Say Goodbye to the Wind

Painting by Alphonse Mucha (1899): seems the sort of the lady Ballard might have had in mind.

Seems the sort of the lady Ballard might have had in mind–painting by Alphonse Mucha (1899).

That half-deserted stretch of coastline that lay between the lagoon and Dahab–of previous blog–and along which I’d walk every day going out to the lagoon’s windsurfing center at the start of the day and then when returning to Dahab late in the afternoon once the wind had died seared itself in my mind for some reason.

Years later when reading J.G. Ballard’s “Say Goodbye to the Wind” from his  “Vermilion Sands”  short-story collection, I was again reminded of that lonely, sandy stretch and it’s derelict, half-built or empty buildings:

“The nightclub had been deserted since the previous summer, its white walls covered by the dunes. The clouded letters of a neon sign tilted over the open-air bar. The music came from a record player on the stage, a foxtrot I had forgotten years before.

“Through the sand-strewn tables walked a young woman with coralline hair, crooning to herself as she gestured with jewelled hands to the rhythm of
this antique theme. Her downward eyes and reflective step, like those of a pensive child, made me guess that she was sleepwalking, drawn to this abandoned nightclub from one of the mansions along the shore…

“As the young woman danced by herself in her black nightgown he stepped forward and took her arms. Together they circled the wooden floor, her jewelled hand on his scarred shoulder. When the record ended she turned from him, her face devoid of expression, and walked among the tables into the darkness.”

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