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The Literary Groong - 02/19/2011

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Agaetis Byrjun
(A New Beginning)

By Ani Boghossian


The thick crimson scarf, the traffic, her clicking boots, the headphones
and all the rush. Delila's going somewhere. `I'm on my way', she
says on the phone and walks briskly through the cold and the thick city
noise.

Sebastien's studio is in a geometrically firm, white building, first
floor. She rings the doorbell. She does not know yet that he prefers it
when people knock. The anticipation of someone opening the door rises
the senses, makes her vulnerable, uneasy, a bit awkward and still not
sure why she is there.

A gently smiling face appears as the door opens and the warm smell of
scented sticks (from an Indian shop, no doubt) drifts onto Delila's
face. Music is somewhere in a far room, where there are computers and
chairs and doodled up walls.

Sebastien says `hello' with a kind grin, an unshaven face, thick
eyebrows. Please take a bow, sir, this is marvelous. Delila suddenly
feels warmer on her fingertips even though it's winter and she's not
wearing gloves.

`I brought food', she says and lifts up the bags she is carrying. He
smiles wider, `Come in'. As she walks in deeper into the studio she
hears the music getting louder, feels the smoke of the scented sticks
caressing her. `Feels like jazz', she thinks and asks `Is that
jazz?' out loud. He nods `aha'. `Nice studio' she says and
looks around an apartment that looks like a normal home. `We do our
work here' he says and opens a door with large screened computers
inside. `Wow', Delila says and walks in. `So you make your films
here?' `Yep'. He stays silent and just looks at her smiling, than
he says `Let's go to the kitchen, I have wine there'. `Ok',
Delila smiles.
She places the bags on the kitchen table and opens them. `So... this
is chicken, I also brought tabbuleh', she says while placing the
plastic food containers on the table.

`Wow, that is so thoughtful of you' he smiles while getting closer.
Because of that Delila feels uneasy. `Err... so where's the wine?'.
`Right here' he says and turns around to the counter. He gets a
bottle opener from the shelf and... `It doesn't work, I can't open
it'. `Let me see', Delila says and now she's the one getting
closer. As she places her hand on the bottle opener their hands touch.
She doesn't show it. He doesn't show it. It's all natural.

`Here', she says and hands him the wine cork. `Great', he
mumbles `Thank you'. He then gets plates, forks, knifes, two wine
glasses. They sit down, he pours the wine. She has her elbows on the
table as she waits for the glass to get full. Perhaps not the highest
etiquette, but charming. `Thank you', she says lightly and takes the
wine-filled glass. `Cheers' he says and they click glasses. She is
not hungry, but drinks the wine and watches him eat. And she likes the
way he cuts the meat, and the way he eats. She smiles. `What?' he
says through the food. `Nothing', she shakes her head. He stops.
`Sorry, I can't eat like this'. He stands up, takes his plate,
puts it next to her plate and sites besides her. `Now that's
better', he says and looks at her with that boyish smile again. `Oh', she says `ok...'. He goes on eating and than asks her why she
doesn't eat. `I'm not hungry'. `Hmm' he says.

He eats more, then stops again. He turns around looking at her. She is
drinking the wine, looking at him with the corner of her eye. He kisses
her shoulder. She puts down the glass, gulps down the wine and spots a
book on the table. `Are you reading that?' she asks as though
nothing just happened. `Yes', he says like it's nothing that she
acts as though nothing just happened. `That book is based on Sevak's
and Sulamite's letters to each other. Do you want me to read a passage
for you'. She smiles a `yes, of course' and they sit on the sofa
at the back of the room.

The softness of the seat reminds Delila that she is tired from work and
had almost no sleep last night. He gives her a pillow. She says thank
you and places it on her lap, pulling her legs up in a curl, resting her
head on the sofa back. He leans back on his seat, opens the book and
flips through the book for the passage he wanted to read. The music is
barely discernible and the rest is silence as he finds the spot and
takes a deep breath to start reading.

When he starts, everything stops, there is his wonderful voice and the
wine's aftertaste in her mouth, her heavy head still leaves her mind
light and clear. She does not know yet that he used to host a radio
show. She finds his voices soothing, swaying her senses in a lullaby,
making her close her eyes. She loves that though. For a second she wakes
up again, spots him reading on. His concentrated face is wonderful. His
hands between pages, he has beautiful hands. She does not know yet that
he thinks the same about her hands.

He thinks she is sleeping. And for a second she spots his voice shaking,
as though wanting to cry, and that second is so deep and moving that she
just shuts her eyes again and drifts on. `Beautiful', she feels.

Then, within the  silence, she opens her eyes, it feels like a flash.
`That was beautiful, Sebastien', she says quietly. He just looks at
her with eyes like the salt of the earth and a concentration beyond
anything she had previously thought possible. She looks back at him.
`You were sleeping', he says quietly with a soft shadow of a smile.
It is not an accusation. `Your voice... it was...' she wants to say.
But stops.

Somewhere in a far room Lizz Wright sings that this is magical. `I
have to go now, it's late'... He looks away. `Ok', he says.
Upset? She gets up and starts picks up her bag, gets her coat. He stand
up. `I'll walk you'. She looks at him and says quickly `no, no
it's alright'. `I'll walk you', he repeats. `That's ok',
she says and grins `I want to be alone for a while'.

`Alright', he says quietly. She says goodbye and hugs him. He walks
her to the door. `Thank you', she says. `Thank you', he says.

The night, the asphalt, people passing by, the sky, the air, it all
feels different. She pulls out the headphones from her bag and places
them on her ears. It is very loud. She doesn't hear the music. She is
walking through the gripping cold, feeling warmer with each step.

She is now near the central square. Her heart skips, exactly three loud,
hard, pounds in her chest. Not more, not less. Three. She stops and
breathes for the first time. She looks around in a calm disbelief.
Everything is clear, relaxed, exact, precise, simple, real. Real real.
`Where are you rushing people?', she asks as cars pass her almost
frozen figure. People walk so briskly, as if they are actually going
somewhere, as the mist from her mouth rises up into the night, lights
everywhere, a vast space. She feels an odd, familiar, real presence, a
very real presence... of God. It feels as though someone has opened a
window in a stuffed room. Someone shook her awake. Someone cleaned the
cobwebs off a dirty window. And she could see. Everything felt too real.
Too exact, simple, with no subsidiary thoughts, no extra-meanings
required. `This could be it' she thinks and listens to the music in
her headset. Sigur Ros - Agaetis Byrjun. Meaning- a good beginning.
She continues walking. This time, towards the signs that are all awake.


--
Ani Boghossian was born in Echmiadzin back in cold, dark 1989. She
still lives in Echmiadzin, yet went to school in Yerevan ("Aghasi
Ayvazyan" Varjaran), She is now in her last year studying
International Relations at Yerevan State University. She has a blog in
Wordpress (nurpages.wordpress.com). She has also created a site for
her artist aunt (lusart.webs.com). She writes in English and in
Armenian and draws and paints as well.

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