Viggo/Elijah... thing. It's so filled with subdued emotion, I just want to cry.
No, I don't.
Joshua 6:4 - And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams' horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets.
And the Walls Came Tumbling Down
It is impossible to sit next to him, one arm draped across the back of his chair as he leans forward, head in hands, elbows on knees, and not feel like a pedophile or a child molester. His cheeks are smooth because he shaved that morning, conscientious and clean, and he looks to be about twelve years old.
He stares into space, one finger sucked firmly between his lips against his teeth, toying absently with the gap and running over the ridges. It’s become a substitute habit for biting his nails, which he does not have any more of to spare. Gently, wordlessly, Viggo leans forward and lets his free hand circle Elijah’s wrist, pulling his hand away from his mouth. Elijah jerks violently out of his daydream and gives Viggo a sheepish smile before his hand is handed back to him and both men settle back into their seats; Viggo leans back, Elijah leans forward. Moments pass, silent and still amid bustle and chaos.
“It’s not forever,” he finally says in an uncharacteristically low voice as he leans back and draws his knees up to his chin, bracing his heels on the hard plastic frame and wrapping his arms around his shins to keep all of himself in the uncomfortable airport chair. Viggo thinks he is intentionally trying to make himself seem smaller, more childlike, more vulnerable. He thinks it’s working.
“It has nothing to do with forever.” And Viggo’s voice is quiet, but Viggo’s voice is always quiet. He neglects his enunciation too—he’s been told it a million times—and Elijah often delights in asking him whether he’s fluent in “Mumblese” as well. The joke isn’t very funny, but Viggo still smiles every time he hears it.
“It has everything to do with forever,” Elijah bounces slightly as he speaks, jiggles his foot up and down, “We have plenty of time.”
Seven times around on the seventh day. Viggo counts seven people standing at the check-in counter. “You won’t think that in twenty years,” he whispers, not looking into Elijah’s hurt eyes, but instead counting the people in the row of seats across from them. Seven.
“You still think I’m too young.” A statement, not a question. A woman nearby stumbles and spills seven pieces of candy onto the floor.
“No.” It’s become an automatic response, but he still means it, the same way he still laughs at Elijah’s bad jokes. Elijah is twenty-one, which is three times seven.
A tinny female voice came between them, separated them through the intercom. “Flight 241 for Los Angeles now boarding. Flight 241 for Los Angeles now boarding.” Elijah unfolds himself and gingerly touches Viggo’s arm to get his attention.
“I have to go…” he whispers apologetically. “I’ll be back.” Viggo nods absently, watching the seven people lined up at the gate to have their boarding passes checked. Elijah stands and slings his bag over one shoulder, blue eyes shining as he stares out one of the giant windows at the Boeing 747 jet, broken only by black panes like dashes in Dickinson’s poetry . He waits a moment and, sensing no movement, sighs and begins to walk away.
Viggo rises suddenly and, before Elijah has gone more than five feet, catches him by the collar and pulls him back into a fierce hug. He laughs, once, but it is harsh-sounding and full of fear. Elijah’s fingers dig into the flesh of his back, scrambling for purchase in the folds of his t-shirt. Viggo looks down at the face pressed into his collarbone: closed eyes, long lashes, brown hair tickling the underside of his chin, the tiny pimples on his temples—vestigial remnants of adolescence—that make-up could hide for the camera but made him seem more real, substantial, human in the tangible world of an airport or a bedroom. He brushes his thumb over the tiny bumps and Elijah looks up at him and grins.
“I’ll be back soon.” A war, a million years, a jihad of epic proportions, is anyone in Los Angeles innocent?
Was anyone in Jericho innocent? “I love you,” he croaks in response, suddenly unable to think of anything else.
Elijah lowers his eyelids and theatrically rises to his tiptoes to kiss Viggo on his cheek, smooth lips trailing over sandpaper stubble. “I’ll be back. We’ll talk.” Five flight attendants, a pilot, a co-pilot.
“Good bye.” As I was going to St Ives I met a man with seven wives. Each wife had seven sacks, each sack had seven cats, each cat had seven kits; kits, cats, sacks and wives- How many were going to St Ives?
He tips his head to one side, almost quizzically. “Not for long.” He shakes his head. “Not for forever.” He smiles again, wide and full of energy, and pulls away, bounding for the tiny booth in front of the corridor.
“Flight 241 for Los Angeles now boarding.” He shifts his weight from foot to foot as she checks his ticket, waggles his eyebrows, and waves back at Viggo. Viggo raises one hand in response. He blows a kiss. Viggo smiles sadly and mouths the words “I love you.” Elijah’s mouth opens as if to respond, but at that moment the woman hands him his ticket back and ushers him down the tiny hall to the plane.
Vigoo watches him disappear, watches the sway of carry-on bag, the shifts in the folds of his jeans, the subtle movements of his hips. When he can no longer see Elijah, he moves to one of the windows. His hands shake. But he’ll watch the plane take off, fancying he can see blue eyes peering at him through one of the tiny ovoid windows.
Because two plus four plus one is seven.
And the walls came tumbling down.