Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Like Water for Wine

Feeling for the last place on his body untouched by scars, he slashed its skin with her blade. Massaging his wrist, so that blood might flow as swift as memory.

A glass waited.

Two years. For two years, he sacrificed precious drops so that she might drink the living wine, and know his heart. Into every bottle he corked sang his song of the hour. Poured for her hunger, from a longing to be tasted. They could not talk. Or touch. Her father would not permit the union.

But love scoffs at smallness and laughs at divisions. And so she nightly drank his contraband emotions, dropping some token from her window to demonstrate her understanding. To let him touch her intoxication.

A red ribbon from her hair after gulping a smoky pinot noir. Days later, a copy of Don Quixote to clot despair's dry-dry river. Later yet, a pocketknife to cleave his pain in two.

He pressed the blood from its puckered wound. More sluggish now. The glass shattered and reassembled within his lucid dreaming. He reached for her final gift.

A dress. It smelled of skin and sex. Sorrow, too. He buried his face in its folds. No water left in his rind to squeeze any tears.

The night before, upon consuming the most potent blend of his ardor and need, she flung off the dress and erupted into flames. He watched her hair ignite, the ashes dancing downward to finally caress his face. To kiss his lashes.

To weep at division.

He drank from his glass. Allowed the liquid to take its final shape. Ready.

His eyes widened as the heat arced and scattered within him. Mapping the bitter, but also the sweet. The room wobbled, then flipped like an hourglass. Shady molecules sharpened back into atoms.

With his last drop of strength, he grabbed her red ribbon and circled the tourniquet around his forearm.

Pulling with the ageless wisdom of teeth, bones and terrible sinew.


Although I didn't take part in Jason's In Vino Veritas short fiction contest this time around, I have been reading some of the wonderful entries. And sure enough, was inspired to come up with something of my own. If you weren't aware of his contest yet, you have until July 15th at 11 p.m. EST to enter a piece no longer than 250 words (er, don't count mine), based on his theme and photo. Best of luck to everyone involved! And big applause to Jason and his co-host, Jaye Wells, for another great contest.

I also wanted to say that I have been taking a break from blogging lately to focus on my family and novel. So I'm sorry for not getting around and responding like I should (because of my delinquency, too, you shouldn't feel obliged to comment here...I'll feel too guilty!). But I truly hope you're all enjoying the wonderful season!!


Karen said...

Sarah - I'm so glad to see you again. Your non-entry reminds me why I should only blurk! Excellent work, as always, filled with beautiful details.

I hope the novel is going well and the time spent with family is just what you want it to be.

Aine said...

Hi there! :)

If she could only have let down her hair... :(

Such division is so painful, yet we read every delicious word of such love tales. I wonder if it's the hope for a happy ending or the relief that our own life is bland in comparison.

Good to see you back!

Sarah Hina said...

Karen, thank you!! I thought your entry was wonderful, btw, so enough of all that. ;)

I was sparked by magic realism here. And plainly ripped off Like Water for Chocolate in spirit and title. :P But the cheating on the word count was all my own! :D

I appreciate all your warm words.

Aine, I'm back for long enough to say that I'll be away for awhile. Talk about dualities...I probably embody them all. :P

I thought of the Rapunzel element, too! :) As for your other comment, I do believe there is often a thin and undulating line between happiness and sorrow. Maybe the most riveting tales let us fall off both sides.

Thank you for the kind and insightful comments! :)

Catvibe said...

Sarah Hina-Marquez. I'm seeing essences from Love in the Time of Cholera, and 100 Years of Solitude entwined in your gorgeous story. Perfect. I was just telling Karen that you wouldn't be participating, and here you are! Couldn't stay away huh? That wine is just too intoxicating. ;-) I'm so glad you didn't because this was such a pleasure. I'm a sucker for magical realism.

Charles Gramlich said...

Well you're back with a vengeance. this is a lovely piece.

the walking man said...

hey there good to read ya..see ya when you got the time.

Sarah Hina said...

Cat, so am I.

I've read the two books you mentioned, in addition to two others by Garcia-Marquez (I'd highly recommend his Love and Other Demons if you haven't picked it up). I think magic realism is truly its own animal in the literary world. An endlessly fascinating blend of fantastical leaps over a foundation of grittier truths.

And thank you for the kind words and continued faith. :) I am a bit of an addict, I think. :p

Charles, I appreciate your comments here. Thanks so much! :)

Walking Man, I've still been reading my feeds when I get the chance. So it's good to read ya, too. ;)

Aniket said...

I was just about to do the word count there. I would have given up writing today, losing all hope, if you had packed all that up in 250 words. :D :D

I always get too excited when I see a new post of yours in my feed. Not knowing what new you have come up with.

My fav. part here was in you comments though (gosh. How I miss them) "there is often a thin and undulating line between happiness and sorrow. Maybe the most riveting tales let us fall off both sides."

So very true. You are far too wise for your age. Honestly, I sometimes do think that may be you have drunk vampire blood or something and are like 500+ yrs old. Its hard to accept the truth that you behold such wisdom and rich writing at such (relatively :D) young age.

You take your break and work on that novel. I do want to see rich and famous too. :D

@ Aine:

I have been leaving messages for you with Jason and over at your blog. Whats your excuse? :P

Catvibe said...

I loved Of Love and Other Demons. I still think about that whenever I see someone with long luxurious red hair.

Sarah Hina said...

Aniket, oh c'mon, next to you, I am ancient. ;) But thank you, as always, for your wonderful warmth and enthusiasm!! The novel is coming along well, I think. :)

To be honest, I probably overdid it on the metaphors here. In style, it's somewhat a return to what I was doing a year or so ago. I just had a very vivid image of a daily sacrifice on his part, and thought magical realism might be the way to go. A heightened portrayal of very intense feelings.

For me, the truth of their division consumed her, but spared him. Because he was able to see, at the last moment, the real truth: that something inside of us insists on survival. And that nothing that precious is destroyed, unless we let it be. I wanted her "tokens" to harm, but also save him.

Anyway, if you have to explain a story too much, then you've probably failed in the writing of it. ;) I'm not saying you needed this added explanation, but I just wanted to say something about its genesis in general. Because it was powerful to write, but possibly cloudy when reading.

Okay, there, I said it. :P

Cat, of course you've read it. I should have known.

He is a master. Supposedly, he's working on his probable last novel now. I think he's in his 90s.

Anonymous said...

The first sentence is amazing. It caught my eye while I was reading through my blog updates, and I was compelled to read more. What a whopping opener! :)

Catvibe said...

Got another book for you that you would love. It's called 'The Last Song of Dusk' by Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi.

There's a character in there I think you'll relate to very much. Her name is Nandini. And yes, magical realism abounds in this one. In fact, loyal Marquez reviewers don't like this book because they think of it as a rip off, but they are fools. It's its own thing entirely.

joaquin carvel said...

wow. i am glad to hear you are working on a novel - from this, i sense you have hit a powerful and engrossing stride. it is ethereal and arrestingly passionate.

be well - we'll be here when you get back.

Sarah Hina said...

Time is running away, I'm really glad I snagged your attention. :) Thank you so much for the kind words.

Cat, that book definitely sounds up my alley. I'm reading The History of Love right now, by Nicole Krauss, but I'm going to check out this one soon. Thank you so much for pointing it out to me! :)

Joaquin, I've been enjoying reading your flawless poems on my Google Reader. Thank you so much for what you said here. Ethereal and arrestingly passionate were exactly what I was going for. :)