The Rhythm of White: C.E. Toldy

The Rhythm of White: C.E. Toldy

First time in love. Well, not exactly, but this is the first time that her body perfectly resonates with another. Love is the meeting and knowing of souls. Her soul’s need is freedom and he impersonates the very idea. He goes to America.

She stays behind, but her love is too intense.

The experience grabs her one day, walking down the street. It is a crisp early morning at the feet of the mountains. The air is full of moisture yet it is warm. There is the promise of a great sunny day. As she is walking in the soft mist she can feel her feet massaging the ground, her toes dynamically moving in the boots, long-striding, languid body. Her walk is almost like a dance, the whole body in a wavelike motion. As she breathes, the air flows freely in and as she breathes out the air joins the universe.

Suddenly she knows, this is love making. Her being is floating on the waves of pleasure. Each inhalation is a new encounter a new caress and touch, filling her and spreading electric impulses to the farthest points in her being – rays of love as she knows it. Each exhalation is her giving in and surrender, acceptance of the power beyond. She loves him but she knows that she is unfaithful, for she is making love with the universe. Her happiness is extreme, almost unbearable. Then the moment passes, but the climax lights up her brain. A total white-out as opposed to black-out, with the pleasure of fulfilment, transformation and return.

Same life, ten years on. She has known him since they were kids, yet he is so mysterious. He seems to have cut off his own roots, hovering without connections. He was adopted. His real parents were Romanies and he does not want to find them.

‘If they rejected me, why should I want to know anything about them after so many years?’

Strangely, he went bald before the age of thirty, there is nothing left of the black curls to remind one of his true origins. He has a darker, yellowish tan, the skin on his shining bald head is strangely appealing. He has beautifully shaped nose and full lips. He is a dancer in a club. His body is his tool.

He is a lost soul, but she has grown out of wanting to save anybody. Just as well the gap between them is too wide, she could not jump so far, or they would both fall into nothingness. Yet she loves him. She loves him like a brother, but this is an incestuous relationship. She knows that sex could make her become infatuated. She runs away.

One day they bump into each other again. He wants to make love with her, yet she is totally satisfied with looking at him. Appreciating his beauty becomes a union that she enjoys with body and soul. They dance.

Her husband is waiting at home.

Same life, but it feels like the end. She has given up wanting to cover the grey stripes, she is looking forward to becoming totally white. It could look dignified with brown skin and glowing blue eyes. Memories hunt her and she is grateful for all of them, for she knows that she had a rich life.

She has just buried her husband of thirty years and has no fear of death anymore. Love does not need bodies. The yearning and desire of the body has caused too many upheavals in her life, she hurt people, she knows. Yet, she managed to remain innocent, she learnt to forgive herself. It was quite an achievement not to become resentful or to allow herself to be victimised.

One sunny day she is told her verdict. She has Alzheimer-disease. She knows what will be her lot. She will lose all her memories. She will be rid of all control. She will be dancing alone. Each day will be a white sheet, each inhalation a new encounter. She will disappear soon, leaving behind her senseless body. She is just sorry for her daughter who will have to watch her slow demise. She apologises and they cry. There is not much to say. They are so different. Her daughter is a saint.

‘I will be fine.’

Then the time comes and she really goes. Her final party is the celebration of the senses. They all come back, she can feel and smell and taste them again. She can make love with all of them, she can travel far, laugh and dance. Pinned to her bed the body is lying in the middle like a broken arrow. On her right her daughter, on her left a carer, a young boyish man with blonde hair and sad eyes. She cannot tell them, but there is no need to be sad. As if he understood, the boy caresses her hand.

Then, a ton of gold is dropped to the ground and she frees herself in an instant. At last she can see the boy and her daughter. Their eyes glow and they are connected. Her daughter’s tight lips slightly separate, her tongue glistens in the semi-darkness. The boy steps over to her and lifts her up into his arms.

‘She is gone,’ he says embracing her into his chest. Her daughter seems to melt with pain and joy, shedding tears, surrendering. As they breathe, the air is whirling around them. In and out, in and out; their breath is union.

About the author

Csilla Toldy

Hungarian born Csilla Toldy moved to Ireland in 1998. Many times long and short listed for literary awards, her work appeared in literary magazines and anthologies in Ireland, the UK, Canada and Australia. Her awards include the Katapult Prize and The Special Prize of the Motion Pictures Association of America. She published two poetry pamphlets with Lapwing Belfast. She lives in Rostrevor, Northern Ireland.

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