March : Les Miserables (Part Two)

“There comes an hour when protest no longer suffices; after philosophy there must be action;” ~Victor Hugo

If you haven’t read the first part of this month’s post, find it here.

So, more Les Miz! Not only did Hugo’s great masterpiece impel me to get out the sketchbook, but it also inspired a little writing.

I was thinking of the scene at the end of the musical, (which reduced me to sobs), where Fantine comes for Jean Valjean as he dies. This piece is inspired by that.

That is a nasty cough, she said. She said, and she smelled like rosemary around her lips (bitter), beeswax around the tips of her fingers.

And that was unimaginable, the beeswax.

The shift was lace, it was so lace, it made him think about something small and chocolate he’d tasted once. So lace.

We will throw you to the dogs.

They are not real.

They are not real?

They were walking together, pale toes upon boards that crept up along the walls.

“What color is it?” he whispered. He walked going back and forth, stiff legs like masts from narrow hips, a bone-cage.

“It is gray.”

“Are you sure?”

“You are only color-blind, you are sometimes right.”

The sunlight or the song-light came up through the spaces beneath their feet and there was no lichen because the place, for all its grayness, was very clean.

“Since I last saw you, my mind has fallen into disrepair.”

“It has?”

“I have become better.” The words skated from his dry lips, his dry mouth. “I feel like I’m turning into a lizard.”

“You’re not.”

The whispers were warm yet there was no heart in that place, no air, no breath. They were not cold.

“You have entropied since I last saw you.” She was gazing quietly ahead as she spoke, he was looking down, at his raisin-edged toes.

“If I were to lay down on this bridge and sleep, what would happen to me? What would happen to you? Would I wake up?”

If there is an Otherworld, (it was written in the sand, sand cold sharp and wet), an Otherworld in all the inside peaks of roofs and dirt and behind the eyes, then what use is today? Then what use are the back and forths and checklists? Then what use are the shirts and the pants and the errands?

He gazed quietly down, translucently white toe-pads feeling, caressing the frozen grains, caught in the cracks of his softness.

“That looks like it was drawn with a finger.”

“That is not the point.” she whispered. It was a land of whispers—perhaps that was the answer.

“I know that is not the point.” His eyes were closed around the wrinkles. “Do not make me tell you the point.”

Haven’t read Les Miz? Haven’t watched it? Haven’t listened to it? Have no fear! Behold, more affiliate links!

~Phlox

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