I never even told you, did I? Now, I am not saying she was not pretty, not my type. After all, eleven years will make an honest liar out of anyone! Thing is, I don’t know what the thing is? She just sat there, jesus, she just, well, sat there, looking at the river? I thought she was going to throw herself in and drown. Of course, I would save her, become a hero, and she would love me ever after. And, of course, that is not what happened.
Still, just down there, on the banks of the river. See her? It is Lucerne. It is Switzerland. It is summer. This is not america. There are topless girls everywhere. (Why is it ok for men to be topless but not girls?) Never mind.
I am on the bank. I see her. I want her. Althought I cannot see her clearly. It is when she does that, that I REALLY want her. What does she do? Christ. How can I say that? How can you picture this? You are on a slope. OK? It is the river’s edge. OK? There are topless girls all around you. OK? It is a really, really hot summer’s day in Lucerne. OK? OK. Then, alone as you are, you look up there. That means, you just turn your head a bit. You see her. She is totally covered up, as far as you are able to make out. And then? She does it! She reaches both arms down. Grabs her “top” and pulls up. First you see her flat belly. You want to look away, but you cannot. And, anyway, this is all in slowmo. She continues to pull, and her left breast, the one you can actually see? Gets caught in the movement. It rises up with the pull, then, just releases itself and falls down again, bouncing. Her nipple is hard, you see. She must be anticipating the cold, you think. Her arms continue the movement, it is all just one movement, like, really, she does not give a fuck what happens to that top? And, well, she lets it go when her arms get back there, moves her body forward, and before you can even say “NIPPLE” she is in the cold water, swimming upstream. She has not even seen you, and she never will. This you know, how? Because you do not talk to people who could talk back. You choose idiots. That is all.
So, you watch her swim. Upstream. And every stroke she takes you take with her. If only she knew! Instead, you pack up your tomato and quinoa sandwich and leave. Meanwhile, her top and the remains of her cigarette burn in your memory.
I walk to where she has discarded her top. I pick it up. And watch her swim. When she has had enough, she comes to shore. I am waiting, with her top. Thanks , she says, without looking. She does not give a shit. Thing is, neither do I. I see her shrivelled skin. Her cold body. Wet. Cold. Would you like a warm coffee? I ask. No. A warm vodka would be nice, you know, like Sake, but not? With fish n chips? We go to the bar in the center of the park. Everyone is there. Eating. It is , after all, Switzerland. And we are by a lake. And it is summer, so the place is packed. We find a table and sit down. What call you, they? I say. She looks. At me. Through me. She says, name? My name? Is Elodie. I come, no, not from here. Something happens and I know we are using their language to say things we already know.
She glows. I can see it. I know her. This is Zana! Do you have my top? She asks, making me realize, she has walked all this way topless. Is sitting here, topless? Of course, as I said, this is Switzerland, not america, so nobody is looking. At her.
I hand her the top, and she puts it on. Slips it on. It goes over like I remember it coming off. Just backwards. This time? The breast is pushed downwards. And I find myself thinking, why? Why was she not barred for being human? Barred for being a girl? It takes me a few moments of watching to realize we are not in america.
Do you play? She asks. Play what? I say? Er, doh!! Guitar, of course! Like everyone else? No. So you don’t play? she says? No. I mean , yes. I play, just not like everyone else. You? I know you she says, screwing up her face. No, you don’t, I say, not screwing up my face.
She asks me if I would like a real Polish vodka, at her place. Sure. Let’s go, I said. So, we finished the chips and the fresh caught fish. And leave. You know that you are weird, right? She says? So, takes one to know one, I say.
She laughs. It is a light laugh and breaks my heart. Well, it would break it if I had one. That was a long time ago.
Her place when we get there smells of oils. It smells of massage, of lying down. It is a peaceful place. I tell her. Thank you , she says, taking off her top and lying down. There is some oil there, she says, looking at the table. Middle of my back. There, now, she says.
I do as I am told and pick up the bottle on the way to her. At the last minute, my hands full of oil, she turns. Her breasts all of a sudden do not look so small. Her nipples are pointing at me, requiring attention, it seems.
Like me? She says? I like you. I answer. Her skin is soft and hard at the same time. Access from above, but not in. It says. So, I go above. And, do I like it? Yes, I like it. Until she asks me, if I do. What do you like about that? That it is free? Do you pay for women? She asks. I could smack her now. But I don’t . What? I ask instead?
OK, she says, let us start again. Do you like me? Yes. Why? I don’t know. I feel safe with you. What? YOU feel safe with me? I am but a girl! She laughs that laugh again, like raindrops falling off of rose petals, I think. You are weird, she says. Then we hear the knock at the door. We look at each other. Both of us know they have found us.
I was a strange knock. Like a seeking knock. Zana looks at the door. She is totally calm. And I see our past. How I followed her, on orders, to protect her? From, what? It becomes clear to me. Not from humans. The door breaks down. Zana just sits there. The damp top sticks to her and I cannot help watching her nipples harden. They come in the door. They are tall. Smiling. Are they bots? I think? Zana does not move. She just looks. Yes? She says? It is then that one of them raises what looks like some kind of weapon. Zana just raises her hand, facing them. Don’t ask how I know. I just knew. Zana, I say, please? But, I can see her. Face and nipples hard. She looks at them and says “down” as she lowers her hand. They fall down. I do not know why, but I feel terribly sad. Zana? She turns to look at me. And that face is framed perfectly , those huge brown eyes, in that blond hair framework in that angular face. There is nothing in that face. No emotion. They must die. She says. Zana, please, no, I say. That face just turns, looks at them, then breaths in. They literally deflate before my eyes. I kmow what she can do. Well, I have been “told” what she can do. Do not annoy this girl, they said, over and over again. Just don’t. I felt my hand on my forehead. Zana, we should go, I said. Where? she asked? Where they will not find us again!! I said, really, really full of hope. They will always find us, she said, it is what they are programmed to do.
That was the thing about Zana. I remembered now. I knew her. She was a “criminal” an “agitator” , a wanted thing.