Revelin's Lament, a short story by ryburndl. Date added: 2011-01-06. Times viewed: 1176.
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- Intro: A slip of time, a small purpose for maintaining existence....
“Understand, ye sons of the wise, what this exceedingly precious stone proclaims….’And my light conquers every light, and my virtues are more excellent than all virtues…I begat the light, but the darkness too is of my nature….’” Hermes Tristamegistus in Rosarium
Lunchtime. Revelin regretted leaving Lyotard’s La Condition postmoderne: rapport sur le savior, a gift from an "Alexandra", where Rachelle would discover it. This Alexandra had prophetically inscribed the book, “Non plus papillonner, mon Destiné”. Revelin anguished over who she might be. His anguish manifested in quick, prickly emotions like hedgehogs trailing off to hide in the hedgerows of his consciousness. This Revelin was not aware that he was with Alexandra at that precise moment.
Rachelle in her fury would have none of Revelin's professed innocence. Now, she was "gone-gone, gone beyond, gone altogether beyond, O what an awakening, all hail!"
Revelin’s existence as a sphere of knowledge became redundant. He now understood the irony and the futility of intellect. He recognized the loss of Rachelle as another of an absent God’s cosmic jokes.
Decidedly disturbed, Revelin reflected on the frijoles negros and arroz amarrillo on the bone white china plate trimmed with a golden band of Galician Celtic symbols before him. The meal refused to yield to his analysis, to ascend to particle and wave. The only energy he need consume. He was reaching with disgust for a spurious spoon as Allison, his server, brought the check.
Allison Constable, who’s dangling rich, black curls demanded to be caressed at midnight, wore black slacks, a white Asturias peasant’s blouse and an apron of antimony yellow. Completely distracted in deep thought, Allison absently asked this strange man “Would you care for a box?”
She knew he lived with a very beautiful young woman named Rachelle who while high-strung and most-surely quite insane had captivated Allison. Allison had never been with a woman but knew she would if Rachelle merely took her hand. Rachelle and this oddball, Revelin, lived in an upstairs flat of her incestuous father’s house.
Allison never understood why Revelin ordered food but never ate it. Her indifference to his agitation was however, momentarily calming to Revelin.
Revelin slowly moved his hand away from the wretched spoon. He silently sought the dark stones of Allison’s eyes with the liquid hazel of his own. That was when she saw it. A yellow jaguar with black rosette spots sprung from the tablecloth. The jaguar severed Revelin’s head with one swipe of its claw. The jaguar just as suddenly disappeared. Revelin’s corpse fell to the floor with a soft, plopping thud. Revilin's head rolled crazily, circling around the floor thumping like a broken rabbit's leg each time one of his ears hit the floor.
Allison left his receipt on the blood-splattered table, turned and steadily walked away leaving Revelin’s bleeding corpse and head to the curious kitchen dog’s black tongue. She did not notice the cryptic messages the blood spreading out on the black and white tiles revealed. The restaurant had been for many years a Scottish Rite Masonic lodge.
Allison had witnessed Revelin’s madness before. She had learned it is best to just walk away. Her shift would be over soon. Oddly, Allison was suddenly sure of how she would end her father’s assaults. She would slit the bastard’s throat tonight with one of his own kitchen knives while he drunkenly plunged into her. Tonight!
Revelin’s body parts would be dragged out into the alley by the kitchen staff where decrepit nonagenarian, senescent old men with digital cameras on short tripods would take pictures of his decaying body as it transformed into a salamander and slithered away.
There being no arbiter of quality, these photos would be posted on social networking sites within the hour. Allison never visited these sites. She preferred metaphysical chat rooms instead, where she posed as a male tantric massage therapist who specialized in energy work.
Revelin, now a salamander, vainly sought Rachelle at the back doors of neighborhood bars. He was overwhelmed with nostalgia for reddish stones that whispered forbidden names in immense, empty deserts where he first remembered Rachelle (or was that Alexandra, now he was not sure.). He was hungry for Sicily. Drunkenly he slithered back to the room he once shared with Rachelle.
Revelin’s remorse was interrupted by a loud thumping at the door. Allison’s father was demanding the back rent. He also demanded Revelin pay for the damage Rachelle had done to the building with the Lalique glassware they had brought back from St. Julia, Andorra. She had broken vases and miniature figurines of angels playing musical instruments against the hallway walls and doors to other rooms, causing great damage. Revelin missed Rachelle, sure.
He had been naïve; he had thought Rachelle was expressing semiotic realism when she had said, “Good-bye”. But Rachelle for once was being tripartite and concrete.
Her body now a subtle, remote absence, her jasmine-scented, waist-length cranberry-tinted hair still filled his hands, his mouth, with its complexities of aroma and tactility. In his disjunctive mind the soft undersides of her knees still quivered and yielded to his tongue, a tongue like ten salamanders at once. Her breath was still a crowned dragon forever circling the labyrinth of Revelin’s ribs, the webbing of his limbs.
Revelin embraced the sol niger, the Monogonistic dark night. He now knew what Rachelle had meant when she had spoken to no one, “Venus said, “I begat the light, and the darkness is not of my nature….””
Revelin had first appeared to Rachelle as a ghost carrying a jade axe entwined with three sweet alyssum leaves. She spurned the handful of grain he offered. She said, “It is only real when it is known.”
Later he became the blackish seeds of sunflowers in the abandoned garden of a closed cloister where Rachelle would sit in the wild grasses and read Le Chanson de Roland in the Old French. He adored her exponentially as turbulent twin silvery winds had shook him, murderously swaying and spreading ecstatically into the garden.
Revelin had never experienced reason nor felt lost in chaos. He claimed a mediocre, tenuous existence. He felt as a bubble in an eighth dimension. An entity with no goals, a sine qua non;
(Ezekiel had known him as four living creatures.) Alexandra, he now vaguely recalled, knew him as tangential, what she described as a dream she was not sure had occurred or was not now continuing.
To the enlightened he appeared as dozens of silver spheres falling gently from nowhere, as a pack of gray wolves in the sky racing against rapidly darkening clouds.
On many Saturday afternoons he worked as a day laborer where he very much enjoyed driving airport shuttle buses and cabs with the radio blasting the Metropolitan Opera. These were his true moments of sanctuary.
He scarcely remembered an existence where he spent his days sweeping the garage of his home in Webb City, Missouri where he lived with his Belorussian wife of twenty-two years, Katoshka.
Then he had repeatedly whistled the aria, “Dove il valor combatte” from Vivaldi’s Orlando Furioso, while sweeping the garage. Momentarily forgetting Rachelle, Revelin slightly turned his head and fleetingly saw Katoshka, weeping as she leaned against the frame of the screen door leading from the kitchen to the garage. He struggled to smile at Katoshka but something deep inside of him refused to allow it. The vision faded as his thoughts once again returned to Rachelle.
Revelin knew that the dismal fate of Zagreus was also reserved for him. He had walked away from the walls of culture. He had faced the Wheel of Fortune card backwards on a mirror. Revelin recognized the meaninglessness of the apotropaic words “occult” and “mystic’.
He had believed that Rachelle, more than anyone, would understand that he did not, could not truly exist. He had wrongly believed that Rachelle would covet the idea of his true life of God living as a dreaming salamander. That he was at this very moment in the southern mountains of the Netherlands with Alexandra making love on the fresh grave of Cees Nooteboom.
Rachelle had recently spoken to no one, “All things must be ruled by the light.” Revelin had thought the detached Rachelle was simply saying, “Good-bye” in another of her subtle ways of saying it. He now realized she had said “Good-bye” long ago, when they first embraced.
She had kissed him three times in the ancient Rus way, her small, firm breasts pressed against him. His eyes closed, he did not see her moss-laden eyes wander toward the back door. He remembered that she had whispered as if to no one, “Darkness is the absence of light; I do not see a magic spark.”
He desperately tried to forget having ever read Nietzsche. He recalled seeing tiny golden snakes proscribing magic circles in the dark wood of an ordinary walnut bar at Molly McHugh’s Irish pub where Rachelle had first served him a pint of Guinness.
Rachelle with one silent act of wiping the magic circles away with a pure, white cloth trimmed in cross-stitched tiny red roses had caused him to know existence, to know love. That one act had revealed the secrets of the Sphinx, had shown him the exact center of the world at Harney Peak. Revelin achieved illuminatio.
Revelin realized his wound was so deep it would never heal. He wept. Rachelle pretended not to notice. Having let the Guinness sit half-full for several moments, she pulled the handle of the tap down, her eyes measuring the foam in the glass, watching the serrated spoon sifting the malt to make the liquid creamy and smooth while forming a Celtic Cross in the foam.
Satisfied, she placed the glass in front of Revelin and said, “This one’s on me, Sweetie-pie, my pie-pie.”
This was all past now. The landlord, using his pass key, opened the door to the crazy couple’s room. A salamander crawled silently across the windowsill and out the gap of the slightly opened window. Looking around the landlord saw no sign of anyone having ever been in the room with the exception of a Favole Tarot card, the Wheel of Fortune, turned backwards in the antique mirror that hung on the wall and some twisted weeds lying between the pillows on the bed.
Confused but suddenly, strangely overcome with desire, he fled the room and rushed down the stairs to his daughter, Allison's, room. “Just one more time”, he thought as he inserted his pass key into the slot, “Just one more time!”
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