14 January 2007

The English Channel

He is now driving northbound up to Calais, leaving Paris to his southeast. In some 30 minutes, he would be at the closest point to her. His car is taking 110km/h... still, the french cars are overtaking him at 150km/h. Why he is always in such a state of inertia when all the others are taking action to surpass him? He hopes, he can only hope for a fine and clear sky so that he would be able to see her.

After three stops for direction, his trip is delayed by 15 minutes. Finally, he is now standing on the tallest rock of the coastline. West to him is Atlantic Ocean, north to him is the Strait of Dover, the narrowest part of the English Chanel. This is the point closest to Dover with only 45km apart. The port and cityscape of Dover is discernible. The buildings lined up from left to right, punctuated by occasional space break. The tops of the buildings shrink into a tiny image powdered by a layer of smog and late afternoon dust. He imagines her opening the window of the White Cliffs Theatre where she will have a concert tonight. He imagines her looking at the other end of the sea during the rehearsal break, waving her bow in the air to him, scribbling in the foggy sky messages of love for him. He sees the vibration of the violin strings like a network of airwave, he listens to her violin resonating in the air, the words of her love and her disappointment. Her disappointment... on her sad innocent face. He sees her, floating in the air amidst the thin layer of smog, like the last time when he saw her, she was wrapped in her white cotton bedsheet, emitting her fragrant. "Caught it!" he wispered to her ears then held her tight to him.

There is another world beyond this seemingly intraversable sea, a world that promises him happiness and hope. Is it really intraversable? In 1785, the frenchman Jean-Pierre Blanchard successfully crossed the channel with an airballoon. Almost a century later, on 24 August 1875, an Englishman called Matthew Webb swam across the Strait in 21 hours and 45 minutes. Different attempts were contemplated by great adventurers to cross the strait, to go to the other end of the world. Today, one can easily travel with Eurostar, with a car or even walk throught the tunnel. What is dragging him here? What is dragging him?

The two cities may be within arm-reach, yet the two individuals are separated by a whole universe. Is the distance killing him or his own inertia? Why he is so incapable of action?! Once again, he sees the disappointment on her face and the white bedsheet stained with her tears. Looking over the channel, he reaches out his arms, he wants so much to hold her in his arms, to wipe the tears on her face.

Why he had to let her down? Why? He streches his arms in the empty air, the floating image of her is fading away, he clenches his fists to fight against the empty space like a lunatic. Hovered between anger and remorse, he cries out her name.