1,001 questions ran through my mind. did Layla really love this shit-for-brains? did she ever love me in the first place? why was Anton carrying a god-damned gun and did he really just fire it at my lady and her lover? had someone already called the cops? was that a siren in the distance? i didn’t have time to ponder the answers to any of these questions yet i already knew that the answer to all of the above was: yes.
time slowed nearly to a halt as i caught Layla’s eye. thankfully Anton’s spontaneous shot had only grazed her goon’s ear and he sat clutching the left side of his head shouting explicatives and rocking back and forth while waiting for the ambulance to arrive. Layla did not bend down to comfort him. she stood tall and looked me square in the face, not blinking-no tears, no longing, no emotion at all. she parted her lips and muttered two inaudible words that must have been either, “i’m sorry”, or “f— you”, i’m not sure which. Anton and i turned and looked at each other and starting running.
i must say that my respect for the salmon increased tremendously that day. “be yourself” and “swim against the current” seem like wonderful pieces of advice until you find yourself fighting through a sea of fervent halloween paraders in the east village. ironically, there were a few fish costumes in the crowd, but mostly we found ourselves dodging scantily clad pirate wenches, french maids, witches and many zombies. even in our flight, Anton had the nerve to sneer at the commonplace costumes of the masses. i’m sure i overheard him chastising a young woman for dressing up as a supposedly sexy bumblebee. what i can i say? he was always the outspoken one.
swimming upstream proved to be much more difficult than we thought. after struggling futilely against the crowd, Anton and i decided that it was much easier to stand still and let the parade of cloaked and intoxicated people pass around us, much like a large rock in a river. we linked arms, bracing ourselves against the current, feet planted firmly into the pavement. the parade swallowed us up and spit us back out, and at the end we were left standing completely alone in the middle of the confetti sprinkled road. the streets were deserted and the silence was deafening. Anton gave me a nudge to say, “let’s get the hell out of here” but my feet wouldn’t move. my legs wouldn’t move. my arms wouldn’t move. my hands wouldn’t move. i was frozen in my place in the middle of the rainbow streaked road. the sound of siren advanced. Anton retreated. I remained.