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Neil Young

I Believe in You

FROM ‘MARA, MARIETTA’
Part Five Chapter 14

In the afternoon a taxi pulled up at your door. You opened the door to the ashen face of Marco’s father. He embraced you and then said, ‘Marco’s dead’. You went numb. He explained how it happened, then embraced you again and said, ‘Marco was never happier than when he was with you’. He then left to fly back to Rome.

You collapsed onto the sofa. Pascale and your father, each in turn, took you in their arms. You couldn’t cry. You got up. You had to move. You went into the garden. You could no longer see clearly. You tried in vain to dry your eyes. You went up to your room. You couldn’t enter it: Just hours ago Marco was inside. You sat on the stairs wanting to scream. You couldn’t get a sound out of your throat. In the bathroom you drank directly from the tap: You feared what you might do with a glass, were you to hold one in your hand. You didn’t dare look in the mirror. You decided to go for a walk. You put on your shoes. You no longer wanted to go for a walk.

You asked for a glass of wine. Is this a nightmare? When will I wake up? The wine offered no answers. You went upstairs to your room. This time you entered it and locked the door behind you. You collapsed into your chair and stared at the bed. He appeared, sitting crossed-legged, stripped to the waist. On your tongue you could taste the salt of his skin, his dark skin whose scent of hot stone and wet linen, pine needles and green melon, moved you so. ‘Hold me’, you said to him. He just smiled at you, with that shy smile that would bring forth all your tenderness. ‘Hold me’, you said again. As he reached out, his stark beauty turned bleak; he floated, then faded away. ‘Now that you found yourself losing your mind, are you here again?’: Through your tears you saw his guitar, propped up against the wall. You heard the chords, the loping rhythm; you heard him singing ‘I Believe in You’. He’d taught you that Neil Young song just before he left to go to Vallorbe station. You realized with a shudder that he’d never come back. Your breathing faltered; you fell to the floor and let your tears flow. And then your world turned white.