“I’ll Be There”

This version of the song originally performed by Michael Jackson and those other guys The Jackson 5 is the one I want played at my memorial service. You do not listen to jazz now that I am here but you damn well will when I die! Muahahahahahahaaaaaa, onomatopoeic sound for maniacal laughter, muahahahaaaa! Because I will be there, in your hearts and your minds. At least I hope so. The nature of things, the nature of nature, is that nothing is eternal. Memory and grief are ephemeral. People move on, the world keeps ticking, as if nothing happened. There is a dark consolation in knowing that soon enough things will go back to a semblance of the way they were, or even go back to exactly the way they were. Or even become better. You may be important, just not as important as you think. That thing you value so much, however actually valuable, may one day go, and you may very likely not be any better or worse off. And, soon enough, everything you know and cherish, will come to an end. Some rambling perspective in case your, or someone else’s, computer crashes.


 

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The Groove


One of the most significant changes that come with intimacy with another person is the disruption of routine. Once you allow another person into your life, it ceases to be “business as usual”. We remain alone and come to enjoy being alone, especially after moving past a great disappointment – a heartbreak, a job loss, the collapse of a business. We fall into a comfortable and selfish cadence, one that only we dictate, cutting out our own smooth groove within time. Unrushed and unhurrying we go through each silent and solitary moment, savouring every second with ourselves. And then it happens, ‘The Thunderbolt’ as Mario Puzo puts it, strikes us. It is never a gentle drizzle that slowly engulfs us. It is a deluge that drowns out our own thoughts and voices. To keep it simple, I will call the collective of such times love. Time, as we think we understand it, then becomes shrunken or drawn out as our emotions dictate.

Our balance shifts; we are shaken and thrown off. That swaying before regaining a decent footing is exciting. We are consumed by our lovers as we allow them to consume us in return. A silence, a ‘disappearance’, a quiet moment taken for oneself becomes an egregious sin. The ‘I’ and ‘me’ are slowly strangled out and replaced by ‘we’ and ‘us’. Everything from then on ceases to become just our own. We are forced to share, modify, or even abandon the things we do, to accommodate our social-romantic-sexual interests. And just as our own time goes, so do our spaces. We move to one side of the bed, we sit at one end of a couch, and even our mental spaces are occupied: we think about them, even think about them when we are not thinking about them, we fantasize and daydream and include them in our future plans.

We may work towards a happy compromise, or merely a convenient one: a willing dance, a sensual tango, or a safe and boring shuffle. Sometimes we do not, nor do we want to, choosing instead to bear the friction, doomed to ever explain ourselves constantly like wayward children to scolding adults. Even through all this, there is a part of us that yearns for those gone days where we got to dictate our own pace, the part that expands with glee when our partners get angry at us and there is the risk of being left. Left alone. We would do almost anything to recover a semblance of that prior freedom and the feelings we had those times when we were beholden to no one but ourselves, when our time and our space were only ours. This is the fear for me, giving up time and space, my time and my space, for another person. I have fallen deep into the groove.


 

 

L8r

Hi! Its bn a min. Hp ur wel. Hv bn tryn to rch u bt I gs ur busy. Missment nayo?! Bn calln, txtn, hata WhstAp hupatikani. I knw I hrt u & am rly sry. I thot we

0/1

hd sth gud goin bt tws nt mnt 2 b. I wry abt u & I hp ur ok. Gs we’l tlk wn ur rdy. Or neva. Wateva ha ha. C’est la vie. Nmba n ile ile. L8r.

2/2

No Plus One


I asked her how her best friend was doing.

“She’s my sister, not my best friend!”

She corrected. They are that close.

“She’s getting married.”

“Good for her! So, I’ll be your plus one?”

I asked, half-jokingly. I dislike weddings but I would show up just to see her dressed and dolled up and to spend a few moments with her.

Silence. That hesitant silence that supposedly precedes disappointment.

“I’ve decided I’m not going with a plus one. I’m going alone since I’ll be the best lady….. Erm, yeah.”

She waffled, as we walked and she avoided my gaze.

Something stirred in me then. I sensed that she would not be going alone. She would just not be going with me. I had been waiting for this day, when my suspicions would be confirmed: the one who got away has gotten away. She has moved on, as have I. Mostly. A part  of me still refuses to let her go, curled around fragments of what we had like a deformed finger. For some reason, I am happy to hear this. It is expected that when an old flame’s flame burns for someone else, the one left behind, the jilted, the alone, will remain jealous and regretful. Inexplicably, I find myself past that, having left the what-ifs and the could-haves behind. I cannot remember when that happened and, boy, does it feel good! Maybe it is because for the first time I am in control of what I feel. I choose not to let her go completely, tethering myself to her with a delicate thread that only I can break.

As the day wore on, we slowed down and found a place to sit. I asked,

“Tell me about you. What’s good with you?”

, casually draping my legs over one of the supporting beams of the metal table we were sitting at and leaning back in the chair. The essence of cool. Ha ha.

“I’m seriously dating again.”

She said, looking furtively sideways for an almost-imperceptible moment. I waited for something to crumble inside me, but my pulse remained steady, only quickening when it, paradoxically, occurred to me that I was calm about the fact that the woman I had loved, and still loved, was being loved by someone else and was loving someone else. I felt like a stranger to myself. Where is the thudding, the longing, and the sadness that I was told to expect? Where is the regret and self-loathing that is supposed to wash over me?

I felt light and free of… something. What? The flapping birds in my chest, the ones that flapped for her, had been uncaged and only then did I notice the stillness within my now open heart. A slight breeze brought a whiff of the Chanel Allure Pour Femme that she wears in my direction. Her signature smell. I could die in her embrace, inhaling that fragrance and intoxicating myself to madness. Her allure, as it were. Knowing myself, I may never break the hold I have allowed her to have over me. It is eternal, in as far as we humans go. She is eternal. Through our shared and individual turmoils, she has somehow remained a constant, a beacon even, guiding me away from the often dark and rocky shores of myself from time to time.

As we bared ourselves to each other, I could not shake the feeling that I was somehow saying goodbye, more so to a part of myself. And, maybe, that is where the lightness came from, that something inside me that rested that day, or flew away. She seems happy and I am glad for her. We both promised, like we always do, to keep in touch better but that is a formality that we have no intention of seeing through. We always seem to say this grinning like the idiots we become in each other’s presence. It feels wonderful to have someone with whom I can share little lies with. For now, that will have to do.


 

Stanley Kubrick


If man merely sat back and thought about his impending termination, and his terrifying insignificance and aloneness in the cosmos, he would surely go mad, or succumb to a numbing sense of futility. Why, he might ask himself, should he bother to write a great symphony, or strive to make a living, or even to love another, when he is no more than a momentary microbe on a dust mote whirling through the unimaginable immensity of space? Those of us who are forced by their own sensibilities to view their lives in this perspective — who recognize that there is no purpose they can comprehend and that amidst a countless myriad of stars their existence goes unknown and unchronicled — can fall prey all too easily to the ultimate anomie. The world’s religions, for all their parochialism, did supply a kind of consolation for this great ache. ~ Stanley Kubrick