La Vie C’est La Vie

And there’s a man whose lightest word
Can set my chilly blood afire;
Fulfillment of his least behest
Defines my life’s desire.

– Jessie Redmon Fauset

The Unknown Gradient.
He possesses the air of a razor-sharp raconteur. Or so they’d have me believe. The belle(noire) of the chaotic ball has finally found her match maybe?
So an anecdote becomes the antidote.

What is it with flights and memories?
The book, the view, the awkward position and the looming speech – conspicuous elements to render you uncomfortably numb and dumb for the rest of your sodden travel and perhaps your life. I, on the other hand, am given to such uniquely cataclysmic elements making even my oddest of days.Till it happened.
Till he appeared. Or re-appeared. White and denim. Casually casual. I am on all fours. Literally. Because I am searching for the keys that somehow made their way out of my bag and onto the crummy floor.
I dropped it just in time. It wasn’t premeditated. Maybe for God it was, but not for me. He bends to help – the Scent of a Man. Shite. I know him. My phermones must’ve blinded me temporarily. How could I miss him?
It doesn’t take much time for his cologne, the aquiline nose and his broad palms to jog my memory.
I ‘ve met him before. Another day, equally crowded and even more noisy environs. His cut glass accent, his crinkly eyes, his unusually gorgeous name. A should’ve been wedged in my recollection forever. Forever.
He recognizes me immediately. So it wasn’t as coincidental as it seemed.
He was the first of all the firsts. The definition or antithesis. He is the original wildchild, the first moonbeam on a raindrenched night, the gentle rustling through the majestic Euclyptus maze. The kind of boy who deserved sonnets and also knew what the word meant. He was just about as calm as an ocean at high tide. There was a sense of un-belonging to him. Like he didn’t want to be here or for that matter, anywhere. A ready messiah who detested the fan following his words, his thoughts and his deeds garnered him.
This is so far back in the past, Madonna was probably dabbling with bestiality and S-n-M and..well..actually that analogy makes it seem more recent!
As they say in Clichetown, history repeats itself.
I had known of him and about him. His is definitely twisted, likes gazing into the eye of a hurricane. The boy was mad. Really. None like him was ever discovered or even invented. He did the doing, said the saying and bore the brunt of being the  resident devil. Diablo. His heritage was as muddled as mine and his desires were as cocoa and alluring as mine. But he was notch higher.
He was the owner of a mind so uniquely brilliant. His honey dipped smile and cognac eyes made him even more irresistible.
But the question remained.
Who was he?
The wonderkid who could churn answers to cryptic mathematical puzzles faster than you could say Big Blue. Or, the recluse who sometimes went on without smiling for months but every time he did, the perfection of his smile could’ve left a million gasping for breath even in an Oxygen bar!
This boy was definitely twisted. A part and apart. Sometimes an escapist. He was the only one who seemed about 10 times as screwed up as I was when we were 13.
Then he ran away. From a home that was supposed to shelter him but ended up as his own mental asylum. He couldn’t handle his mind, thats what Sister Frances had said.
We heard of him and then about him. He was in Germany, El Salvador, Manila, Florida. He was an escort, a writer, a photographer, a sportstar, a junkie, a lunatic.
My first Muse was looking right into my eye and I was as unprepared for this as I generally am for everything else.
I had once taken his picture. Some hobby class et al. His eyes were remarkable. Still are.
It was one if the first virtuoso experiments ever conducted by yours truly. The fact that I subsequently lost the film and any designs I might’ve had on him is a different beast altogether and should be tackled a different day.
These postmodern Davids are prickly and priceless. I have encountered and entertained plenty(even as I was being entertained by them). This realm of life has never been exposed to sufficient light. Fear of destruction. A photographer’s natural phobia.
But here he was. Flesh and Blood, Again.
My mental horses galloping faster than you could say “Wyoming”.
He asks, ever so placidly – “Schezi?”..”Wow…You didn’t manage to grow cheekbones ..did ya?”
Hope sank faster than a 80 tonne iron plank attached to a dead whale.
“Not really. But Rogue..err..Vogue predicts a return to round faces this season” – Humor is not my calling card. Clearly.
“Going or coming?”
“Actually…I don’t know.” Note to self – nervous laughter doesn’t work. Ever. Not at client visits and definitely not while slobbering all over self when in the company of a really hot and really old friend.

“I am in town for a week ..lets swap numbers and maybe I can call you “

After effects of positive phraseology and the obscence number of employee development sessions.
Numbers exchanged. Fear builds small sweat puddles in the cab on my way back.
Am I fucking stupid?
He texts. Why did I run away? Meet him for some obligatory mid meal snack typa thing?
Yes. Of course.
Such stupidity is replete and so in sync with itself. Chain reaction silliness.
We agree upon a venue and a suitably clandestine hour. Vodka crates usually come handy at times like these. A bottle of gin is equally helpful.
We settle for the original drug. Cafeine.
The reflection is afloat. Stiller than the silence of obscurity. We mumble nothings about precedent and the current and the imminent. He loves my hair and thinks that insists that I must be related to Thandie Newton. Doesn’t forget taking jibes at my hyper-ventilating ex-self.
I nod, submissively. Hard candy. Indeed.
We participate in 13 conversations about nothing in particular. Then the unthinkable happens. He wants to take pictures. Of me. Did I mention that 4 hours and 2 locations past, he is now curiously placed between a four-poster bed and the dubious davenport that splits the suite into two beings.
Will we or Won’t we??
“We will now shoot”. He decrees.
He wants candid capture.
Do anything. Or don’t do anything.
Don’t pose.
This is role reversal. This time its him wanting to peer into my soul through his Canon Digital Rebel.

I wiggle my nose at the thought of his whole Turntable Muse and focus my attention on a peckish raven peering inside the loft. He continues to pace restlessly.

“I want to shoot frames. I want to see your eyes.”
“One of em is glass and the other belonged to me pet pig. Nothing incredible, you see.”
“Sanch..Look at me straight.”
The voice is laiden with intensity only he can manage. He is serious coz otherwise he would have stuck to variations of my first name and not jumped onto my second.

“Magnifique!” He mumbles.
Before I know, he is holding the hour captive. This leica lover.
I couldn’t ask for more. The outline falls into place.

“What do you do these days?”
“I watch people.”
“Continue with the glibness and I leave.”
“Really…how did that happen?”
“You did it.”

Blank couldn’t be blank-er.
“You took a picture of me at school….I have it with me. You’d said that people can come and go but memories remain and everytime you take a picture you capture a little bit of that being’s life in the camera. Thats why you took pictures.”
“You remember that???”
“Forgetting it…You…wasn’t an option.”
“Stop…I might cry more than I did when I watched Steel Magnolias!”

A giant cushion lands an inch sideways to my right.

“You are such a trip”
Right back at ya.

I remember vividly when I first showed him the prints I had taken. He hated and critiqued each one of them. He was critical. Of my work and of me. Harsh. I hated that. My inner narcissisa could only handle so much. He had inspired vendetta and a certain indispensable will power within my unaffected psyche.

“Why do you still do it?” I question.
“Coz I get free tickets to places with names I still haven’t learnt to pronounce.” He retorts.
He can read my face.
“Also because unlike you I couldn’t choose from amongst a pen, a camera or a canvas. Because I found unparalleled beauty in commonplace Filipino hookers parading the low streets of Thailand. I do it because I couldn’t survive incessant rehabs coupled with constant medical collapses forever. I do it because I can go to Africa and for once feel grateful for my life and those with whom I share it. I do it because I am broken, bandaged and stapled on the inside. Coz I am falling apart. Every second of it. So, I find my liberation. I find my conscience in the confines of my camera and all that it sees. And this is it”

An unstable pause.
“I still hate the pictures, though” I pout.
Sure, you do.
“Oh! my callous Muse..” He winks.

Wow! 180 degrees and how!
We’ve exchanged places.

Just when I was being thankful for a divine disconnection pervading my senses the morning finds me with a hangover and no hubris.
This is how change affects. This was so reminiscent of a past I had just wrapped and flung into a faraway vault of Time. Except, the usual encumbrance of guilt that follows unforgivable (unfathomable) sex was nowhere in my ally.
There was the succinct displacement. Lust by Love. Love for the Art. His work. His life. Him. Any other day, this would have been a sorely wasted opportunity. Today, it was worth every ounce of rapture I had forsaken for rekindling an old passion.
Will He know about it?
Will I feel the need to tell him?
Till then, the chaise longue must share this secure secret with me. The journey to becoming a sharp chronicler begins with this. A bottle of gin, a misplaced itinerary, a mediocre camera and a desire to come undone.
In ways more than one.

Post Party Interruption
4:05 am – Received: “The Vodafone kid looks like you. Plus she is 6 or 7. The same age as you were last b’day?!”
4:10 am – Sent: “The dog resembles you. And not in a cute way.”
4:15 am – Received: “I don’t want to leave but I have to. I’m coming back on the 19th. I want to see it through this time. I am already missing you. Your neurotic rambling mainly! Someday you will come around to appreciating Leibowitz just a lil more. The dog is adorable. Thanks!”
4:20 am – Sent: “Awww…Airports make you lose your mental balance, don’t they? 😛 Leibo-witch dont work for me Danny baba!”.
4:30 am – Received: “Did the fish swallow your tranquilizers again? Your tattoo should read A’s Z.
4:31 am – Received: “p.s.: I think I love you. Already sorry for how cheap that is going to sound when am less drunk and/or sleep deprived.”
Well. Not much to be said after that.


~ by iconoplastic on May 8, 2008.

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