Monday, August 20, 2007

Where Bêbe says something she shouldn't

We're still waiting at Gunhome, and we're not allowed off the train. The soldier, now standing at the door, mimed this restriction very effectively using his gun as a prop. He told us we're waiting for passengers, then he said something to Bêbe in Svaltish. So we went back to our seats. I thought it was just me, the westerner, but he wouldn't let any of the other passengers off either. That caused a bit of a stink, one of them (probably a party member) got all pompous and started shouting at the soldier. Didn't work, the soldier just poked him hard in the belly with his gun and told him to sit down - I'm guessing that's what he said, the little guy sat down pretty quick anyway.

Since then Bêbe's been looking sick, and has been drinking vodka (each sip with a little grimace). Says the soldier said something to her that she's got to think about. Something about an abandoned monastery up ahead, and one of the passengers we're waiting for. Fusel says that all the monasteries are abandoned, and there's a lot of them up here, so we're bound to go past at least one of them. Bêbe says the army shouldn't have cleared them out during the purges, that they were the only thing between us and Leng. Fusel snaps something in Albonian, and then they start arguing in Albonian (Fusel can't speak Svaltish). This stops when Bêbe, looking wild, crosses herself and shouts something in Fusel's face. This gets the soldier's attention and he hitches his gun round. He gives us a warning look. Fusel grabs Bêbe by the arm, pulls her close and hisses something in her ear.

I quickly interrupt to ask what she said that made the soldier prick up. Fusel says, "something she shouldn't have," and pushes her away, hard.

She hits her elbow on the arm of the chair as she goes back. She gives Fusel a look like she could drill holes in his head with her eyes. Fusel's now turned in his seat, so he doesn't notice. She's rubbing her elbow, and suddenly she starts crying, but in an angry "I don't want to fucking cry" way. She's gritting her teeth to keep quiet so Fusel, or the soldier, won't hear.

I can't deal with this, and I put my hand out to her (they're sitting next to each other, and I'm facing, so I have to lean across and it's a bit awkward). She looks up at me, and there's an imploring look for a second. Then she looks away. So I'm left hanging there with my hand stretched out in front, and my two guides glowering in opposite directions.

The soldier, who has watched all of this, snorts, and mimes taking a photograph (fucking street performer that one). Then I see the moment of realisation hit him as he remembers he's got my camera. Now it's my turn to look away. What a tableau: me, embarrassed, Bêbe sobbing angrily, Fusel sulking. Make a great picture. One the soldier snaps just now.

As they say on the postcards, wish you were here.

blog comments powered by Disqus