Because of Pictures
“But how do you know?” she said—we were walking the embankment.
“Because, “I said, “the images sustain.”
“Well, there’s the comet,” I said, “that comes in from the side. It’s peripheral—we barely know it’s there. Then—whoom. It’s full force right in front of us. Consuming us within its field of vision.”
“The comet does?” she said.
“Yes; it’s a picture for our love—”
“It’s a metaphor, the comet is?”
“Provided that we see it—”
“Before it passes out of sight?”
“Exactly; that’s my point. And there’s the gyroscope; there is.”
“Yes; the gyroscope is spinning.”
“I know this one—” she cut in. Her lips rehearsed the words.
“We must keep the surface steady,” she said out loud.
“It’s a metaphor, as well?”
“Yes; for our love.”
“A spinning top?”
“We must keep the surface steady underneath.” She stressed the neath.
We walked along the river bank in silence.
“And the flame.” I grabbed another. While the comet flew, the top spun.
“‘Is infinite while it lasts,’ the little poet says.”
We walked three steps and then she turned to me.
“‘Infinito … enquanto dure,’ so the poet says.”1
She laid her two arms limp upon my shoulders.
“Minha querida,” I said to her, in my hapless Portuguese. “My heart is filled with reasons why I love you.”
“But your brain is filled with pictures—”
“And metaphors,” she stammered.
I held her for some minutes in the shade.
A train went by; some children cried. Her eyes were far away.
Her forehead wrinkles told me that she wished that she had known—much earlier what she was getting into.
“Let’s go home,” she told me, finally. We turned and headed back.
On the way, she asked me twice about the gyro.
1“Infinito enquanto dure” from Soneto de Fidelidade —Vinicius de Moraes.
“Because of Pictures” first appeared in Thrice Fiction.