clear on everything. I never feel confused around you.” She definitely meant that. That was mainly why she let herself get closer to Mark, why she didn’t miss Mohammad, why she wasn’t sorry that he didn’t call to check on her, not even once. Something about Mark’s easygoing attitude captivated her. She’d hear him talking about his father with such openness and comfort and at the corner of her mind she would try so hard to remember a second when Mohammad talked about either of his parents in that way. All she could remember was she pulling the words out of his mouth, seldom successful to get them absolutely out.

He reached out for her hand again. This time, she not only let him hold her, but she also wrapped her fingers around his. They felt so masculine, so strong. She kept going until she reached the veins sticking out the back of his hand. She could feel his breath on her face. It kept getting hotter and hotter until it stopped. It was now in her mouth. As his lips curled to kiss hers, she gently contributed. She couldn’t understand why at that moment their first kiss flashed in front of her eyes, the one when they were in London, when she could have done anything to get him off her. She quickly dismissed this memory.

The sun was now completely shining, with its golden rays penetrating their hairs. His hair was of a slightly lighter color. But hers was the one that flew around their faces due to a gentle breeze that had just invaded the place. The song was still playing in Mark’s head.

 

But now I’m high

Riding wild among

All the stars above

Sometimes,

It’s hard to believe you’ll remember me

 

Now Mark could eventually remember; the song’s name was high.

 

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