Black horses

There is a part of me that is unknown to me. And still I keep finding myself inside of it. Only black horses can follow me there, to the beginning of the road.

In front of me is a black long road with black floor-length curtains – the black velvet illuminates only through the missing light. On the verge of the road dozens of smiling faces. So many encounters of my life. One foot in front of the other, and the other one in front of the next. My eyes are on the ground. One foot in front of the other foot. I’m giving myself to the walk because the destination cannot be surmised, because it is too far to be a destination of the mind, because it is too painful. My pulse gets faster when my eyes dare to look up to the right or to the left. These eyes that know that you know – and this soft smile.

The woman’s smile on the bus is the first thing that awaits me when I look up. Years ago, I offered her a seat, she gave me with a smile, that was given for that purpose and burnt itself into my memory, a little crochet Christmas tree decoration. She said she crochets all year just to give nice people these decorations. She is all alone but like this she can be spread all over the city and not be lonely. She kept the smile bravely and honestly through the whole talk.

The smile of the street newspaper vendor on the tram: It was her first try to deliver her practised sales speech. She stood confidently in the middle of the wagon. Said her first words with a strong voice and stiff features. No one looked up, no one saw her. Her voice started trembling, faded and broke off. She stood close to the door and waited till she could get off and stormed out. She held her face in her hands, the newspapers in front of it. I approached her on the platform and told her that I’d like to buy a newspaper. She looked up, dried with a movement of her hand her tears, stated the price, and gave me with a deliberately calm hand the newspaper and thanked me with a knowing smile.  

I look to the left. The smile of a man who walks in slalom around the pigeons on the shopping street. He wanted to yield to them, so they wouldn’t be flushed out, like they were by the other people.

My chest gets tighter with every step, like there is a hundredweight of lead on my chest. But no, the head lifts itself again and sees the next one.

The smile of a little girl who tells me that she buys broken toys and stuffed animals because no one else would buy them and love them if she didn’t. After these words her smile changed into one of the saddest I have ever seen. For her age, she understood too much of the world.

The man who told me that he preferred to sit a long time on the seat of the tram to warm it, so he could imagine that someone who needed the warmth and the closeness could get it through this warmed tram seat. This kind and coy smile, as he was aware of his oddity. But where should he put the love that no one wanted? His smile – eternally etched in.

I stand still. My body can’t move forward. I am at the end of the long black road. From both sides dozens of faces smile at me from the black velvet, hundreds of meters left and right. The black horses reappear in front of me and pull me. The hundredweight of lead lies indescribably heavy on my chest, pulls me deeper and deeper into the black hole. The faces are smiling at me steadily.

To let go, to exhale and to give in to the warmth. The more the warmth prevails the more the black horses’ fur changes slowly into light. The black around me brightens slowly up. I fall slower until the light softly breaks my falls. My palm slides cautiously over the black fur and I can feel only warmth. I am now completely in the light that unites all the smiles of the world, that wraps itself around everything, like a shell, like the warm, infinite embrace of a lover.

Scarlett Rybarczyk

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