He was a lanky guy with spectacles, a sensitive nerd like my dad. Our friendship was undeniable. When he traveled to Prague, he met the woman he would marry. Life opened its arms for him. When he returned, he told me that the city he had traveled to was my city, that I would adore its every nuance, that I would find myself reflected back in every twisted turn of its streets. He laid his words at my feet like a package I would decline to open, afraid like the Pharaoh’s daughter to believe or to disbelieve divine prophecy, facing both options head on with silence. I never spoke to or saw my friend again.
Almodovar movies have shown me the thread of violence that is woven into love and sex.
Love is an oddity. Fleeting, yet stripped of its vestments capable of remarkable vibrancy, a blooming vessel in a ravaged wasteland. It lives given nothing to feed on but itself.
The incident that slipped her memory went like this: She delivered a package to his apartment. He was overcome with stiffness of his back so she carried the item – a thing to offer comfort, a headrest! – up the stairs. He invited her in; of course, she was delivering a package! He offered her tea made from tightly curled leaves called pearls. The only place to sit was the bedroom; and given his physical condition he preferred laying horizontal. She didn’t think of the situation as particularly erotic. And yet she found herself succumbing to the inevitable seduction. Since time immemorial, her defenses were feeble faced with an imbalance of power.
The agony of Truman Capote [Seymour Phillip Hoffman] awaiting the sentencing of his protagonists in In Cold Blood. Not knowing how his story would end was excruciating.
We talked about how we weren’t going to be together anymore and then I went downstairs to play some songs because it seemed like a comforting thing to do and he followed me into the studio and accompanied me on bass and we went back and forth selecting songs. The irony reached a pitch and I had the urge to record us for posterity though that was pointless since he was leaving; if this was the last time we would play these songs together a record of it was decidedly valuable, though desperately impractical. One only plans for the banal and unsurprising. The unexpected whirrs past; we lack a record but are rewarded with intensity.
I get into a frenzy of accumulation. I get this way with children’s songbooks. Rather than making the effort to learn one song, then another, I go crazy to buy up all the songbooks and then put them on the shelf where dust collects.
I do the same with theatrical costumes. I get a rush from buying up one spine-tingling outfit after the next. I put them all in my closet where they hang expectantly.
A quite radical act then might be to dress up and take to the streets, serenading children. It would be a good use of my resources, freeing me from the crime of unscrupulous consumption.
Our stories keep re-telling themselves. I find myself done up like a woman in the movies, from days of old, red feather in my hair, walking down the street with a suitcase and a wooden stool. Am I going to start busking? Or should I wander into a bar and find a sympathetic stranger? Only I know which story sticks to me like webbing, which story feels right, like falling into love or a soft bed or both simultaneously.
Perhaps I am insatiable for him – I want to apply his brand to my wrist, neck, temples. I want to reapply at every light to ward off forgetfulness. I want to tell the world – he’s mine – even when he’s closed off to me.
“Always! That is a dreadful word. It makes me shudder when I hear it. Women are so fond of using it. They spoil every romance by trying to make it last for ever. The only difference between a caprice and a life-long passion is that the caprice lasts a little longer.” Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray