The World of the End

The World of the End by Ofir Touché Gafla

Book: The World of the End by Ofir Touché Gafla Read Free Book Online
Authors: Ofir Touché Gafla
Tags: Fiction
stay, but the couple smiled and said they would like to continue touring the galaxy. Artemis nodded in understanding, wished them eternal sweetness, and sent them off the next day at noon to tour the Honey Moon, the temple of kitsch and all things saccharine, where the two whispered a sticky stream of sweet nothings and, under the influence of the viscosity of the whole affair, decided to proclaim their imperishable love in the way of the locals of Uranus.
    For the first time since they began playing their game, Yonatan shuddered at one of “Vina’s” inventions. According to “Vina,” Uranusian couples show their love by exchanging hearts. Once the man has given his heart to the woman, he passes away for a short period of time. The two-hearted woman examines the heart and decides that the display of chivalry and self sacrifice, and the faith in her faithfulness, are worthy of her love. She pulls her own heart from her chest and dies. If their love is true and honest, a Uranusian cardiologist from the celestial board of eternal love will do a simultaneous double transplant so that the lovers will wake back to life at the same moment and, from that moment on, the two will be inseparable. They will carry the scars of the other’s heart as though it were their own. His soul torn, “Ormus” agreed to “Vina’s” proposal and the two took the Uranusian coronary oath, even though Yonatan hated the idea of “Vina” serving as the receptacle for his treacherous heart, furious with his imagination and the way it had thrust him back to the daunting present.
    The couple’s love odyssey lasted five months, five hours a day, during which they were continually impressed by the savagery of their shared hallucinations. The rest of the time “Ormus” lived as Yonatan Gur, a forty-year-old man who split his time between the bookstore he owned and daydreaming about a woman whose real name he didn’t even know. He did not feel obliged to get acquainted with the mysterious figure he had fallen for. After all, her identity was no secret—he knew what she did for a living, what she loved and hated, the texture of her most intimate thoughts, her strengths and weaknesses, her opinions and worldviews. She had even swapped hearts with him in a dubious ceremony. The rest he filled in, pleasurably focusing on the aesthetic rind of the fruit of imagination. After five months of studying the taste and licking the core, he relished the thought of the peel. His mind’s eye painted her hair blond and combed it down to her shoulders, slanted her blue eyes, filled her cheeks, thickened her lower lip, rounded her face, elongated her neck, colored her body an ivory white, traced her hips and filled them, padded her stomach with a slight pouch, stretched her legs to the arc of her hips, measured her at five foot seven, weighed her at 130 pounds, and smiled. He pulled her posture straight, lent nobility to her movements, peppered her expressions with kinetic intelligence, softened her speech, lowered her tone, harmonized her heavenly laugh, and sprayed a sweet floral scent on her neck. He didn’t want to give the woman of his dreams his flawed heart, fearing that it would exact its revenge on her even as he mocked himself for the devout seriousness with which he addressed their nocturnal escapades, light years away from his real life.
    *   *   *
    It’s just a game, he thought, sparking a third joint. The light mist resting on the windshield of his mind turned to a thick fog when, sitting at the computer, at the usual hour, he went online, typed in the code, asked whether they were going back to Gorfik or continuing on to a different star, and got no response. After an hour, he left her a short message: “My Vina, where have you gone? Looking for you. Ormus.” With night threatening to release its grip and dawn peeping behind its back, he pounded the computer, not knowing what to make of it. After another Vina-free night, he flooded the

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