Thursday, May 26, 2011

Start spreading the word

My father found New York to be everything he ever dreamed of and immediately started fantasizing about his future life there. He had always thought he would stay there forever, but fate wanted otherwise. He never planned to fall in love and if he hadn't he would probably still be alive. But then of course I wouldn't exist. It's the little things.

He had wandered the streets looking for a job and a place to stay when he was picked up by a group of young musicians living in Brooklyn. They took him in on the promise that he would work as a manager for them, finding gigs and establishing contacts with people in the recording industry. For a foreigner who didn't know anyone in New York he wasn't the obvious choice for the job, but he didn't complain.

During the following couple of weeks he spent more time at parties than he thought was humanly possible. One had the theme "black & white" after Truman Capote's legendary ball, people walked around in heavy clouds of pot smoke in their underwear and elaborate Venetian masks. He had the time of his life.

At 3 in the morning, as he was spinning around in the middle of a crowded dance floor, someone came up to him from behind, put a light hand on his shoulder and shouted in his ear: Do you like Mick Jagger?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Through the Haze

It's a late winter's night although you can't tell by looking at the skies or the moon - I just feel it underneath my clothes. New year's eve, my father and I are driving through forests that have yet to burn down. We're not going anywhere in particular, just away from whatever's behind us, whatever we left in those cold stone houses along the endless LA boulevards. He smiles, we close our eyes just to see how far we can come without watching the road. On the radio we hear reports from New York, the ball is about to drop in Times Square. Soon it's 2005, my father's been dead for 5 years.

I wake up in my bed, it's so silent. The air around me is on fire.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Killing a flower

Since last November I've had a purple orchid in my bedroom window, placed in a small Lalique crystal vase my mother bought in Paris. It was as graceful and elegant as a piece of Dior jewelry, but I never cared enough to water it. After a couple of months it started shedding its sculpted flowers, but as long as it was alive I could think of it as a reminder that I'm a good person. I convinced myself that I loved it and secretly hoped it would be enough, but of course it wasn't.

The last dried out little flower fell off today as I watched it from my bed. It looked like a statement, like a public suicide in front of the people who never cared and never bothered to listen. Is that who I am?

I went outside, called S and just sat there quiet with her broken voice in my ear for an hour. I would never let anything happen to her, my beautiful little flower.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Hold me closer

S came to me in the middle of the night to cry her heart out, I held her in my arms for hours and kissed the salt off her slender neck. She said it was because I'm the only one she trusts, and added: I know I can be at my most miserable with you because you never cry. I guess it's a compliment.

As her tears dried out on my shoulder and she fell asleep, I noticed the sun coming up as if nothing had happened. It seems the world is too busy to care about what's fair and what's not, and it feels as if nothing will ever change. Justitia isn't blindfolded for the sake of impartiality, she is so that she won't see all the shit that keeps happening to innocent good people.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Don't look back in anger

Another drunken Friday night in an atmosphere of sweat and flashes of colored lights. I'm in the middle of a vibrating crowd but all alone inside my spinning head, as I see Chloe joyfully wrapped up in the tattooed arms of someone she's never met before. We're dancing on rose petals to our favorite songs but I'm caught in just one intrusive emotion, the little thorns they forgot to pick out: how long will this last?

Another shot of Tequila to push it all away, it's slowly working but fragments of the thought linger: when everything is over, what were these nights really worth? I'm there in body but not in mind, I can see myself moving but the feeling is another, distant and detached. Tomorrow it's just a memory. I drink more than I should but I need to numb myself.

Slip inside the eye of your mind
don't you know you might find
a better place to play
You said that you'd never been
but all the things that you've seen
will slowly fade away

The boy that held my hand just an hour ago comes to me through the smoke and asks: how are you feeling? The expression on his face when I answer I don't feel anything is one of confusion and fear. I see there's no point in trying to explain that it's really a good thing.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

All quiet on the western front

Sunday was a weird one even without the alcoholic fumes and Cuban tobacco slowly evaporating from my clothes. Mother kept quiet all day, we had both lunch and dinner under a tensed and total silence, with her glancing up at me from under her hair whenever she thought I wasn't paying attention. She's never been good at hiding her disappointment and I've learned not to ask what's wrong. I'm implicitly supposed to figure that out anyway. I knew she wanted me to say happy Mother's Day but I wasn't going to give her that undeserved pleasure, so the cold war continued.

Right before midnight, as I had watched her attentively reading Bonjour Tristesse on her pink baroque sofa for well over an hour, she finally got tired of waiting.

Haven't you forgotten something dear, she said in staccato with her eyes still nailed to the book.

Is it that time of year again, I asked rhetorically, striking a theatrical pose. The almost invisible smile on her face died instantly when I said happy birthday mom.

I guess it was cruel, but I just couldn't help myself.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Give me liberty or give me death

New York, 1978

As a new and better part of yourself is born from the ashes of the past like a phoenix, does everything you ever were before that moment instantly die, never to come back again? That's what my father had thought and hoped for, as the new and improved person that he now was walked proudly along the streets and avenues, under glittering skyscrapers and clear summer skies. In his head echoed the words of Emma Lazarus.

Give me your tired, your poor,
your huddled masses yearning to breathe free

He wasn't tired, he wasn't poor and belonged to no huddled masses, but he was desperately yearning to breathe free. For all of his life he had dreamed of this moment, of this city and its lack of discrimination, judgment and envy. And for the first time it was real, he was actually there, he could touch the buildings, lie down on the pavement, smell the flowers in Central Park.

He was finally free, his dream was a reality and his reality was a dream, and no one would ever again tell him that he needs to stop fantasizing about things that will never be and start facing them as they truly are. He had made his own truth, and those bastards that held him back for so long were on the other side of the Atlantic, stuck in a miserable and pointless existence until the day they would die.

He wanted to smile at that final thought, if he could only stop shivering.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

From dawn till dusk

The downside to waking up on the balcony of a Malibu beach house at 6 in the morning is that you might find some strange knocked out guy's hand under your YSL blouse. Other than that and the obvious consequences of drinking an entire bottle of Cointreau, I prefer dawn over dusk. Sunsets have such a melancholic quality to them, they always feel like the inevitable end of something good, like a silent fire ravaging the skies.

I've been afraid of the dark for as long as I can remember, because it reminds me of the fact that nothing lasts forever. Watching the sun set is like watching time turn the beauty of joyful days into memories, and soon enough that's all you'll have left of the life you once lived.

As I made my way home, S called and told me about her cousin. She said that God must hear her prayers and let him live so that they can see each other again soon.

If only...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Enjoy the silence

After a humid night of incoherent Armagnac dreams, I end up spending the day at Venice Beach with Chloe, watching myself from the outside to the distant sound of airplanes approaching LAX. What if this was Nice, she says. I want to die at the Promenade des Anglais.

I remember being barefoot in the same sand last summer, waiting in devout silence for the sun to come up. It's barely been a year but feels like a lifetime. Chloe was there, maybe that's why I asked her to come with me, but we don't talk about our memories. I want to tell her about the strangely detached way in which I recall those vibrating emotions now. I want to ask her how she felt and if she thinks she'll ever feel that way again, but I don't. Instead I keep quiet and listen to her breathing calmly on my shoulder.

I would stand there in the middle of the street, all dressed in Chanel, she says drowsily, and Karl Lagerfeldt would run me over with a vintage Aston Martin.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A last try

He spent his last night in London awake, watching the city fall in and out of sleep from the window of his little hotel room. On the streets below him walked the faceless people he would leave behind, from across the park he heard the sound of heavy trucks on the freeway, those who were going somewhere else. Everything seemed to be in constant motion, only varying in direction and sincerity.

Being awake all night had a special purpose. He wanted to take in as much as possible of the life he was about to leave so that there would be no regrets, no unfinished business or lingering sorrows. From time to time during his childhood he had always been afraid of finding that all existence was without meaning, but that would all soon be over. He had often wondered what the point of everything really was, so he thought about it again and shrugged off the nagging worry one last time.

At least that's what he thought and hoped for, but as he later would learn you can never escape from yourself. If you're constantly walking under a black cloud you will do so wherever you take your steps, however hard you try to find a little sunshine, however far from home you go.