A Harsh Reality FV Harsh Reality

aharshreality


 

 

 

 

 

 

A Harsh Reality

 

 

 

 

 

by Henrik Vetterer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            Table of Contents

Foreword                                                                               3

The Lingering Scent of A Magnificent Young Women     4

Introductions in Order                                                         22

Living with the Life of the Dead                                         42

A Way Out from Within                                                      48

In Touch by Wind                                                                 55

Fear, A Misery to Personalized for the Cosmos Alone    77

Of Fear and Dreams                                                             101

A Liar in Waiting                                                                 108

An Undeniable Truth                                                           122

A Prince and a Princess un-awakened                              133

The Assumption of Arrogance                                            137

A Final Outburst                                                                  152

 

 

 

 

 

Foreword

I once saw a man starving. Picture a man ready to eat his own waste, a man closed off to the world, ready to die! And then give such a man a glass of water, a single chicken leg, and then watch his eyes fill with life… with hope, the slow and forced patience of the passion of living in sorrows. And then let the blind man hear there is one who can heal him. Can you see his eyes light up? Can you see them become (dare you imagine) a tad more focused. The night before he makes his long journey to see the healer, who is a doctor, the night before he sleeps in anxiousness! The sheer joy and hope begins to find itself accompanied by fear and dread. The blind man has sought to be healed before, indeed by the same healer! And yet, it seems, his outcries were not heard. Indeed this is the third time…no! the fourth. He has been listening out for this healers mention and upon a word he is off again. But now, for weeks, for months…nearly a year! he hears nothing and he grows weary of life, becomes very comfortable with the idea of death, and then…… at last! He is off with less hope and belief then the times before and yet he is still off! Yes and as he tries to sleep his life fills up with possibilities again, with aspirations to do and to seek….essentially to live! But along with those once untainted aspirations he finds the fear of the lifeless life he has lived as ensnaring. It cruelly casts doubt on his once indubitable and obstacle free vision of a life of hope. Yes hope! Here and now! Upon this earth! In this century!

 

 

 

 

 

The Lingering Scent of a Magnificent Young Woman

“A story”, commented the ecstatic young man named Henry “is truly nothing but a lousy fairy tale.  For most all stories, even the ones that assert the gritty and grim realities of life, even they are not all-seeing….. Nor are they all-knowing and thus they are ideal….. in short, a fairytale.” “No!! That is not quite right!” Objected the other young man in the corner of the room. The objector looked more like a boy than a man or even a young man for that matter. “No!!” Isaac continued with a calm arrogance “That is not right, as I find your generalization to be a presumptuous stereotype, not to mention that you, Henry, have also misused the terms “all- knowing” and “all-seeing.” The boyish man re-crossed his legs and settled his folded hands on top of his right knee as he lazily leaned back in his seat. “It is common knowledge that “all-knowing” is more properly understood as omni…” “Shut up you analytic prig! You my dear Isaac should have been sacrificed by your father long ago.  You are nothing but an exhaustion to the cosmos, a critic who has no positive information within him except that which is soooo superficial. You are like an actor playing the part of a genius….. A stupid actor who is so very obviously acting!”  

Henry continued seething with emotion in complete distinction to the nonchalant fully self-satisfied Isaac, who was now casually sipping on a large coffee mug. “Shall I clarify to the student, whose arrogance puts him in danger of being a poser; should I clarify why stories are fairytales?” Without waiting for a reply Henry again continued “Because ! my dear toad ! Even the harsh ones, stories that is, even they only see all they want to see and know all they want to know. Regardless of whether it is more or less good or bad, all is controlled, all is inner connected, all is understood, all the dots are connected. There are no other dots, much less unconnected ones….. unless of course there is an unexplained one left  in the distance for the purpose of an added depth of apparent disconnection.. or mystery or wonder. These unexpected dots set apart as if they were a higher knowledge, whose purpose, whose ‘connection’, in reality, is to appear without a knowable purpose, without a seeming connection. And thus the random, the distant, the unknown is truly known, even in regard to its very design.”

Henry walked over to the table Isaac had put his coffee mug on, and to Isaac’s horror gulped half the cup and then continued his lecture. “The purposefully designed seemingly unconnected dot is merely a facade….. a fake door. Truly it has no secret content, but rather is merely a decoy an empty dot , an unending alternative to add a sense of reality to the fairytale….. a sense of depth to the shallow. “Enough Enough!!” mumbled Isaac with a weak wave of his hand, “Your incoherence and talk of dots is killing me…” Henry interrupted the boyish man yet again “I will finish! Not for your sake, but simply for the truth of my thought.”

Henry was talking in the boy’s priggish fashion. He was speaking the boy’s language and doing it to mock him as he spoke his thoughts beneath the masked and subtly ironic tone. “Even the true stories, the nonfictions, even they have the benefit of being historical or limited in focus and thus are no more than, an approximation, a closed system with limited variables. And thus even with these nonfictions, these recorded realities, we see life from a fraudulent view….. from a view that is something akin to a god. But since neither we nor the people we read of are infinite gods, we read fairytales. For in truth we read merely as humans about mere humans.” Henry paused as he continued to speak every thought out loud.  “Ah! I’ve boggled it! We read whatever about, and what we read is as if all of the cosmos is in front of us in that particular story. As….as if we were not bound by space and time in our perspective.”

Henry’s face began to grow irritated as if he was becoming dissatisfied with his speech. In truth he was becoming dissatisfied and boggled in his speech, but the act of appearing dissatisfied fit in with the general persona which he was mocking quite well. And so he went with bluffing a false assurance. What truly irked Henry was that it did not seem he was pricking the obnoxious Isaac one ounce “All I have said is still not clear, but the hell with you! The hell with this!”  Henry appeared to be finished and began to walk toward the stairwell not even glancing in Isaac’s direction, for fear of the rage Isaac’s pretentious face might incite.

Henry paused at the foot of the stairwell turned toward Isaac and finished his thought. “It is obvious the reader does not see the character in the story as she sees herself, in that she does not have the advantage of history….. of seeing her own existence as the godlike reader does. No matter how brilliant the author, no story, fiction or nonfiction is reality!” With that Henry left the room. He did not care to hear any rebuttal. He was certain he was right regardless of how he expressed it. His argument was before his eyes, not in syllogistic form, but rather as a portrait of experience and feeling that was in synthesis with thought.  Henry fell into his old blue recliner then picked up a book sitting beside him on the floor. His mind drifted to other days and dumb -foundedness as to how it all really came about that he was not still living those fundamentally carefree days, this irked his mind with equal force to the natural pleasure of recollecting.

 An outdated black Chevy rolls up to the curb, the door swings open with lightness, symbolic of the whole year, as if it were a leaf being swatted. Blonde hair and green eyes on a solid frame sprints around the car to the curb just as a very rich car and semi-handsome young- man behind the wheel zoom by. It appears obvious that the young man exiting the old Chevy only notices the very magnetizing women in the passing outlandish cars passenger seat. The fellow leaning out the apartment window above the street only has time for a glimpse at a Cleopatra type hair cut and devastating blue eyes against the black haired backdrop. She has a profound nose, a full face, in short, a southern girl who has managed to reach back to the days when Americans had style. All the while she is bursting out of her sleek skin which is lined with orange and blue outlines of an off white dress. Give her a tan and she would look like a Spanish beauty, let her skin grow fare and Russia’s reputable stamp may have been said to be upon her. The truth, as both Henry (who I notice looking out the window from the apartment above) and I knew, was that she is in fact an American with a tinge of native in her that would have to be traced back to the time when the young land was still a virgin. It seemed to Henry that the sporty stylish fellow, who seems to have been myself, was devastated at the sight of her, as if he had seen her before.

But if you will excuse me… I now see the description of this recollection of Henry’s written in his journal as he sat in that blue chair, and I recognize it. I will tell it all from my perspective, since Henry left a very vague description after I arrived and he simultaneously left the window from which he watched me exit my Chevy.  The girl was really beside the point as I heard a chorus of hearty, and for the moment, good young-men singing some chorus that drifted out the second floor window, surfing upon the accompanying smoke with a force that snuck it past a confidently expanded tree drifting in the mild summer air.  Tax statements, bank accounts, healthcare, loans, 40 plus hour work weeks, inflationary prices, these were all, at best, theoretical relations, if even known to exist by all the young people within that apartment.

 I have once wondered why younger people were not allowed in federal government and then I realized such fresh meat would still be too alive to build a stable society upon. They would be too full of life, too devoted with too much unadulterated and purposefully pumping blood running through their veins, blood that might even have the possibility of bleeding out.

He crossed the freshly mowed grass and proceeded up a stair-well that was the type I was always going up. We all lived in the same type of apartments and no matter where we lived, the wooden stairs creaked. The rails gave just enough to use them to launch from step to step up to the second or third floor. He opened the door to the apartment with adjusted vigor and found before him men and women, all of the young sort, moving about, sitting, laughing, smoking, drinking, from coffee to wine, from beer to vodka.  The apartment was oldish, but large enough that this gathering had the precise amount of busyness. Frank played in the background, and then Ella, and then some popular British bands. The windows were open and amidst the smoke came the smell of baked goods and food dishes from a few girls displaying their versatility in the latest fashionable clothing with matching heels, and all the while, baking.

 It was an environment ripe with energy, with the right amount of steady people to keep the night young for a much longer time then those parties filled with people sadistically eager to wake up the next morning in various assortments of pain. Hans was there, as was Tim and Henry, of course. I will further introduce those three to you later, as this story is, after all, about Henry. The other regulars were there as well, the agnostic lawyer in training, the zealous atheist, who constantly betrayed the fact that he believed in God as much as the most devout theists. If I remember correctly, Don Juan was sitting on the couch drawing sketches of a woman as she posed in the chair next to him, (what a way to read a mood!) The enthusiastic atheist was an extremely good looking dark- black-haired square jawed man of height. He was, at the moment I walked in, in a rant. He was enjoying his ability to irk the preacher boy standing next to him who was trying to convert him. Tim had just joined the two, mostly in order to save this unduly confident preacher boy who had somehow wander into the apartment, and proceeded, it seems, to strike up a conversation with a passionate antagonist, who would, in a rather boyish mischievousness, thoroughly enjoy the idea of making this pastor in training lose sleep that evening, and perhaps every evening of his life.  

The very dashing black haired man was slightly upset at Tim spoiling his fun, so he decided to get at Tim a little by asking if it was ok for him to light up an entirely different brand of smoke. “Not in my apartment. And certainly not tonight!”  said Tim as he rolled his eyes at his long time friend.

Hans was clearly distracted by some girl he had yet to venture to talk to and Henry had just began to debate politics and economics with a trendy student government  man who was also an economic proponent of socialism. It looked as if the trendy socialist was not representing his position well, except to point out that it was trendy to be a socialist, as he was clearly a very stylish gent sporting disgustingly tight pants. I had just come in admiring it all, and especially Henry’s victoriously confident clouds of cigar smoke rising over the head of the up and coming politician. I made my rounds, not looking for anything specific, rather just participating in the general event. It was a simple and common get-together of beautiful and intelligent people, or at least the type of people who had enough general respect for the gift of life and humanity to try and make the most of what they found themselves with. I sat here and there picking up bits of this and that before settling into a conversation of my own.  

What things Henry was reminiscing of I cannot be sure of, but my account should be sufficient to get the general point across of what was on Henry’s mind as he sat in his blue recliner. At first glance I found myself by my friend, who we will simply continue to refer to as Don Juan, for now at least. The Don was that type of man who could rightfully be called a womanizer. However, he was a rather rare type of womanizer that truly enjoyed the process and romance of womanizing as much as its end result. All of that is to say, whereas some man- whore’s do whatever they can to achieve their ends,  that would not do for the Don. Either it would come about in a rather dramatic and atmospheric fashion, or he simply would not go through with it. Although, no doubt, he could make any situation romantic since he had a very accommodating conscience and apt imagination.

“Women are beautiful! In general women are beautiful! It’s true!” Stated the Don Juan while sketching a very realistic picture of the rather thick brunette beside him. “Of Course, of course there is a universal notion in our generation, a general consensus, but at the end of the day it is each one’s preference. For example, I might say Audrey Hepburn is objectively beautiful, and Jeanette here, who is sitting beside me…. I might say she is subjectively and enthrallingly beautiful. You tell me which is more complimentary.” The Don was looking at me for reassurance to his methodically delivered philosophical exposé.  “Well, of course if one values your personal opinion your subjective appreciation will be valued above any general consensus. And since you are objectively good looking yourself, your opinion would carry weight with most people.”

The brunette named Janette began to seem a bit lost in all this insider talk. It seems she got the gist that they both argued she was very attractive and the fact that they had said women in general were beautiful did not seem to disturb her or make her any less satisfied with the compliment. At any rate, I grew bored of the very un-mysterious friend who we endearingly referred to as Don Juan….. the Don, who was on top of his form this evening, and well on his way to waking up in the morning dissatisfied himself only to draw a far cruder picture of another women within the dawning day. Need I say more of the Don, his story has been told often enough , he is the above ground man who like the underground man swims in his filth only to wash up so as to get filthier before the night is up. At the time of this gathering I had no knowledge of the filthy type of underground man. Although I did understand the ironically- mysterious to women, very non-complex Don Juan type that was our friend Anthony.

 I side stepped my way around a well appreciated table which was covered in glasses and made my way to the porch in the back of the apartment. In truth, the porch was nothing more than one of those black metal staircases half enclosed half opened with many landings to the back doors of all the apartments. To young adult men it was sincerely referred to as a porch. Who could want more out of a porch then six stories with openings that allowed one to look out into the woods beyond? In front of me and too my left stood the dashing dark-haired olive skinned atheist who could be an Italian in Italy, a Brazilian in Brazil, and Irishman in Ireland , a Jew in Israel. He could be all of these things because he was that type of universal good looking that every country likes to see in its own setting and then say “ ah! A great looking pure blooded Italian, Irishman, Spaniard,”  ha-ha. Perhaps he was a descendent of those ever intermarrying royalty or the landowning classes of the past. His parents did not work on Wall Street or for the government, although that would be the progression of analogue to the intermarrying of royalty in the modern day.

 His hands were waving, as he swept back his hair and ash sprinkled off his cheaper then cheap cigarettes, “Fuck God! Fuck your Christianity!, and Fuck all those other really bull shit religions.” He glanced at me, and as was his method at the end of his speeches, he became calm again. That was his way; he would speak with the gusto of Hitler, and then simply and calmly take another drag of his cigarette as if he were sitting in a quiet hookah bar in Asia. Tonight, as was typically the case, the vibrant looker had many friends standing around him licking their lips at the icing….. to get the floor to give their rebuttal.  The kid that the handsome and passionate antagonist was chewing up earlier was gone, and in his place stood Phillip. Phillip was a sober as a judge type who’s logical and evidential maneuvering was only reinforced by his picture perfect life. It appeared to some of us that providence had showered gifts on him and in return he upheld his supposed ‘Benevolent One’ with possible and logical edifices that were a reinforced compilation of thought through the ages.

 Nonetheless, the two could not really talk since they spoke right through one another. Phillip had his rationally grounded God, who is said to be characteristically and purposefully shrouded in mystery. And Zane had his experientially grounded disappointment at truth, and life, and its supposed Creator who is said to be shrouded in His own unfixable destruction. I told them of their communication problems but Zane was becoming drunk and simply said “Fuck you” in the most meaningful and yet jovial way. Having known Zane long before college I interpreted it as “I love you, but don’t interrupt or make us get off topic!” Phillip, who was growing increasingly drunk, not on alcohol but arrogance, was quick to point out my error. All the while Phillip held Zane and their conversation with his postured outright hand. Phillip then stated in a rather smug way something to the effect of, “But experience and rational process of thought are one, and nearly work as one as far as we can tell. So you have mistakenly set them apart.” While all of this was going on Tim had made his way out to the porch. He cut short and then seized the words from Phillips tongue.

I remind you yet again that who these main personages are will be told in full detail in just a short while, and along that note I must make it known, at times I write in haste for the world will not wait, and so please excuse me for minor indiscretions, as I am not a writer or an editor, but a sub-par friend with a “six-under” story to tell.

 Phillip had begun to explain how evolution and God were compatible, ‘in order to show Zane it was rationally sound to believe in God regardless of his supposedly emotional arguments.’ Tim, no doubt energized by the zest of Zane, broke out “Fuck evolution! Fuck the notion of God and evolution! Are we from and like God? Or are we from the animals and like the animals? If from God, then maybe like the animals, but not from them. Fuck it all if we are from the animals and from God, it all goes to hell. Christianity is built around the notion of a special relationship with God. It’s built around the idea that there is a special relationship between God and humans….. That humanity renounced those aspects that made them most like God, and became more like the other created things around them! In a word, that man was free with God, and then he was not! having harmed himself. Fuck morality if we were once animals, and fuck morality without God! I can’t believe you are so desperate you are spinning that shit now Phil.”

Tim was shaking his head at Phil as if in incomprehensible disbelief. “It’s not about the literal interpretation it’s about the whole ethic of sin and salvation, and the image of God.” Tim took a breath, “And I don’t swear! When have you heard me swear before? Thus the word served me well for emphasis, much better than it does you Zane” Everyone had a laugh at that comment, since the f word was for Zane like saying hello. Naturally Zane felt like he was being plundered, “Thus thus thus thus! What are you guys freaking Brits in the Middle Ages.” Zane flicked ashes at them, they did not actually hit Tim, it was simply a gesture for affect.  Tim shot back a look that said “any more of the ash flicking and there will be debating with fists!” Tim was not particularly on edge .He was just very fond of designer clothing, and ashes could break his frugally upheld budget. I caught a glimpse of Henry at the screen watching the tail end of all of this, when he turned and decided to stay out of that old scene. He walked back into the main room and I followed.

Now perhaps you are wondering where this is all going, and who all these people are? It suffices to say they were extremely close friends of Henry’s, some of which, as I have said, will be told of in greater detail later. But this is Henry’s story and these friends and this scene play an integral part in your understanding Henry, and his story. But enough apologies for I have only begun and I can tend to get a bit off point, or do I ?  In any case, Henry saw me following behind him, “They go over the same stuff every time were together, and usually I love it, but not tonight.” “It’s a bit like the moonlight sonata isn’t it Henry, how they keep going over the same old topic again and again, adding a new emphasis each time around?” Hans, who was now entertaining in place of Sinatra and friends, popped his head out from behind the piano to roll his eyes at my mentioning of the moonlight sonata, the main part he rolled his eyes at being merely my mentioning of the sonata.

 Henry found himself standing over the chair of a woman who he greeted as if she were an old time acquaintance. In fact they had only known each other for barely two years. “You look rather glum. What else is new?” Henry tried to smile and act energetic, as he resolved that this evening would not turn into one of those melodramatic pity parties for himself. “No I am fine just tired….. How are you?” The chicly dressed girl, whose name was Veronica, sat down her half filled glass of merlot on the table, ignoring Henry’s question. “So how did things work out for you and that girl you were so enraptured with?” Henry bought some time and searched the room for a chair finally pulling one next to the chic women. She was styling a grey spring dress that laid upon her skin, her feet dancing within the open toed heels that matched her dress. “Things never began of course…..There was no beginning it simply went nowhere!” Veronica’s eyes slowly grew large with a passive tone of sarcasm, “How exacting you are in your description, not vague or repetitive at all.” Henry was to worn down to have the energy to take the blows from this girl. Even so, he sat beside her; she was said to be an intellectual equal to both Henry and all of his heady friends, and arguably a superior.

V was not a particularly beautiful woman, at least not by zeitgeist standards, but she was young, stylish and smart. Henry had no interest in her beyond platonic, though her intelligence in combination with her stylish femininity are probably the reasons why He settled in to take a beating from her when he would not have heard a word of it from any of his other male friends at the gathering. With a conscious flick of her bleached black hair to the side she renewed the intrigue. “Yes so you kept running into her…..I remembered you telling me. And since you always kept the same schedule you thought she was beginning to take a liking to you. And………and then what?”  

Henry’s eyes opened with emphasis showing his startled dread of answering “And what?…………And one night we ran into each other and she ate dinner with me.” Henry continued to swallow his tongue, “A little while after that I asked her out on an official date.  Then, of course, She said she ‘clearly had no interest in me’ and then she was engaged nearly two weeks later!” Veronica was poised to solve this and settled into her chair “What did you talk about at dinner?”  “This and that… you know.” Veronica’s big eyes rolled over twice, “oh my! This is going to be like pulling teeth…. You’re ridiculous; here have some anesthesia for goodness sake.” Veronica handed Henry her wine glass. Henry took a symbolically appeasing swig, “ ok, ok, we talked about life, this and that, I thought it went well, she mentioned she had a boyfriend , but then made a very suggestive statement about keeping one’s options open…….. It doesn’t matter that she is perhaps one of the most moral and mature girls I have met, and even she could not admit or see, she was in fact considering me,….. leading me on.”

“And before you start…” Henry was starting to come to life, his face flitching with every and any expression it found appropriate, “…before you start, I know what you will say. Either you will say she really was just being friendly and I was reading into it, or I could have had her with the right methods.” Veronica, who was now resting her chin on her hand on her armrest staring as if analyzing his every word and expression, tried to interject, but to no avail. “It doesn’t matter. I saw her fiancé. I took one look at him and I knew he was a good man, and that they will be one of those rare 90 year old couples dying arm in arm. I couldn’t help but feel that my strongest emotions and thoughts for her were brought to silence with a glance at him.” V realized he had finally come to a pause and seized the opening, “You know what most girls will tell you? They would say that she was not interested, and that you are just conceited! However, I won’t tell you that! I know you will hate to hear this, but you could have won her over. If she was so devotedly in love she would not have ever given you the time of day! That’s a scientific axiom!”  V grew more and more emphatic and authoritative in her tone, “She was certainly feeling you out. But,….But! You really could have won her over. Whereas in the past you threw yourself at women and were entirely too easy for a women to appreciate, this time you were too calm, it seems. Maybe you had too much of a ‘let it breath type attitude.’ A girl like her didn’t need to breath, she needed you to make the decision for her. If you smilingly suffocated her with a calm and confident fervency she would have been set at ease from her busy and irritating life. You needed to give her an irrefutable reason to venture out to what it was that she was casually considering in you. But as always you were probably missing the one element you have always been missing. And though you are said to be quite the saint I don’t believe that element is so far removed you cannot exercise it enough to gain a women’s attention.”

By now V had gained the mildly chauvinistic Henry Ker’s attention, and respect. “Go on, go on” V saw the change in Henry’s disposition and took the liberty of savoring it a little. “I think I will have you pay for the rest of this therapy session.”  The beer Henry had drank earlier in the night finally revealed itself within his system. He took a sexually consuming glance at this rather ‘unattractive’ young women. It was not that the alcohol blinded him, on the contrary, the small amount of alcohol in his blood opened his eyes to the truth that the Don and I affirmed before Janette earlier that evening, and many evenings before in Henry’s presence. With that glance Henry saw his pleasure and happiness in her robust and poignant features. He saw her great mind, which it seems had in fact opened his eyes to her overall beauty. The chronology of his finding respect for her due to her assessment suggests that her mind opened his eyes to her overall beauty, even more then the wisdom juice of fermented American grains. Suddenly V’s disposition had changed. Her face showed scared confusion as she got out of her chair. As her body rose her eyes looked down, and she said with an attempted air of matter –of- factness, “Maybe I have underestimated you Henry.”

All the while I had been glancing over at these two from time to time. I had caught the end of this scene with un-conscienceable eavesdropping and came in just in time to fill the now vacant chair. “She’s some kind of women Henry, though I dare say the boys of your generation are not man enough to handle a woman like that. On more than one level, I might add!”  Hearty laughs

There was a lingering look of starving depressed sensuality on Henry’s face as he began to speak. “Oh I could handle her. She is revitalizing just sitting beside her. If it were not for the fact that the most important part of me is left somewhere on someone of the past, I would have followed her out into that kitchen this minute and never looked back!” I just looked at Henry somewhat puzzled with a vague stare. “She saw it in me, behind my eyes, yes she saw the sensuality in it, but only half a heart, and a woman, especially one like V, can always sense the danger of half-heartedness when it reeks so obviously as it does on me.” At the time I was not sure I knew exactly what Henry was telling me, and as I was trying to figure it out when the cowboys came in. 

In the accustomed cowboy fashion they drew everyone’s attention to the door in which they had just exploded through. There loud voices could be heard throughout the entire apartment; Hans even stopped playing the piano. And so the assault began, the first of the cowboys made it over to Henry.  “Typical, it’s the philosopher scene! Do you all ever get tired of arguing about the same worthless garbage?”  The second cowboy in rank could be heard throughout the entire apartment, “Let’s do something fun and go out.. there are only enough women here for Anthony.” The third cowboy was opening the refrigerator and could be heard complaining, “Henry only brought enough beer for himself, and naturally there is red wine everywhere…..we need to all go out tonight, that is for-sure!”

The cowboy’s names are superfluous as they were simply referred to endearingly as the cowboys. All of us had similar and overlapping interests and the cowboys were not excluded in this. The odd thing was Tim, Henry, Zane and I were better athletes then the great sport enthusiasts that were the cowboys. The boys settled down for a bit, made their rounds and then took their turns getting shot down by V. The boys had enough of the south in them to unapologetically appreciate an excellent and youthfully large woman despite what society expected men like them to walk in with arm in arm. They usually each took a turn trying to get to V at every get together, and then as if on a telepathic brain-wave became restless in their rejection. The head of the rough riders announced, “We’re going out. Whose coming?”

Henry and I hesitantly joined the cowboys, glad for the unexpected changeup to the evening. It had already grown late as I pulled Henry’s wrist toward me; both of us standing under the street light to find his nice brown leather banded watch affirming it was twelve o’clock.

We drove into the down-town area, took an elevator to the top floor of tall glass building and found ourselves in a very European posh night club. Most of us were not particularly wealthy, though even the cowboys were always well dressed. In this club, bar, pub, whatever one wishes to call it, everyone was not only well- dressed but seemingly richly dressed, but then again who cares to try and peek at the tags inside of one’s clothes. The jewelry sparkled when the roaming lights hit it, and as is typical of America, the women came in all shades shapes and sizes. The cowboys ordered pitchers of beer, starting off with a dark and flavorful brew and then moving onto more economical choices. Henry had his typical jager on ice and I tried some type of martini. The cowboys were scouting out the room, and as they settled, two of them began to concentrate on Henry. The other cowboy made his way over to a very interesting girl, to say the least.  It was hard to hear in the club since a little ways off from the bar and table-area people were dancing to all the latest hit songs. Henry, staring off into the distance, seemed to only be half-listening to the relentless speeches of the boys.

“Henry, trust us man, you need to bag as many women as you can.” “Yeah and you can be a nice guy about it, just be honest, take them to dinner tell them you’re not looking for anything serious and then have fun giving it man.”

“Yeah man its biological, its science!”

Henry was still looking off into the distance, “Yeah but that is not what I want, and I don’t think its biological gold, ever heard of diseases? I do not just want sex, I want a companion, I want some to share life with. I don’t want to roam around like some mindless fucking rabbit.”

The cowboys were happy they got under Henry’s skin enough to make him swear. “But man we are serious! I have been doing it for years and the girls are just as happy with it as we are.”

“Yeah man not everyone wants your romantic western quasi Christian notions of monogamous love for sixty years!”

“People want to enjoy their lives.”

“Even women, man!”

“Especially women!” added the other cowboy.

Henry was fuming to himself, “ these playboys claimed they wanted to go out and have a good time and not think about all the great questions of life, and upon arriving let out a full on assault.”  Henry seething with irritation calmly waited for their attention, “Well last time I checked, science as a whole and evolutionary theory is waiting for its own second coming. So in the meantime piss off or don’t get upset when your get married someday and then you find out the Don is doing your wife!  At all costs be consistent!”

Henry gave them a wink and left.

On his way out he stopped by the waitress who he had been staring at all night and whispered something in her ear, and then was gone! Meanwhile the lead cowboy was still chatting up some lucky lady by the bar. I joined him as I too struck up a conversation, with a woman who turned out to be an up and coming actress. By now the night was nearly spent and the club was clearing out, people were stumbling out, some by themselves, some arm in arm with a new friend, some arm in arm with the wing-person they flew into battle with. My actress had to leave and so I was left listening to the lead cowboy talk to his very unique new friend. “I don’t give a f—about your car. I don’t give a f— about that stuff!” My friend (the handsome tall and strong yet pretty blue eyed blonde boy) kept at it, and she kept reaffirming that she did not give an f—- about his stuff.  “Let’s go back to my place!” shouted the aggressive young lady. Whether she was drunk or just truly unique, it was hard to tell. “Do you want to go to breakfast? let’s go to breakfast” returned the cowboy.  She looked at him with a face that said “are you fucking retarded?!”

The cowboys were rough riders, but this particular one who had long been their leader, was constantly at war with his own ideology, which was parroted by the other two cowboys to Henry, and his younger self who was a very religiously minded boy.  I just laughed, knowing that either two things would happen, they would go to breakfast and he would do nothing and she would be enraged, or on the way to the diner he would change his mind and just go to her apartment, and go hog-wild. Whether it was lingering morals or the peculiar fear that this women was just as interested in every other man on every other night, I do not know. For whatever reason, he kept giving his innovative breakfast line when it was not necessary to do so. I dropped the two of them off at his car and after that “who knows”. Oh, I nearly forgot to mention on the way out of the club I asked that waitress what my friend had whispered in her ear. She looked up at me with a gentle and sincere smile, “He said I was by far the most beautiful women in this club.” she smiled again as if truly appreciating his no strings attached compliment and walked away. My head was spinning, my hearing watery from the loud music, my body floating from the alcohol, all the while trying to make sense of this mad and mildly eventful evening, knowing that when I got back to Tim’s apartment the night would only be entering the seventh inning stretch.

Henry threw down the book to the right of his blue chair and began to mumble out loud,

“ regardless of the suspense or anxiety that may be on a page it is no comparison to the anxiety a young man feels after realizing he has passed over a potential beloved. A potential beloved who was so ready to love him, whom he now had no reason to think would ever be available to him again. Oh such a feeling, such a thought….,” Henry continued to himself in silence, “is beyond any unrequited love, it is a shock to the whole being; both sorrow and regret, anxiety and shame. Oh the shame of such foolishness, of such blindness. How would those fabled Israelites have fared should they have smashed the manna under their feet while looking for food? How should have that gone over with their God? And then there’s these Fools, Fools, stupid children! They cannot understand what I say they are so obsessed with fraudulent realism and the supposed power of it, because they have not the soul nor the mind to experience reality in all its power themselves. Yes they think their lives are monotonous, and truly and sadly they are right, because they are like the animals, the cows who only see the grass before their face.” With that my friend Henry shut the door not only to his room but to the supposed cows that surrounded him.

It is true I fall prey to Henry’s critique in recounting his story. Indeed on all accounts I fall prey, though I will do my best to record his reality with the very vision and feeling he had that Tuesday afternoon upon the enlightening of his mind to his failure and his ungratefulness.  It is now clear to me what the reality he day-dreamt about in his blue chair meant to him. However it will only be seen in time, as it is not as much about what was in the events, which I recounted above, as what was not there.

 

 

Introductions in Order

Fortunately for  you Mr. Henry Ker’s story is quite a wonderful reality to entertain; even with all the details and unanswered questions, even with all the true unknowns it is better than any omniscient omnipotent story or fairytale, yes even the stories that are purposefully limited and beautiful or end in disaster without a happy ending. As Henry, my old friend, is quite right in that even the limited stories are limited only to the author’s desire, since there is nothing beyond his desire to write what he has not decided to write. Such an author answers all questions he desires to answer and willfully leaves unknown that which he did not care to know. Yes that is, I believe, how Henry himself summed up the situation of fiction and even nonfictions in a letter he sent me. Surely this story is different since what is left unknown is truly unknown and what was not desirable to write will still be written. Although Henry was always somewhat clearer in letters then in his speech the latter is not entirely clear to me even in the letter. In any case, I am afraid in recounting Henry’s story I will not be able to escape the fact that the reality will not appear to the reader as it did to Henry at the time. Indeed, even in spite of my drawing from his own recounting of events, the task is severe. But I shall certainly not seek to include things unknown to Henry that are known to me without being clear to you that that is the case. In the end my task is rather easy, as keeping people interested in a story is not so depended on the writer as the actual story itself. Henry himself noted “people love realism and a recounting of reality…. And if it is a bit extraordinary it always interests others, since to them life seems all too often, very ordinary. It even gives them hope; even if I can open their eyes to the great excitement of their daily walk to work, they will be interested.”

The story of Mr. Ker is a fairly modern and recent series of events in the America of the limitlessly advanced 21st century;  Henry himself being a seemingly limitless young “all American”, prodigious in his studies and standout in his athletic performance throughout school.  During this time his looks were not far behind his all American qualification; sporting wavy blond hair and a prominent facial structure on top of his six foot plus athletically cut body. Early on he nurtured the idea of being the best, or one of the few best, at something (but what American, what human does not nurture such an idea). In fact, as he often admitted, his life was quite disinteresting until he fell in love. So then I either must introduce the characters that surrounded our love drunk friend or get to the part where he drinks from a potent well that for once intoxicates him.

The truth of the matter is there would be no story to tell if Henry were it not for two of his friends he met at the university. These young men were not perhaps as “all American” as Henry, though in a somewhat romantic sense they lived life with the type of zeal that the great country of immigrants has always appreciated and claimed as its unifying characteristic.  And at this point I should warn you, although I myself am a sort of enthusiastic aesthete, the type who loves beer and women and smoking, smoking simply because people have begun to stick their noses up at it. I also, of course, love the idea of the strong and the young and the beautiful ones partaking of what can kill them and conquering it….. that is, what young people do when they smoke, they say “I am untouchable” and they are, until they become old, but who wants to think about that. Well, you get the point. Maybe not? But the point is when one lives in a society of calculated and depraved moderation, and one sees one who lives with thoughtful and patient passion, well I cannot help but appreciate that, even though my personal passions are rather pathetic and menial and the opposite extreme of one’s typical white collard calculatedly depraved moderation. Yes my color is white enough, but I hide it and embrace those less hypocritical but equally sad sorts who embrace the anthem of ‘drunken drugged and done till death!’

So then, I must warn you I am going to begin by telling you about a few young men that were passionate, patient and if not patient then courageous!  Friends that lived, to live and talk about the things most people are afraid to live and talk about. They were first and foremost religious and philosophical, and of course political, and psychologically interested, and now of course you might put the book down, but do not fear for I am neither religious nor political, and as for the characters in our story, these mediums come to bloom in relation to what everyone has always been talking about. In fact, often one of the first things a person asks another after meeting them, ‘What do you do with your life?’Yes these young men were very interested in that and also of course- love, since it became very obvious to them as it does to all at a certain age, that what they wanted in life was to love and be loved.

Tim Baxter sat in his room laughing but he was the only one in his room. Tim was a solitary individual and yet he was energized by the presence of others. This particular night he sat in his room alone as his flatmates  pretentiously listened to music and chatted it up with a group of greedy and blasé  girls. This particular night, as was the case most nights, Tim preferred to sit alone and drink vodka with only the company of his book. “Stop being such a prig Tim, come down and meet our friends,” shouted his flat mate from the bottom of the old wooden stairwell.  As fate would have it Tim eventually ran out of ice and warm vodka would not do, so he had to go down stairs. Upon getting to the bottom of the creaky stairwell Tim found his friends and their lady friends sitting around in the family room. Tim smiled politely to the girls, as was his manner, all the while thinking to himself whether or not his flat mates knew a single attractive looking girl. After filling his snub glass, he proceeded back through the crowd up to his room and pulled the half gallon of vodka back out of his bottom right dresser door. All the while he was still complaining to himself as to whether or not any attractive girls would ever happen to wonder within a remote radius of his existence. “Clearly not if Larry Moe and Curly have anything to do with it” he mused. “But who am I kidding, of course there are, there are thousands of beautiful smart girls my age. It’s simply that all the ones I meet happened to be in relationships ranging from dating to marriage.” Tim’s thoughts wandered back to a night he meet some of his older friends for dinner during his sophomore year of university.

Naturally the room was dimly lit, the floors, dawning an old and rustic wooden finish; the ceilings, arched making up a setting that was genuinely the very definition of 1st class. In walked the strapping young Tim with a countenance radiant with excitement. He greeted his friends at the table and then was introduced too two females and two males, both groups of which were a few years older as were his upperclassmen friends. The glow on his face dimmed as he was struck by the reality that he was invited to a party of couples. What was worse was that other than his two friends from English class, who were engaged, the rest were all married. So there he sat across from a beautiful and extremely married women. Tim said nothing. He was polite as he sensed a strange attraction to and from this young and newly married women. She was an athletic, elegant, and authentic blonde with freckles on her face scattered mildly around her nose. Her eyes were deliberately avoiding Tim’s, and then when her husband left the table to use the restroom she started the conversation. But I must defend myself and note: Henry too knew the intimate details of the story I am telling of our mutual friend Tim.

Of course, the woman was, for her part, completely in the clear in her action, as she simply started a conversation about what Tim studied in college. Tim went on to explain his interest and declared major in history and sociology. “Yes well…” he continued dejectedly since he knew the response coming which had only come 100 times before, “I am a history major.” He began his prepared defense, “Though I am unsure what I will do with it, I really enjoy it and it is very hard work, in fact a very hard major. So few students actually pass the intro class at my university.” He ended his statement with a defeated tone. To tell the truth, Tim was not defeated. He simply did not want to seem a fool in others minds, though in his mind his decision was much more purposeful then those very same others could ever conceive. The young Mrs. X sensed his dejection. In her judgment she decided he was no moper, just as well, she could not exactly lay a finger on what he was. Perhaps, she thought, “he is possibly arrogant,” and thus perhaps she guessed his false dejection. With great sincerity Mrs. X replied “why that’s great I think. You know I just graduated with a degree in literature and I feel my opportunities are so numerous.” And so the conversation continued. Tim, had he lived in a different day and were she not married, would have offered her terms of engagement or to her father, or whoever, and that very night to be sure! But alas he did not and what is mor, she was married and our dear Tim was most likely one of the most moral men in his country at that time. In the least, he was so moral we could not help but suppose it of him in the greatest sincerity spiced with a bit of spite. So upon her husband’s return he started a conversation with this attractive and strong built young man, who was in fact not as intelligent as his wife, but he was, Tim sensed, a “good man” and thus he felt some sense of consolation for the girl whom he loved.

 The truth is, Tim and the young women had seen each other before. Our ‘very moral’ Tim devoured her with his eyes upon there last collision and she did not dislike it. In Tim’s defense, he had no idea she was married, and he sickened us with that clarifying point when he explained this all to us with the most disgustingly honest innocence. Of course, Tim (the young saint) would not have looked twice had he seen the ring. I would hazard the guess that when Tim burned holes in her with his eyes, he probably did not move past a purely aesthetic and ethical longing. I have to suppose this, as he was so ridiculously innocent; A man who knew so much of the world at such a young age. Who was so powerful, should history spit out a great event and yet who was when it came to women, so honestly believing of the most pure and romantic dreams that are far too good to be lived out in this world. But the last is my opinion, and this is Henry’s story… so then….

 As Tim glanced into the eyes of the young wife,  he could see the momentarily torn young women had in fact left her thoughts wander to a place where she envisioned her life if she had held out and remained single a bit longer but the glimpse, the notion, dare I say frivolous fancy, would have crushed her if she continued upon it and thus in an instant, she took her eyes from Tim turning to hug her husband and finally sealing her insecurity with a kiss of feeling. Though it seemed her feelings were anything but unified, it nonetheless was a kiss of feeling, as if in spite of herself, not in spite of Tim…. but herself. That very night Tim Baxter went home and being the religious man he was, before laying down in his bed, prayed for the young couple that they would be happy and strong. All the while as Tim prayed to the Christ he fought viciously against, the seemingly self spawning thought of Mrs. X’s husband’s death and her being left single, falling into one another arms, walking through life in a perfect fit…… not the typical jimmy rigged union that is about as close as being the uniting of separated halves as would be the marriage of a pig and cow..

Tim came back to himself sitting in his chair with the cup of vodka and melted ice in his hand. He could take the memory of the dreadful diner with Mrs. X no further, “after all,” he rationalized to himself, “there were many such women who were of one spirit with me and yet separated from me by the very religion and the very God I trusted to restore me. After all, only two such women is two too many.” Indeed even two such women were far too many for the tender heart of Tim. Tim had enough of these troubling thoughts so he laid face down on the floor of his completely dark room as the shades swung in the wind from the open window and a poor man’s street light put off a soft glimmer. Tim laid prostrate listening to Mozart until he was ready to sleep. In the morning He woke up with a slow ease, made a large breakfast for himself and a fresh glass of coffee and then…and then he joined the Army. After some months of training, Tim was stationed in a far away country. Within six months of his term in the foreign country Tim was shot and killed.

 By now of course I am assume you realize that even the names listed are not accurate nor was Tim necessarily in the Army per se. Two months prior to his death Tim was often frequenting the streets of the country he was stationed in. What he encountered in the dark was utter darkness, absolute depravity. However, Tim did not care initially as he viewed all people as depraved by nature, and so he saw them as simply doing evil for evil, and thus what concern of it was his. Surely it was not his problem but theirs. Mr. Bassinger always thought that people, who rejected the idea of a God and a moral code given by that God, were not worth the effort. One night as Tim crept about smoking his all white cigarettes, he stumble upon a place of young girls and young boys and seemingly rich men speaking languages from all over the globe. The short of it is that, Tim’s indifference was brought to a halt, although he cared less about the men’s self condemning actions; he did care about the innocent children, who needed protected  and a fair shot at life. Perhaps you are unfamiliar with Baptist type men like Tim. America is still full of religion and no doubt you encountered something of the sort once or twice, but Tim, as he was taught to do since childhood, began to contemplate all he had read in scripture. He was left with two conclusions. The first thing Tim wrote in his journal was that he could either attempt to convert the evil men and care for the young people as best as he could, or  he could stand up for the defenseless! The women! And children! The poor and the oppressed! Yes a wonderful sounding notion which all in this century would applaud.

Tim continued to exegete the scriptures in the protestant tradition handed down to him. He concluded these oppressed were the people most probable for inheriting eternal life and that upon a successful military career he could finish his degree and enter politics using politics to end these poor children’s plights, all the while bringing the men to trial and justice. As Tim continued to reason, he remembered the teaching that Christ was judge and all were sinners and yet God allowed and expected governments to uphold a standard of justice. So then, Tim had resolved what he would do and thus the next day he proceeded to tell and thus convince his five closest friends stationed with him of his decision. “It is all clear to me what I will do. So very much does not make sense, and my judgmental and indifferent attitude is probably anything but Christ like, but it does not matter now, as I see my purpose as a Christian, as an American, as a man. Where my actions will leave me?…. With the church or my country or with God… I do not know, but did I need scripture to tell me to defend the innocent and the helpless! Even if the cost is unknown, and I bring judgment on myself……..those children need salvation here and now, today and not a second later! Do not misunderstand me! I am not a hero nor do I have a hero complex……I……. I simply have lost all hope for my own happiness, so it is easy for me to give what little hope I have left to them”

Tim and his 5 comrades proceeded to enter the hell holes the next night and gun down all the patrons and owners. They continued their unauthorized raids again and again, going in and out of hiding. They killed the men, or hogs, as Tim preferred to refer to them, and set the women, girls, and boys free. They ‘liberated’ and hid them away at various mission type organizations. One evening, Tim, who went about his “business” without any fear , for he had no true care whether he lived or died, as he saw death in his final hope as the most certain peace, one evening Tim was shot dead. He was shot by a small gun of a very American diplomat. It seems Tim’s brigade had stumbled upon a favorite spot of certain important officials who were prepared, realizing it was only a matter of time until these rogues arrived. For this particular American official it was a personal matter as he was certain Tim and company would have taken him alive so as to make a statement to the world of the severity of the problem, and also vindicate their rogue behavior in the process. This seemed the only logical end to the Diplomat, as simply stopping to frequent those places did not seem to be a consideration, and certainly that would have been Tim’s action had he found him there. The aid to survive in hiding and continue the campaigns became scarcer, and a ‘find’, such as this official, resided in the back of Tim’s mind as the last remnant of any hope for himself here and now.  We humans are so odd…… Tim had found himself in that foreign country because he had lost all hope for his being able to endure the life before him. And then, while standing on deaths front porch, he finds such an idea in his head… as if he had forgotten the life of loneliness which he believed providence would force upon him.

Now my dear reader you may be wondering what Tim has to do with this story, but….. be patient! For Henry and Tim were the closest of friends, and shared a mutual friend in their days upon the earth, and thus their stories are connected. Ah yes! and I must remind you yet again, that minor details are amended as I wish to hold Henry’s wish fulfilled and tell the story in reality or tell the reality, and not a story at all, if that is possible? If I can escape Henry’s criticisms, who knows? It has been years since I have written, and his standards for a composer or even a historian, for that matter, are quite high.

Ah but you find it odd that Tim should end up in such a drastic state over a married women whom he sat across at dinner on one occasion. Indeed as I hinted at earlier events in Tim’s life were of such an ironic nature, he being the butt of irony that only two such occasions as the one at dinner would have been enough to fuel his reflective mind to its own ruin. But alas this other very important event, at least in Tim’s eyes, was the fateful day Tim met Eliza Howell. Eliza was a beautiful young girl, the type that only grows more and more beautiful with each year. It is important to mention that Tim was a chauvinist by 21st century standards. Yet Tim found the strong Miss Howell to be young women unlike any other. But I suppose it would be important to further explain the thinking of Mr. Bassinger so as to understand his drastically absolute views and yet very uncertain decisions. Tim was a very well read young man, very aware of his beliefs and the criticisms raised against them. He marveled at the way in which men and women in history lived in stark contrast to the present culture’s desire to die as slowly as possible. As far as Tim was concerned, the holy scriptures were nearly the voice of God Himself, perhaps with minor nuances. With these perhaps heroic and what some would deem romantic views; Tim held Eliza Howell in awe.

She was a young woman who took pride in being a woman in a very traditional sense. She had no desire to be like the funny creatures that are men. Tim was so excited at that time …so sincerely happy.  I remember how he rushed into Henry and I. “Gentlemen,” he cleared his throat and summoned a deep voice, “gentleman in the words of Etta James, ‘at last!!” voiced Tim as he burst into the room. “Seriously the girl plays piano, is thoughtful and mild mannered. She is intelligent, sweet, and a moral giant. I have never seen a girl dressed with such style, class, and modesty all at the same time.” Tim was flashing around like he had won a hundred thousand dollars. Henry and I were staring at him with dull eyes. Tim came to recognize his overly extreme excitement, and began to calm down so that we could keep up with what he was saying. “Oddly enough her modest dress, makes here all the more attractive. Henry my friend! Meeting this girl is an answer to prayer, and I must pursue her. She must be my wife, she is my eve. Surely the poets are right, surely I have meet her before.”  Henry became excited himself. Since Tim decided to reveal his secret that he had been nursing. Henry let his out as well.

 “Tim my man, how is it we both find love at the same time!!” exclaimed Henry. Tim only grinned. He did not need Henry to say anymore. “Haaha… The romantic religiosity we carried out for four years of high school, high school!” uttered Tim a second time with emphasis at the absurdity. “The distant old kingdom in which we walked the courts as twin Princes. All was ours for the taking!”

“Yes, and you were always more dutiful and less enticed than me, but we made it through all the same.”

So it was that Tim and Eliza became a couple. For Tim it was dinner out every Friday night. He had no reservations about spending his loan money for college on the glorious Eliza. Every night Tim came home with a smile on his face as glowing as a full moon. And every night Tim knelt beside his bed and let loose a peaceful “thank you Lord.”

The young Mr. Bassinger was in fact, a man since the age of eight and thus he told Elisa before Christmas break that he intended to marry her. After all, to Tim, Eliza was…. “Eliza is the most beautiful green eyed saint in all the universe who undergoes the title of women. Having met her I cannot now live without her.” Eliza, who was only eighteen and without experience in these things, nonetheless new a truth spoken when she heard it. Nor did Elisa reject his offer, though she did speak some wisdom to his passion in explaining foreseeable obstructions to such a fast pace. Now, it is true, Tim’s passion was wiser and more thought out than any of the pseudo- psychologist, sociologist, or theologians who specialized in relationships. What is more, Tim knew it.  As he once said to Henry “these Pastors, these scientific Psychologists who write their books and speak their speeches; they are typically asses and I do not swear Henry you know that. I was raised under the preachers and I have read the great ‘unreligious and scientific’ psychologists and they both spew out more shit than a manure spreader. Whether it’s brown or green I really don’t care!”

  Henry nodded his head in agreement, though his stretched eyes showed his mind was mostly elsewhere. “Yeah, in the least they only tell half truths anyway, and they do it so dogmatically. So…. well I suppose you have got a point.” Tim and Henry sat in their apartment eating spaghetti and pretending to study for their classes the next day. “The worst part is people believe it all, they follow the advice and then social norms and stigma’s are shaped by these great sages,” the sing of sarcasm could be heard in Tim’s voice. “Well then,” replied Henry “I suppose independent minds like us won’t have much of a chance will we.” Tim did not bother to ask a chance at what? Rather all was understood.

And so it was, that regardless of Elisa uniqueness as a distinct type of 21st century women, it was still the 21st century. When her parents heard about the proposal from the reserved yet excited young woman who was their daughter, she was sent to a university on the east coast, and cut off from the brain washing day dreamer, who would, no doubt, ruin both her future career and later prospects of marrying well. Eliza was a rational young woman and thus the wisdom of her parents laid hold of her mind. Tim never heard from her again. There is really nothing more to say, nor do I need to describe to you the effect on Tim. Yes, Elisa loved Tim but she trusted her parents, and after all what is more certain then the rational, a qualification of thought that had the support of every institution she had ever gone through since she was a child. For Elisa, the rational consisted of a neatly composed concoction of an evenly flowing formula of pastoral wisdom, and western notions of success along with a deep breath of feminism and two pinches of greed that were referred to as ‘security’.

Was Elisa a heartless woman? Of course not, she was courageous to endure her pain in her heart for what was best…. what was rational. She was however, ignorant and by default arrogant to think the world was so simple….so neat and tidy.  Tim was my friend, and I respected and was even stirred by his life and his beliefs, but those other people cut off from the ‘immoral world’ and thus basking in their own private corner of hypocrisy… those stir me in an entirely different fashion. Henry sought to encourage Tim daily. Although this encouragement had a healing effect, in the end it was nothing but the final days of a desperate hope. Truly my recounting the story or rather reality of Tim Bassinger is a rather harsh recounting or reality. But it is necessary to recount in order to tell the beautiful story of Henry in light of reality.

Tim and Henry had another friend at college with them who plays an important role in the reality that is Henry’s story. The excellent Hans Zetreng. Hans, like Tim, was very religious and took his belief in God very seriously. Hans was a devout young man, and thus in comparison to many of the other gentleman of his age he lived the life of an ascetic. Unlike all the other gentleman, who in Han’s mind were anything but gentleman. Obviously Hans is somewhat similar in his views to both Tim and Henry, as it is common knowledge that people with similar interests have a tendency of finding one another and getting along well with one another.  Hans likewise was a religious romantic, whatever that is? He beheld the race of women as more moral and pure beings then men. Perverted jokes and pornography were not for him, though it seemed it was the great unity of all other men and especially ones he meet at the university. Hans longed for companionship… ah but I have gotten ahead of myself!

 Before he ever thought of a woman he was a musician, and one that would not be outperformed or out practiced. Though he did practice prodigiously he was what one would rightly call a natural. In fact his young talent did not go unnoticed. A neighbor and local ex-professional sought to train him and get him in the circuit, but Hans was not allowed the opportunity as his parents said the recitals may interfere with church. But the confident young Hans, after a glit of doubt smiled to himself and said to the Almighty, whose church schedule had sought to take his love and purpose from him, he smiled and said “ Lord I will be a professional musician and I will do it to your glory and I will serve you in it, but first and foremost I will always love what you love and hate what you hate and so Lord I am going to be a professional musician, one of the best, and no doubt I will be wealthy and do a good deal of traveling, but that is all beside the point and thus will not interfere with Your purpose. So Lord I will pursue this aim as it is clear to me you have given me the ability I will pursue it until I achieve it and…. and if you want me to do something else well then Lord you will have to tell me “No!” in a rather drastic fashion. Otherwise this is my future and I will assume I am to have Your approval in it.” Hans finished his prayer to God as the bathroom began to steam up terrible from his very hot shower. Hans toweled off and went to bed a stable and certain man of 15 years.

One month later Hans’s hand was torn off by a chainsaw while he was helping his grandfather clean up his property. Hans did recover, but he never played quite the same with his repaired hand. Nor did Hans ever have time to make up the time of playing he lost from the age of 15 to 18 while recovering from surgery after surgery. These years were in fact the most important years for the unconnected Hans to prove himself to an excellent music university in spite of his guardian’s opposition and his general disconnectedness from the appropriate circles. But these years were taken away, and Hans did not view it as a setback but as a Divine reply.

To such people as Hans his losing his hand and being unable to play the piano, after his prayer a month earlier could be viewed as nothing other than a response from God. Indeed even to myself it is a rather interesting coincidence. But as I continue to recount this story I cannot help but think how their faith now seems to me to have been nothing but trouble for these moral young men. In our society, at least the ones I have meet, Christians are typically such prosperous and resolved people and yet these men in their integrity seemed to face troubles in the most basic areas of life….as anyone, as the unreligious man would shake his head at the notion of God and the way his life was taking shape. And I believe I am beginning to see the older I get, these young men believed much more sincerely than those others. Perhaps because they were young men and too upright to see that most of what they were taught by other religious people were things those others merely liked to talk about, but did like as much to live out with the same uncompromising and devoted passion with which they spoke. Perhaps, also that they simply had not lived long enough to find themselves living in dishonest and un-devoted religiosity held onto in sentimentality and the desire to feel superior to others.

 Do not fear there are no conversion plots in this story. I am simply telling the rather simple and not uncommon events of certain people I encountered once upon a time. Passionate people, who walk about in the same world as us and yet saw it and lived in it with the courage and imagination that we typically only get to see in a movie or a severe event in history, but even in a historical movie or a historical book we get the fanciful that I am trying to avoid in accord with Henry’s wishes. What makes this interesting is these events occur in a relatively peaceful setting, a relatively boring setting, in all reality, a rather monotonous and average setting. I do not speak of the rich or the famous or the fortunately born No! just people much like the very vast majority of people in the world, who live and who die, and who are considered to be rather insignificant in the grand scheme of things. But no doubt these fellows had a rather different take on who is significant and who is not, and what is normal and what is not.

Hans, understanding his prayer to have been answered, went to the university to become a Minister. He really did not touch the piano much anymore rather devoting the same passion to his studies. After Tim and Henry parted his company he was alone for the remaining two years. He was too upright to make the best of his loneliness by ignoring it with various intoxicating forms of distraction. He was to loving of others to destroy other people’s lives simply because he was bored. These fellows all had their ideas, and it was Hans’s particular pet notion, which he said so often, that “people are lonely so they say ‘go with the flow’, they start a relationship off a whim of loneliness and unconscious selfishness, ‘you only live once’ they say, and then the relationship ends since their entire motivation was loneliness and not that intuitive and well intending desire for unending and arduous love, and then two people are in pain and loneliness.” So unlike Tim, he stayed in school and continued to study and to study and became  quite excellent in philosophy as well as theology, as well as logic, finding inconsistencies in the great written works of modern scientists and other intellectual giants of various fields.  After all, as Hans always made a point to shout out “philosophy is the watchdog of all other intellectual pursuits, we have not yet got beyond it as a foundation.”  Once I replied that people like Hawkin have stated we have surpassed it, and then he went on to show me how Hawkin used it throughout the remainder of the same book that he declared it dead in. However, for all his hard work and merits, no professor praised him or even took much of a liking to him. As for his fellow classmates they did not like him because he was too theological, and the theology students did not like him because he was too philosophical. As to the rest of the student body they weren’t much concerned with thinking about what they wanted to do and why.  Rather they assumed it all and then went about achieving it. Some sought to befriend him, but it seems they only wished to be parasites and bring the high flying Hans back down to earth, and see if any of those rumored and magnificent parties still went on. They sought him out and sought to show him he was nobody, going about it like it was a moral duty or something.

 Initially Hans just smiled and rolled his eyes as they clearly missed the point, eventually he simply tried to avoid these unhappy people. In fact occasionally they really irritated him. The few times I was able to visi,t he was becoming very unraveled by them

“ these morons have no imagination! have no idea of the freedom in life! And they expect the worst of everybody. Maybe they are insignificant! Maybe they live as everybody else.  Maybe they do live with passion and courage! But, they are not everybody…… and they are certainly not me!” 

“One day Hans they might realize you only speak to them to try and help them, and that same day they may realize you don’t give a damn about what they think.”

“And that day they will be crushed” replied Hans “Utterly devastated!” I replied “demoralized” returned Hans “Because they are..Come on, what are they?”

“Posers!”

“Exactly” concluded Hans. “Poor poor posers and yet I no longer have the patients to endure them.”

“So don’t” I replied.

I remember this day especially and that night thinking back to the nights just a few years earlier when we were all together. We would go to the tobacco shop and smoked large Honduran cigars. Life was good. We worked hard. We had each other, and nothing tempted us, to us the only options were the best and the most moral. When one lives in such a way, one is so free! And also, perhaps, so vulnerable to a severe case of devastating love. I suppose I lived un-scondral like merely because I had such a great time going about life with those other three capital youths.   What magnificent days to be young out in the world with no one to answer to, except God in the case of these fellows. And this tobacco shop was second to none, it was by all estimation, a palace, a cathedral of tobacco from floor to ceiling. It held the finniest cigars and pipe tobaccos, the most luxurious leather chairs and a huge selection of refreshing drinks. What is more, all the world at this time was increasingly becoming anti smoking, which of course made it all the more enjoyable. And to be eighteen or twenty….smoke for hours and then go play a game of hockey or football later on that night and then to wake up in the morning looking stronger and more healthy then the day before! Who can dream it? Yes, who has time for such confused people as those that began to oppress the abandoned Hans, when life is so pure and so simple and so on the brink of greatness.

However, as I mentioned earlier, Hans was now alone and these leaches who sought to level him out and lasso him down from his surfing through life upon the clouds were the only ones around him. Neither Tim, Henry, nor I were near to share a great laugh at these robotic people who posed as “individuals”. So Hans Zetreng sat alone left to his thoughts. As seems to be the case with people who are left to themselves the desire for companionship that is always within them begins to scream. This was no different for Hans. He sat thinking of love and a beloved. He was thinking of his task in life, of being alive in a world, as opposed to merely continuingly preparing to live. So there Hans sat Friday night after Friday night lying on the floor listening to Vivaldi, wishing something would happen, even if that be death. The great virtuoso could find no help from his God. So in contradictory belief in the God he was beginning to disbelieve; he sought to find satisfaction in things he always considered immoral. He did not think to himself, “gee I want to be immoral that looks like great fun!” No, rather he thought, “I want to do something other than nothing,” and rather than proactively seeking to do good for others, he did wrong for himself.

For awhile, he thought he was lost beyond recovery. However it happened, even in his despair, he had no taste but distaste for the immoral and so he confessed to God but could go no further and sat immobile. Thinking and thinking Hans, continued lying on the floor for hours at a time, day after day, in darkness. He just lay on the floor in despair neither sleeping nor singing just lying there as Vivaldi played through the seasons. Eventually Hans decided to be optimistic. Unlike Tim, he went out and talked to many people. He even introduced himself to girls and began friendships. Every girl Hans talked to, and began to like, eventually declared to have no interest in him. His loneliness and general despair of life grew deeper. You must understand Hans’s view of things. He was not allowed to be a great composer nor did it seem he was allowed to be anything but a tormented mind under the inquisition of God Himself. Hans shot himself. Quite exactly put, he blew his brains out all with a shotgun on a Saturday evening. He chose Saturday, unquestionably, so that Friday …..Which he hated so much, would not get the glory, as Friday nights had long tortured him. Hans believed he would be much happier and perhaps he is.

I was away unable to access my mail. I have often thought that a little conversation and Hans would have patiently endured longer. Apparently Henry also was unable to be reached, for nearly a year it seems. Anyway, Hans made it clear to me that he knew he had made the wrong decision, and have given up the great blessing that is life. However, he also knew he could not handle his life anymore, and thus he decided he would hang his head in shame before His heavenly Father who seemed so severe and uncaring….. in utter opposition to Himself. Yes he would hang his head and beg for mercy and peace. The sad thing is, Hans had begged for years for some type of bone, perhaps he has finally received peace and happiness.  But please bear with me, for I am telling you very sad things and few wish to read such sorrow. And perhaps you do not know what to make of these…… skeptic believers, who seem to have more akin to the enlightenment men then atheists, and all the while maintaining this severe faith. Yes well… I myself did not know what to make of them at first.  But in any case, even amidst the sorrows, Will it all not be worth it? Will it not all be worth it when one may seize it, not as a feel good chick flick to be dreamed of, but as reality…. unedited reality that is not to be admired….no!… but dreamed of.

  How invigorating it will be! How hopeful to see things in such a light. Perhaps at least the great freedom you have will be realized and it will be remembered that the most beautiful things in life are not for fiction alone. It will be remembered that there is still confidence and courage and pure and devoted love….. even amidst the great horrors, there still is hope. But bear with me! Bear with me! Back to Hans, perhaps you are the religious sort and have not yet burned the book for all its swearing and drinking and promiscuity. And maybe you are confused by my saying Hans knew theology well, and thus God. Maybe my saying Hans lived in obedience to the moral law of God has thrown you for a pill. Maybe these laudatory statements in light of my recounting all these radical things he thought and then in the end have you perplexed. So you may be confused and perhaps you have had a class in religion at the University and you say ‘but the bible is not so terribly confusing, it is, for better or worse, black and white.’ My dear Hans would have agreed with you….. though I believe he put it like this “God’s revelation in scripture is black and white but the blackness is so dark at times you can see nothing and the whiteness is so bright that at times you can see nothing.” Perhaps also you say “ to hell with religions or with the bible,” but this is not what Hans said even as he went to blow out his brains, and that is the truly strange thing. Do not be disturbed by my matter of factness about a beloved friend’s death; for I am now an old and calloused man and matter of factness is my way, except when I find myself unconsciously getting swept into reminiscent reliving.

Yes my friends…. such is life. But you have decided to read this “story” and even if you would decide to put it down and exclaim it is too dense and poorly written, my friends you must face the fact that it is the 21st century, a century not known for rich literature but technological additions. But then again, that is all yet to be decided. So then, continue with me since it is a true story and thus all the more existentially moving.

 

Living with the Life of the Dead

No! Henry could not trifle with such monkeys like the pretentious posers at the beginning of the story. Truly he could not, after having lived with such alive young men that were Tim and Hans. Henry could not fail to live out his future with passion after having lived with such passionate young men who were now dead. When we left Henry at the beginning of the story he had just stormed out of the room. From then on he cut himself off from all others who lived so as not to die, and who thought so as not to having troubling thoughts. Henry endured the severe fates of his close friends, and then set about his task of receiving his accreditation for the intelligence he already possessed and developed himself. He continued on, often in the very despair that had haunted Tim and Hans. He did not set out for the excitement of the military nor did he turn a gun on himself. Henry did none of these things, in spite of the fact that he was very much like Tim and Hans in regard to views and endeavors of life, as well as having a very religious and conservative childhood.

Henry persevered. He studied and he studied.  He faced his fears and failures that ate away at him. He continued to exercise and he grew stronger and stronger. He told the temptation to be a weak and self serving man to go to hell. He nearly drowned in the honest state of mind that is freedom. Yes, he persevered apart from the strong opiates of life that even the best of us lay hold of to cope with the harshness of reality.

 He prayed and he despaired…… and he cursed…… and he prayed and he studied. Then he worked to earn money so that he could continue to study, so that he could receive a little pay to help certain decaying fabrics of society. Henry put up with the same type of professors as Hans, the type who much preferred the kneeling poser students, as opposed to Henry. Yes this was his rather sad young life.

I hope I have been clear, none of these three friends sought to isolate themselves, rather they all sought to grab life by the horns. Whatever the reasons, while most young people have the best years of their life, they endured loneliness and depression. At last Henry graduated with his masters. But then what?  He persevered and he strove and strove to have faith but he did not have the motivation to go further nor did he know where to use his degree, nor did he try to. He was successful though he was defeated. 

Successful, in that he still hoped and still sought to do his duty, even if he had to drag his feet with his hands due to his being paralyzed in loneliness and broken heartedness…..in despair of the world. Seriously, he fought and he stayed prepared for the day his number would be called. He trained in spite of everything, but he was fighting with a hidden dagger wound invisible to the world around him. Henry became a warehouse worker for minimum wage. This was beside the point to him as he would have worked any type of job so long as he had a beloved. He was a trained psychologist working in a warehouse, and he certainly had no women who loved him, and as you know, the type of good friends who would make him forget his despair, well they were gone. His closest friends were dead, and he too began to drown in his faith in God. At least he thought, “ I  do not have to face my failure to act on opportunities with  women of since there are no women.” Henry found that the university was a rare place far far away.  But really the women who teased him merely for the momentary attention of the good looking man that was Henry, are beside the point. As something far more pressing haunted his thoughts, with each and every women he meet who simply did not like him, other than the fact that he was good looking. I imagine they found him boring. I myself thought he was a bit dull, though I stuck around long enough to find out that judging a book by its first two chapters can be a severe mistake if one stumbles upon the rare. Truly, one may go through a lot of chocolate bars to find the golden ticket.

“Oh its hopeless why do I go on? Why don’t I have the courage like Hans, the faith like Hans. God does not need me but I need Him. Oh mighty creator save me……. I try …..I try but I could never take this reality and each day it gets harder and harder to take. Still I hope and I could never completely give up the idea………. even if you shouted and shook the earth commanding me too. I just cannot conceive how it would never cross my mind again.”  Henry sat in his apartment alone crying out to God both on paper and with deep groaning covered speech. “ Beautiful girl, kind women, sweet women of my youth who will lay in the grass with me and stare at the stars, who will argue with me and laugh at my earnestness, who will cry on my shoulder, who will receive and hold my overwhelming and loyal love. Who sits lonely now as do I shouting in air the same prayer….. Where are you? How many times have I met you already and yet the very universe worked against us! Indeed my God did me no favors it would seem! (I am pulling right from his journal now,)  Where are you and where are You!” This was his type of prayer he prayed with every increasing severity for nearly six years. It was his prayer this particular night (which I now will recount) as well.

If you are beginning to wonder about me and my relation to these three gentlemen, of course at this point it is obvious to you that I was clearly unavailable to them at their most needing times. To say the least I am was not a particularly loyal friend.  Though we did all go our own way the year before Tim joined the military. In any case, where I fit in will be seen soon enough. But really Henry is the main character of this story or rather this reality.

5 am came, and likewise the Friday work day was over soon enough. In his bipolar despair and hope, which where all mixed into one.  He went to the local coffeehouse to read and stay sharp in case his ‘number would be called.’ Yes his whole going out and thus somewhat leaving his isolation, was a hope for many things…… a sign of hope at last. Henry being a rather attractive young man did not fail to be noticed by a women at the coffeehouse, and thus his nose was lifted from his book numerous times since he could not fail to notice her again and again. “Bloody hell,” Henry mumbled to himself as he walked to his car, “it was just like college.  The women sat there and smiled at me and I was too slow to react, too caught up in thinking everything over. What a nightmare.” Nearly simultaneously an opposing thought raced through his mind as if to argue with or correct himself. “No I am not pathetic, who gives a damn about what some arrogant monkey would think of my failure to speak to the women. Who cares if he has known many women. I would wager he does not know himself, nor does he know anything. He is that type of bastard who turns the naturally loving nature of a woman into the image of his own despicable swinishness. Yes he may laugh, but I may also put 275 lbs of my practiced bench press toting fists into his face. He may have it all; he may be the very definition or embodiment of a GQ, fortune 500, and 21st century man rolled into one. At the end of day, despite his 100,000 dollar car and general power over me, at the end of the day I may put my fist into his face. Even if he uses his power to ruin my life and the lives of others to prosper himself, at the end of the day I may ruin his … my God I am mad to hell with it all” As Henry was thinking and cursing in his thinking and trying to repent of the bitterness all at the same time; he noticed a person sitting along the curb.

 It was summer, need I say more. But to all those who do not know summer in contrast to a brutal winter, as Henry had his entire life, I will say more. It was summer and it was a cool and refreshing summer evening after a furnace like day. The perfect summer evening air was like a great exhale after months of stress and pressure. The moon was bright and everything was crisp and vibrant, everything was relaxed. It was atmospheric freedom in a free country, truly the weathers correspondence made the country even freer then its constitution had maintained it to be. But Henry was in pain, at war, and ready to lose the seemingly endless battle in a moment when he would reenter his routine of work. He would not enter it! He would do something drastic. Though he did not realize it the evening air of the summer encouraged him in this courage or perhaps craze. What would he do? Possibly drive into the gutters of life once and for all and find what he already knew would be, a temporary Novocain while the root continues to rot unnoticed. Apart from the Novocain it would be a gradual path to the utter lose of freedom and hope to ever reach his hope.

 And though I have presented him as a bit of a madman,… surely he was right. Many a young person in mild despair toy with things in the dark corners of every city only to find themselves enslaved in what seemed to be the most certain assertion of freedom. Truly, I know such a man, as did Henry.  His story, however, does not fit into this one. But then again no doubt you know many such people and perhaps if you are able to see dark corners in a more abstract fashion, perhaps you will realize you know the person all too well. But back to Henry.

He resolved that at last he might look for death, but even in this he had hope, maybe, he thought maybe in looking for death “I will make it my allie, my means to doing something else which will, in the end, jump in the way of death and be my escape from both despair in life and youthful death as my only escape.” Henry’s characteristically direct and fast walking pace was slowing as he walked to his car and raised questions to his own behavior.  “Is all this overdramatic? Do I need to get a grip? I know some would say it is and I do. But I must laugh in their faces as my friends would have. Because, though in fact, I am possibly too serious, and I need to ‘get a grip.’ So do these others that would say I need to.  It is obvious their lives have no depth and they live under the false assumption that they will live forever. Yes they live as if that goal ever driving at their mind will mean something. They never truly question any of it, before they begin along the way, they never take adequate time to stop off and think about it. This is the twenty first century and great scientists shout and begin their books proclaiming philosophy is dead and useless, indeed so thought Socrates society.” These thoughts sprinted through his mind as he finally reached for his car door. However with the freedom from the entire world, for it was the end and he simply did not care of what others might think, he turned and shouted “Marie Chardin! is that you?” The women sitting on the curb looked up. She had noticeably been crying.”

 

 

 

 

A Way out from Within

It was her, Henry was certain. Seeing her tears he reacted “Marie can I help you? Do you need a ride home?” “No I’m fine.” was her short reply. Henry looked around “There are no other cars in the parking lot.”  “Marie Chardin” he said again as he walked closer and sat down beside her on the curb. Henry was on crack (not really) though it was all a blur to him; again he said “Marie Chardin.” Each time he said her name he said it with a mix of wonderment and curiosity as if he were asking the question ‘why Marie Chardin why here why now?’

 “I’m fine really; my sister is on the way to pick me up!” Again he said “Marie Chardin”. “Why do you keep saying my name, why don’t you just leave me alone, Please, I am sorry, but it’s not a good time!” He had no consciousness, at last he was free from thought “Marie Chardin, I am sorry you know I am so sorry and though you probably stopped caring two days later I have been sorry all these many years, and even if I were somewhere else right now in ecstasy I would still be sorry and still know I should apologize to you, Marie Chardin.”

By now he had her attention, whether for quality or pathetic reasons; he had gained her attention. She looked up at him, and as she sniffled she let out a solo laugh “hah, yes,” she said and then another laugh all the while looking in amazement in such a way that exclaimed, “is this guy for real, and is this really happening right now.” Again she let out a solitary laugh amidst the drying tears “hah, no problem it’s ok.” Henry continued “I have much more I would like to say, but you are clearly not ok.” “No I am not.” she stated with a tone peppered of irritation. Henry continued “I am sorry, I am sorry! but I have been crawling quite a few years now and was on my way to be paralyzed and … and now here you are at 11:56 on a cool summer evening, and I am awake, wide awake and so I must ask, though I have no right to, can I help? What happened?”

Henry continued with half a pause, “I mean it is a safe town, but a young women such as yourself, (and at that point he laid great emphasis) and its dark and there’s a concert letting out and well…”

She broke in “no you’re fine; I just had a really bad day.” He looked at her with his eyes raised and she continued. “Yes well I really don’t want to talk about it.” There was a pause and a very distinct thought struck Mari, the entire scenario flashed before her eyes. In a second she regained her sobriety of thought, but continued nonetheless. “My boyfriend proposed to me today.”

Henry’s heart, which was nearly without a pause minutes earlier, had, with a great and hidden resiliency, risen to the heights of Orion only to sink in this instant…….and yet it was night, a vibrant summer night, and he had pushed the conversation that far, and on this particular night he said he had this invincibility, this strength which he never knew before. Thus when he usually would have closed his mind to all his dreams upon hearing her boyfriend proposed, this night as the dim green light of the mermaid switched off, and the last employee left the shop, this night he would not be a perfect gentlemen. He would not say one percent of what he thought. His heart sank and his energy moved from external excitement to internal emotional buildup. “Ah” responded Henry again signaling with his eyes for her to continue.

 “and well one of my patients who I really loved to talk to died today” Henry acknowledge the sorrow of the death but then with inappropriate haste asked “so did you say yes?”

“I did” she replied.

“So then those are tears of joy and sorrow; joy at your engagement and sorrow at the elderly women’s death?” “I guess you could say that,” stated Marie with a distracted tone.

What she was thinking, I could not tell you, as Henry could not tell me. Poor fellow never had a clue what women were thinking, and even if he did he would act on it, they being women would then respond in the opposite, leading Henry too conclude he never knew what a women was thinking. He also had the mildly chauvinistic opinion that women acted dishonest from time to time so as to protect themselves (of course men do the same thing, but Henry, Tim and Hans were completely honest with each other, and girls they were dating), or that perhaps their emotions were so divided that whatever decision they decided upon they understood to be their disposition all along. Really despite all his theories, had no idea and he was left to wild speculation.

Henry looked at her as she spoke and with a glance inhaled every detail of her. All was becoming clear before him, and yet he knew she would never confess what he thought to be the truth. So quickly, Henry had seen it with but a few glances, or so he thought, as he got up from the curb and began taking little steps to nowhere. “Ah yes, she has known him for three years and yet when she first meet him, she only dated him because she was impatient….. because he appeared safe. Yes!  And other then the reality that he was man and his views of life were similar, well…… who he was per se was beside the point. Yes he meet her when, that is to say, she an exceptionally beautiful girl was at a point she should have never been at….in desperation. Then, Yes, then he grew on her, he was funny, he was safe and in desperation she thought there were no other options. She consoled herself with the thought that she was not shallow. But now, yes, now the very day he proposed to her after three years she realized, in a sense, she loved him. However at that moment, there upon the curb, she remembered all her hopes and dreams for true deep love, not for a mediocre funny man. Yes! No, she wanted a man she would be scared by, a man that made her a bit nervous, but who, in the end, was the type of man which is the safest a man could be. Ah, but the women’s death…… I do not know where to piece that in.”

Henry minds was spinning, as he, for the most part, was unconsciously was squinting with a certain type of smile on his face. “But for whatever reason, unlikely as it was that a woman should dare to have the courage to continue on such a thought long enough to cry; she thought it and at that moment he crossed her path, at that moment, oh the moment was everything! Tomorrow she will condemn herself for even glancing at such a thought!” This methodically built thought raced through his mind as he slowly stepped forward and then rocked back to the age old sound of silence. He could tell that she would say nothing more.

“Thanks” she replied in a sarcastic and bitter tone suggesting the thought that “you talk as if you know me.” She continued after a pause, hunting down his eyes so as to make him own his bold assertions. It is true; he had in fact said it all out loud. Marie wanted to be enraged at his obnoxiousness and absurdity…. And rightfully so. She found herself unable to reach the justifiable level of wrath he deserved. She apparently found something so natural in his manner of saying what he had said. Given the context of mere acquaintances who had not talked in three years, he was by any social standard, insane.

 And yet he apparently said it all with such honesty, with such peace, with such impossible comfort at an unthinkable topic that she found herself nearly disarmed. Perhaps she was even nearly lost in the conversion to the point that the absurdity of this young man was no longer seen. As I was saying, she continued after a pause with utter resoluteness “But I am very fortunate to love him.” Henry was convinced in his view, and apparently said, though this time he truly did think to himself “ah, yes yes she said this to reassure herself. I do not care.
Tonight I will live reality as I understand and see it.

 Henry fought against these words she had spoken to him, and their attack on his confidence in his belief, and he fought well for he spoke his heart and mind yet again. “You think it odd for me to say all that I said. After all ‘I don’t know you very well,’ but you know what?  Knowing people is a funny thing. I could know a man I talk to for an hour better than his own wife of fifteen years, unlikely yes!… but possible!” Henry continued with animated facial expressions and emphasis on certain word like: ‘know’ and ‘very well,’ as if mocking at some well dressed and opinioned analyst who was standing behind Marie and him, shouting out his views with utter authority, not the authority of God or even science, but the vogue culture- spirit.

 In any case, Marie had no idea what was coming next and she listened, no longer half afraid or irritated, but rather utterly engaged with his words. “You are beautiful! You are strong and intelligent but not arrogant;…… you want the same things out of life I want. Henry paused as if thinking over a thought “Yes if you were not already engaged I should have proposed to you right now. Actually, three and a half years ago as we left this very coffee shop into the rain, we should not have parted with smiles. I should have continued to spend time with you until we were dating… until we were engaged, until we were married, until we died.” Mari continued to sit upon as to her reactions, well at this point who could say. Henry went on, as if thinking to himself again. “What more could I have possibly wanted and yet I brushed you aside…”

Marie cut in seemingly again growing irritated, “ I would have had to say no if you did that tonight! Even if I were single” Henry looked at her slightly startled  as if discovered from being lost deep in thought, but then he continued “out of the girls I have ever met  you were the only one that seemed to truly like me…………. and I hid from you rather then call you. It’s true, I have pursued others, some too rational, others too afraid and yet I was too blind to see it …” Henry stopped talking; he mused to himself unconscious of the fact that he had fully gained Mari’s attention and then left her in mid sentence, or dare I say at the risk of being utterly cliché mid heart beat. …..It should be said, mid heartbeat!

 This particular night my friend Henry spoke in unmasked honesty, the type that makes one feel the blood running through their body.  In mid sentence he stopped and reflected upon the obvious fact about himself that until this moment had always evaded him. He went pale with the realization that she was the beauty by which he judged others. His inward looking eyes found themselves upon Marie sitting on the same curb. His thoughts wandered over her figure, and he, the idiot who talked to women he found attractive with the type of sexual detachment that a man talks to his cousin with (and out of sheer self discipline he adopted this disposition I might add) he let his desire free. Suddenly her cool neutrality was broken. She was attracted to him and this made her uncomfortable, even angry. “I really don’t need you to wait here! She will be here in a moment. I see her pulling in now.”  Henry took a deep breath as he turned taking his eyes off her to walk to his own car. “Well Marie I meant it and I hope you all happiness, but if things don’t work out my proposal stands, so  long as I am single, seriously!”

“K thanks …I guess,” she said with a sound of irritation and hesitation, apparently again recognizing the oddness of all that just happened. And with that last word she was gone. That night she told no one of the rather unordinary event that had occurred. Oh, but of course she thought about it even mentioning the events of the day in prayer in passing. Henry was doing well, after all he was on crack cocaine, that is to say he was as high as minus gravity. Henry was not really on crack cocaine, nor could it compare to the incredible and rare feeling he was having. Hope sprang into his being and again he breathed the breath of life. In movies music accompanies such moments of transformation of extreme feeling of being alive, but in reality one acts so boldly so magnificently, so very alive, that the world around him begins to harmonize. And so Henry walked to his old car with Beethoven’s ode to joy blaring all around him. Nonetheless, the uncertainty of existence was not far around the corner and his mind again began to churn. “Will I never see her again? Will she tell of my insanity to all the people she knows?… nah” he declared to himself with resolution. With that he smiled and went to bed. He smiled because he knew precisely when he would see her again.

In his bed he lay in ecstasy, for he was there on the curb again. He stopped the scene examining “the look on her face, the tint of her grey blue eyes, the thoughts hiding behind them, the fair skin freshly moistened with tears, such a beautiful being!” “How could such magnanimity become mine? I would throw myself at her without any shame but why would she not lock herself in a high tower and wait until the most magnificent man in the world arrived? One who was utterly knowledgeable, unbelievably good looking, wealthy, and above all a man of unrivaled integrity, compassion, wisdom and humility. No! she will not be mine. I will hardly believe it even if she has just finished saying I do.” He smirked at his thoughts, at himself that is, and at the reality that his thoughts were so outdated …so un vogue, “haha” 

Marie lay in her bed full of struggle between risk and security, faith and certainty, guilt and freedom with an all encompassing anxiety. Ah but perhaps you wonder how I know this, but that will be revealed in time. She thought of her cousin Diana who had once confessed to her that she had another interest beside her American prince charming. The other man was an exchange university student. The mysterious young man had caught her interest and Diana was torn for months, before at last deciding to stick with the American prince charming, casting aside the mysterious Russian gentlemen. “If only I could be a Diana. Once Diana decided, she decided so resolutely. She never considered that solid Russian young man again after deciding upon remaining with her boyfriend. How could the rejection of such an extraordinary man not loom large in her mind? Yes Phil is nice, but how did she end everything so quickly with that striking man who was so clearly taken with her. This is crazy! Why have I not already decided upon Michael? I am engage! This is crazy!” The next morning she could not help but take council with her friends in the form of telling a crazy story. “My god that is pathetic one exclaimed” the other two women agreed. The decision was unanimous, Henry was a pathetic weirdo and she would not see him again. But after all how could she? They had not exchanged numbers or anything of that sort. She was certain that he would not contact her, and of course she would not contact him.

 

 

In Touch by Wind

Marie found herself in the parking lot of the café she was at the night before. Michael was calling her as she walked inside. “Hey Marie Baree where are you at?” “I’m just going to grab a cup of coffee and I’ll be over in a bit”. They exchanged goodbyes of course, though that is really superfluous to note. Marie ordered a mocha frappiccino with extra whipped crème and sat down sporting her to date battle tested scrubs. Perhaps you are confused at this point, and so was Henry when he walked in the door and saw her sitting there. His mind all too easily recalled the experiences of his great friends, and  how time and the council of others moved their loves away from them. “And she, she is not even my girlfriend” He knew his effect was not profound enough for her to keep it all to herself. He feared the influence her friends might have on her, since they were all unknowingly under the influence. He feared that she would put the precious jewels of the soul amongst an impoverished world or raw unclean and jaded views.  The thing is, she knew of Henry since he was in high school. She knew he was not weak or pathetic, despite the lack of soul that encompassed the spirit of the age she was raised in, which spawned distrust of such a man as he.

 She was hopeful and imaginative enough, and in fact, pure enough despite all appearances to see the sincerity in his eyes the night before and, and not laugh! The ironic thing being that her wise friends did not have the eyesight she had. I, having the advantage of knowing Henry as a loyal friend can say she judged well. In his soul he carried a hard won and preserved honesty and purity that even the most traveled and desensitized women could sense.

So there she was, even though she had no intention of being there, and yet it was all decided the night before, though it was certainly not verbally spoken by either of them. He walked up to her dressed casually precise. He showered after work and changed for the occasion. Again he let lose his lips love of the name “Mari Chardin, how are you?” She was casual in her reply “I’m fine,” flowed from her thin lips. Her smile was wide her nose perfect. To Henry it was all so fitting that so kind of women would have such a profound face, and his eyes continued to soak in the scene.

 But I will stop for a moment, perhaps you are wondering where this story is going? Well it is going exactly where it went. It is a story of reality, a story about young people who, though they have the world before their feet, only want love. A British fellow once said something to the effect that, “one may have the whole world and if he has not that one thing he desires most, the lack of that one thing will ruin all the rest.” In a world were imagination is compartmentalized and patient passion and truth are traded in for immediate appetites and efficiency, I tell you of responsible people who also managed to live with passion and imagination. So yes that is where this is going and the best is yet to come. All will be made clear in the end, or at least as much as reality allows. Perhaps you don’t like my little speeches that interrupt the story. Well then, put down the story and read something else that is like everything else, or do the most common thing and read nothing at all and instead watch humans dance about “in reality,”  in front of a camera for money. I don’t care either way I have a strange suspicion that the Babe would have played baseball whether or not anyone cared to watch. Both Martin Luther and Martin Luther King would have kept talking regardless of if anyone wanted to listen. But enough! My friends are dead and I am a bit angry from time to time. But forgive me this is not about me, but Henry the greatest of us all… the patient endurer of life.

“How are you?” asked Marie. “Fine, can I sit down,” replied Henry? “Sure, but I won’t be here very long.” Henry smiled at her response, but she did not notice this. She was too preoccupied wondering what he would say. If he would pick up where he left off the night before, and this idea gave her great angst, or whether it was some type of mood and nothing would come of it. He wondered the same thing, but he was driven by desire. It was not a one sided desire but an all encompassing desire. Although he did not have the mood of the previous night, of course he didn’t for it was day and his mind was at its peak at night, he resolved to be uncensored. “I will be myself, I am not polite or wondering about this or that, I am not compromising I myself am a wild man, a madman in nice clothes. Yes, I am a barbarian, a well educated man…..a contradiction, an intelligent man who has his own ideas who has everything on his mind and nothing on his mind. This was some type of pep talk or something he gave to himself as he savored the smooth finishing Italian roast coffee hitting his mouth….. her perfectly defined face, the ideality of the dreary and refreshing break from the summer heat outside.

 He was not the dreamy soul reader of the night before, but he was not sexually detached nor reserved as he was so practiced at being. Yet again his guard was down for he was to be himself, a Wildman, a contradiction enthralled with her beauty that was distant like the stars or the green hills of the east coast. Though he was glad, he was not detached; he was in danger of being out of control. He became aware of his own piercing concentration upon her face and her well formed out body which was like a cool ripe pear calling out to him to be devoured on a stifling summer day. He began as the tamed men whom he had performed so well he sometimes could not escape his role. “Well Marie you heard what I thought about you last night, but tell me about yourself, what has changed since we last talked here in this coffee shop nearly four years ago.” “Well…..” she began with a pause, “well as I told you last night, I got engaged, but other than that I’m pretty much still me.” She looked down as she finished her statement, then looking up she continued since Henry said nothing, waiting it seemed to here more. “I have the same goals, hopes, views, and interests, I guess.” Henry listened intently, and noticed something changed about her since the last time they sat together nearly three years earlier, a time when Henry saw all the world as his for the taking. “Yes this time she is more firm in her appearance, more confident in her posture, but all the rest in the same.”  The first time they had meet at this coffee shop, the time Henry had made the great mistake, that time he found her posture repulsive, in fact her entire manner repulsive. She carried herself like a shriveled up and decrepit old women, at least according to how Henry described her to me after that fateful day.

 For years after that event Henry tormented himself with the question of why he failed to continue on with this ideal woman whom he got along with so well. He always said she was perfect, but, well he could not explain it to himself or to me. As for her part she never really understood why he brushed her aside. In moments of confidence she concluded he was simply arrogant and conceited, in moments of insecurity she thought she was in some way inadequate. Over time the thought made her bitter and she decided she really did not care much either way. But now, now she wondered yet again, almost passively waiting for whatever madness would happen next. She could not yet understand Henry and this both scared and enticed her. Rather I should say, she thought she understood him and then she was thrown off, and that is what scared and enticed her.

Yes it all became clear to Henry as she spoke, although he had obviously decided to overlook his stupidity; it struck him that he could not bring himself to continue on with her because he subconsciously found her repulsive. “That day four years ago, I found her repulsive because of her posture, her tensed and compressed shoulders sunken in the chair, and her sloppy appearance topped off with a hoody. It was all so counter to her personality and it left me paralyzed to pursue her. My God I am an idiot, or I was an idiot! Who can screw your present self more than your past self, My God!” All the while his mind was again kicking; he had a question on his lips.

But perhaps you find this all too picturesque and perhaps you say life is never so smooth flowing.  But what person hasn’t wondered: that if he hadn’t woke up an hour earlier, if I went a step further, had stayed home that day, if only I would have realized how important that moment was and that that very scenario would never repeat itself, and that all these hindrances that we look past and ignore as nothing, since nothing was realized by them, yes we ignore it all as nothing since most have neither the stomach nor the imagination to face the responsibility of decision. Yes Decision, the very thing we carry with us each and every second of each day of each of our lives. And though we think we decide  when things are important or unimportant it is apparent that, though we choose this step or that,  the paths and the steps on which we walk have their place apart from our choice to walk over them or not. That is to say, one may do what one wants on Tuesday, but the variables that make up Tuesday, seemingly apart from yourself, are just that, and you act and react to factors set in place beyond your control. And since you do not know if the setting of Tuesday will ever present itself again your decisions on Tuesday are so very important. But perhaps you will not realize this until three years of Tuesdays from now!

As another person approached their table Henry spurned the events unfolding around him. It was Marie’s older cousin.  Henry had been away for years, and even he knew of her plight. Her husband had cheated on her many times, and then went on to divorce her leaving her with two children. Now apparently he was tormenting her by using their children to try and goad the beaten down women into taking him back. As Henry is the one who made the whole Tuesday’s speech to me years ago, it seems obvious this was on his mind as he resolved that not even Marie’s broken down older cousin would stand in his way. No! no obstacle would stand in his way far too much had already and impossibly gone so right. He had dreamed of this opportunity with Marie over and over again in his head for three years of what could be rightly called solitary confinement. Solitary confinement by circumstance…. as a free man in the world,  being much more devastating to the mind then its normal environment of a prison. Here his dream was lying before him and then in walks this broken women. Henry saw her approaching the table trying to walk with confidence, a fresh tan, and hair cut, new cloths to fit her recently achieved smaller size. “What a beautiful women Henry thought to himself, who could not help feeling deep compassion for her, who could not resist being burned with despair at the reality of the human race that her ex- husband embodied.” 

Henry’s mind was racing regardless of the time of day; the bold coffee had begun to hit his system. His mind ran rampant his leg began to pulse insatiably. I have yet to describe what type of breed this Henry character was, but suffice to say he was disciplined in what he set out to be.  In any case he continued to think on this woman and her ex-husband and their religiosity. He began to inwardly scoff at this women’s ex-husband such a pious man he once was. “What man would cast aside that which was his own for raw gratification, what man but one who is slave? Many men, and especially religious one’s like her ex, who listen to their Pastor encourage them to be weak and pathetic, who turn what must be a wholly distinct Being(if anything at all) into a man on steroids. ‘The spirit is willing they say, but the flesh is weak. This severe morality of Christ is too much’ shouts the Pastor’s, ‘look to His loving mercy,’ and the husband listening , he nods his head.  Instead of aspiring to what is best the husband begins to plot out his adultery there in the pew, apparently looking to God’s mercy. This ex of hers would have never let anyone come by force and take his wife and children from him, nor would he yield to any command to give them away, but no he was betrayed, it was an inside job. Now perhaps he finds himself confused, he does not find God perhaps so very helpful, nor will he find existential truth in establish religions or in the brink of science.”

“And so there she walks, the beautifully broken women soft spoken and humiliated.

Maybe she was not the perfect wife, but if he was a man, if he was unapologetically a man affirming selfless leadership, he would have his perfect wife. But it is the twenty first century and there are no leaders in relationships, only partnerships. He as a man is said to have no greater responsibility, and as a man he may say such but act otherwise. But the naivety of absolute partnership proponents is even worse, if the man thinks he has a higher responsibility he is considered a chauvinist, as opposed to a being chivalrous or self sacrificing.” Chivalrous and self sacrificing….. terms that are said to be historic nonsense, or that anthem of ultra conservative chauvinists.

I must admit I am quite fond of how things have shaped out in this regard, making my relationships with women all the more to the point. Though, of course, this liberating mindset certainly was of no benefit to those noble souls who awoke to find themselves in a time too beyond them…… I am old and men will hate me for giving the world of women a peek behind our secret curtain, but my day is over and so in utter consistency with my person, I hope their efforts are killed as well. But I am right; any half sighted observer can see a woman and a man and the natural tendencies and needs of each.  In any case, Henry’s inner tyriad ended as he concluded with a decision about the very present problem in front of him. “Yes I will go on with it despite her cousin. I must be gentle to her presence, but I must go on, the opportunity will not be considerate of my consideration. I can hide my thoughts no longer, let them mock me en mass though in individuality they are not so certain. Let them call me names, nonetheless these are my thoughts let me live them out and see just how mad they are.”

Jen, Marie’s cousin, sat down by Marie, a makeshift introduction occurred. Jen looking to Marie asked by way of her unguarded expression, “who is this, what is going on here?”  Henry sensed he should introduce himself and leave them to themselves, as no doubt the broken down women could use some time with her close friend and cousin. “Marie, he began after the introductions which were shrouded by a dense air filled with questions as to what exactly was going on with Marie and this distinctive young man. Just as both Marie and her cousin expected him to say his goodbye he began “Marie do you love your fiancé?” She was bewildered, and angry, and yet, and yet, she was gripped by the questioned. “Of course!” she snapped back with obvious embarrassment. After all how else would one expect her to respond, and yet apparently Henry hoped for something else. Perhaps I should rightly say my idiotic friend Henry, who was so intelligent he was clearly in some senses far too idealistic and hopeful. Really though, how else could one respond from so blunt a personal question at such a public place. After she calmed and Henry continued to stand there, as if his actions were perfectly normal, Marie continued after composing herself. “I mean he would not be my fiancé if I did not love him.” All the while Jen was in wonder about the scene she had walked into. Henry responded, after thinking for a moment, “not enough” he replied in quiet and assured tone. But apparently he was not finished before Marie could tell him to leave he continued, “yes you love him but not enough to marry him, and not in the way a women should love a man she is going to marry.” Marie was stunned, the dreaminess of a cool summer evening less than 24 hours ago was gone, and across from her sat a demonic figure. The thought of Jen sitting there beside her, and what she must think weighted on her simultaneously like a thundering pulse in the brain. “Ok you need to leave I’m not sure who you think you are, in here telling me about myself, when you don’t even know me, but yeah, go please! She began to tear up and was about to take off from the table, but immediately Henry reacted. His cool and calm intellectual type expression was gone, and he uttered as only a man who really meant what he said could.

 Again he began to speak with deep deep feeling, with pathos, with a shiver in his voice as he gazed at her with a deep gaze that connected back into the depths of his being. “But Marie you love me you have always loved me, as I have you. Forget about all this commonsensical timeline knowing nonsense, ( this oh but maybe I am too attached to him ) No forget it you are a women Marie, and when I say what I have just said to you, well as a women you are fully capable of understanding the reality of what I have just said . You know it’s true, you see all the connections of this madness like, I don’t know……….,” Henry threw up his hands, like Sherlock Holmes finding a pin at a crime scene and boom the whole thing is there before his eyes. You and I will always know the truth of what we feel and think within and between ourselves apart from what you or science should someday decide. You know it more then you know the taste of that latte you were just sipping. It’s more certain than….. gee whiz…… I don’t know…. then the pain you got from bumping the table with your knee when you got up to hug Jen a few minutes ago. And I guess what I am saying is….is trust me! Take peace in the fact that I don’t trust myself, but the Designer.” You do of course remember that all this was taking place in a very public and very full coffee shop. Needless to say the entire coffee shop listened and was listening since the moment when Henry told Marie that she didn’t love her fiancé. In any case, now they were sitting there like an audience. If it were one or two people they would have been embarrassed to here all they heard, and put on ear phones or something, but it was packed and they all listen together shamelessly.

 This is a harsh reality and thus quite bluntly I must tell you the obvious.  The coffee shop audience added a very unromantic and un ideal pressure to the situation. Henry was aware of them when he began, he simply didn’t not care. Initially, Marie was still embarrassed from having to ask him to leave, which she was sure other people heard. And naturally she was worried as to what her cousin Jen thought. When Henry began to speak again she thought the room was closing in on her as if it was on the brink of crushing her. But Henry’s comfort with his own absurd behavior, and his speaking to her from his heart, as if she were the only one in the world and without any concern for the thought of the others, gripped her.

Henry was not merely a man of impulse, he lived in virtual isolation for years, apart from Tim, Hans and I. Henry was working out these ideas of social norms, and their relation to morality and embarrassment and courage etc, for years. Yes, he was a young man who never had the favor of how things were set up on Tuesdays, nor was he one who could just wander about speaking flippantly to people. He observed how things fell into place in his friends lives, and how things outside their control ruined their greatest loves. He saw how social norms in regards to love and relationships were laid by cowardly masses. Coward’s who were either to afraid to enjoy the great depth of life or did not care to, because they were more interested in making everything an opiate of external gratification.

 Both Henry and Marie, in their own way, had the courage to let and take part in such ordinary events, for love is rather ordinary, in an extraordinary way. They had the courage, and honesty to take part in such a beautiful heartfelt exchange, in-spite of the world…coffee shop around them. Truly such a pathos filled and meaningful and sincere event may occur in a coffee shop or in a grocery store or at work any day of the week, and in fact rival the greatest fiction portrayal of love in a book or movie. Yes and in fact surpass the fiction portrayal, because it is so limited and so false in its obstacles, for indeed there was no murderer in the way of these lovers. No! the only thing in their way was a little thing called the entire world, the entire culture, and its demand of how one ought to act; a demand that people, even in their attempts of individuality, bow to unconsciously. A demand, an obstacle, so great that people accept a mediocre imitation of life for life! A clearing of the throat for a scream! Did you see? Did you see my dear Henry bow and clear his throat in accord with the slavish demands of the ever proclaimingly free 21st century , yes he is labeled the madman by all within 50 miles, but did you see Marie, in spite of her being unsure of him, when asked to scoff and clear her throat did you see her scream! “and I will here out this madman and I will not hear you.” How beautiful how powerful is life when it is lived, but even though such reality is possible in the monotony of coffee shops in this twenty first century. Yes, even though such soul and such un-animalistic un-evolutionary romance and love is capable of being realized, in-spite of religion and in-spite of science…..the harsh reality is that so is the utmost ugliness which swims parallel to science. To be precise, the monotony of every day is capable of both simultaneously!

 And again you wonder why I give another speech, but I too am a character in this reality. And I must tell you, both Henry and Marie knew that Harsh reality but in a certain sense, they knew it in very different ways.

I pulled the following from a letter Henry sent me. The letter gives better explanation to the thought I stole from him in the above:

And the grand trick is that we humans strive for moderation, for an equilibrium. We do this by dulling and desensitizing the greatest sensations, the greatest and most beautiful moments of reality into sureality. We take the impactful and modify it to be a “comfortable and nice day”. Likewise we level off the horrendous events of the world by considering them to be a “common business transaction.” So it is that mediocre masses strive forward mediocrily. They have no stomach for the great realities of life depicted honestly and without censor, nor the soul to appreciate it. No! Neitzche the great atheist and Kierkegaard the great Christian stand alone as honest and consistent men, men who lived and screamed rather than clearing their throat! Oh how they breathed with deep passionate breaths living more in a day then some live in a lifetime. My goodness, their very thoughts were more alive in an hour then many men who are said to be alive bother to think over the course of a lifetime. And I must say as I have come to realize through the experiences of Tim and Hans, that even in at the beautiful moment when Marie and I only heard and saw one another, and not another soul in the coffee shop or in the world for that matter, even then a child was being raped in Thailand by an American ,English, French ,Russian ,Chinese “businessman”. The American was no doubt at a praise and worship service less than a week ago. The Englishman had no doubt just finished telling the press how ethical his company is and how he found it absurd the American press should question his morality just because he is a noted atheist. He closed his statement noting that the corporation was building luxurious dormitories for their work force. The Frenchman who was divorced left his new girlfriend at the swank hotel. The Russian had deposited alms at the church after confession the day before.  The children’s parents wait eagerly for the money the children return with. Not only knowing they relied upon their children for money, but what they required them to do for the money, some of which they later burned out of respect for other relatives! Precisely at the same time I realized my soul stood alone with Marie’s, precisely at that time a young boy died of cancer, a young women got drunk at a party and after throwing up in the bathroom passed out and was raped by a few drunk men, a faithful wife of fifty years lost her husband, a child died of starvation, an obese man died of a heart attack having eaten at a buffet two days earlier, a women married a man for money, and millions of men finished masturbating to pornography, some of which greeted their wives or girlfriends with a kiss only minutes later. Oh yes and many peopled finished work, went home, at dinner, said hello to a friend and watched tv. What is a good deal more disgusting is that these statements are statistical facts, what is even harsher is many people who see these ugly and horrendous evils participate directly in them or further them on indirectly. Of course the most disturbing thing of all is a few people might find me presumptuous or self righteous in calling these events evil! But maybe I have not yet got the point across about how cultural preachers of mediocrity see neither the beautiful things in life nor the evil things.

Maybe the general realities Henry mentions in his letter are not good enough to get my point across; perhaps I should give a more specific instance? No?  Marie Chardin had lived just such a harsh reality from her youth until she was eighteen, though one rarely ever stops living what has already been lived. At the time of this event in the coffee house Henry had no idea of all the details of Marie’s life. In high school her English was perfect and she had a family, even an older brother that went to the same school. Henry and Marie’s date three or four years earlier which had been at the same coffee shop began with the shared setting of high school and so the topic of family never delved beyond her first year at school. Apparently, Henry assumed that she had always lived with her family. All the while, Marie assumed that Henry knew she was adopted and thus no doubt knew all about her painful past through various channels of gossip. She was an orphan from the Ukraine. The first few years of her life were with her very loving and unfortunately very elderly grandparents. She ran away from the orphanage or something like that, around the age of 9. Eventually she found refuge with that part of society that has traditionally lived in the shadows. A very good hearted prostitute sought to care for her, but being in such a place with no one to look after her when the lady was with customers, well…………. life is indeed hellish. She was abused sexually, and thus emotionally and mentally for as long as she could remember since leaving her grandparents care. Her grandmother was a very religious woman, I might mention as it is important to the story.

Around the age of 12, her self- appointed care taker, who was not one of these modern “I’d rather be a prostitute than a secretary types,” and thus had her own harsh reality to deal with, found a foreign missionary family to send her off with. Although the family was not in the practice of taking in orphans and raising them as their own, they did this time. The husband and wife  were telling this prostitute about the redemption and love of Christ assuring her of how Christ changed their lives and could change hers, the lady replied in broken English “ I not see much of Christ love in world, you show it to me???, her eyes flashed with emphasis, take and love the girl then I will see Christ in  world for  first time.” The prostitute was no fool, she knew an upright man and women when she saw one regardless of whether or not they had a scent of oblivious arrogance or naivety, and she loved Marie, and though she did not speak of it, it was certain Marie was not always safe in her care. The American missionaries were stunned and did not know what to do. They kindly noted how they would be unable to make her a citizen without her papers and the Ukrainian governments’ approval. The prostitute smiled and said “I take care of papers in Ukraine, Ukraine will approve”. The missionaries saw this lady was not joking, and said that they would take her after the children’s group the next night. The prostitute with fierce resistance said “no! You take her now! I have paper here! It’s arranged, Marie never comes here again!” and again she smiled knowingly. The missionaries took Marie even though it was with a great deal of hesitation, as they were somewhat shamed  into it against their wishes by the sly orthodox women who knew their beliefs, in the least, as well as they did. Marie was prepared for the move because the prostitute had been planning it for a while. The prostitute had put up with, what seem to her as flimsy offerings of redemption and new life, from the missionaries for weeks in order to make sure everything was right for Marie.

Marie was a very intelligent girl and learned a good deal of English through satellite TV. In fact she absorbed a great deal of knowledge from satellite TV as she often tried to hide away alone and watch TV in the terrible places she grew up. By the time Marie was sixteen and moved back to the states with her family she was caught up with education, and her accent was virtually perfect, at least it seemed so a few years later to an unsuspecting and nervous high schooler named Henry. Marie started in the freshman class at the age of sixteen. It was said she had a rather sickly appearance back then, which only added to her looking the age of the average freshman. Henry described her look back then as, “thin and pale with blood vessels or something showing through her skin, though I always saw she was pretty.”

Now maybe it is seen why Henry and Marie forgot the world around, while the entire coffee shop stared at them, and they felt the eyes but then forgot them entirely. That is why neither of the two vanished in embarrassment. It struck Marie as Henry continued to speak that if indeed the world was as ugly as she knew it to be, perhaps beauty too was possible in an equal degree. There they were, Henry now standing beside the dark brown table, coffee grinders for the first time ever utterly silent, his hair perfectly combed complimenting his intentional five o’clock shadow and hint of cologne beneath his designer clothes. His eyes beamed as they were captured by the tallish thin blonde with a chiseled face of beauty that not even the great Michelangelo could out do. Her eyes were light blue, and her skin was fair, dressed in her most complimenting scrubs, so as not to appear like she cared or planned to be there. But the point is she let him continue and joined him deep in his heart behind his words, she listened.

 Is it clear what I am saying? She met this fellow for the first time in three years the night before. He professed his love based on a date three years earlier, a date… singular. But she heard him out, and allowed the possibility of such a person to be considered. Why? because Marie lived the painful realities of life to the core of her flesh and soul…. how else could I explain it. The ugliness of the world wore on the innermost regions of her mind. If the world were capable of such mad and extreme grotesqueness and pain, even if it is passed off as a common place business, what else was it capable of if…….. the facade of mediocrity were ignored. No matter how much we make evil as nothing, as simply a less than ideal but nonetheless matter of fact aspect of life, no matter how much it is rationalized and the world is desensitized to the ugliness; her soul knew the poignancy of its evil sting, even in spite of the sensible color the understanding societies of the world painted it in. She knew one such extreme in spite of the world and its desire to see all as mediocre, if life was capable of one extreme her heart began to dare her to believe in the other.

My friend Henry did not have such an extreme past, although he lived through the experiences of our friends Hans and Tim. On top of that Henry was a thinker. In his mind ever before him were the extremes, seeing the darkness behind many false smiles. The brutal reality of life was ever before his mind. As a child and teen, even up until I first meet him, he was pure and innocent, knowing of temptations from a distance and hating them. He remembered the beauty of those pure days , but his eyes were opened and with such honest eyes that had been nurtured in light they burned through darkness everywhere, even in himself and that of course was why they were so uniquely penetrating. He realized that even in the Pleasantville in which he was raised perverseness floated about in the daylight, understood by the spirit of the day in mediocrity as nothing  more serious than bit of fun.

So there they were in the coffee shop, in what most would call a deluded state of existence ignorant of reality, but the dappered up young man and the natural beauty that was the young women, had a secret, which as they gazed into one another’s eyes ,minds, souls they began to realize they shared. They were not the ones ignorant of reality. NO! It was all the grey shaded folks around them that were ignorant of reality, of the consuming blackness of evil and the blinding white of good. Yes only those who live out that life is capable of both utter blackness and utter whiteness can speak of grays. But the deluded people sitting around them understood and reveled in the grays of life; knowing in honesty neither its blackness nor its whiteness. To Henry her goodness radiated through into her skin and now long blonde hair which had been short for years earlier.

Again I stop and go off on the details. You must pay attention to the details my dear reader for though books of this form have not been seen since old Europe it will all be worth it in the end. After all if you cancel your television and read this book for the next four months you will save money and be both intelligent and vogue.  I must make this point clear I have described Marie’s appearance from Henry’s perspective. Yes she was beautiful with blonde hair and blue eyes, and even had a well formed tallish-ness to go along with her capturing gait. But now you have in your mind the stereotypical image of the American blue eyed blonde. Marie’s look was more humble than a typical pin up notion of  a fair skinned blonde haired blue eyed girl. Henry was not blind to this humility in her beauty and in falling for her he found her all the more beautiful because of it. In his words, “she was arguably as beautiful as any women in the world.” He even on occasion went on to protest that she was arguably the most beautiful women in the world, and on such occasions it was apparent he meant it. But so that you may see her better in accommodation to what I suspect are your misconceptions; you must see her as a shorter five three five fourish women with brown hair with brown eyes with pale skin, with a wide and full smile, and with teeth that have noticeable dark shading in the background.  Instead of picturing an exotic European flare substitute more of a common look. Marie is a tallish blonde with blue eyes. But please! see it all in light of the more common look of a short brown haired girl. But I suppose that is all beside the point. Henry did not know of her past, and as is my way I must tell you another story that pertains to this very point in the story.

 “Listen, Listen! Gentlefem. In a prostitute one may find the beauty of a pure and humble women.  In a married women one may find the sensuality of a slutty and arrogant women. One is a whore with a pure heart and will be pure of heart in the end, and one is pure by virtue of being married and a whore at heart and will be a whore in the end.” Henry was smiling sensing the agitation and antagonism he was brewing in his pals sitting around him, for the most part this was his main aim in what he was saying. “Cleary gentlemen, Cleary God would take into account the things virtually determined beyond our control, and of course not without accounting how we respond, as that is for all intensive purposes in our …..,no! Simply that is in our control.” (Some of us could not tell if he was being sarcastic or not.) Is it not clear enough? You all look baffled. One, gentlefems, is a women rather ignorant and undereducated with the fortitude to where her lot with humility. The other is women rather intelligent educated and arrogant. The humble women in the end shall be praised as wise and the arrogant one a fool!” The other young man at the table was ready to tackle him with his pseudo religious and baseless claims. Before they could attack, and as they were all ready to shout out objections he said “at least by me that is!” and then smiled from ear to ear. This all took place at the early part of college when the four of us were all still together. Henry sat in the back corner of the pub with the entire restaurant in front of him. Next arrived Hans in his easy going and natural nerdy intellectual manner, surveying the room he walked back to join Henry.  Henry was in top form this particular evening as he always was on the occasional night on the town. I being a bit older and married joined the party looking rather worn down.   Tim came in last looking like a 007 type agent with his muscular form and polished wares. And so it began, the four us all distinct and quite different from one another were in reality to similar in our zeal for life.  I myself was, apparently this particular night, in appearance, less zealous then the other three possessed young men. Immediately I was barraged for not appearing to be happy to be there.  Initially it was Tim who had called attention to my apparent mood and Tim’s comment lit the already wired Henry.

“It’s the wife huh? Iyiyi yyyiii , boy you got a ruff draw, how could you have seen all this coming.” Tim moved his head sympathetically and in sincerity as he said this to me, and the whole table. Before Henry could join in, no doubt while he was finishing the organization of his onslaught, condolences were sent to me from each person at the table in affirmation of Tim statement. My wife was, as my wife, a known piece of work. But Henry was not to be so very mild and gentle this particular night. He was out with his friends whom he loved to be with and he was a man so very alive at life’s most modest occasions. In fact he was not much different than a young pup let out of a tight cage into a full and large backyard. But this particular night, though I did not realize it at first, Henry had other interests in the subject of my wife. I later realized they were in relation to certain accusations she made against him. And let me add, I believe Henry loved me so much that he loved me as his own brother.

“Gentleman!”  Henry stated full of vigor with great captivating capacity, “Glance over to that center table there. Do you see that women sitting there with her husband?”  “Who can miss the size of that ring,” returned Hans with a roll of the eyes. Everyone but Henry chuckled and he quickly brought everyone back to attention as he seemingly had something important to say. “Do you see her? She’s a whore! Look! Listen,” Henry stated, clearly but quietly. “Do you hear her domineering tone, look notice her jealous and haughty stare at the women the table over. See her husband nervously tapping his fingers whenever the waiter comes to be whipped.  Listen, Listen, how she jumps to show her knowledge. Listen how dogmatic she is , how confident she is in her superior upbringing in her American Christianity in her humane politics, and how she will raise a child one day!”  

“My word! Henry we hear her!, but what’s your point!” interrupted Tim, “Psych lectures ended six hours ago and last time I checked you weren’t the professor anyway.”

 In a few seconds the table became tense, everyone could upon second thought see behind the curtain easily enough. I was in limbo realizing I was about to be accosted, taken back to the wood shed, and I was not yet sure how I would react. After all it was my wife who was the indirect subject, and yet Henry in his antics always had some penetrating truth he unearthed. Plus we were like brothers. “A perfect whore that woman is, boys…… She has no respect for her husband… for anybody, a complete psychopath. Shall I hazard a guess what income bracket her pious parents are in, or how they understand an ancient text in the 21st.”  No one else was aloud a word he waved them off with a face or with an increased speed of delivery right as someone was about to object. “Boys that is what I am always telling you about, excuse my German, but to make clear the strength of my feeling on the matter, that women is a complete Bitch! You see her you heard her, how self centered, egotistical and narcissistic to the core, self righteous, and judgmental she is, and all with a false smile of sweetness. A feminist, who is angry at the world, since no matter how hard she tries she is never the same as a man. Henry began to chuckle, and in complete contradiction to his entire enthusiastic rant and thus in great bipolar fashion, he mumbled with a sound of despair, “and that is her problem, what is so terrible about being a women…. as if visible strength and power is the only measure of strength or of anything.”

 Henry quickly continued, visibly becoming more energetic again “Even if her husband does have testicles his life will be hell! That is what I was talking about the other night when I was going on about “whores” being wise, beautiful, and strong, and “virtuous” women being foolish and arrogant…. ugly and weak. The former are admirable women of fortitude and the latter whore’s of a spoiled 1st world childhood, conditioned toward bitchood. And I am not excluding men of the 1st world 21st century, they are even more…”  Henry took a breath to pin down just what he wanted to say. Tim who had obviously aimed to cut him off after Henry’s using the phrase bitchood finally gathered himself to cut in “good you have finished Henry. That’s enough! Have you been drinking all night.. ooorrr what’s your deal?” Henry not missing a beat shot back “I am far from drunk but thanks for asking.”

The air at the table became as rigid as razors, and there I sat. “I heard her apologize to you,” I said looking at and addressing Henry amidst the sudden and full silence that loomed over the table on what was to be a cheerful Saturday night. “What does that have to do with anything,” retorted Henry. “I am not idiot Henry.” 

“Well I wasn’t speaking of your wife, but the lady at the center table, and it was merely to exemplify what I was talking about the other day. “ Just as everyone was on the verge of being relieved, Henry as was his habit continued. “But now that you mentioned it, the description does fit your attention craving wife, and she can save her apologies I’ve tolerated her long enough. Because of my friendship with you, that’s why I’ve tolerated her. Face the music my friend, though Hans is the musician, your wife is a bitch.” And with that I left the table, Henry was laying on the floor, no doubt his head was spinning, and the whole place was gawking at our scene we had managed to make in the back corner of the restaurant.” As I reached the door I heard Henry’s voice mutter from the floor “The prig scuffed my shoes when he got out of his seat.” All of that to say Henry was right and I knew he was right in his little theorization on women. But he told me a little too late, though that is for another time. Marie was not arrogant nor was she a rebel against what Henry understood as her innate and glorious womanhood. One only need meet Marie once to know it was certain she was a bold women in the traditional sense, but maybe Henry, it would seem, had to make certain.

 

 

Fear:

A Misery to Personalized for the Cosmos Alone

 

 

Upon finishing his profession of love, and his desire to be trusted and loved in return, Marie was still sitting looking up at the young man standing before her. She was completely focused on him, with examining eyes. Henry just stood there silent for a half a minute as she continued to look at him with interrogative eyes. Henry again looked up and into her eyes for the first time since he finished speaking, as if to accept the full blunt of the blow her questioning eyes might execute. Then looking into her eyes as she was looking into his, he put out his hand. Marie just sat there in her place in the coffee shop, in the world in the 21st century….unmoved, and then after a moment placed her hands in his. He guided her out of her chair, and asked or rather told Jen he was stealing her cousin for a second. Jen’s face was blank until Marie looked over to her and smiled, as if assuring her it was all right. Naturally everyone was staring at them all the way to the door.  But it all became like a whirl wind. Standing no longer in the brim packed coffeehouse Henry found Marie before him in the park on the bench. The type of park every suburban to city type area has, green with shade trees and grass and benches made of wood or recycled plastics that look like wood. There were tears in her eyes yet the torrent of conflicting thoughts and feeling had waned. She was at peace when for a second a smile, the true kind that overflows out of uncontrolled joy in the whole of ones being, broke out and Marie said with deep and utter sobriety as only as person who had lived the life she had lived could “ I love you, Henry…. I love you” again a smile seeped out for a second and evaporated into a deep seeded  serious disposition. I fear I do not possess the skill as a writer to portray Marie accurately in words. But I continue on noting my weakness, so as to stay faithful to the reality.

Henry was in disbelief and overjoyed at what he had just heard flow out of Marie’s beautiful pale pink lips. Just as sunny and beautiful days with just right temperatures must be interrupted by thunderstorms for there to be life, likewise the duty of honesty showed itself to be immediately attached to Henry’s newly found joy. Whether he wanted it to or not it was seemingly an essential and inescapable aspect of his being alive.

He was compelled to kiss her and in kissing her the desire to consume her overwhelmed him, but his love for her, no doubt the same love that compelled him to kiss her, checked him at the kiss. He grabbed her hand instead, “Marie I will date you as long as you like, but on the other hand  I would marry you today,…. though if you wish to wait 10 years to marry me I will endure the long engagement. Will you marry me? Before you answer I want you to know I want to marry you and only you. My mind is at peace…I love you, but if yours is not then we can date.”  Henry always had too much to say whenever he was being himself and letting his passion flow in synch with his overactive mind, which is certainly worse than an overactive bladder. With his putting the question the way he did Marie’s remembrance of her, current betrothed, creped before her resisting mind. Her eyes were fixed on Henry as she was looking into him and the husband he would be. Again she took her time looking intently at him, and with an undertone of hesitation and nearly complete lack of emotional expression she replied, “I will marry you………..Today if you wish”

He did wish, but he knew that, though he believed they knew each other well enough, it was an unspoken knowledge, and thus there was much to be spoken. He guessed that men had betrayed her trust in the past, but never to the degree that actually was the case. But this small suspicion was enough for him to desire to show he was different from other men, even her current betrothed, that his love for her was for all of her, not just her body, but also her spirit along with those barely describable aspects that are something of a psychological aroma.  He wanted to demonstrate the greater depth of his love, the truth of it, possibly never before known by her as even existent in reality. “No, we can be engaged or go to the court house even, and sign the paper work, but lets hold hands awhile my dear.” Marie’s eyes again began to unabashfully interrogate him as if saying are you serious? She thought to herself “is he serious is he sincere, what is this “my dear” so fluently so naturally stated, he calls me his dear!”  All the while Henry’s faith and ideas began to weigh on him to be upfront and honest about what he thought he must be as a husband. He became agitated, continually pulling out grass by his feet twirling it and throwing it into the near distance, and then repeating the movement. Marie began to notice this as odd “he is irritated?” she thought.

But before I continue I must confess of having grown so very fond of the previous interludes that I must endeavor upon yet another. Just as the cinematographer gets the live shot from as many angles as possible in the heat of hast, for he cannot do it again if he films live unscripted reality. (And yet in general no doubt he could film the same thing, though with minor difference again and again). Precisely as the cinematographer seeks to take all in for the live audience, so I also must remind you dear reader we speak of a harsh reality, of reality. In the eyes of the fragmentary lenses of the masses that make up society, who categorize life into section and forgets these sections all have in common the reality that they are all a part of life, all is presented as normal. The extreme is mediocre, surreal extremes become commonplace reality, everything means something very important and yet everything means nothing to important, all is a blur, mutually exclusive things are accepted as the same thing. To sum it up, life is like a person trying and trying to think through an idea, giving up and drinking a bottle of vodka, and then waking up asserting ideas as if he has unraveled them all! Truly magnificent! In movies and reality TV a man is shot from miles away, a car blows up, a man goes to confession, a women gets married, a child dies, and the attitudes toward these events are ‘realistically’ presented. The bride cares more about the ceremony details that what kind of man the groom is. The man who kills the child doesn’t care, and then proceeds to eat breakfast or shoot himself. “Bad” language fills the script, fuck this or fuck that, Jesus this or Jesus that. Wonderful! Complex! Brilliant! Next we will film people on the pot pushing and sweating to clean their bowls, and the viewers will respond as the detached critic (and rightfully so) “this was a well done film, really well done!” But I ask what the hell does that mean? What does fuck mean when it is said every other word or what does a man going to confession mean when we all know it’s a half hearted reaction, to his prior actions, and what’s more he and the viewer alike do not really believe in God.  Does every person find himself standing separated from himself amidst every event of life unable to grasp and feel any consuming significance of the moment? Is everyone as immune to life as the actors in the flashes of life presented whether they be ‘reality’ of fiction. This is a very complicated issue of the paradoxically simultaneously melodramatic and de-sensitizingly sensitizing nature of this new century. However all of that is to say in this recounting I am giving to you the word fuck means something, to say the name of Christ out of order means something very define. To say a woman is a prostitute means something. That is to say this story presupposes a framework, Henry and Marie’s framework. As for myself I am much easier going…you say tomato I say toemato …. in any case I really do not care much about you or what you say, unless you catch my attention .

“What is it, what is it Henry?” stated Marie as she finally gave way to the inclination to say his name. He threw down another wad of grass got up from the bench and began to pace. “Marie I have just realized I must be completely honest” at these words her attention was heightened.  She almost feared what was to come next, and yet she would hear it no matter what. “ I have studied I am well studied in theology, and science, as you know Marie” The uniqueness of the manner of his speaking no longer caught her attention she listened waiting attentively with excitement yet with some fear of disappointment. “Yes” she replied with curiosity. “Well I must be honest Marie I would marry you and follow to the ends of the earth if I could, I would be unconditionally yours, if I could, and you might think how else should I say I love you, but I now realize how much I really believe, it is only with conditions of love that I may love you unconditionally. In other words, only if I have a definite notion of love, can I say that I will love you no matter what, and I will and I can, though I may not marry you unless you are willing to follow me to the ends of the earth . Though I will love you and you will be in my prayers evermore I cannot marry you unconditionally. You see Marie. I must follow my God Jesus of Nazareth to the ends of the earth and it is evident to me that I may only marry if my wife, if you Marie will follow me in my following God.”

 Henry was the most skeptical of us all, he read everything from economics to science to every religion, and in his skepticism at the end it appears, when all his hopes were within his grasp, he decided upon the unknown known God of Christianity. He then set out to be consistent with its notions even though he often drug his feet as if wanting to revise some of it. But I admired him. I did not have the yearning for knowledge or the courage to live out a life with consistency and honesty. Such was his manner of speech to Marie. He was saying all of these religious things as if someone were holding a gun to his head, and yet in the end he believed the most basic assertions of it, or he would not have said it.

As he was saying all of these rather dramatic things to Marie, he was not looking at her and then his eyes lifted to hers. “But Marie do not think me the chauvinist, but surely you think could it not be the reverse, truly are you not a creature with your own purpose in relation to your Creator. Certainly, but nonetheless I cannot marry someone with a different purpose of life from mine when mine is so absolute. As to the coherence of Christianity I can explain it if….” Marie interrupted him with a gentle smile and a mild snicker “are you finished or was that merely the introduction to your sermon?” Henry’s face was blank, fearing for the worst, who could understand, or who would accept Christianity as he understood it and yet no matter how hard he tried he could not let it go and now with Marie in front of him He realized he said it with even greater emphasis. “I will follow God alongside of you, but my trust is ultimately in God.”

He stared at her appearing to be confused. As he later explained to me he did not really believe any women would respond as she did to such an extreme question. He said what he had said; not really even believing anything good could come from it. He wanted her more than anything, even, perhaps, the God who he believed he could not truly have her without.  I remind you yet again I am recording the events uncensored. You may draw your own conclusion about these friends of mine, as for me well they were my friends and very typical products of American culture in many ways.  Perhaps you now picture Henry in church every week in a suit or donating half his salary to the church, but then you would have the wrong idea entirely. Marie on the other hand was in church every week and she dressed modestly, and yet very stylishly, after all she worked as designer consultant.

Henry stood baffled. He thought about himself in the event that had and was taking place on a bench in a park, and it was even for him, now, other worldly fantasy.  What had just happened Marie’s response was to him miraculous as it was virtually impossible to his mind. He was in disbelief, perhaps like a writer who knows the event to be recorded next, a historian we will say, who comes to the climatic event to be recorded , and cannot pick up the pen to write it because he cannot believe it or understand it enough to put it into ink as having honestly occurred. Henry eventually accepted the ink of what had just occurred and grabbed Marie’s hand and held it in such a way as if he would never let her literal physical hand go. “I am yours no matter what! I am at your disposal, no matter what! Forever, unless of course you were to marry another man, but I will wait for you and support you until you are ready. Even if my youth were to pass me by in the meantime! But no matter what, I am afraid I will never let you go, no matter what! Marie was a very kind and fun loving girl, and yet she had the capacity for being quite straight faced. She sat there again listen and looking, taking it all in, half in appreciative love, half saying we shall see.

Marie went home that evening in wonderment, in joyful bewilderment, until that is, her phone reminded her that she had yet to break off her previous engagement. Marie meet her fiancé outside her residence to explain to him that she could not marry him. Henry watched from the distance. He the contradictorily tightly demarcated, and utterly boundryless Henry had followed her home suspecting that her previous fiancé would be over that very day, after her being mysteriously absent from him in recent days. Henry could only understand some of the words being spoken. He could, however, see their body language clear enough.

Marie had not yet shed a tear though the fiancé was seemingly having a hard time excepting what he was hearing. He went to pull her close to give her a kiss, as if to say ‘forget this nonsense.’ Marie pulled away. But her ex- fiancé in the making, was relentless. Henry seethed with rage, restraining himself from pouncing on this man with madness. Just as Henry thought he could take no more he saw the man turn and yell “I will be back tomorrow! And we will fix this garbage after you get some sleep” Henry watched him get in his car and drive away. He felt he could not let Marie see him. Henry, observing the stop sign a block down, sprinted to it and jumped out in front of the ex fiancés car. I do not know if I already mentioned it or not but my friend Henry was a strange one, as you are beginning to see, perhaps the strangest even more so then Hans or Tim, and yet processing a great capacity to be socially normal when he wanted to. The young man was six foot two 185 pounds of pure muscle he ate 225 on the bench for breakfast. Usually after he finished working out he would read, on any given day it could be Kant or something like Fitzgerald.  Honestly I was often tempted to hate him. For him the whole world was one great possibility his own personal playground. At times he wanted the fame that typically comes to a person like him, but typically he loved to wander about unknown to the world as if a king wandering the streets in a disguise. My hate was usually tempered by the fact that he was always on the verge of being completely miserable.

The startled man rolled down his window “I am the madman you think to be such a joke, and let me tell you I love her and she loves me. She has said it herself, for me that is more than enough forever! I will kill you, forgive me God, I will kill you if you ever speak to her again!” Henry pronounced his words in a pattern like thunder and lightning. No doubt the man was startled if not scared. Let’s be honest, one does not often encounter such a person in life as most people capable of such untamed and glorious passion are in prison or a psych ward, as the line between passion and the demonic is perhaps as fine as the line between genius and madman.

Henry was holding fast to the ex-fiance’s collar with his right hand, and the inside of the car door with his left, “you do not know what love is, but you see me now and you see a sincerity before you that almost convicts you, though you do not know of what of,  you do know you do not love her as I, and even though you may mock me latter to your friends as a nut job you fear, and almost revere me now that you see me here before you. I’ll tell you why you have this feeling right now, you see I am a sincere and honest, and pure in my motives….I will kill you” By this point Henry had begun to drift out from the window. With his last word, the “you” in “I will kill you” he dashed off.

Henry did not neglect to realize the sadness this man encountered that day, nor did he fail to sympathize with is position. In fact, if Marie would not have expressed and reaffirmed Henry’s love with her own. That is to say if she said little, but then concluded she would remain with her fiancé, Henry would not have continued to pursue her.  No he would have assumed this wonderful woman had found a wonderful man in her fiancé and however painful it may be for him he would in his love for her be happy for her, unless of course he knew that somehow she was duped. And yet I am in danger of painting with monstrously ideal strokes Henry as the saint. He would be happy for Marie if his defeat was certain, and if the quality of the other man was certain. Otherwise he would despise the other man and do God knows what, perhaps even kill. But she loved Henry and he did not think twice about whether or not he would fight for her if he had to. Knowing Henry he would rationalize the desire to fight and kill the competing suitor, as quite commonplace. I remember hearing Henry saying that back in certain points of recent history upstanding gentleman were encourage to settle disputes with a duel as a matter of honor. And as to whether or not Henry would win such a fight or duel, in his mind there was no question, it would be one of the most certain things he ever considered.

The other young man, did I mention his name? Anyway the other guys pride was wounded, by his somewhat scared and silent reaction to Henry. He thought of challenging Henry so as to uphold his pride as a man. In the end it seems that he knew Henry was right in that he did not love her as much as the crazy man who jumped in front of his car and threaten to kill him. So the “other young man” went his own way recovering rather quickly. This ex fiancé had the ability to be a funny man and keep women he met at ease, as far as I know he had another girl within two weeks time.

  Upon waking up the following morning, Henry found within himself a renewed enthusiasm and happiness as well as a greater sense of meaning and importance to his life. He felt as he had not felt since he was about fifteen, he was happy and the despair of life that had loomed over him for so long was gone. He loved, and was loved in return by the one whom he loved. As soon as he could he called Marie. He met her at her house, “How was your day today Marie” Henry said her name with a noticeably great pleasure. “It was good,” started Marie, she stopped perceiving he was hoping for something…. anticipating something. “You know,” continued Marie “that my ex fiancé came by last night.”

“Oh” replied Henry.

“I told him of my love for you, and well, he said he would not give up and that he would be by again in the morning.”

“Really, and did he come by this morning?” returned Henry with unguarded interest.

“No he did not, and I am glad, but I am afraid he is simply delaying and will not let go. Really I thought for certain he would be by again.”

 “Do you think this will be very painful for him?” asked Henry.

“I do not think so, at first it was very hard for me, because I did not want him to be hurt, but I have this odd notion about the whole relationship as if, as if it had never occurred.”

Henry was listening attentively. “You know that night what you said, about how I came about being with him, it made me so angry, and yet it was true, and it haunted me all night and all of the following day.”

 “Well I could not afford to be gentle I had waited a long time for that opportunity, and I was quite certain it would never come, and then there I was, there you were. You know I was at the end my rope, and so very alone in the world my closest friends having died and the other one all over the place in every possible sense.Well, I’m hungry lets go for dinner, what are you in the mood for?”

“Haha, she began to chuckle, and with an accent never before heard by Henry she said,

 “ I’m in the mood for that trash I used to eat when I was a little girl,”

Henry was completely confused, he thought she was quoting a line from a movie or something. He stood there ready to react, though he did not know how, because he really did not understand. “Henry,” she smiled again, her eyes directed toward Henry but not focused on anything, “it has just struck me, you do not know me do you?” This statement to was said with an accent, and Henry was in limbo. For the first time in their recent meetings he had no words to speak. Henry stood by the door to her apartment wearing a half forced smiling, half scared face. Marie spoke again, this time in a different language “бідний хлопчик, ти врятував мене від дурня, але ви мене не знаєте, як ви думаєте, і якщо ви зробили, і вам не доведеться тримати в узді тих голодних чисті очі, ви втратите ваш апетит на весь я. Ваша чиста душа буде destoyed від мін.[1]  

And again Henry stood with his eyes and mouth open. This time he noticed Marie had looked him in the eye with each syllable she uttered.  It was as if she was reading his response to the words he did not understand. Henry who was the type who had to try and force a laugh at most jokes, decided this was some kind of joke he obviously missed. “What? was that Russian ?” he said with a forced smile.  “What’s this from?”  It’s not from anything replied Marie. “You do not know me, you think you love me but you do not know me, all I have told you, and all you know of me is who I wish I was, who I try to be!” her eyes were growing moist. She covered her eyes and turned her head to hide.

 My friend Henry, who was about as practiced at sensitivity as a robot, stood there not knowing what to do. He had at last let his passion flow out of his heart through his mouth, and he at last lived out his assertion that he did not care what anyone thought, but he could not break the habit of years and years of rigid austerity when it came to the physical touch. Habits such as those are hard to break even if a soul like Henry’s was truly always in option, wiping away tears with his hand, giving a gentle and comforting hug, going out of  his way to hold open a door or help a person struggling with some task. His mind and soul were always in it, always ready to reach out, and yet he decided against for one reason or another. He did not act simply so as to not appear a certain way. He feared to appear as if he were trying to do such and such a helpful thing only to achieve something, or appear as something in opposition to his intention. Or worse yet, and this is truly the crux of it, my dear friend Henry did not want people to think or see that he was as good as he was. Yes this was the reason, I remember, I once figured it out and told him; oh I remember his reaction well. To put it simply he was pissed, disagreeing that he was afraid of what people thought and that he was good, or that he was good. He disagreed with everything mainly because he disagreed with anyone other than him being able to look penetratingly at a person, reading the mind and the soul and the interplay of it all. People often say “people do not change.” Religious people often say “only God could change that person.” And I cannot believe I am going to say this, but I must. Henry had already begun to change since being reunited with Marie. It must be a terribly risky and frightful endeavor, but dare I say it, perhaps a woman may change a man, but then again perhaps horses can speak French, and world peace is on its way.

Henry stood there like an absolute boob, he tried to ignore his great deficiency that the moment was so obviously begging for, in doing so he noticed the old hard wood floors on which he stood, the twin apartment across the street, in which a group of young men sat smoking cigars and cigarettes, and drinking, singing and laughing. His mind wandered back to the nights he would sit in despair at having let Marie slip away as his friends had a capital time. He began to notice the style of the apartment it was  so very unyouthful, the table, the chairs, the pictures…… it was all that of a 40 year old married women with children and a husband who worked at a factory. He stood there in his place….. he did not want to go forward in time, again he looked at the nice dark hard wood floors, “Who are you? What do you mean I do not know you?” stated Henry calmly still standing in the same spot…..the spot he had stood in since he was 15 and he became conscious of his standing.

 Pushing away the tears Marie turned around to face him. “I thought you knew! I thought everyone knew! That’s why I never mentioned all of this that day three years ago. I am a disaster child from the Ukraine. I was an orphan, I was abused, I was virtually a prostitute by the age of thirteen and I hate it all! but even what you hate can haunt you, even as if… even as if…..it doesn’t matter. Just leave me be! You have saved me from that fool, but I am not for you.” As Marie turned away, Henry came to life “ even as if you desire it, even as if a part of you desires it!” He finished his tone emphasizing that he knew he had understood her and that he loved her still.  A similar feeling to the one that came over her in the parking lot enclosed itself around her from within her. She said nothing and Henry said nothing. Again he looked over at the window of young men across the street. “It must be a bachelor party or a birthday,” he thought to himself out loud. And then amidst her sniffling she answered, “ there was a time when I would have hated you for understanding me as you do! But even so I could never trust myself with a man as good as you. I would abuse the ‘savior type’ whether I wanted to or not, and besides who says you want to save me or have anything to do with me now that you know everything about me,” Marie’s entire tone and manner was a fluctuating mixture of fury and despondency, flames would encircle her blue eyes and then a deep obis of sorrow.  At times she had a hate in her voice that had murdered hundreds, at times she had the brokenness of a child obliterated by the world, and who with the “great separator of time’ realized the depth of her devastation more and more with each year  toward adulthood.

 Henry’s face light up with an uncontrollable and utterly impulsive smile, his eyes where glowing, he let out a breathy chuckle that began deep in his gut. Marie was confused shocked by this reaction from him. “Why are you laughing?” Henry’s smile was given new life with the question. He could not reply immediately he had to wait until his face decided to stop smiling, or rather his heart decided. “Me save you?” the remnants of the humor he found remained on his face. “Me save you!” he said yet again. “Marie, you are the one who is doing the saving!” Again he laughed as if finding comfort     “A large part of me is cold and boring, perhaps it has something to do with my dutifulness, and perhaps I am even a very moral man, even a good, an honest Christian who has none of the common attributes of a Christian such as arrogance, hypocrisy of heart, and spinelessness all wrapped into one. But Marie! Even in all of this I am always on the verge of the irresolutely demonic madness, not defeat! Not resignation! Not even courageous active resignation of my friend Tim, nor even the slightly grey resignation of my friend Hans, but  rather  forceful rebellious utter selfish despicableness, and yet in me is the possibility of  a more complete and better man, that now, and perhaps always only you have the key to…. only you Marie!”  His voice began to quiver even as whole body began to tremble as if he were undergoing a small tremor, “ and I need you, you do not need me!” Marie’s face had begun to dry as she listened and saw all he said he meant with severity.

Whatever, Marie had intended and had hoped to result from her revelation, I do not know! The female reader of this stories guess is superior to mine. In any case, Henry had finished saying all he had to say, and so did Marie. They both stood there, Henry waiting for a response from Marie, Marie waiting to see if he would say more. After the short silence Marie spoke, “So what now?” She asked

“Now we go to dinner, to the nice restaurant on Z street that has outdoor seating” Henry had seemed to break the cosmic like force field of physical separation he  actively sought to maintain, in relation to Marie’s hand alone. He sought it out and laid hold of her hand like a man on fire dives and rolls for water.

The general structure of the area in which they lived was undeniably disgusting, especially in comparison to architecture in Europe, and many other older parts of the world. But it was a summer evening, and nature has a way of imposing her beauty upon man’s shitty and lazy designs, brushing them to the side as it were as if saying I can be so glorious I will even make you forget you have built such shitty shit for yourself. This particular street was nice, as was the restaurant. Henry had on khaki shorts to the middle of his knee cap, a plain blue polo shirt, and stringless leather shoes. Henry looked his best in the summer, he had a well built body…calves even, and even his green eyes and blonde hair became more distinctive in the summer. Marie was absolutely suffocating. She had on a one piece grey dress with a bluish belt that had a silver buckle, and bluish open toed heeled sandals.

Indeed perhaps I am a better detective than the fabled greats of Baker Street and a better historian than the stylizing Homer. Marie’s eyes were such a beautiful bluish grey. This night her hair was to the side and in a pony tail down the back. It was all a rather magnificent scene to Henry and Marie. My friend Henry was the type who would appreciate a certain watch I might where, even after he saw it on me a thousand times.  Now consider this man who was locked away in a room for years, a type of aesthetic monk if you will, now consider him sitting before this natural, young, beauty.. dear God! It is possible ladies that you thought all men grow tired of the same thing, and in reality that seems to be the case. As for this my queer duck I am pleased to have known, my…. the poor fellow loved most anything the more he saw it even at times the older it grew. And now can you imagine this young lady Marie, sitting in front of him, in the summer yet, with trees softly pattering about in the wind, a car occasionally whisking bye on this quiet evening. Every now and then we might see a baseball player who truly loves to play baseball, the type of character who would play for free rather then not play at all, and who plays every second of each game as if it were his first or his last. Or we see a poor fellow who said if he ever had money he would change the world and live modestly, and he does, and he loves doing it. Such things we see from time to time, if we watch closely enough, and it is hardly the norm in reality. It is hardly the norm! I am talking about the type who, in terms of baseball would play with childish enthusiasm, and die if he had nothing left for the game. And here this handsome devil is truly fitting the very general description of what all women want as if kept apart from women all his life by those mischievous Greek gods.

 Yes there he was in front of a woman who was not only beautiful and kind, but one who could tolerate and understand him; perhaps even in spite of the fact he was good looking. Such happiness, such proportionate reward, is rare in reality! Even for passionate people. And yet cannot a factory worker do his same monotonous job every day for forty years, and in a small quiet burning passion be an excellent employee, spouse and parent. And in reality can they not love their life deeply, even the grinding of the belts on the machines….love it deeply in reality, even, dare I say it, as that very famous performer who performs each and every show as if it were the first one or the last one ever. But I am beginning to ramble.

Marie and Henry sat out, in the world, at the restaurant, immersed in and adding to the beauty of a beautiful happening in life, in a world of many very simultaneous non beautiful happenings. The street the restaurant was on was and old American street with some cobblestone, and rather young old buildings of about 300 years. It was a nice block surrounded by miles and miles of plastic siding houses, and cement slabbed businesses. The typical American town slapped together with no concern of architectural splendor, rather concerned only of space and efficiency, in other words, a town constructed with the typical American short sighted understanding of value. To find beauty in such a place one either has to find that one block Henry and Marie went to this particular evening, or drive and drive until one finds  farm land unadulterated by pathetic displays of human workmanship.

 They ate very little food, they drank very little wine, they were consumed in conversation, or in silent glances back and forth. In a sense, it seemed to them both that they had stepped back from their passionate confessions of love and the desire for immediate and irrevocable holy matrimony.  “You know Marie I believe we have talked about everything there is to talk about. Seriously think about all we said three years ago in those three hours, and I remember everything that you said even your favorite flower, but  then also all I said the other night and then all you said , and all that was said earlier tonight.”   Marie smiled that fully bodied smile that was so natural to her, “oh no! we have sprinted when we should have walked.”

“Have you ever seen one of those old couples sitting across from one another at a restaurant, I’ve seen many old couples just sit across from one another for an entire hour, wait for their food, smile at the waitress, eat their food and all the while just sit and not say a word to one another. I used to eat with my grandparents often when I was younger, and at 4 o’clock in the afternoon I would always find at least one pair of 80 year old just sit across from one another and say absolutely nothing.”

 “One of those old couples? You make them sound like, like, I don’t know.. some sort of antique bicycle or something.” Marie began to giggle, “ but yes I have seen them why?” 

“Just a few moments ago when we were sitting there saying nothing I thought to myself , how much I love sitting here with you , and you know I often sat there as a skinny little boy and thought to myself, I bet they don’t talk because they already know what the other would say, and you know maybe that’s true, maybe they really know one another as much as they know themselves, and yet I imagine now that if they sat alone, and could wish for anyone in the world to sit across from them, it would be her, it would be him.  That old patchy white haired wrinkle with big ears, who no doubt she thinks is a distinguished looking old man.”  

“Well I doubt I would ever grow board sitting across from you Henry, you go from having nothing on your mind to entire philosophical treatises.” She said this in a very matter of fact face one which Henry could not help but adore and began to smile at. “What, what, why are you looking at me like that?” 

“You are too much!” replied Henry with a raised eyebrow and quiet twinkle in his eye. Marie began to look down with a deeply convincing face of modesty, as if she could not stand the attention. And she could not, attention like the kind Henry gave her she had never received before, or perhaps he would turn out to be like flattering monsters from years past.  They chatted awhile longer about this and that, Marie did most of the talking Henry added a bit here and there, even quite often managing to make Marie laugh, and having a laugh himself.  No doubt even that little bit of wine helped as I cannot comprehend anyone thinking Henry funny or him laughing light heartedly. He was always such a serious character, even during those good years we all had together he would laugh and joke, and yet anyone would describe him as being very serious. Serious about what you might ask? And I suppose I would have to wager the answer is life, he was serious about it. Marie too one might see as the “serious” type, and of course she had every good reason to take life seriously, and yet as is often the case as I have seen in my travels, the same reasons to be anything but serious about life.

“Let’s walk back”

 “Walk back? It’s at least a mile?” replied Henry not so much being against the idea as unsure whether Marie was serious or not. “Oh but your car we can’t.”

“I’ll get my car tomorrow.” Henry like a vulture eyed and snatched up her hand. “A beautiful evening with a beautiful girl, this is probably one of the most wonderful moments in my life!…….. I told you about my friend Hans from college?”

“Yes.” replied the perfect young women as her open heels clicked against the old streets. “He once told me that even though that girl he loved broke his heart, he would never trade the experience, including its miserable ending for missing out on walking with her to class those few days.”

“Your friend was quite the romantic; I can see why the world was so hard for him to live in.” Marie glanced over to see if what she said was received by Henry as insensitive. He simply agreed shortening his face together and raising his thickish eyebrows. Henry no doubt, being Henry was thinking of everything at that moment, her background, all that had occurred that night, his love for her, and whether she could ever love him, and how he should act in relation to all these factors. Henry had long ago resolved and told me of his resolve to be an exemplary man, and never move beyond a kiss or holding hands until after marriage. And do not underestimate this fellow, as I told you before if you saw him in the street you would pin him as your typical manly man craving sports and food and women flesh. And Henry did love to play sports, and he did love food, and if his passion for the first too is any indication, and it was, because in my insecurity I thought I sensed that my wife sensed a deep and mysterious passion in him, and that she sensed that, I did not like…. well then yes! He was a man of course. He also knew of the social norms, and he also knew that he would be excepted to act in a good degree of unison with them, and that if he did not the women would begin to question, and he would be at a disadvantage to other men who acted in accord with what was expected, it being expected of course, because that was how men acted. Yes he was and knew all of this, and yet he was going to live out his beliefs, blah blah blah, love a women on every level, blah blah blah, build a solid foundation for a relationship, blah blah blah. Yes it is quite sickening to say, but this fellow was quite the white knight except he was not exceptionally rich, though he certainly was far from poor as well. In any case it was all decided especially now that he knew the extreme way Marie had experienced the selfish lusts of men, although of course this made his outdated ways even more dangerous to the continuing of the relationship.

“This is a long walk my feet are beginning to hurt, and its taking away from the whole idea of walking” said Marie with a laugh.

“I told you it was a long walk. And these old streets are uneven from one stone to the next,” stated Henry in a fatherly way. Henry stopped to tie his shoe which was not untied. He could not let her walk in misery, and if he had any hesitation to do what he was about to no doubt the view of her magnificent figure in that dress would provide ample persuasion. Kneeling down to tie his shoe he point out the moons orange and full hue, as Marie looked away he swooped up and scooped her up with him. Marie was startled, and then somewhat embarrassed, but Henry just looked down into her eyes with that serious and reassuring face of his ‘you cannot keep walking like this you will twist your ankle, besides I am enjoying myself so you should too.’

“You can’t carry me the entire rest of the way home it’s nearly a half mile or more” stated Marie very adamantly.”

Henry just smiled. “well now that u put it like that I am going to, even if I pass out at the end!”

At last they arrived at her apartment. Henry set her down, having noticeable perspiration around his face and neck. It was nothing to carry her, despite her being a solid built young women. Henry lost any thought of the effort of carrying a person so far, as he became lost in her soft and firm body in his hands and against his, and those beautiful eyes lit up only by the moon on some of the poorly lit streets looking into his. He did not want to let go of her. He knew he loved her, he knew he would decide to always be loyal to her no matter what, he knew he would get the paper work signed, why should he not seize the day and take hold of a complete and full relationship between his beloved. And yet, as if to overcompensate he kissed her hand, then looking at her with such a painful and sad look as he slowly let go, and said “ I love you Marie Chardin.”.

 He felt like throwing up at the thought of what he just did. It was even to his very religiously steeped mind in a certain sense very wrong and in this case against the good in nature, for he truly loved her. Marie felt a multitude of feelings, of all that had occurred and all that hadn’t occurred. Feelings that were very conflicting, thoughts that were very troubling, and yet thoughts that were very hopeful. The magnificent young women did not just wake up and stroll about in the world on her parent’s penny; she did not find trouble with the world because her mind was a tad bit overactive. No! She lived in a terrible world, though perhaps it is overall better than other times in history and even good some days. Do I not rightly say, she lived in a terrible world? And all that had occurred did not just evaporate into nonexistence because she placed her hope and trust and faith in a man from the 1st century who claimed to be God or because she had a very pleasant life after she was adopted. What is more, although my writing is a bit rusty and thus maybe I have not done justice to the character that was my friend Henry, but he was a very hard to pin down fellow. He was on the one hand completely open and honest and yet not always the most secure or comforting person to trust, though he was very secure. In all truth Henry was the most loyal of us four friends, once he was trusted that is……but that is just the point Marie was fast approaching that very horizon.

But perhaps my odd way of recounting a story is too limited perhaps you need more characters. Maybe you find it odd that all that is mentioned is these two young ones and love. Indeed to Marie there was more to life, she loved and found great purpose in caring for the sick at the hospital and seeking to share her hope with them. But as for Henry she was his life or his death! I might note that before the end of all this; I will introduce two more persons pertinent to all these rather commonplace possibilities and yet extraordinary events.

Henry continued to do his unskilled labor job, which paying well was becoming increasingly scarce. After all what does one do with a degree in humanities? The important thing is he went to sleep each night so very happy thinking of Marie Chardin, and woke up and went to work so very happy thinking of Marie Chardin. My friend Henry did not want anything complex, rather he wanted a beloved and then a family, and means to provide for them, that was his dream, that was his great aspiration in life, to be a passionate husband and father. The other three of us four musketeers were aesthetes struggling against a society of ugly money, and on a more personal level struggling against the ethical within ourselves. Henry on the other hand was an ethicist through and through struggling against an unethical society, and on a personal level struggling against compounding flair for the aesthetic.  However, that is all slightly beside the point. As I was saying whereas Henry did not back peddle on his passionate declaration; Marie, though she had no intention of going back to her former fiancé, much more cautiously affirmed her previously declared love for Henry.

So they continued to date as Henry promised, and what did they do on these dates. Why lay in the grass of course, arm in arm…. holding hands… talking of nothing…… staring into the sky, into one another eyes and then back at the sky. Often times in movies women awwwee and sigh at such scenes, and yet I have no doubt Henry loved lying in the grass on those cooling summer evenings as much as Marie. They watched movies, tons of movies, ate tons of ice cream, learned to dance. When fall came around Henry wanted to take walks and enjoy the painting in progress that was the forest each fall.

Although they had already revealed all of their deepest feelings, through this time together they grew more comfortable, and yet Henry would not have any sloppiness on his part. I can hear the ever confident young fellow now “When I am in a relationship, precisely at the point when we become comfortable, I will make the extra effort to form habits of love, most importantly in regard to speech and tone, and patience.”  Yes and we all rolled our eyes at the inexperienced and young idealist. The thing is, is that he decided how he would live his life each and every day; he always affirmed his decision, his responsibility in every matter on a daily basis. Oh how he would rant “there is always a way out! Always a way out of every temptation, no matter how forceful the force you remain guilty if you do not take the way, or in your case my dear artiiists if you paint it over in your mind to be a botched attempt at beauty.” Naturally a vehement debate ensued. Yes in those days we lived to debate… to think, so as to live. Oh we had other friends outside the four of us, even a great seducer of women, in all reality a modern day Casanova, an angry atheist, a calm agnostic, a magnificent card player, a solid musician, an aspiring politician, yes we created our own little society with all the essential players and parts….. Not of posers, oh no! Not in the least! So many went on to be recognized and of course paid, and that is after all the determination of greatness or failure…. getting paid. Ah but again I am lost in reminiscing, I forgot I introduced them briefly in the beginning.

Then came winter, and again Marie and Henry could be found bundle up, wandering about the streets on a Friday night or off to a larger city for the Saturday, perhaps to see a play in the evening. Even on a week night the young couple might meet and walk about arm in arm in the still and silent dead of winter. Even then, in the dead of winter, when everyone else was locked away in their houses at 6:30 they would stroll about, at times silent and listening to the silence, at times talking of this or that, that happened at the hospital, or their future plans. They disagreed, even argued and became angry with one another at climatic moments. Then Henry would tell her how he loved to argue, and especially with her and she would roll her eyes and then begin cheerfully talking of something within a minute or too, as if she was trying to be upset and then forgot about her aim. Henry worried that in his attempt to show the vastness of his love, he would lose her, maybe become an in-disposable friend but not a lover. He took many deep breaths when with her over the course of that year, and went home to his house at night on the verge of madness.

 As for Marie, she began to understand him, and that is the beauty of it, she saw right through this fellow, which not even his own and equally absurd friends could do. Henry began to wait for the end, for the demise, and yet he could not bring himself to develop the relationship sexually without marriage, nor could he rush into marriage simply because of that, he thought he had to prove something to her, and yet he was certain that in doing it he would lose her. He told me as much the one evening I came to visit him. We sat there in his apartment. I pulled up to his place in the bold and exquisite Audi I owned at the time. As I expected his apartment was bricked on the outside…….. of course or Henry would not be living there. There was a wooden banister following the stair well up to his apartment. Naturally, I was invited into a room with hard wood floors and two leather chairs and a wooden table. He got himself a beer and gave me some vodka on ice. The windows were open; he always had the window open. The instant I was done telling of my travels and business affairs, he pounced on me with his great happiness. And just as quickly he told me that it would all end at any moment because she would not feel a deep enough connection to him, and yet he had to show her he loved her apart from sexual gratification.

“All women should know they are loved apart from their sexual allure alone, or else to hell with companionship, to hell with a beloved to hell with romance to hell with purpose and meaning let the world go up in flames, when they reach me I even spare some the alcohol in my hand to increase the speed. Seriously! and Marie most of all considering how she has been ravaged by pigs filthy sweating pigs in nice suits driving nice cars with a 100 + $ hair cut even.” He looked at me as he always had in the past, eyebrows raised on the edge of his seat, waiting for my affirmation of a statement he thought unquestionable. I simply and calmly agreed and took a large gulp of my vodka. I kept my opinion that his extreme virtue in regard to this relationship had so very much to do with things apart from himself. In short she gave him strength and vigor that was virtually dead in him that odd night he left the coffee shop. In my opinion he never really understood the concreteness of just how close he was to becoming me…in many ways the very swine he condemned… He would not have killed himself that night.. Oh no! I do not think so, on the contrary he would have delved into what he called the ugliness in the world in his despair, and found himself loving it, and thriving like a prince.

 I kept this thought to myself which agitated me further….. I wanted a cigarette, but I had just got in and had not seen him for quite some time. He saw my attempt to cover my agitation and at once pulled out the kind of cigarettes I smoked from a wooden box on his book shelf. “I hate smoking in my house… as you know, and I think it causes hair loss but well…. this is a special occasion, so I picked these up for us. Just like old days!”  I lit up and then he continued. I by now knew well enough he would not truly consider any advice I might have, and so I simply listened, or tried to provoke him a bit. I kept it simple moving back and forth between these two roles only, that of Mr. open ears and the antithesis. But even as the antithesis I knew my role was only to develop his thesis. At any rate he went on, entirely convinced it would all be shot to shit by his own convictions, and her lack of understanding of men.  

So as I was saying, on one of the fall evenings he kissed her on the cheek and continued to do so for the rest of fall. That was his new good bye, and if others were watching no doubt the kiss on the cheek would have become the new great thing. Oh he made the most it, and she knowing it was coming began to as well. In the winter he mixed in a few forehead kisses. He was always close to her when he kissed her but yet always leaning in, and when arm in arm or lying in the grass always to her side. He had not been against her since the night he carried her through the warm summer streets. To his mind he had waited quite some time and if it was of value to her whether or not she said it, he would endure the long engagement, and his extreme and foreign morality. But all this while Marie understood not only herself, but him also, and though at times she longed for more, overall she loved him all the more for it, because she understood his aim in all of it. However I should note that it seems they never really discussed these internal thoughts and feelings.

  The spring came, and one day while passing a soccer ball back and forth he could endure her lips no longer. The truth is, there is no possible way he had any idea of how to kiss a woman. Apparently he kicked the soccer ball as hard as he could far away from her, and then walked up to her,  cushioned  the back of her head with his hand and put his upper lip beneath her lower, and her lower beneath and above his lower, and then just stood there savoring the taste of her lips. It was as if his whole body was refreshed from years of a disease, as if his healing were complete.

 That night he stopped by unexpectedly, she was getting ready to go to bed. “Is something wrong, I thought we were meeting tomorrow after work?”

 “No nothing is wrong, I just needed to see you, I am not coming in I just wanted to say hello.” The entirely sincere smile that arose deep from within Marie overwhelmed her beautiful face “Just to say hello?” Henry pulled her close took a deep breath as he held her close against him, and rested his head against her. They just stood like that for a solid five minutes. Henry stepped back “you have off tomorrow night right?”

“Yep” she replied

 “Could you endure an hour of star gazing tonight out on your porch?”

“Yes” she replied as if something was on her mind. They spread out some cushions and laid out on the warm spring evening, backs to the ground side by side hand in hand. They did not have any intense or emotional conversation, actually they barley said anything at all since the time he unexpectedly arrived. The lack of conversation did not seem to matter as they were ready to be in paradise sharing the monotonies of life together. Marie who was already tired rolled over to her side and closed her eyes all the while holding Henry’s hand and thus moving closer to him.

 Henry let go of her hand. He released her hand which was against her hip his hand slid across her body as he rolled over and pulled himself against her, eventually resting his right hand on her left shoulder and his left hand behind her head alongside and on top of the length of her arm. His head and his cheek were resting comfortable on top of hers as her head was now resting on his large shoulders. Together they took deep breaths, her back against his chest, all the while saying nothing and eventually falling asleep until the warm morning sun melted their faces together. “Did you sleep well?”

“Yes I slept better than I have in years I think.”

 “You know I never let you go the entire night.”  

“I realized that when I woke up, it was as if we did not move since I rolled over.”

“We didn’t, and I never will you know”  

“You never will what?” she looked at him with a smiling yet questioning face? “I will never let you go” She smiled at him.

“Tonight, call off work today tonight we will get married? I have made all the arrangements your parents are on call, your mother has a church and her dress for you, the restaurant will be available, all in a phone call it will be ready!” She rolled over to face him, she looked into his eyes with a straight face as if reading him, and then with a volcanically contagious smile said “I do”

 

 

Of Fears and Dreams

Her smile was so honest, so trusting, he had made it through the night. She was so happy that she had fond or been given the man who she would not have to convince herself she was happy with. Yes, she thought to herself “in spite of my lack of faith and my fear, here he is in my arm.” It was the early summer, nearly the 1st anniversary of that mad night on the curb outside the coffeehouse where they were reunited. They were at the jewelers since they were getting married that evening and Henry had just proposed.

“Is that the kind you want?” Henry asked pointing down to a particular diamond in the case. “Yes that’s the kind I had in mind, I didn’t get to pick my last one” she said with a laugh. Henry flagged down  a man who just came out from the back. “Sir that one there, that’s the one. We will just need to try and size it on the spot, and then we have wedding to get to” The jeweler pulled out a very enormous diamond with a silver band. Marie gasped “Henry that looks like the ring of a millionaire’s wife, you are not a millionaire, nor do I intend to be a millionaires wife, no dear I would have the more modest diamond with the same cut and band.” The Jeweler just stood there wondering what game was being played. Henry just stared at her and he again experienced one of those moments where he could not comprehend the reality of what had and was occurring. “Who is this women he thought to himself,” as he gazed at her as if on the verge of a mental breakdown. She smiled nervously at his staring and the generally peculiar look about him at that moment. “Well Henry …. I mean…. it would be unfair to the millionaires wife if I had as nice a ring as hers and a better man, no let her at least be proud of his millions” and with that he began to smile, his patented closed mouth smile, along with his stare. Marie again looked at him with a gentle and wondering glance. “What are you!” burst out of Henrys mouth. Marie looked up at him with a poised yet inquisitive face trying to figure out what he mean by all this. She shrugged her shoulder “I am your fiancé of course”. At that moment Henry ceased to be amazed, and in disbelief his mind turned back to his deep seated fear of losing her that had lingered behind his every thought since the very beginning.

 In fact the more he entertained the fear that ever pressed to be on the fore of his mind, he became certain he would lose her someway, somehow. No he did not believe an ounce of it from the very start, every world he spoke was spoken from radical and absurd hope against himself. In fact every word he spoke to Marie from the beginning was spoken in hope not only against himself, but against his God. “God would not allow such happiness in life … such Eden like wonder where a man has himself in great order, and then also finds a beloved who has it all together. No God would not have it. Precisely because God does exist it cannot come about. If there was no God and only moral notions revered, well then who would stand in my way, who would have stood in Tim of Han’s way. Perhaps Tim and Hans and I, were and are, merely haunted by our own created God of idea. Perhaps we find opposition from the cosmos and the current spirit of culture only because we are the ones opposed to it…. Hahah but then there are a great deal of other implications in light of such an idea…..” he was standing still with his eyes glazed over in thought, it all ran by him in a second as he had laid in bed rolling back and forth many a night before… tossed about in a little boat on the sea, if you will. “…………   the hidden God of revelation…. hahah.  And naturally, that other one, of course he is given a beloved because he is incapable of loving her. He loves only himself and does not have great moral fortitude, nor is he as gifted in every other respect. Would not have Hans or Tim traded in his good looks and complete ease of access to everything in life, for their beloved? Absolutely! but no God will not let a man who understands how things work behind the curtain be truly happy in this life. Other men do not know it, they are too afraid to face themselves, and so they think they are happy from time to time, but the great depth of joy or sorrow in life, no that they do not have access to, and so of course they may have it all, since they do not understand how to appreciate. But supposing there was once a perfect world of Creator and creature , and love, no that can never be allowed since the freedom from the world is to be used for the world for those who has not yet realized their freedom, no one cannot take his freedom and build his own little paradise, God will not allow it!” It went something like that, that is how he ranted on after Tim’s death and then Hans’ right there in the funeral parlor, in earshot of their bewildered families, and myself his rather conspicuous “other”. And at this moment, and the many nights since he had been reunited with Marie the maddening fear had uncloaked itself again. 

To wake up one morning and today to consider life and death……. to go to a hospital and see a baby born, and then go to a funeral and see an old man buried on the same day…..it is a dangerous thing. To wake up one morning and open your front door and take one step outside… too ask questions is a dangerous thing…. Who knows where you will find yourself… Who knows if you will like the answers you find or you do not find. But alas … alas I suppose I speak of my friends precisely because they did not assume they understood it all, and they did dare to think over a lifetime in a minute. I once saw a farmer and his wife sitting on their porch. I stopped by to buy some fresh peaches. Both the old man and women had much to say, and I found myself sitting on the porch, hearing of a life lived in the same town from birth until their pending death, of a happy marriage with many kids, and not as many dollars, of their unquestioned faith, and their humble and simplistic openness to many people who had crossed their farm on the way to a globalized and progressive city. It was clear to me the man and the women never asked a question in their life………..they never considered what marriage will be like or what having children will be like or how to prepare for this or that, they had simply lived believing everything they had believed from the start, and emphatically holding on to those things experience seemed to confirm to them, and letting the rest grow a bit more distant.  They were happy… they were alive, that was for certain, though they looked to be nearly dead….I thought to myself how I could dare to wonder? What if the purposes and the plans and the truths  they lived were all wrong… and I found that I could not dare to wonder it though I will never believe the absurd weed laced notion that all things are equally true, not even while surrounded by weed could I believe it. What if things did not work out to make them so happy… or was it that they worked out things in happiness living a day at a time not letting their  mind run through the entire world in an hour  so that all that has been experienced by others was latched  onto  their minds . In any case I brushed it all aside in a moment when I returned to my car and had a message waiting for me about development models for the growing Asian market. But then across the seas, a rather embarrassing and despicable affair lead me to the country side of a certain nation, and there again I found a farmer and his wife, other than being human there was not much of a resemblance of appearance to the first couple I had meet or the circumstances of my meeting them… their daughter knew English and translated the confident and mischievously grinning fathers questions. His life was much like the life of the other farmers, except not nearly as prosperous on the whole and yet he was just as happy. He too had all the answers, laced with gracious and merciful replies of “hmm I see.” He too never asked many question. He took what came his way and then made whatever little remaining decisions were open to him…. as far as I could see, and based off the two old famers demeanors, and agreement of their wives, both men were moral and patient. I did not know what to think of this very odd experience of meeting these dying couples in worlds apart.. but I did think about it.  If what I saw is accurate well then I am baffled, but then again I only saw snapshots of these two couples whereas in my friends case I had an entire photo album.

“You my darling, my Marie. You are too good…… to be perfect to be true!” Marie simply just rolled her eyes. In the depths of Marie’s being their remained the remnants of a very experientially grounded disbelief of the reality of the man she perceived. Or rather a distrust of men in general, and more fundamentally she had a distrust of God as good, by humans terms at least, though of course what other terms are there? She had always believed in God, but even in her new and devoutly personal belief she did have not have a whole hearted hope in God to allow a good life for her now. After death, yes! That seemed more likely. For some reason though, and she did not know why, but now even after all the terrible things she experienced, she still was quite skeptical. But these deep-seated fears did not work to pull Henry and Marie apart from one another. No rather they clutched on to one another even more fiercely. Clutched can you here the flesh in it, but it was not a matter of mere physical proximity, for them both all the daily first singulars turned into the first person plural …..each others experiences became their own.

And so that very night they were married. A large audience of his family and hers arrived, on time, even despite the late notice. I even managed to fly in on time to hold the ring and give a speech. It was so classic, so simple. I have been to many extravagant weddings, and this one was so distinguished even that rather small ring stuck me as beautiful. It was all impossibly splendor full, one of those events that make your mind drift, and then you think the thought why cannot every day be like this, and then of course you realize you should stop thinking and enjoy the moment, the pure and immediate moment is always to be enjoyed, even and especially by relatively despicable people like myself.  I sat off in the distance, and watched the two young lovers, the marriage vows were not enough, oh they trusted one another, but the entire evening they would not leave one another’s side. A flippant women was commenting to me how cute and inseparable they appeared, “yes I said even for a wedding it is exceptional.” I of course knew they had trust for one another.  They would not leave the others side, for fear that God Himself the one they had prayed to, and in Henry’s case read of every day, it was He they feared. He was their hope for the world, and yet not for their own lives here and now.  It’s all rather mad to me, but nonetheless they lived life with great passion, and great virtue. I have become in my old age a stickler for details on things. I find pertinent and thus I cannot let you assume how the wedding night ended. Oh no! I have done my research; I have done all the interviews to right a precise reality, searching all the deep recesses, investigating all the possibilities of reality.

They returned to Marie’s apartment that evening, not having enough time to schedule work off, and the honey moon. They went to bed that night as they were exhausted. And the next morning, early the next morning, they slowly consumed one another and became one entity. This was only natural; since they had already devoured the mind and soul of one another for every second of a year, yes they finished off the rest quite well.

Even as my brilliant friend knew and faced the thought-actuality of the trials, and monotonies of life, when facing them in actuality he still loved it all, even as he had decided to long ago when it was all merely a thought actuality, that is to say a possibility of reality. He was so joyful he began to forget his fear of his impossible-to-understand God. Thus is was that they lived happily ever after, so happy in fact, that were not consumed with themselves, but in their own stability did great and loving deeds for others who had not been given the happy lot in life they achieved by having the courage and hope to love and trust one another. Henry even became a pillar in my life, as it inevitably fell to complete and utter ruin. Complete and utter what simple and yet fully embodying words!

There we sat, the three of us together, talking of life and all that had occurred in the last ten years since their wedding, and it was clear to me that they had been in fact each other’s saviors. They had love, that fierce selfless the love, which is the only kind of love there really is. The longer one lives one begins to realize how complex one is at being selfish even in attempts at being lovingly selfless. This is what I have come to appreciate about the faith these two people, whom I long to hate, have so often spoken of, not in order to convert me………..hahahahaaa, but rather because they were always themselves no matter the setting. That supposed God of theirs that Jesus fellow apparently told the world they were in sin, they were self deceived, and that is perhaps one of the most truthful things I have ever come to realize about myself……….how shrewdly I deceived and continually deceive beginning always and methodically with my own self deception. “Yes you two are each other’s saviors, how rare a couple of lives you two are” said the expensively dressed man, which was I, in a very disengaged and axiomatic tone. Marie responded by looking over to Henry with what seemed to be an undying feeling of adoration in her eyes, and said “Yes he is my gift from God !” Henry, who was sitting next to her on the couch, ferociously grabbed her hand. “No my dear, my dear you are my savior, I am nothing without you! nothing!”

Henry’s eyes began to moisten. How often I had seen him as a young man affirm his love or feeling for another person, as if trying to convince himself of it and being ashamed of not feeling a congruency for the appreciation he knew he should have for the person. But at this moment, it was clear he had no such problem, she had altered him entirely, not even his rebellious, skeptical, mind could deny how he should and how he did feel about her, and so his eyes teared up, exactly as they should have. I take note of this because how rare it is in life that what should happen actually does happen at the appropriate time….. really how rare it is !I am aware of religious responses to such a statement as the last, but it is really beside the point since it is quite delusional.

Marie responded to Henry’s confession like announcement as she finished crossing herself, “so then we are each other saviors, and I guess that is right since God is both our saviors.” My reader you must understand she meant what she said, this was not religious sentimentally, she meant “our Savior” it in the most literal sense. As in here and now, suicide and prostitution, and adultery or pure love with eternity in view……….  an eternal purpose in temporal life. . Indeed what a potent opiate, what an untouchable ecstasy, though without the concreteness of them choosing one another, the opiate would be much more akin to torture.   Their love for one another saved their lives, both the giving of their love, but also, very much in the receiving sense. They experienced no problems of evil nor did they experience a relentless pain of life in the world. No! Though in a sense they lived a life very foreign to this world , they were very much at home in it.

 

 

 

 

 

A Liar in Waiting

My friends, my friends! That is where my reality, or rather my thought reality, that is……. really a mere possibility, that is where it ends; a thought reality, that is for the esthete, perhaps more precious than reality itself, and perhaps for good reason. That is all to say that is where my story of Henry ends. A reality of my mind which is escapable or seemingly so, and this is where the story of my harsh reality, a seemingly inescapable reality, begins!! Please do not feel deceived, for you wanted to be deceived as did I. Yes I was a tad tricky with my wording, but do not fear all we be explained. And you will hear the reality that you may consider a harsh one. But was not the story of Henry truly possible in reality, were not his absurd and courageous actions of love possible. Was the story not harsh, and utterly realistic, and yet in seeking to show how the simple and everyday life can be magnanimous, maybe I have shown just the opposite. But, we shall see! We shall see, for the story……the story that is to say the reality in actuality continues. Whereas the first half might rightly be called fiction, although the way I termed it as a reality of mind is quite correct, even so the latter half can in no way be considered a fiction. I will reveal all to you as it all happened. Yes I might tweak the location a bit, the names of course, but do not be mistaken this is not a story based on a true story it is a true story. It is my story, but who am I. Though of course who be Henry if not of me and who be Marie if not a figment of my imagination which is grounded in reality, as is the happy story of Henry.  But even figments of imagination take place in an imagination within reality, and what we imagine consciously and at times quietly becomes our reality of actuality if it is so willed.

Here I sit my dear reader my rare friend in this dark 21st century, where there is little light to sit and read such a book. Here I sit, alone with my vodka, and amaretto, what a telling combination. And what of Tim and Hans well they are me also, but me with courage, possibilities of what I often nearly did and became. Perhaps you think literature has already had far too many romantic egoists, and that is ok, because this is not the work of a romantic egoist.  But maybe you have expected as much about these characters, for I have rushed to get here. Like an attention starved child ready to wow with his great secret. Yes I have rushed over so many details so many conversations essential to you. Though of course, my dear reader you cannot guess why. Because..well for now, the reason is because, as usual! So yes I continue our reality of “A Harsh Reality” having finished the story; although that is not quite exact as my continuation is also a story, though a reality in a different sense then the beginning portion of the story. Now you see my loophole, my mincing of words, and thus your confidence in my account was not misplaced for such is the complexity of pain and happiness in reality. Such is the complexity of that very important aspect of reality the reality of one’s mind within reality or actuality if you will.  But do not be deceived, it is true I have revealed much more to you just now, and yet this is not the end. In the end perhaps I will reveal still more, and thus though all of what I say is true only after the final revelation, which is also known as the end, will you truly begin to understand.

So it is true Hans and Tim are possibilities of what could have become of me, and I like them experienced disappointed hopes of love. But who doesn’t. And yet in reality, in the present which does not have the convenience of retrospect such disappointments are life altering, and quite possibly can even be seen as such in retrospect. However, in retrospect it may be life altering in the positive in that the hopeful lover in the present could never conceive of the events in such a way, even though in a future present one may have a retrospective sigh of relief.  Henry is also a possibility of what I could have been, namely, happy and married and not writing these words. But do you see the crux?  For I could have been this, or at least it seems, and yet as Hans and Tim I could not have been this no matter how hard I tried. The autobiographical or the Harsh Reality is, is that I like Hans and Tim was in love, an eventual unrequited love, all the while the possibility to have the happiness of Henry presented itself. But that is what we do. We reject this person as we are also rejected, and the two rejecters are both ruined, but maybe even a third person is also rejected by someone too. Thus it is that it only takes ones asshole to ruin a great number of good possibilities. But there is a solution to this problem, do not be the rare man, the extreme, honest, and passionate lovers that were Hans, Tim, Henry and Marie. As I was saying do not be the rare man and pursue as if she is the only women in the world, no no no! That is all wrong. Rather say one thing to catch her but let your actions show the opposite, be nice but do not care too much always remembering there are so many others, and that by being rather disinterested she will find you the most interesting.

 Do not be passionate, do not know what it is you want and then leap for joy, no you must be cool and calm and take your time as if you will live to be 100. Or better yet forget the whole notion of till death do us part. Love, and love “passionately” until you no longer feel passion, and then love another. Haha yes how brilliant is that. Yes it is high time we do away with this notion of soul mates and lifelong companions we are animals! Jen’s husband cheated on her; my God she should bake the poor fellow a cake for trying to make him stay faithful to only her. It is un evolutionary, it is unscientific, we can work out a grand system in which there is society and productivity, and a more realistic notion of how we are to live as intelligent animals.  And no doubt both those esteemed representatives from those fields could argue, “ah but yes monogamy is better because”, but that is because they have no love of courage to face the vastness of what their conclusions may lead to… but it is not about consequences per se and yet we speak of living, besides they may take my challenge and say open marriage is the medium. Perhaps you find the idea that we have systematically and retrospectively come from nothing and then from monkeys…… an adorable and utterly intellectual notion. As for me I find it as repulsive as the idea that a good Creator bathes each day in a cosmos of evil so as to bring more glory to Himself. But I am getting off track yet again!

But as I was saying experience shows that by being the average and typical man who accidently finds himself somewhat in love, and then ruins it, yes such a one is much more likely to win the girl. In all reality to be the rare man is to put oneself in a long line of hero’s who exist and find happiness only in fiction literature. My dear women before I get to the second half of the story I must beg you to admit that whereas Henry is quite daring and dashing and courageous and lovable, if you were to meet him in life you would be petrified you would be distrustful to the tenth degree, even of course if you realized he was not really scary in a psychotic kind of way.

Obviously the entire book is part of the harsh reality. The actual case however, the actual case of Henrik Vetterer is this. Is, a very typical tale, and nothing more! Though of course, to Henrik Vetterer it is more………. there is real blood in his hopes his dreams his pains whether they be dashed or dawning. And in all truth, at the time of the writing of this story Henrik Vetterer was one who could not speak of having experienced any real pain. He had never lost a Mother or a Father, a brother, or a sister. He had never missed a meal or went hungry. He had never had to do hard labor in a factory so as to barely survive. No he had never been abused by a person of trust in his life. I am sorry, and I must delay once again as I have not explained Marie or Miss Howell. You may wonder of their status, and whether or not they are merely thought realities as our Hans, Tim and Henry. I suppose the answer is yes, they have some rooting in reality, Marie especially. In the end they are overwhelmingly nothing more than alternate possibilities of reality, and thus mostly realities of my mind alone. But they were important so very important as Marie and the three fellows all play a part in the development of two later characters.

Henrik Vetter was not a trust fund child, though he lived comfortably enough. He had much life experience by his 21st birthday including having worked in factories, and expensive restaurants, also having accomplished a great deal at the university. The first pain Henrik experienced in life was the loss of a talent like Hans; or rather should I say the loss of the ability to live out the talent. Boo hoo boo hoo! Do not countless others have such a complaint, or at least think they do and really their thinking they do is enough. For who is to say I did not merely think I had such a sorrow , when in reality the talent was not so great. Henrik’s second sorrow was the rejection of first love, which in all truth, it turned out he was spared from. However retrospect came a long time after the transition from a boy to a man  along with  the eye opening awakening from the coma of love drunkenness of the most pure and innocent and thus the most potent and deadly kind. And after all, retrospect while comforting is highly theoretical. After and within his recovery from first love, Henrik suffered rejection again and again the odd stories of which word be a book in itself. But Henrik having accomplished so much in such a short time was tired of the company of mere friends and lonely and idle, and thus very vulnerable to pretty and sweet speaking girls. His biggest regret was not one of his rejections, oh no! NO! it was the one he rejected, while immersed in sincere, yet utterly stupid first love. It was a promising life of happiness he strangled in the cradle, in the womb even. Yes first love be damned! What a spoiler it was for Henrik. Young women are so much shrewder and crueler than innocent young men. Though the irony of the world is that the same pure, and innocent in her own right, young women……… who is but a girl, she has meet her match with non innocent and deceitful young men. Sadly but truly she will receive a far more unforgiving hurt. And the cycle of this is self nourishing, and it only stops when the wise one sees and has the courage and faith to face the great possibility of  the life giving gift of love in the very midst of the deadly exchanges of poison. What a risky business seizing at greatness is, and all the while not being cautious enough not to get burned to the point where one no longer has the strength to reach out and take hold of the wonder in front of them. Or perhaps being scorched to the point where one even loses the strength to bear and look at it much less the idea of it.

Also, of course, Henrik Vetterer was haunted with questions about life, and what is the purpose of it all, if there is any. So to sum it up, the combination of a lost life hope in the untimely loss of his talent, the rejection of first love and his own regrets of rejecting a magnificent young women, and also endless bouts of rejection all under the heavy and constant questions of life uncontrollably pounding through his head in unison with each pump of his heart, all of this made up for a suicidal, depressed and mildly rebellious Henrik Vetterer. He was even rebellious to the point of becoming a pig in training, and like most penis controlled men who have no notion of much of anything valuable except for a sentimental moment once a year when their ego is slighted; he was becoming about as self aware and honest to himself as a cow might be. Cow’s seemingly only being concerned about grass, and whether or not it will rain.

This was the life of Henrik, but he lived on finding hope in his writing off with life and his beliefs. Creating a reality he could appreciate. He was ready to go off to his final year of medical school, and again hopeful of finding love from out of the nearly 20,000 young women who went to universities in the surrounding area. And you might ask why was love so important to him? and he would not have an answer. Possibility he indentified it with all that could be good in a very ugly world, possibly he identified it with all that he considered to be good in relation to his very own life. But this is life, this is human, as that old British philosopher Hume once noted, a man may have all and yet not the one thing that he really wants and this serves to make life intolerable.

 Henrik would have had his own apartment, an allowance from the school on top of free education, all of which he earned through his previous academic performance. Yes he was less than nine months away from graduation. A few weeks before returning to his University he went with his family to an amusement park. As was typical, Henrik, even in light of the unknown of his upcoming year of university, was aggravated with life, restless, bored, and above all lonely. He was a “romantic” that is to say of course he believed he had a soul and hoped for the beautiful and good in this life, here and now! He went on a particular ride with his mother to appease her. His mother was the typical domineering yet loving mother of the age, always preaching though as shady as they come. Why would anyone, even consider true love, when the world is full of shady and ill contented Fathers and Mothers. She was constantly kicking him in the ribs, his already bleeding ribs, “Henrik what is wrong with you, you have been away at school all those years with all those young women in the area, and nothing not even once have I heard you had a girlfriend . What is wrong with you?” Henrik had no intention of answering or even listening to the speech he had heard for so many years. In the meantime something, someone caught her ever searching eye. “ Henrik, look look! Look at that pretty girl, I would guess she is at least twenty. Henrik talk to her, get her number,” barked the short attention crazed women. “No! What is wrong with you? Leave me alone I am going to school in a week where there are thousands of girls!”

Henrik’s younger brother insisted on going on the ride again, and thus his mother’s bombardment would continue. There was the pretty girl, where else would she be, but at the same ride she was operating minutes ago. The domineering woman who was Henrik’s mother, whom he had always distrusted as the very epitome of dishonesty and injustice, renewed the onslaught, as she simply did not care to have any manners. She was a member of that elite group of the new 21st century women who managed to use a man more than a man uses a woman, which is rather exceptional even in the 21st century where the world remains, beneath the meticulously placed pieces of shattered glass, very much a man’s world. Prohibition may have made it illegal to drink, but that only serves to make the underworld all the larger. What was I saying, ah yes! the domineering women had no manners nor a healthy respect of how to conduct oneself in public,  “Get her number Henrik, get her number!” Henrik tried to stay his distance, though he didn’t get much room too, his younger brother wanted him to ride with him. The family left the ride, by now Henrik’s sister and her husband who were only a few years older, joined in on the ‘encouragement’. “You don’t think she is attractive Henrik?”  begged his sister. Yes she is attractive he replied matter of factly. “Well then what could it hurt? Yes you are back to your university in a week, but who knows!”

Henrik did not know why, but he listened to his sister, and approached the young women, who appeared to be at least a few years younger than him. “Excuse me” emphasized Henrik. The young women turned around raising her eyes as she did not know what he wanted. “Excuse me, I couldn’t help but notice you, and was wondering if I could get your number, maybe we could meet for cliché coffee or something.” She just looked at him as if she did not understand him. Henry began again to say “your number” when everything he previously said became clear to her.  Her eyes became huge “my number” she said. She began to blush, and then she paused as if thinking about it. “One second,…. two minutes, two minutes and I will give you my number, but I am working,…. two minutes.. I promise!”  So Henrik waited until she shut down the ride to let the people off. His family had managed to mosey down toward another ride, though he could see them looking at him from the distance. All the while he was thinking that what he was doing was mad, and how he did not care if he would get her number or not, and how he could not wait to get back to his own apartment at his university. The girl returned “I am afraid I disappoint you, I leave for home in three weeks.” Ohhh replied Henrik as if saying, ‘ yes you are right what is the point thank goodness you told me!’ Henrik recognized that if her accent was any indication home was far away, and he himself had to return to school in a week. “So where are you from?” asked Henry.  “From Ukraine she said.” Henrik already knew where she was from as he heard a child ask her that same question as he left the ride the second time. “Maybe you will be back next summer?”

“Yes maybe.” she said rather emphatically. She was very engaging from the very first when she walked up to Henrik after the two minutes was up.  “Well ok,” said Henrik, “maybe our paths will cross, who knows.” They exchanged smiles and said, “have a nice day.”  With that they parted.  Henry walked away from her strangly disappointed. He could not understand his feeling at all. In truth he agreed with his sister that anything was possible. And the young woman was so colorful…. so very full of personality. Normally he would brush off such a happening, after all he did not even want to talk to her in the first place.

 The rest of the day as he wandered about the park, mainly spending time with his little brother, his imagination and the little he knew of the girl began to run rampant. Henrik, oddly enough, always found himself drawn to foreign women. Perhaps because he imagined they were so unlike his superstitiously religious mother…. perhaps because they carried themselves with a certain flair for life. Even the typical American girl dreamed of dating the football star in high school, she was not dreaming of dating  Henrik when he was in high school. He hated trucks he loved baseball and ice hockey, and he typically refused to wear jeans. He liked the idea of dressing with a classic style, and underneath, his outdated look be packing a well oiled athletic machine of muscle, waiting for some loud mouth and ignorant fool, who had the idea a man was supposed to stupid and disrespectful, to say something. Or he would like to roll up his sleeves show his biceps, and crash the self acclaimed intellectual, the future fortune five hundred men, “next chess game I have winner boys.”

 Growing up his hero’s were always those exception men in the middle, who were well rounded. As a child he took history and made champions of whom he would emulate, not some chug on the tv everyone else tries to ‘dress like’. All of that too say, if the girls Henrik grew up with carried on their ideal notion of man from high school to adult hood, well then, it seems he carried on his notion of a beautiful woman with a cigarette sporting stylish cloths not jeans. The truth is Henrik only saw this girl in a work uniform, but she stood there and talked with style, with a sense of something so unmanly, and yet strong. The fact that she maturely told him she was leaving, in spite of her being flattered struck Henrik as admirable and unique in comparison to women he had crossed paths with in the past. Oh! How he went on and on and on thinking of her, or his impression of her, analyzing the few minutes with her over and over again.  He was repeatedly enraptured by her “I am afraid I disappoint you”.   He could not help thinking he blew it by not getting her number, nonetheless. His friends he told the story to had no sympathy for him, affirming the one should get the number no matter what if a girl says she is willing to give it. He was sitting around preparing to travel back to school, and growing more and more engulfed in his mind, and the mystery of that women, who so easily grabbed his attention. How she managed to capture his mind like she did is hard to figure out. He was so resolved on remaining a bachelor until; circumstance had led him into a close friendship that, on its own, grew into more. He was completely jaded to the notion of love, or even women in general, having his fare share of disappointment during his undergrad days.  Henrik wanted to see her again. He resolved to do so, his mind was in absolute torment, and he could not figure why his mind was so punishing, this obviously only adding to and further fueling the punishment. He decided he could not go back to the theme park as a guest since “that would, no doubt, scare her.” He paced back and forth lying still on the cool hard wood floor tossing and turning in his head and then he found a resolution.

 He called his old boss from years earlier when he was an undergrad student. He arranged to help fill in a few shifts providing information and security to guests throughout the park. He was able to grab a shift two days before he would leave for school. Since he wandered around the park with the basic tasks of a security guard, he had free range of the park. He searched the section of the park she was working in when he meet her over and over again to no avail. She was nowhere to be found, he was disappointed as he knew he would never see her again, and his mind once again began to fill itself with water two relentless drips at a time ambiguity and its twin sister possibility…..”  who knows who she was or what could have been!” Ever since Henrik realized his great fault in brushing off a very sweet girl who liked him very much, he could not tolerate any unrealized effort on his part if an opportunity was before him that he knew he should have let unfold.  Let this be clear,  Henrik could meet 100girsl in a week and not think twice about a single one of them, but every once in a green sky thinking twice showed itself to be a self compounding momentum.

Suddenly Henrik observed all the attendant switching stations, it was 5:30 and he thought this might be his break. He hoped to himself “Yes maybe I will see her go to the change over station.” He waited and waited……and waited, as if standing guard of the station itself, but she was nowhere to be found.  Finally the very last one to arrive was the women. She walked right past him, seemingly not noticing him. His heart dropped into his stomach. What would he do! She was ten feet from never being within his reach again. He began to jog towards her with the resolution from every past failed action now having its purpose. “Excuse me, Excuse me!” he did not even know her name.  “Hi how are you?” asked Henrik.

 “Oh it’s you, you work here?” she replied in surprise. “Sometimes,” replied Henrik not wanting to get into a lengthy explanation. “I work here all the time” returned the young women putting emphasis on “all the time”.

“Oh really” replied Henrik, “I used to work here a lot, but not recently,” and he smiled as the conversation moved on from small talk toward what the point of  his chasing her down was, with a comma……a rolling pause.

“Well, I am glad I saw you walk by since I saw you the other day I could not help but regret not getting your number. I know your leaving soon and I leave for med school soon, but….” 

“Unfortunately my cell phone really does not work right now.”

“Ok well do you have a ‘Skype’ address?” Her face lit up as if she should have thought of that. Yes she said. He pulled out a pen to write it down. He looked at her as if to say go ahead. She leaned in toward him taking the pen out of his hand and putting his hand in her other hand  writing it down on his hand and his very own skin as she held it in hers. He sounded out what she had written, “and that’s a two” she said as she again grabbed his hand and pointed to the two with an excited smile. “But really I must go, I am already late” she said with feeling as if to assure him she really did have to go. “I must.. really!” she said” again. “Ok, ok…… what is your name, I do not know your name,” said Henrik as if in a hurry and suddenly struck by the fact he did not know her name. “Catherine. My name is Catherine” She blushed and then about ten feet away from Henrik she began to skip or something as she walked away, and then stopped whatever odd and entranced thing she was doing as if catching herself acting ridiculous. Henrik proceeded to write the address on about four different pieces of paper so as to safe guard losing contact, essentially her ….contact with her, in other words.

Before leaving for home that night Henrik went and bought a cotton candy, to drop off at the ride she said she would be at. Her coworkers told him she had already left. The ideal that had captured his mind to drive him to work a day at a job he had not worked at in nearly three years, simply to run into her, only grew with their most recent interaction. This much more eventful meeting with her served to add gasoline for his mind to continue to burn him with. She was an ideal to start with, her very appearance, and her start forward and engaging disposition, the way she took his hand and blushed again and begin to skip almost. Henrik, was a good looking fellow and he knew it, but the spontaneous and natural reaction he got from her, who was so beautiful, he had a hard time comprehending. Henrik did not realize just how captured he was, this having much to do with the reality that she had no intention of capturing him.

She was his matured and open eyed ideal. Oh he had ideals when he was younger, but he was no longer such a wide eyed kid looking in wonder at the world, he was a seasoned and jaded bystander who had resolved to brave the fierce world on his own, to shake it up a bit and live with that passion he at times let loose in small doses, even in spite of the odd looks and questions he would get to his actions or ideas. But she was his ideal even in light of his knowledge of the un ideality of life! For whatever reason Henrik warded off the strong desire to go to the park and see her the last day before he would have to return for his last year of med school. In the meantime he found her online address, and waited for her response “but she is so practical, he thought to himself, and so she will not answer since she is so practical.” So he packed up his suit case and drove the 300 plus miles back to his apartment at his university. At dinner that night Henrik could barely eat anything.  Before the night was over this big muscular man broke into tears three times. Henrik had not cried since his injury that ended his goal of using his talent, his practice joy in life, professionally. In fact he had not cried since the event of his “crushed piano hand.” Really then, he had not cried since he was a young teen who realized his very life as he knew it was taken away. Though he was a teen when it all had occurred, and perhaps was somewhat dramatic, in a sense, something of his life was taken away that day he was injured. He made it through  the night, unpacked his things the next day, and then went to hang out with some friends in the evening before the first day of classes.He and his friends sat around drinking and catching up on all that had occurred since they had last seen each other nearly two months earlier. He then went back to his apartment, stayed up all night thinking about his future and then at 6.00 am in the morning of his first day he had to report for school he packed up his belongings and drove the 300 miles back to his home town. He nearly died multiple times on the way home. He nearly fell asleep driving 85 mph, and woke up in the opposite lane, one of the times! This obviously was the latter half of the drive after the adrenaline of making a radical and life changing decision wore off , and fell prey to a body that had barely sleep three hours in the last forty eight. In the particular program he was in he had more schooling to go too after completing the year he was in, and so he reasoned to himself that he wanted to “pursue a different and simpler path in life.” But the next morning when he awoke at his parent’s home his stomach was sick at what he had done in leaving the university, and seemingly ruining his future career.

Ah, but did I fail to mention that upon arriving home that very day, after nearly dying in a sleep deprived car crash upon car crash, he went to work his old summer job that very night at the amusement park. It could not be that she was the reason for this irrational decision; Henrik after all was in practice a very rational man. Despite all his musings about passion and risk taking, and his great love of living life to live as opposed to living not to die, despite it all he had for the most part  lived out these very lively ideas haft heartedly, which is of course pathetic. He assured himself that that she could not be the reason as to why he made his life changing decision, after all it is not as if he could reenroll after telling his professors, and the scholarship department that he was having personal problems, that he was going to spit in their face at the last minute, pass up the scholarship they so generously selected him for. “Yes I simply do not know what I want to do with my life, I am tired of school, and I need to think things over” repeatedly he assured himself. But the sick feeling that started in his stomach and surged throughout his entire being, his body did not seem convinced about him leaving school, nor was it happy to be at the university when he had arrived. His mind was racing, in a survival mode trying to chart out a plan to save himself from a future destroyed by madness. Later that morning before reporting back to his old job post, which he had filled in the summers as a teenager, he saw Catherine had answered his ‘Skype’ request, and she even mentioned she had managed to read what he wrote in the message. Henrik was elated his pain and sickness were gone; his seemingly undying yearning to cry like a blubbering baby for no good reason was gone. His desire to accomplish and seize the world by the horns once again grew up inside of him. At that moment he knew, though he truly did not recognize it or perhaps admit it to himself before, at that moment he knew she was the reason for all his madness.

My beloved reader I assure you I tell you no mere reality of the mind, I tell you reality as it is and was. I tell you a historical factual story of a man existing here in this 21st century. A man who tested out of 2 years of a four year degree while working forty hours a week in a factory with 40 year and 50 year old lifers. He wrote the best masters thesis while benching 300 lbs in the evenings. Even old Hemmingway would like this lad ,who is rather psychological in the Russian tradition.  I tell you all of these praising things about Henrik, not so that you think I am in love with him, in worship of him, thinking him to be the greatest man alive. Oh no! I tell you only to show you I do not write of some day dreamer, a poet, who is more of a poser than anything. Oh no! He was no detached lunatic hidden in the underground, popping his head out from time to time to harass poor young women.  He was in the world; he was in society, and thriving! He ended his last semester the spring before attending three back to back parties in a row during finals week. Oh and I might add he did maintain his 4.0 gpa that spring. But let me continue, our hero Henrik, even denied the advances of two very relaxed but very attractive young women at the party. And I do mean advanced advances!!  Truly Henrik Vetterer could not only fit in, but thrive even though he had not gone to a party all year, he could, and did, walk into these parties, full of people he barely knew, grab some beer and proceed to talk to everyone in the room, even make them laugh, and especially talk to every female he found attractive. Yes at times he could do and did exactly what he wanted to do when he wanted to, and so it was the case here. Although he was hidden away in a room studying and reading for most of his years at the university, he came out when he had the itch, and thrived.  But all of this was only allowed by him being able to overcome all the endless objections to his mind, details of possible insecurities, others responses, social standards, ect. All these things came at him for consideration every second. This trait was not so unique to him; it was rather, most likely a common denominator of the age, an age in which centuries of thought had been broken down into their essence for everyone to think with every other consideration every instant of a day, naturally, of course, of course naturally a certain superficiality resonated in the depths of it all.   Beer did not help so much except as to give him the calorie power to have the energy to overcome his ever thoughtful eyes. In spite of all this he absolutely loved to live, To breath! And to socialize! Though he also absolutely loved to sit alone from time to time and organize his thoughts. For Henrik, acquaintances were in the plenty, in every type of social group, but who could stand to be close to such a person.

 

 

 

The Undeniable Truth

All this while I have been rushing, for I want to write of her golden eyes, a light pure healthy yellow. My God! who has ever seen such eyes?  But Henrik had that day, and was it not all worth it. Yes yes, every novel and every patronizing husband mumbles about a women’s eyes and there uniqueness, but does the fact that men have gone into battle hand against hand for centuries take away from the feeling of a soldier on the eve of his first combat, or the angst and emotion a women has on the day of her first wedding. And will not the truly immersed man argue to his death about her eyes being among the best in the history of all mankind, and especially a man of great confidence being very certain in the fundamentals of who he is as a man, then seeing something outside himself that shakes the very foundation of his foundations, yes beautiful golden eyes, and in his confidence he kneels before them in adoration.

   But I am sorry, let me continue in a more orderly fashion. He went into work that same day she had replied with a short message. It all became clear to him, as soon as he entered the park.  The only reason he was working at the park was to see her. The only reason he was not at school finishing his future, was to see this girl he did not know, except for her blush, and emphatic way of caring herself with kindness, and of course, of course her golden eyes. As soon as he entered the park, he had one aim, in fact, he had one aim before entering the park, the only reason he was working at the park was to see her. He had a much better job he left before college, and it was still available.  He was still tired from not sleeping for days, and the park was closing, he just saw her leaving about 15 feet in front of him, he thought about it, and for whatever reason, he let her go. His deep stomach pain returned. At that time point he no longer questioned all that had happened in the last few days, the tears, the stomach pain, the crisis like desire to analyze his entire future the night before classes started, it was because of her. But even in this madness, he was not as stupid or crazy as I had once thought. It really all made sense, he wanted love and a beloved more than anything else in the world, and he happened to stumble across this wondrous young woman, who he could not forget when typically he could not do anything but forget. He began to dream to see it all in light of his crazy ideas about life….. ideas that no one else around him would seem to endorse since they lived in light of the moral imperative of “ what will people think, or what about maximizing your wealth.”

 “People pursue a career, like a kamikazes pilot, why not pursue a person, a relationship that is infinitely more valuable, with all you heart… all your resources… all of your undivided attention. The prestige you carry with you in the board room will be shot to hell 2 months after your dead. In the grand scheme of history the Patriots winning the super bowl won’t mean shit, in fact shit always means more since it still is used as fertilizer for crops to grow and feed the living. I know, I know, we have movies and books, echoing the same theme over and over again, but people are so ball-less, maybe ruthless and corrupt governments that you look to participate in, in order to save the world will succeed, and your legacy will last, after all if evolution is possible social evolution only gets closer and closer every millennium. But it is all the more probable you personally helping an abused child or secretly sending money to a third world family will have much more value in the end.” This is Henrik facing the truth of why he made his decision, and then in an San Diego second he began to defend himself and justify himself from all the objections he might hear if he confessed it to others. “Perhaps there are more reasonable ways to try and pursue this girl, but then again perhaps there is a more moderate way for a pianist to practice and become the best without getting blisters on his fingers. The truth is, he probably sleeps better with fingers on his blisters, because he has done all his mind demands of him, and thus he is not left to its severe torture and disgust for half assed living.”

I apologize for the vulgarity, but I need some way to emphasize the undertone of passion, and even anger Henrik felt about society and how he often yielded to its stupidity. The next day Henrik saw her “Hi, I am back, I am going to finish classes around here.” “Oh, well that sounds boring,” stated Catherine. “Well I have already been at school for years, and have had the whole college experience so I don’t mind.” She was on her way to somewhere when Henirk had stopped her. She acknowledge Henrik’s reasoning, not really knowing what to make of this guy “ I have to go now” she said. Henrik responded in a rush “what about that date? When do you have off?” She fumbled around, looking down at the ground “Well I am busy, next week maybe, but I have your number so I can contact you when I know my schedule.” Ok he said in complete belief.

 Over the next two weeks Henrik saw her nearly every day, and they began to get to know one another. They talked for stretches of forty minutes at a time. Really any time she was a line attendant, she was virtually free to sit or stand and talk to Henrik, the security guard, who had one aim and that was to talk to Catherine. Henrik, naturally decided, that she, being in a foreign country, would have to know him better before she would go out on a date with him, so he found her the very next day. “ So tell me about yourself,” he said “Are you in college?”

“Yes” replied Catherine, “I study economics, and I do like to study, I like college. I know most people hate both, but ….not me” 

“So what do you do for fun?”

“Well…” she said as if thinking, “I read and I read and I read.” Either this girl could read Henrik like a book and was toying with him, and that is unlikely since his short hair cut and peculating  muscles would suggest that she should answer otherwise than what she did, that is  if she were trying to impress him, or she was simply naturally a girl who he dreamed of. “So do you like Dostoevsky or Tolstoy?”  Henrik thought that she would have to like them since she was from Ukraine and they were Russian, what great American logic. “Well”.. she replied again as if really making up her mind, “Tolstoy is ok, Dostoevsky not so much. I like Fitzgerald…. you know the Great Gatsby.”

“Oh really, I’ve never read Fitzgerald though I have his books on my shelf in the line to be read!”

They went on to talk about her college and his and her studies, economics and psychology. As they talked they were constantly interrupted by park guests asking her how long the line was. “One hour!” she said over and over again. Her repeated response of “one hour!” with an equal and accompanying raise of the eyebrows and emphasis each time made Henrik smile, and his smile made her blush. “ So do you have any siblings ?” asked Henrik. Catherine replied by saying that she wanted three children plus she wanted to adopt one from foster care.  He immediately replied with the same question of “do you have any siblings?” Even though what she was saying greatly interested him, he wanted to appear like he thought what she was saying about children was a bit odd. Even though Henrik had the courage to live against social rules on the macro level, he did not, it seems, yet have the courage to live out his deep seated convictions on the micro scale. “ No,” she said prosaically, “only me”  Henrik realized he should have left her talk about what she wanted to , so he reopened the other topic. “So why is it you want to adopt one child, after having three of your own?” She explained that there are so many orphaned children in her country. Somehow the conversation moved onto relationships. The conversation was really flowing so effortlessly. Henrik ventured to ask is she had a boyfriend. She replied with an unconcerned “no,” “oh and why not?” pried Henrik.  “Because…” at this point she became very emotional and tried to overcome it , “ because people do shit and then you regret doing shit and its just pointless! I want to be on my own and have freedom. When you are in a relationship it is like the guy owns you or something. You always have to be making him happy, blah blah blah.”  Henrik just listen, and was not sure what to think of it all, but she was single and this made him very happy.

  Catherine really began to open up and they talked of jobs and futures, money, and children and freedom, and it all happened so effortlessly…. so openly, so naturally. The air was anything but thick with tension, it was about as thin and easy breathing as possible. They talked as friends who had known each other for years. “I don’t need to be rich I don’t need a castle and two BMW’s in the drive way. I don’t know!” Catherine shrugged her shoulders as she looked down at the ground and dragged her toe back and forth. “ I just want to be able to make sure my kids can go to an amusement park like this, and I can buy them a treat, you know what I mean?”  I affirmed her point as I knew exactly what she meant; she had said it all so abstractly and yet so clearly.  The imperfect picture portrayed her larger meaning so clearly. But yet again they were interrupted after nearly an hour which passed by like five minutes, and she had to leave since she had to go work on the interior of the ride. Henrik followed her as far as he could, unconsciously acting as if he might never see her again, as if he could not be separated from her. “The date,” Henrik said, “I will not try and do shit we will just talk as we did now and enjoy one another’s company…..” from nowhere a smile came over his face “ at the most I might try and kiss you.” Marie began to blush, “you should not say things like that!” Calmly Henrik replied with the same erupting smile “I am just trying to be honest and realistic.”

“Yes Yes, I really must go now!” And with that she was gone restraining her smiling eyes.

He found her again the next day at the same locale, it was to become there meeting place. Immediately, after the hello how are you’s were exchanged, they were interrupted by a child with questions. As she reached over to see what he was pointing at on the map Henrik noticed a tattoo showing underneath her uniform. Like a curious child he shot out a “Is that a real tattoo?”

“Yes, I have three” replied Catherine. “So what do they mean?” Catherine became somewhat embarrassed, but answered nonetheless in a quiet and quick way. I know I keep describing Catherine as being embarrassed or blushing but Henrik probably was the one who should have been embarrassed by his conduct, though he wasn’t.

 One tattoo was about pain, one was about the death of her mother, and his thoughts were so fixed on those two that he missed her saying what the third was. “My mother is always on my heart is what it says”

“Oh,” Henrik paused…. “did your mother die?” he asked very softly and slowly.

 “Yes.” said Catherine, as she winced to try and hold back the tears in her eyes, “she died when I was fourteen.” I could not comprehend her grief, but I was growing so…..so….. What shall I say? But in love! I was growing so in love with her I could not help but be sad as I clearly saw she was so very much still in pain, and so I replied with the greatest sincerity and feeling “ I am sorry to hear that Catherine” Any human in our society would feel for her, and I no doubt would normally acknowledge the sorrow and realize I should feel sorry, but because I was growing in love with her, I somehow came to more than acknowledge it in its relation to her.

Catherine went on to talk about her parents, her parent’s bad marriage and how they blamed their unhappiness on her. She explained how marriage is such an important commitment and yet in the United States it seems acceptable for everyone to divorce. “Yes” I replied “but Catherine it is not acceptable to me. I understand that it can be hard but that is where duty and commitment and hard work come in! After all it is true that, no doubt, that the very best things in life require perseverance.”

“Well, I do not trust myself. I would mess up…. I am not such a good person.” So they went back and forth, at first talking in general and then talking to one another, though not as if they were actually considering it between one another of course, because that would be ridiculous considering they had only just meet.  “ Well Catherine, if someone loved you ,” his voiced shivered, no I did not say cracked, it shivered as he talked in a slow deep rough as if digging its nails into his throat trying to stay within his heart where it was safe his voice shivered, “if somebody loved you they might forgive you.”

“  But I could not forgive myself, my conscience never lets me go!” Again she fought back her own inner and overwhelming emotions, all the while talking of her conscious in a tone that suggested she was stupid for being so in tune to it.  

This is history, this is reality, and be it the expanding universe that arose from nothing, or the ever existing God, it all came about in such a way that she had to go to another location, as she was already late, and with that she was on her way. The interesting thing is she could have stayed, but who would have seen it like that then and there, certainly not I. No, rather she had to go! As if by force! As if we were interrupting the normal course of events. Then again, perhaps she was glad to go.

A ride operator is late, the one she is replacing is distracted looking for her then there crashes too trains the man in the front is injured and killed from internal bleeding, his son on the path to being the congressman that ushers American into its golden age, becomes a minorly famous guitarist, known in small circles for his innovative way of doing cocaine.

That night Henrik wrote her a long letter, hitting upon things they talked about and never really were able to finish.  It perhaps seems like a very romantic thing to do, but Henrik wrote because he could not contain himself. He literally did not have the self control to keep to himself.  He let out  things that a patient and wiser man would have let develop in time’s good old time. Until he wrote, he found himself amidst a crushing madness made of fear or impatience, anxiousness in all likely hood, maybe even a little well thought out rationale for living and seizing what is here and gone. Really life is, when it comes to its greatest things, a grasping at the fog. How could Catherine, understand what this all to serious lad was about. I do not have the concentration to continue I write with that very blood still flowing in my veins. I wish to spill it all out all over the page so that it may again live.

So then, the next time Henrik saw her they went through the routine of hello’s and how are you’s . Maybe she was not in any hurry, but Henrik certainly was. She never responded to all he spilled all over the letter to her. There had been a looming humidity that molested and hovered over and under the invigorating heat of the august sun. This particular morning the summer heat was sighing relief, the air was warm and crisp, the amusement park itself was rather empty. A truly picturesque clean and mature little park with angry and lonely young trees slapping at the wind, and teasing with their shade. Henrik glided along the well broken in asphalt, as he strolled gingerly down the hill, strolling gingerly to try and dilute his inner angst. He saw the row of mother like trees in front of him, giving off a generous and protective shade, and to his left he saw, a young women tall and thinish, with rather dry brown black hair, cutting black eyebrows offsetting and possibility consciously drawing attention to themselves so as to keep the finely nuanced and ever morphing windows to her soul safe in the open air. Green eyes, yellowish eyes, golden eyes vivacious eyes, Catherine’s eyes. Oh, and though Henrik boldly went right for her eyes, there was more to this girl, her shirt tucked in to her longish and loose shorts which she wore high around the hips, long thin yet strong arms, effeminate large hands with elegant fingers, long legs in all likely hood an unquestionable hybrid of athletic tone and feminine idleness, they were in themselves magnanimous. She was tall and thin and yet with a power to her with luxurious thighs and backbone. Full lips, did I mention the full lips? The type that mankind tries to duplicate on the operating table. On this girls legs, this girl who was sitting across from the other type of trees in the park, the easy trees, poised in embodiment of the relaxed summer air, young fresh beautiful elegant and strong,  on her legs were flat white sneakers . Somehow this girl manage to were a work uniform in such a way she would look at home milling about the Avenue Montaigne in Paris, all the while sporting shoes that stated with a yawn she was not stuffy and very glad to be young.

 The hilarious thing about her is she is the type of women that many men would over look time and time again. Put her on a billboard, on a television, ah yes then no doubt she would be the beautiful women in the world for 3 months. Put her in an amusement park or a library, haha and the poor chaps are trying to find silicon Shirleys to gawk at all the while overlooking her.

 

 

 

 

A Confession

The young man strolling down the path had a surly type of disposition; though when cleaned up from head to toe it was clear he could stand toe to toe with any charmers of holly wood. America is so standardized when it comes to what they call a good looking man. He had a work uniform on not unbecoming to his well toned upper body and even his lower half and calve muscles. He wandered near her in his convincingly nonchalant way, and upon seeing him she sat back in an equally convincing at ease manner. However the rigid nonchalant-ness  of them both was a foreshadow of the overtly energetic “hello how are you”. After the exchanged greeting, and each of them affirming that they “were good or not bad.” or something like that. Henrik immediately asked her if “did you get what I wrote you?”

“No” replied Catherine. The young man stood as his face grew pale full of thought and pressure as if deciding the fate of the world in four seconds. “I think you are so beautiful…..,” his voice was flooded by the drowning sensation of his whole being, as if a wave were to crash out at the end of his sentence. A low and slow sound wave came out that rumbled with the blood still pumping through it saying not only the words but this sincere kids acknowledgement of death and life while speaking his words. “Beautiful… your eyes are.. well…” he paused looking on her eyes honestly trying to decide what color they were,  “what color are they?” he continued. Catherine looked up at him almost un-awaringly opening her eyes wider so as to show him so that he may continue to admire “they are green” she said. Henrik was not finished. He wanted to make sure to say to her face all the many things he had said in the letter which he was most afraid to say to her face. “They are pure yellow, a gold…..they are so rare, you are just simply beautiful, all of you, you have such an honest disposition, such a kind heart..”

 She reacted in the greatest sincerity, she was so humbled, so very appreciative of what he had said, her face glowed it, her voice sounded it. “I don’t know if I am red?” Catherine hid her face in her hands; she did this all so innocently. The epitome of nondramatic, her reaction was so simple so untainted by arrogance or great self confidence, so good-naturedly appreciative! Henrik saw her as a stark contrast to the many beautiful women he had meet who, to no fault of their own, received compliments with skeptical irritation or boredom from having heard it so often. Henrik saw this contrast so well since he in blind and spoiled arrogance unknowingly had much in common with these beautiful women he found so irritating. All of this was taking place over a large chunk of time; Henrik began to sense that time would again be up sooner rather than later. “I am afraid I will never again meet a girl like you!” She sat and he stood but 3 inches beside her, this is how it always was. He would stand right beside her for  fifteen minutes to an hour an half, sometimes leaning on a pole or something with his arm but three inches behind her, with her elbow in a triangle and her glorious head above it but three inches from his chest. As was the case this day, one could hear the heart beat in their words, and though it was sometimes said with hesitation, as if the external world would vaporize it into nothingness it was a said with ease. What was said was said with blood and spirit, and yet it could not get out soon enough. Blood, life and death, a sense of the effect the body has on the mind and soul, and the mind and soul on the body. That all elusive aspect of humanity that the synapses shooters in the lab I wager will never pin down.

 “ There are many beautiful and nice girls.” Catherine said this in way that un-eased Henrik, as if she were talking to a child. He thought it may have sounded like she was talking to a child, but he was not sure so he continued. “ Yes,  there are many attractive girls, but you are a natural beauty, seriously.” He looked right into those eye, that were Catherine’s, and her eyes it seemed could not take the power of his glance in concert with the severity of his voice, and the emphasis and echo of  thoughtful honesty behind his every word. Back and forth it went her words seized him, and then after a pause his took a hold on her. Could she not feel that he meant what he said?  Surely those same eyes seemed to say so! “Seriously, and though there are attractive girls few have natural beauty, and also your kind heart.” She did not know how to respond to his apparent lack of naivety. Nor was she detached and amused by what he was saying. She knew such words have been so often mocked by entertainment venues and writer’s who cannot stand the idea that some are so sincere, or perhaps that they were once were themselves capable of such words in honesty, and now are no longer, or worse yet they have never uttered such words and find them weak and pathetic, or dishonest… or naïve and dreamy….and not made of the hard shit that reality is made out of. Hahaha such is their reality within reality! Quite a solipsistic reality since a firm subjective view always reaches out toward the other.

She did not see it as cheesy or pathetic, at that moment, she lived too much of life and had not yet been defeated by it to think such a thing, rather she was thinking of something else. Thinking of what? Then she responded her eyes unfocused as if still in thought looking back into herself “I am not so good.” “No I am not saying you are perfect, who is perfect? But you have a kind heart!” Once again she had to go and so they were interrupted by the final interruption that was the finalizing to the constant inquiries she received from guests, sporadically interrupted the conversation I have just recounted to you. My! what if there were not such random interruptions from minute to minute and form hour to hour and from day to day during Henrik and Catherine’s meetings. Generally speaking what if one did not go to sleep at night, would we all not be different people? Perhaps much better.. or worse, but to the tenth degree as compared to what we are with the leveling out of sleep.

But now she had to move to another job and another location and so their time had come to an end. But Henrik followed her in body even as his heart never let go of the thought of her for a second when they were apart. On this occasion she took her time. “Seriously I will never meet a girl like you, and I would wait three years for you if you told me too, he paused, but you will not even go on a date with me.” “Ok Ok …..I have to go.” Henrik’s face showed the pain and severity of his sincere love for her, and he sighed heavily to Catherine’s notice. “ I know I know, but I have to go” responded Catherine. Her tone on the one hand rolled its eyes at his dramatics as if having a sarcastic  bite, and on the other had mixed within it a affirmation of her own recognition and desire to avoid the naturally arises feeling within her. In short she sounded unfeeling and yet he could feel her own sigh beneath her strong and rational disposition.  Again she was gone, and he was left to himself to wander about the park digesting it all slowly.

  That very evening Henrik again wrote her a dissertation, which she did not receive until much later. Each time she vanished it was wholly questionable whether or not he would ever see her again. It was all so odd, she was there with him, she even welcomed his coming, and then if he did not go back to the park to find her, it seemed likely he would never hear from her again.  But as fate would have it they were to see each other again, and this day was the day Henrik had won Catherine’s heart or at least it was clear she was in love with him as he was with her. Only later did I realize how this day was in actuality the decisive turning point of it all, and it was all decided by its ending.

The setting was very much the same, it was a slow motion summer morning with remnants of the relieving cool night easing its way toward a full burning late August oven.  The young man took his deep breaths and calculatedly moseyed toward the spot he knew she would be, only to find the same paradoxically vivacious and comfortingly calm young women sitting, this time with sunglasses on. Many people find themselves in such settings, such hours and days that should never end, and the strange thing is so few people realize, so few soak it in with each step, with each breath, and say to themselves “ I am not guaranteed another dream like this.” That confident old German had the imagination to fill in the gaps and guess a picture at his place in history, giving a particular day its rightful nostalgia while still within that very day.  Ah, ah, yes…. but maybe, just maybe this is all too normal for you. Would it not be much more interesting if it all came about that I was a rich trust fund child, and she an aspiring actress on the brink of stardom, all of this taking place in some swank city gilded with gleam and glamour? No doubt you would like it better if it happened in a place like that with people of those means. Is this not all to normal, all to run of the mill, too much like your own life. Thus rather than being transfigured to a world apart from your own, and yet within it…. you’re bored, your imagination is starved. Have I not deprived you of the moving feast that is fiction, and only fiction can bring you? Yes perhaps it is all too normal and all to possible for your own life. Yes perhaps ? Though, isn’t that half the point? Could it be the Copernican revolution of literature asserting, and opening affirming itself within history seeing the nostalgia of the present hour.

 

 

 

A Prince & a Princess un awakened

“Listen she said, you are very nice. You look very nice, I like talking to you, you are like a prince from a fairytale…but…” and with that she shrugged her feminine yet strong shoulders as she drew out the “butt…” Henrik responded in an instant “But what? I am too good to be true? I am not for real; you think I am a fraud?” “No,” she stated reassuringly, “but I do not know.” “What good does that do me, so what if I am like a prince from a fairly tale, so what if I can impress all these girls!”Henrik pointed to the crowds walking in the distance. “What good does that do me, when I want you? It does me no good!” Henrik did not take a breath he was choking the moment for all it was worth not leaving a possibility unturned, a word unsaid “How do I win your heart?” Again his voice became calm and gentle as he asked this last question. Once again she had to go to another posting, and Henrik persisted and walked beside her all the way, as usual until the point he could no longer go with her. “What are you looking for? What must I do?” Finally Catherine interrupted his raging search for an answer “Listen, I like you! I have to go goodbye.” She said her goodbye with a little bit of irritation at his persistence, and yet ending it with a sweet sound and look seeping through her hard practical and commonsensical poise. After all lest one forget, she was not some young dreamy southern girl who lived her life within her rich father’s castle, no no no, she had experienced  pain and suffering, and a life where one must scratch by to maintain it! Just as she was walking away she turned, “oh, I will be at x ride at 4 pm, good bye.” Just to be exacting I should add that before this intense and passionate conversation, they talked of television shows and roommates and drinks, food ect; which to them was nearly as interesting as the part I recounted. A girl named Gloria once responded to a boy named Anthony and his confessions of love with, “thank you.” Catherine, had known this, and Henrik should have known Catherine knew this since she told him, about the books she liked….and she said “I like you.”

Henrik was on his way to the place where Catherine said she would be, when suddenly Catherine walked up beside him on her way to the same destination. This particular day she had become so soft, gentle, vulnerable, and brimmed with energy, floating about as if herself realizing the splendor of these moments in her life and quietly swimming it, like in a secret lake surrounded by trees on a masterfully composed day floating about after hearing wonderful news ….. and life for a few hours is perfect and shows a forecast that, from then and there, looks to be perfect. As they walked they constantly exchanged soft calm smiles back and forth talking of this and that. At one point she sprinted away from Henrik and ran up to a chubby coworker, who was a pitiful looking  person, she launched into a karate type attach position and put a complete mock frontal assault on the sad young man who was very glad to be noticed by someone. She came back over to Henrik, “You see I do know karate”, she raised her sharp eyebrows to emphasize her assurance of the fact, all the while exposing her brilliant green-golden eyes. As they walked it dawned upon Henrik that she in fact had come to have a hopeful love for him, as he had in her.  

Upon reaching her new job station, they continued to talk, but by this time the park was in full swing and thus they were constantly interrupted, as she had to do her job, unlike him whose sole purpose in being there, was her. To be more exacting and looking at it from the outside, in light of his trashing his years of university work, it seems his whole purpose everywhere was her! They began to talk again, still not picking up where they left off from earlier that morning, but rather beginning with this and that. She mentioned she smoked, he mentioned he smoked cigars from time to time, Although he purposely failed to mention he also smoked a pipe. He did remember to tell her smoking was bad for her, and this irked her a bit. He was just making conversation, since he rather liked the idea that she smoked. A glorious young women like her should always smoke for a few years, as it is good for humanity, making ugly places in the world that much more beautiful. He never actually saw her smoke, but he could see her long arms gaily holding up a cigarette in between two pretty fingers, all the while displaying those luscious lips and hiding behind the smoke, and then revealing those golden green eyes that were Catherine’s.

Henrik looked up at Catherine enjoying her sweet face, he felt he must say something, ran then continually stand there smiling like an ever so happy fool, and yet he did not desire to get into a lengthy conversation about smoking. “Smoking is bad for you” stated the ever profound young man. Catherine was annoyed by this comment “I know it’s bad for you” in a tone that suggested the plausibility of his being completely stupid. She relaxed her defensive poise a bit as she continued “ I have been smoking for five years, I do not do it to be mature or cool, I just do it..” “No no! fair enough you enjoy smoking fair enough!” “Yes I know it’s bad for me, I know” she nodded her head with a slightly embarrassed face and very soft zest to it. “Ok.  I was only teasing, I know you know!” smirked Henirk.  “Well it looks like we won’t be able to talk at this spot, but what about that date?” Catherine again began to mumble and fumble around. “I should be free in two days, I’ll let you know,” came from the suddenly disconcerted young lady as she slowly walked away to do her work. Henrik continued pressing her on the issue loudly so even her coworkers and some of the tourists could hear. “What do you want? I will bring a police escort! I will bring my sister and her husband.” Catherine was embarrassed, her coworkers were all wide eared and instantaneously shooting back and forth their breathlessness with this strong good looking man that was Henrik Vetterer. Her coworkers at this particular place were unlikely to receive such attention themselves, and so they stood staring excitedly wide eyed at Catherine. Catherine simply smiled and began to blush from all of the attention, but she said nothing, as her spirit was much more resolved then her modest disposition and flush shown face.

On the way out of the park, after Henrik’s shift, and the opportunity to talk to Catherine had expired, he stopped to see Catherine one more time. “I am going home, besides I have run out things to talk about, and now you will become bored with me like a boring book. Remember Catherine, you said you end relationships just because it is boring and worthless! Oh yes I listen I pay attention,” stated Henrik as he nodded his smiling eyes for emphasis.” “I know you do, but no no, I am not bored.” She emphasized her reply with an upward shrug of her entire body, as if to tone down the import of the words. “Well I enjoy being around you Catherine, even if we have nothing to say I enjoy being with you!” Sincerity dripped from his tongue with each word. Catherine said nothing , and they found themselves staring at each other. “What!” Rang out in a higher pitch,  from  the typically strong low contemplative voice of Catherine. It seems his gaze which took him adrift, found her concretely, and moved her. “Will you talk to me when you get back to your country?” at this moment  Henrik’s whole disposition was lathered in the look of the sickness of love, as if his face was being pulled down to the ground by a heightened gravity. “Yes,” assured Catherine with her eyes and a tone finding harmony with Henrik’s own.

 At that moment my mind was not anxious with a thousand and a half considerations, rather in unison my entire being screamed, and found myself slowly drifting to kiss her, that sweet girl, so beautiful, so kind, so good natured, so authentic, but in an instant my own self flashed a warning to myself disturbing the slow movement of myself toward a kiss. I, as if against my will, was forced to reflect upon what she had said earlier about her trust being crushed often in life, about relationships in which she “did shit” and later was left hurt and alone. “No I must show her I do not want her merely because she is so attractive to me, because I am merely pursing sex and she is the means to that end.” I held out my hand, good Lord was it not against even nature as it was intended. I held out my hand and in a semi handshake we touched, and all the while I felt disgusted with myself or perhaps annoyed, maybe it showed on my face, who knows? I believe I nearly shrugged my shoulders as if to say, do you understand this? What else am I to do, you won’t meet me outside of this park so you do not seem to trust me, trust me I had you ready to be pulled close to me and kissed with all the passion of the days of our open hearted talk smoldering within it, and I put out my hand! Do you see! As I turned and began to walk away I heard Catherine voice, “Goodbye Henrik” the emphasis of her voice made what little left of my heart she had not captured melt like shaded snow to an abruptly exposed radiant and powerful sun.

 Truly I would have married her then and there and never looked at another woman. Damn you wise and haughty bastards who laugh at my supposed naiveté you can go straight to hell! No I would not even look in the direction of an attractive peripheral view, even ten and twenty years later.  But you my dear bastardly men who read and mock you have never loved as I have, no you like all men have toyed with yourselves and thus your head was full of other stimuli and other self protective barriers. No, I do not wish to present Henrik as a knight in shining armor as pure as the Christ of the Christian faith, because he was not , but in comparison to the sexed up men around him, who find it cheaper to hit a button on his phone than frequent a brothel, Henrik  was an exception. Henrik was not an exception in shining armor, but naked with no diverse or distracting or daily lusts to protect him from the young women. Yes his soul was wiser then schools first love, as he was a man, but he was just as vulnerable, indeed all the more vulnerable and the defenses that remained were crushed, and were no more!

And I must stop you again my dear reader, and say is it not crystal clear the “troubled girl who had endured hardships and lived a bit more than Henrik, she was not the one who needed a rescuer. Rather it was he. In a sense he may have turned out to be a type of rescuer, but only in a sense, and she! She was to be all the more his rescuer, his reformer, his life line! His savior!

Honestly I do not care to continue to describe the story to you as the events unfolded. I simply wish to sum it all up, and say “there it is …What do you think about it all? How does that grab you!”

 

 

 

The Assumption of Arrogance

Well anyway this mutal meeting in the park continued. Though in the following days she did not seem to have the same dreaminess and takeness with Henrik  as she had that day when the cosmos seemed to move in their favor drawing him to her lips. Nonetheless Catherine always told Henrik where she would be so they could see each other.  Henrik felt handcuffed, essentially he felt like he wanted and needed to kiss her but had to shake her hand “what could I do to progress the relationship if she will not go out with me outside of that increasingly accursed park! And though she says she will go out on a real date with me, I know she won’t” And why won’t she? This question drove me mad. The question I ranted to acquaintance, and anyone with ears. I came up with a solution to the question, it was this: She liked me a lot, as she said, and was afraid of her feelings for me, knowing she had to go back to her country so far away! “Yes that is certainly the reason” Henrik noted with a convincing tone to his friends, though no doubt he was mainly seeking to convince himself. All the while Henrik kept writing her at night, after he had seen her during the day.  Due to her pathetic phone service she was not getting any of the intense messages that flooded the pages with confessions of his love and exacting arguments as if conquering every and any possible obstacle in the world arsenal. As to Catherine, she worked nearly all day and all night, though she did have off during the time she knew Henrik, and yet she was not with him on her days off.

Henirk began to get irritated as he thought of her continual rejection or delay, in spite of her obvious feelings, as if she set out to defeat herself! All her talk of her not being good, and her underlying desire to hurt herself what was one to make of it. Henrik decided to not go out of his way to talk to her anymore, and he was successful for an entire day. The next day, after his short lived success, he saw her again, he looked down before she could see that he saw her, and then he waited to see what she would do if anything at all. Catherine stopped and knelt down about three feet in front of him; in the very path he was walking on, and began to tie her shoe lace that was already satisfactorily tied. Henrik, was but a foot from her and nearly past her, and she had still not said anything. “Hello,” he said. Catherine responded with a smile and an enegetic greeting, it was clear she was glad to talk to him.. my memory grows fuzzy. Later that day, or even it could have been a few days later, Henrik again found Catherine at that one particular spot that they had and could talk the longest without perpetual  interruptions. Upon finding her at their spot they talked and talked. Henrik was mildly standoffish since he felt the relationship had hit a wall, that only she could open a passage through.  After all he felt he had done as much as he could respectfully do.  Henrik constantly pondered the question to himself as to “How much more could it grow if she will not trust me enough to go outside of the park on a date with me! How will she trust me and how will our relationship mean anything when she leaves for her country if we do not first let things unfold. ” Oddly enough this particular day they reached the topic Henrik, had sought to avoid, but then again it was probably the only meaningful topic they had left entirely unearthed.

Catherine began in her very emphatically matter of fact way “I was baptized as a child, and I did not have a choice, and that I did not like,” she finished with a sigh of sorts. “Ah so you are orthodox?”  “Yes, but I was a child and that is not something that can be decided for someone.” She continued in her manner, a manner that spoke every word with a flare of some kind that Henrik had never witnessed before “I am agnostic.”

 “That is a very fair position,” began Henrik. “ So many people are so dogmatic and they say, ‘ you are not a Christian! How stupid! How irrational you are, Christianity is the surest thing of all!’ or they say ‘you believe in God! You reject evolution! How stupid how irrational you are!’But they are all simply dishonest, I think what I believe has evidence and is a rationally communicable view, but ultimately I have faith, and faith is only possible because of a limitation of knowledge. And I agree with you Catherine, that if God does exist certainly it would not make sense that a relationship with him for one individual can be arranged or decided by another mere human.”

“Yes exactly,” responded Catherine in that calm foreign way of paradoxically mild and utterly confident agreement. Henrik, with half mischievous and half entirely serious motivations, wanted to gently nudge her to question things. “So what do you base your morals on?” Catherine, after a slight hesitation, began to answer no less confident or genuine in her reply. “I believe in good,…..I would do anything for my little cousin or my grandparents. For example, when I get extra money and I want and need new shoes, but my cousin needs a book, I buy his book, because that is important.”  She seemed somewhat ashamed of what she had just said as if it were a weakness or something. “Naturally I try to be kind, but sometimes I am too harsh! People often think I am mean, and sometimes I do not try to be, I am just not paying attention.” She was so divine, she was a veteran of life at such a young age, and all the while there was this great childishness about her, this sincerity and confidence that one might find in a precious child free from the world, she was something impossible, from fiction, though there she stood in front of me.

If I do say so myself what a beautiful story to recount. My being fills up with the same great passion she evoked in me then, a passion that envelops the whole of a man and slowly builds within him the fiber to love a women  not merely for 5 years or twenty, nor even a life time would be enough no! In his heart he changes the vows and says damn to death do us part, forever, some need food to exist I need a little, but most of all I need Catherine.  That great story that describes how the first women was taken out of her husband and created, how in fact she is a part of him and he her, what a beautiful story, one that some, perhaps all to serious people, find experientially convincing.  Certainly in a life time one finds oneself having a hard time living with their beloved, though clearly what is even more certain is one often has a hard time living with oneself. I have had heard of a married couple that lived from the ages of twenty to ninety faithfully to one another. They defeated those despicable aspects of this world that sought to discontent them that sought to destroy their happiness. The one died and within a week the other died, this man who had forgot nothing for ninety years began, it seems, to forget to take his heart medicine, everyday for a week since the death of that old wrinkled up smile that had become his wife. I tell you the truth, not fiction………rather exceptional people, I have known them for a very long time. Maybe, you are skeptical of my claim that they were faithful, haha, so was I, but once one has pressed all one’s resources and not a hint of undermining can be found, well what I should do! He was somewhat of a flirt and she was a gossip, but they lived out their vows.

I even knew of a woman whose husband of forty years died in his sixtieth year after retirement, she had grandchildren and child, all of which were in a very literal sense a part of her. But that was of no importance, she took no medication for anything, she ate a horrible diet, and refused to ever visit a doctor, and each year she lived on, and did not endeavor upon the hope of being united with her beloved she became bitter and bitterer, if only she believed it was ok to simply fall asleep in the garage with the car running if only it was ok with God, haha my friends and you, somehow, you have been deceived into thinking only young Juliet’s are capable of such passion! Perhaps I bore you, perhaps you would rather watch discontented housewives, fantasize of fucking like dogs with Ups drivers. I suppose such ambitions are fulfilling in their own way, possibly even exciting, but to use the word passionate to describe such excitement is to misunderstand everything.

Henrik wearing his notoriously mischievous smile upon his face was on the verge of asking her “but what makes those things you said good, and the other things bad, is it all relative, is it all madness we try and agree upon from time to time, from society to society?”  However, as usual she had to go and Henrik kept his vindictive nature under control a little longer. As Catherine was leaving Henrik walked alongside her as had become the tradition, and he asked her “Would you ever marry a religious man?”  In all sincerity she thought over the question as she walked and then she answered “Well, I do not know.” “People always try to change people and it does not work!”

“I agree Catherine, people must decide things for themselves, they always do anyway. How else could it be?” 

She really did have to go, and as is happened again and again at the climax of  the conversation she was gone. This was not exactly by her doing since Henrik always seemed to wait until he had no time left to talk about things really pressing upon his mind. The actual event was much better than my meager description and so I will describe it more by saying that such extraordinary moments of passion and depth of reality, in thought in action, such moments are a blur sometimes, and in place of an exacting memory is a moving sense of it all.  I do not try and speak in riddles, but some things are so penetrating they wander into places where our words demonstrate our lack of power to understand the totality of the complexity of this cosmos or even the simplicity of love!

Another evening mixed with happy hopefulness, and strong confusion passed. Another summer sun rose, growing  more tired by the day, increasingly easing into fall. Both Catherine and Henrik were drawn into confusion by the meeting of one another, whether they both embraced it or resisted it I cannot say for sure. Yet again Henrik strolled down the mild hill, with the motherly shade trees sitting at ease in front of him, and the younger ones to the right, and there to his approaching left sat that rare young lady Catherine, her legs were crossed as usual, she was slightly leaning back, staring off into the distance bouncing her left ankle and white shoed foot methodically.  I do not recall how the conversation began. At some point she pulled out her pocketbook, for some reason something caught my eye as she was closing it. I suppose Catherine, who I was looking at, moved in such a way that my attention was drawn to it. That type of unspoken telepathy, when her mind becomes startled at something and the other person nearby immediately thinks the thought that was not to be seen since it was a thought warning one to bury it within the mind. I noticed something about the pocket book, as if unwillingly my eyes were magnetized to a double take of the black pocket book. And then my eyes were captured, the pocket book was closed but what captured my eyes remained before them.

“ You have dog tags?” queried Henrik with a forced laugh.

“What?” replied Catherine, apparently not hearing him “Dogtags,” Henrik’s mind flashed “They said…”

 “Who is …, Why do you have, Cain Mills dogtags” In a second Henrik answered his own question as he began to think out loud while seeing all the answers on Catherine’s face. “Ah, he is your friend in x town that you hung out with this weekend….when you could not see me!”

“Yes” replied Catherine. Henrik’s mind raged for a moment  to himself, “Cain Mills, an army guy, tall strong, perhaps even taller and stronger than me, maybe even better looking, he has a little  money from being overseas, a nice car no doubt, and found some summer fun with a foreign girl who will be gone soon enough for his tastes.”

 “Who is Cain Mills” Henrik’s voice grew louder laced with a touch of wrath and despair. “Is that why you won’t go out with me?”

“You like this, Cain Mills, guy?” His voice began to drop as he shot question after question with the constant chorus of Cain Mills uttered with the greatest disgust in between. “You like this him better than me, that is why you won’t go out with me.”

“I like Cain, but…” Henrik’s heart crashed down to his feet at the way she said his name, the way her face looked when she said his name. I wanted to kill him then and there.

I saw him in my mind, a tall strong solider. For insecurities sake he was even taller than me, even stronger than me, even better looking than me, a superman fresh out of the military with a new career, tearing about with confidence. Possibly he was even a successful quiet and courageous man, a rarity in our day, and yet I hated him nonetheless, and perhaps this hate was on my face when Catherine spoke again. “I am sorry, I am sorrrry.” Her voice was deeper than usual; her eyes wide open as she shook her head and drew out with great emphasis the sorry in her final “No I am sorrrrry Henrik!”

 “Why should you be sorry” stated Henrik overcompensating with gusto to hide the tears in his voice. “You have done nothing wrong, you have never promised me anything!” He thought to himself, and he really could not find any blatant wrong in her actions, he was simply deceived by his own assumptions. Henrik unraveled and it is painful to recount. “What is he stronger? He is more attractive? You like talking to him better?” Catherine would not answer. And Henrik continued in his destructiveness “You find him more attractive?” I know what it is, you cannot sense my attraction to you within me, it does not draw you too me because I suppress it so as to try and be respectful and honoring of marriage.”

 And I am still like a child and so I must say, though Henrik later realized the stupidity of his extreme suppression; he would not at that time have another young man laugh in his face about it. He found the notion of turning the other cheek to nominally raised religious men a much harder thing to live out then even sexual purity. Perhaps you are beginning to see the peculiar character that was Henrik.

It is doubtful as to whether or not Catherine understood the last part of his rant, but at any rate she once again apologized.  “I am sorry, you are pissed?”  

“No no no you did nothing wrong you like him more, but I must go.” Catherine had a hurt and worried look on her face “You are not going to talk to me anymore?” 

 “No Catherine I just do not want to keep doing this, as it is clear it is not good for me.” Henrik turned and walked away. But in 10 minutes he was back, and  Catherine did not look the least concerned he entire disposition had changed. “ I am sorry I acted so angry, but it is not good for me to talk to you when I like you so much and you like this other guy.” Catherine sat their looking at Henrik as if she did not know him, as if he were dead to her, as if she did not have the least concern in the world whether or not she ever heard from him again. On His way home that night, as the sun was nearly finished with its work day, Henrik found Catherine at the same place he introduced himself some weeks earlier, “Listen I do not care about Cain Mills my offer still stands.” Henrik may have muttered something about a date, but he was referring to his love. Despite his childish reaction, what still stood was his love, although that is not what he said regardless of whether or not he tried to imply it.

But I have skipped over an interesting day that had actually occurred before the day of the dog tags. At this time Henrik was persisting with his idea of his need to gain her trust, and thus go out on an actual date. Once again Catherine gave him the same answer about her busy schedule and how she will have off soon.  Henrik was baffled about how this girl shared so much or herself with him, listened and accepted the extreme things he had said to her, and yet continued to act so odd about a simple date. “We have spent  hours upon weeks together… just the two of us amidst the masses of people being amused in the park! This is ridiculous,” he thought to himself. After hearing her same response he began to walk away. Catherine was startled at his leaving, “where are you going!” she said this as if she were devastated he was not going to stay and talk. Henrik’s with an air of abruptness shot back in confused irritation “home, I am going home!” His eyes flashed for emphasis on the syllable of home. His tone and entire disposition should have screamed his thought that “it is ridiculous how she wants to talk and acts as if she is in love and then cannot see me unless I comes to the park.”

Again he wondered if she merely went home on the nights she left work early. “Where did she go?”  Henrik stormed out of the park, as the day and the sun had played themselves out.  He had a little daylight left to take care of his grandmother’s yard work. As Henrik worked in his grandmother’s yard he found his heart was trapped. His rationality weighed the world, including the consequences of it all just  as he had when he viewed every consideration before leaving the university. So Henrik weighed it all out and found himself a fool for leaving the park and not talking with her. Immediately, he got onto his motorcycle and rode back to the park. He did not have his entrance pass so in the fury of his fear of ruining everything with his impatience and temper, he simply snuck pass the security guards. Henrik found her working as always, though she was in a control tower inaccessible to him within a restricted operating area.  He waved from the distance so as to try and get her attention, whether she ignored him or did not see him he could not tell, though he guessed that she was ignoring him.

 Henrik’s heart pounded with indecision, he had to talk to her.  So he began to cut through the long line “excuse me excuse me, thank you excuse me.” People turned and stared, annoyed and bewildered after a long day by this person who was forcing his way to the front of the line. Henrik had made it to the front of the line, and felt the heat of all the eyes on his back. He shouted up to the operators tower“ Catherine, Catherine do you get a break anytime soon?”

“No I do not get a break, I just had my break.”

 “Well I cannot stay here,” shouted Henrik.  Catherine, had stopped operating the ride and focused her attention on him, she was not surprised by his abrupt and absurd actions nor was she embarrassed in the least. Who could have understood this girl? Henrik paused; he had heavy words on the brink of release. Instead, all he said was “I am sorry for being rude earlier tonight.”

“Sorry, why should I be sorry?”

 Catherine’s face was transformed full of zeal as she was previously leaning down over the side of the wooden tower in a very relaxed fashion, she made time stand still as she sculptured the seemingly empty space around her into her own. “No no! I am sorry! for being rude earlier tonight.” “Oh” she showed a flicker of embarrassment, and quickly overcame it with her words. “You’re good you’re nice you’re nice.” Even the words she spoke she formed as her own laying thick the nice in “you’re nice”. All the while there was an appalled lady who made her way to the side of Henrik. The lady leaned back, her hands were on her hips, she looked at Henrik, then Catherine, and then back to Henrik. Apparently she had been acting like that from the beginning since Henrik only noticed her at the end. The lady was making gasping sounds, and saying “on my god this is ridiculous someone should report these people!” Henrik, who from time to time was accused of looking angry when he was in the most cheerful of moods, turned and stared at the lady, He looked at every detail in an instant, her dyed brown her, her silicon breasts, her fake tan, her expensive brand of sunglasses and shoes, the jewelry on her hand. She was rich very rich, Henrik upon the initial turn to look at her un-purposely looked at her with a face that is worthy of a jail sentence. After his instantaneous and all encompassing glance was finished, and he in fact saw through her, indeed her entire life; he just gave a half smile and blew air out his nose in that knowing laugh type way. The women agreed that he had seen through her, she immediately disappeared inside herself. But this was all before the dreadful day of deceitful dog tags, the revelation that was Cain Mills.

All of this began to come together as Henrik walked from the park to his black crotch rocket that shocking evening he found out about Cain Mills. Upon arriving at his favorite hangout he sat outside and called his friend who was from the same x town as this Cain character. James was a loyal friend since childhood, the type that would answer his phone, even after not hearing from the person calling for months. James was not a particularly tall man, with blonde hair and brownish eyes. He was very well built not stocky but muscular and chiseled. James was in truth a trained elite military killer, who enjoyed spending every second of his free time playing the moonlight sonata on his piano. The type of fellow who was constantly told what to do by others, and who in the end smiled, agreed, took two steps in the direction of those seeking to advise him, and before they knew it he was gone doing what he wanted. One of those innocent young boys raised in a sea of ideals, that upon becoming a man, he found to be important only after realizing he was nose deep in a world of deceitful illusion, indeed just a deceitful as the illusion that suffocated and accompanied the ideals of his upbringing.  In short a sober minded man who saw unhappiness in either this or that, and who moved about in-between with glazed eyes.

Henrik and James would always just pick up where they had left off, as if all the time in between their seeing one another was all leading up to when they would be walking up to one another with a firm handshake and a one armed hug. Henrik had an unquestionable feeling that James would know this Cain. Henrik’s call went right to the point. “James, James do you know a Cain Mills, from x town, around your age?”

“Blubs, you mean Blubs, the only Cain Mills I know who is also in the military and from x-town is named Blubs.”

“ This guy is apparently with that girl I mentioned to you.” James gave a long growl into the phone, “Ahhhh, man relax you’ve got nothing to worry about the guys short and fat and a small time dealer.”

“What?”  “I don’t know if we are talking about the same guy, but that’s the only Cain Mills I know.”

“There is no way, I mean that has to be the guy there are no other Cain Mills in x –town, there 5 people in that town to start with.” James continued with a slight hesitancy, “I don’t know…. that’s all I can say about him, I don’t know him that well.” 

“I have no idea what to think. I cannot figure this girl out!”

“Girls are mad my friend they don’t know what they want that’s why you can’t read them, because they make it up as they go and they don’t know why and then they regret it.” Henrik’s anger and excitement became distraught, “Well ok, thanks, James, and by the way I really like this girl….she’s great!”

“Alright, talk to you later.”

In the following days, Henrik continued to work at the park so as to be with her. Although, in his arrogance he was disgusted at this Cain Mills, who was also know as Blubs. To Henrik, it seemed the only logical explanation was there might have been something sinister in it, perhaps in relation to drugs, or quite possibly somehow she failed to see this Cain for the miniscule town big shot he was. Catherine was her usual sweet self, as if nothing had changed, and in fact nothing really did change for her. Henrik, picked up where he left off with his destructive focuses, as if he would win her heart by belittling Cain and thus her as well on the indirect. “You had off last night, what did you do last night?”

“I was with Cain”

“Is his nickname Blubs?”

 “Yes,” replied Catherine with a look of curiosity on her face. “I know who he is! My friend knows him plus some old acquaintances I know of used to hang out with him,” Henrik’s voice was full of indignation and disgust. “Well, I have to go,” and with that Henrik walked away.

 Henrik did in fact know that some very infamous girls he knew of use to hang out with Cain for coke, James told him so on the phone. Henrik was constantly thinking of Catherine, though it seemed she did everything she could to pretend he did not exist, except for a few hours each day at the park. While walking about the park burning with rage and sorrow, and despair Henrik regained a firm resolve that he would not give up on her. Later on in the day, or perhaps the next day, it is all more and more of a blur, he took that hopeful path with the mothering willows in front of him in the distance, and the young sassy one’s to his right and the prosaic Catherine Vaska to his approaching left.

As usual they had around an hour or so to themselves at this spot, obviously with minor interruption here and there, since they still were amidst a great crowd of people. Eventually, in spite of Henrik’s consciously trying his best to avoid the subject of Cain Mills, it came up. Catherine began, “I admit he is an asshole.” At that very instant Henrik’s eyes lit up like Thomas upon putting his hand in Christ’s side. Certainly Catherine, saw his reaction, she retracted her statement, “He is an asshole to everyone else, but not to me.” Henrik smiled his somewhat arrogant and knowing smile, the smile that says “yes thank you for verbalizing what I have long known about you!” 

“His family is so nice! His mother and grandmother and sister are so great!” It was clear she liked his family as much or more than Mr Blubs himself. “But what do you know about him that makes you go Cain Mills with such disgust in the way you say it?”

“Nothing!” “ I know nothing you do not already know about him,” and with that he stared into Catherine’s eyes, eyes that were permanently covered with sunglasses so as to protect her, not from the penetrating heat of the sun , but rather the probing and passionate spirit of Henrik Vetterer. In actuality Catherine herself admitted as much as to why she now always wore her sunglasses when they were together.  Precisely! And Catherine wore sunglasses because her spirit was just as passionate, and full of emotion and powerful hopes, and nonetheless the deceitful and hypocritical rationale of being rational was apparently conquering he, or was it Henrik’s indirect indictment of Catherine in his disgust for Cain.

 The almighty dichotomatic rationality of man; let us spit upon its fraudulent guarantees and promises. It one must be rational let him first be honest about rationality. Let us spit upon the notion that what is normative, is what is most rationally sound, and is in fact the correct way to do things. But he tried to stare past her sunglasses, not to see those rare eyes, but to assure himself she in fact knew all about Cain Mills. Henrik also added that “my friend was surprised to hear Cain was with you, that is after he heard my description of you!” Catherine’s face was soaked in offense “why?”

 “Well, because you’re wonderful and he is a loser!”  I did not say it exactly like that, but that is the short version of the two step dance I did to soften the blow. In any case Henrik was baffled that it was not obvious to her why people would be surprised to find her with such a greasy and slimy character. Henirk ended up putting together the many puzzles that were Catherine Vaska, that evening as they found out more information of one another through face book, or something very akin to such a social networking.

Do you remember  how this began as fiction passed of as reality, which it surely was in a sense, though of course not the sense you thought; and likewise now you see the transition to reality which could be seemingly passed off as fiction. Well, my shrewd reader, tell me this, is this fellow I am about to present to you real or, merely a reality of the imagination.

The young man stood outside of the restaurant, he was on his last break before the eternally anticipated closedown stage of the evening. The young man stood alone looking at a completely exposed moon, he was considering many things, perhaps love, perhaps his future, perhaps the fact that he only had an hour left until he had a few hours of freedom, before the night was completely burned. So there he stood leaning against a brick wall head tilted skyward and out trudges a middle aged man. The middle age man was wearing Jeans and a tee shirt, a wardrobe that was in total disagreement with the restaurant he just paced out of. The grey eyed man’s clothing and wholative appearance was not in vogue with the posh pub or the royal city that he found himself in. Fsssp! The young worker on break saw a cigarette light up the grey eyes with traces of red on the outside. Fuuuooo the smoke weaved its way through the man’s ragged white beard as he systematically exhaled a small fortune of smoke through his nose endlessly.

Again the working university man glanced over underneath the shield of smoke he saw the disheveled man was sweating profusely. Halfway through his pack, the same disheveled man wanders his way toward the moon watcher, who was now completely distracted in trying not to be. Along with the man’s preparatory exhale for his next drag came out a “So you are a university student like all the rest of the workers around here?” Seeing the man was a customer of the establishment, he immediately gave the man the undivided attention his well paying and respected employer required. “So what do you study?” “I am studying international business.”

“Ah,” he pulled his cigarette to the side of his body. His eyes were bordered in a flaring red. “I am sure that is interesting” he continued again taking another lung full.  The young man nodded politely. “Quite an excellent restaurant isn’t it?”

 “Oh!” the man gave a nervous chuckle, “ I just meet my daughters here for dinner, I really don’t fit in here.” The man paused as if preparing to focus on the young man’s reaction, though the young man did not sense this until he was finished with his natural reply. “Nah” he replied with a kind close mouthed reassuring smile, the very type of smile that has the feeling and knowing behind it to strip a president down to the simple man he is , and in an instant.

The beleaguered man seemed to have found a reply he wanted within his strained focused eyes. “I don’t get to see my daughters much. The one works at a correctional center for children.” All the while he continued to smoke and sweat and with only half a second pause he spoke on. “But they don’t help those kids there, you know. They can’t talk to them or show any emotion to them.” His already rampant smoking increased its pace as drops of sweat rolled off his face. “It’s terrible really those kids need emotion! They need to see kindness and love, sure they did wrong, but only love and true interest in them will.. reaffirm them, that is why they ended up there in the first place. They grew up in a sewer without hoping and hoping for all the wrong things, and they don’t even know it. Don’t you think its terrible and sad they don’t show them any emotion? Just so sad!” The moon-watcher who had been forced from his post nodded and gave an “ I agree” but his mind was seemingly very much fixed on the same thoughts the bright moon was shedding light on. It appeared that the young man did not know what to say.  In his youthful zest for knowledge and arguments the attention he gave to the man was looking for some angle or some political argument the man was trying to pass off. In his self centeredness he was more concerned to think of the great many questions that plagued his unfolding life. Whether the man sensed he had no true audience or whether he simply did not have another pack of cigarettes, he turned and headed back into the extravagant house of expertly prepared food and drink. The young man gave out a “have a good night sir!” A rather insignificant phrase since it was customary for him to respond to all customers in that fashion. But in this particular “have a good night sir,” was a “sir” that was said with an emphasis, so as to say “though you feel ill respected and out of place, you are respected as a human nonetheless, even if that is the only reason to show you any respect.” The young man finished his shift and went home, he did not see any more of the blue jean wearing sweaty chimney with grey eyes.

 The disheveled middle aged man, with the white beard returned to find his daughters had left. He remained and continued to order drinks, as the restaurant began to empty and the evening, his evening, was nearly expired he asked his tight skinned young waitress for some company after her shift. He offered her two thousand dollars in exchange for her body for the rest of the night. The man was refused by the waitress, and reported and embarrassed by the arrival of security at his table. He talked his way around things, and made it a point that he was leaving on his on terms. He stumbled to a taxi, and went up to his hotel a few blocks over from the restaurant. The next morning the maids found a rotund stomached white bearded man with grey eyes lying dead.

 Upon reaching his room he found himself haunted by a legion of thoughts. He thought he had fully burned and drowned. He pulled out a small pistol he had bought a month earlier put pillows over his face and pulled the trigger. The next evening, the young man was at the restaurant and found himself greeted by two women who were trying to find out what credit card their Father used to pay the bill the night before. The woman was straight faced and somewhat irritated, “Our father meet us here for dinner last night. He was wearing blue jeans and a tee shirt, he had a white beard? Well after dinner he killed himself in a hotel down the road, apparently he ran up my sister’s credit card at the hotel the day before, and we need to find out if he left the credit card here, because it wasn’t at the hotel.” The young man was astonished, making sure not to say anything of his conversation with the man he simply directed the women to the manager.

 

 

A Final Outburst

 Is that merely an imaginative reality of the mind, or is that story nonfiction, a fact about a grey eyed man who was once alive and now dead, a reality not only real to one body but other bodies as well. But I will not tell you that. But I will tell you such is life. Such is life! Such is life to those who think it is all a monotonous machine like joke. To those I say your own life has the wonder and the absurdity and the great feeling that does the stories of novels.  Perhaps the great sorrow is you fail to see it, or to live it, as life deserves to be lived. That is as it demands to be lived, in light of death! Dare I say in light of eternity. Yes I dare say since I am Henrik, who was once something very much akin to Henry. And such is life to you, the bloke who has felt so much in life, who has done much of what some barely dream can occurs in novels or movies or deep within a city at dark. Such is life to you, who thinks life is no more than gross self love, and hate and brief pain amidst the flashes of ecstasy. End the joke, and take off the silly and worthless life vest, and….and swim. Perhaps the youth of the day think they are hardcore livers since they can get smashed and hook up, but though it can be deadly it’s a mere gilded hiding, an opiate from greater, more severe.. and hopeful…riskier potencies of life.

Henrik sat in an empty apartment, in a city full of universities, in an apartment complex that was filled with families, and not university students. His paced around the office of his empty apartment, it was three in the morning. He looked at his class and work schedule laying on his large 1950’s wooden desk. To the right a book shelf, a disorderly combination of well worn paper backs and hardbacks. The calories from his brews burning brightly, full of energy he thought back to those nights the apartment was packed full with friends of many flavors. He thought back to how he would rant his untried philosophies of life, and he thought of that girl, and meaning in life, and he began to decide it all as the old hard wood floor creaked.  “ If only I had the courage to see life as life, and not some confused orderly notion of disorderly social norms! If only I had the imagination to realize I live in a novel, an important character for it is my novel. An important responsibility, with daily decisions of life and death, hope and despair, good and evil. If only I had known I was a man amongst men, and thus I live in a complex and important world as a character. The type of world that even the best fictions are limited reproductions of. If only I knew the harsh reality of my ignorance of my past confusion of fiction and non. If only I could sit back for an instance and shutter at the thought of it all! And I have for so long. Then maybe I could begin to live as I was intended, even in the face of everywhere present dreariness of mediocrity and business building schemers, who have no time to do the important things of life with equal devotion. Yes in the face of everywhere present ignorance. Precisely in front of it unless I live in a perverted reality that does not see the ignorance and thus does not see the reality, however harsh, and the way back to the fantasy as reality, and not the fantasy as a fantasy of a reality no longer possible due to ignorance of ignorance.”

Henrik, stopped for a moment, if there was anybody to watch him they might have supposed he was in some sort of state of delirium. A smile came over his face inspite of the unified rejection of the rest of his body which was so well conditioned to accept only the mediocre idea, and vomit out the extravagant, the arrogant, the risky. He slowly glanced at the world history books on the bottom right hand of his oak book shelf, and then saw to their left the American history book. His mind raced through civilization, he remembered those nervy, wild and downright obnoxious countrymen who captured his imagination as a child. He thought of how the civilizations had grown old, had grown to look for security had become dishonest about their dishonesty, and his smile held strong. “Is that not a glorious and hopeful reality, even though it certainly is a harsh reality and perhaps it is so harsh because of the ignorance, and all that is done in one’s own selfish fantasy of ignorance. But when someone breaks in from the other, from the outside and then the ignorance is revealed and the fantasy is over, and the harsh reality is seen, and it is a hopeful harsh reality, my God that is better than ignorant fantasy of mediocre bouts of happiness!”   

 Henrik had come to face the harsh reality that is life, that is… raw existence. And upon finding it he was scared. He found himself facing the question, would he bask in the glory of the light he saw with his opened eyes to the great freedom, and severe weight of life, or would the light burn him alive, and the weight of freedom crush him! It was six am, and though he had made up his mind, a great deal of him including his mind sought to crush the hope of love. “Would it not be better to let life come to me, and continue my course dreaming of fiction in reality? But that is just it! I would be responsible for that decision, and of course there is no guarantee that life will come to me, whatever that means, and I am responsible, for my decision, and my opportunities. The world can be cruel and it can be beautiful and I must decide what I value most.” He packed his bags, and as I said before, irresponsibly drove nearly to his death in a state of madness, as if he could not stop for fear that he would lose his resolve.

Henrik’s mind was punishingly poring over his risky 6 am that brought him to where he currently was, slowly walking toward where he hoped Catherine would be. He knew their days were at an end, and with each step he thought of how he ended up walking down that hill in the mild heat of the lazy sunset of a September evening. He thought of the rarity of this woman, this women that may very well reject this prince of society, for a comparably pathetic man on all accounts, even his military career ended as a failure. “But if she would decide on him, it would be because she loved him in spite of my seemingly out doing him in every category society judges upon. Though she loves his family, and this is troubling.” Henrik had finally ran out of asphalt to continue thinking, as lo and behold, Henrik found Catherine.

Catherine was sitting at their place surrounded by the motherly trees glistening in the moonlight which was beginning to peak out in more potency then the fading sun. The place where time stood still, where the world became an entire universe of two human beings, and strangely enough the very place where time flew by. And this is seemingly a contradiction and yet you know just what I mean, as this very phenomenon and life itself is very rationally understood as a great contradiction.  Do we not move closer to death with each day of life?

“How are you ?” began Catherine who was sitting seemingly calmly as always, her perfect femininely firm legs crossed, her gait relaxed, and yet forcibly so. “I am good,” replied a blank faced Henrik with rapidity.  “So today is your last day?” Catherine was making conversation she knew it was his last day as they had already talked about it only two days ago, and yet one could see in Henrik’s face that he appreciated her renewed receptiveness. “So I see you had a fun time this summer,”

 “I was looking at your photo’s and it seems you were very active when you weren’t working, to say the least.” Henrik said this consciously trying to take his angry and accusatory edge off his tone.  “ Ah yes,  but you know partying gets so old … you drink and then you need to drink more and more……and so I just stopped .” Knowing what she did of Henrik, this no doubt was the exact type of thing she thought he might appreciate, and how did he reply? “Yep, that’s good.” No exclamation point for he barely uttered those three words. He made a point to be cruel, to refrain from encouraging her in a decision she was proud of herself for. It may have been the idea she was proud of. Henrik’s response was like the Fathers, who upon catching the tale of his child’s working weeks to impress him, pats his daughter on the head and walks away with other business.

 The rest of the conversation is a blur, but true enough the sun began to peter out entirely leaving the moon solitary. I asked “will he come to Ukraine with you? Will he marry you?”

“No,” with this question her face lit up with a smile. Predictably Henrik perceived it to mean she loved the idea of Cain marring her and moving to Ukraine. Naturally her inexplicable glow Henrik understood to mean she really did love this Blubs specimen. Henrik had asked the question with a noticeable scent of desperation, of anger even.

 Anger, Jealousy, impatience, characteristics of vigorous people? Undisputedly! Characteristics of a truly passionate person? Questionable! Characteristics of the great interest of the great western world, and its pragmatically indisputable genius? That great interest of the west that was a native of the east, though claiming other nearly unintelligibly foreign stomping grounds. That great interest of Henry’s! That, at times, seemingly dark and at times very light idea that lingered in the background or many westerners thoughts from time to decade. Possibly a rather outdated idea that is merely a name shouted as a curse in this modern era. After all who has time to consider such trifles in such an advanced century.

The sun was un-redeemingly dead at this moment.  Catherine had to leave to another inaccessible work station as what I was able to recount in five lines occurred in a period of 30 plus minutes. And even so there is something to that incongruency that embodies something very definite. She had to leave, but I knew she would be able to come back down in an hour or less. As always Henrik followed her to the point he could not cross.  “So what am I to do ? I can’t wait for you when you have this other guy! What am I to do, I can’t not date other girls when we have not even gone on a real date……” ‘Regardless of the fact that at moments we have left our selves open to each other in ways not even married couples have’ he thought to himself, or did he? He was too lost in his spoken words to think anything to himself rather it was as if assumed he had said it, it was the most mutually understood thing out of anything he had said, though he did not say it.  Catherine’s face flared red, “date other girls I don’t care!   What do you want from me!” And with that she was gone, and with that the sun neither sets nor rises, the sun was never to rise over the two of them standing side by side, never again!

I had no intention or the meesliest  little inclination of a desire to date other girls, and yet I thought something would come from it, as if I were making myself more interesting, and regaining property I had already laid at her feet, as if I were pulling just the right amount of my heart back from her hand. Imploringly I make note to you that everything the young Henrik did after he had found out of Blubs he thought in some way would help gain her confidence, and regain her love that was one moment in time nearly given.

Does it bother you how I slip into the first person, oh but I can’t help it! And doesn’t it betray me, and the radical, and also radically transparent subjectivity we all suffer from, and that is..that is reality! Harsh, though it be…. that is reality.

For whatever reason Catherine was enraged, most likely by the slow underhanded anger that had been under the surface of every word Henrik has spoken for the days since the revelation of Cain. Catherine did not come back down to talk that night. In fact she arranged the rotation with her coworkers so she would not have to. Henrik stood below, and waited and waited……. alone with his thoughts. Thoughts the type of friend that in moments like these have every possible thing to say with a relentlessness that is in itself a parasitic self sourced energy.  

His memory drifted to that one mystical day in which he knew she could love him as much as he did her. Playful and childish was her voice, gentle were her bright eyes, her hair pulled back in a ponytail. “Look I am not wearing my sunglasses!” This was only a few days after he had let out in spoken words his unquenchable love of her, and his happiness he found in her eyes. Henrik gave her a smile, and then took a long savoring sprint into her eyes. The modesty, the strong humility, and gratefulness, as if no one had ever told her the truth about her before. Though it is possible no one ever said those words to her, and meant them with equally sincere desperation.

It is rare to see a rainbow during a sunset without a cloud in sight. His memory of the first day he talked to her again, after leaving college, drifted to the fore of his mind bring a quiet peace over his already inexplicably calm disposition. The type of calm that one feels after knowing one had come so close, and then lost it all. The way Napoleon had felt after nearly restoring a unified rule over Europe, only to lose it all. But Catherine’s soul was not a thing to be conquered. Maybe just maybe if he was patient in time she would simply offer it to him. Henrik was many things but a voluntarily patient man was not one of them. The ironic thing is patients and passion are inseparable, and true passion will force one to be patient, even as one grinds against it in impatience. But it is quite possible a women who had been let down as often as Catherine, it is quite possible one had to conquer her defenses to free up that impossibly good heart kept safe away from humanity. The type of women who could be married for an entire lifetime and yet never leave her soul free for the one she shared a bed with, though in the end it might be that she finds she really did love him, though she did not acknowledge it in her heart of hearts.

Have you ever heard the story of the Danish women, who loved a man, who was seduced by a man, who would not marry her though in truth he too loved her. She was virtually forced to marry, and then after it was all said and done she arranged to have herself buried beside the man she loved who loved her who would not marry her because he loved her. It is a true one! Story that is, a true story…. I believe her name began with an R?

 Anyway, Henrik’s mind went back to that day early in their Olympian sprint of a relationship, “what do you like to do with your time?” Catherine gave a thoughtful look, “well I like to read, and I read, and I read! For instance my favorite philosopher to read is Sigmund Freud, my favorite novel is The Great Gatsby,” Henrik smiled, “Freud the American psychologists!” Catherine, looked at him like he just turned the shade of vomit, “Freud was not American, he was German, a German Jew!” Henrik, paused as if really thinking over whether or not he was right or she, knowing of course that she was right. A glitter of a mischievous smile peaked out of his eyes for a quarter second,  “I wonder why I thought he was American ?” Henrik shrugged his shoulders as they continued to walk to her next post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Happy Ending of A Harsh Reality

Henrik gazed at her, and then did not take his eyes off of her for unbroken five minute allotments. She would not blink, not even meet his gaze. The written recounting of this is of no help, but it seems to this memory that once, just once, his gaze meet hers, and in it was something profound, something powerfully important, and yet Henrik had no idea what it was.  Henrik stood near the gate since he had to be one of the last to leave. All the employees hurried out with the dauntlessness of youth that is only energized after a long day of work in the heat. Chuckles, and smiles and waves faded off into the distance. Catherine eventually came out and saw Henrik’s dropped face, she left the gates without even a wave, as if resolved to avoid him, maybe even moving in such a way suggesting as if she were now afraid of him, as if only to punish him and reassure herself.

That was it, the very last time they ever spoke syllables to one another. There they stood inches apart sunset after sunset, sunrise after sunrise, in the mild moving nostalgic summer air. The earth slowed its rotation those few days in the summer. They stood inches apart perhaps inches from deciding to spend all of life together as one. Just as slowly as that still carefree summer air she was gone, they were separated by the great Atlantic, and apparently so much more! So I will ask you is that a harsh reality? Oh! But reality is so superior to fiction, fiction being only a slither of the robust cake that is life.  But even as Henry turned into Henrik, and a wonderful fiction turned into a harsh reality could not Henrik turn into Henry, into wonderful reality. But what of Catherine, and yet, and yet, and yet, and yet, the harshness is what means there is hope. Oh surely she sees the harshness, but will she dare the hope? Indeed for her there must be another Prince charming from a different fairy tale with more integrity and honesty than old Henrik. That is one of the patient passionate hopes that grow out of this harsh reality we call life.

 

 

 

Postscript

Whether I am old or I am young whether it all took place in the twenty century or the twenty first. Whether I am in fact on my way in, or on my way out, you will not know! You will not know either way of course! For if I am old and you know me ,I  am no doubt wise enough to write so that you do not know me. And if I am old and you do not know me. Well  I remain unknown perhaps with much more to say of what I have waited a long time to say. And if I am young, well then, perhaps you try to find me, but then again perhaps this is only being published because I am neither young nor old, but dead! Because I have died, and a loving family member has seen fit to publish it. And perhaps either way there is more to come, but really this is all beside the point. The point is that when the event occurred I was a nobody from nowhere, I was a liver of life who like a character in a story did the type of thing one would never do, and Catherine was a liver of life, a nobody from nowhere, who looked at this odd boy and found him quite possible. So leave this madness, to the enjoyment of ready fantasy, but why leave it? For you are reading fantasy, and it is a historical reality. Such is the power of that inconsistent freedom and responsibility, and the patient passionate hope to live this monstrosity called life.

 

 

 

 


[1] poor boy, you have saved me from that fool, but you do not know me as you think, and if you did, well you would not have to keep in check those hungry pure eyes, you would lose your appetite for all of me. Your pure soul would be destroyed by mine.”


 

 aharshreality

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The Courageous Lives

TCLFVImage

 

 

The Courageous Lives

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By

 

Henrik Vetterer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To that Child with sad eyes

 

buried beneath the wrinkles of the bitterness of days in hope

 

to that child there before your eyes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Oh come on, have you never had a thing that haunted you?” “A thing….haunt me ?” “A thing, an idea… you know?” “I guess, I mean, life haunts me….” The women shrugged her shoulders, and paused to look and see if she had pinned down the thing, or idea, or whatever it was her friend was talking about. “…..life haunts me, like marrying the right guy, finishing my degree, getting a good job…you know! All that stuff!” “The right guy?” “Yeah, you know.. attractive, ambitious, ambidextrous, and funny.” “The right job ?” This time the women rolled her eyes at her friend’s ambiguous interrogation about ideas, and who knows what. She rolled her eyes and perched her lips as she glanced into the mirror, “Yes! The right job. Like, one that pays well, like a nurse or lobbyist or in marketing…something like that” She closed the cap to her light orange lipstick. “I see life haunts you…ha I see you have no idea what I am talking about!”

 

The somewhat tan young women began to make her way from the mirror to the door, all the while pushing her dyed blonde hair to the side, adjusted her extra padded braw, and retorted as she went out the door, “Well Jacky-dear, you don’t have to worry I guess. You seem to have all the right stuff in the right amounts.” So it was that the two young ladies were off to thee Christmas party. It was Jacquelyn’s freshman year of college and she was beginning to love it. The bleached blonde, Kim, never asked Jacquelyn what she meant by an idea haunting her. Rather, she told Jacquelyn the green Christmas sweater somehow brought out her blue eyes, and that, of course!, Jacquelyn’s natural blonde hair looked perfect with the waves of curls she added. So it was that the “idea” that haunted Jacquelyn faded into the background as she began to lose haunting thoughts and all other deep notions of life in the social life that was college. Likewise, as is so often the case in life, the opportunity to have a profound and personal exchange in the dry sobriety of daylight was altogether avoided by both these young women, oddly they both thought they tried to speak honestly and meaningfully to one another.

 

In the first few months at the university Jacquelyn doubted she was going to enjoy college. Little did the young Jacquelyn know a tall blonde, thin yet well shaped darling with light eyes would find it easy to thrive in such an environment that university life provided for well off young people. It took slightly more time, but Jacquelyn blossomed even more then she had as queen of her smallish high school. It was only a matter of a semester before Jacqueline became the young and, more often than not, benevolent underclassmen queen of the university. The only question was, would she marry an athlete or a musician? Or better yet, perhaps a star law student would come into the race from nowhere with precise timing.

 

During the time of Jacquelyn’s haunting idea she was a freshman and relatively unknown with about a fifteenth or fiftieth of the friends she would collect by her graduation semester. Months before the Christmas party, during the days of the dawning of the idea she walked to and from class with a young man named Hugo. Hugo, was a tallish thin good looking young boy who was very very young in appearance, and dressed somewhat old. Anyway, Hugo had heard the young girl Jacquelyn give a speech. He also saw her in another class besides the one she gave her mesmerizing speech in, and he began to think of her often. The more he thought about her, the more perfect she became to him. Jacquelyn dropped out of the one class which she had with Hugo after the first week. Hugo kicked himself since he had planned to sit with her the following week, after initially laughing at his friend who suggested to him how pretty she was..but that was all before Hugo had heard her speech. Eventually this Hugo character approached Jacquelyn, and approached is the correct word, for all of his doings at this point in his life seemed to signify that he believed them to have the weight of all of history behind them.

 

Hugo was one of the first ones out of the class on this particular day, and on every day. On this day he broke his routine and stopped at the bathroom diagonal from the classroom. He was calculating when she would be finished chatting with her new friends. Lo and behold the heavens opened, and the 18 year old boy unknowingly almost went into cardiac arrest. As Hugo walked from the bathroom to the hallway… two feet from him stood Jacquelyn. Jacquelyn, the all American girl in her jeans and her roll sleeved button down. Hugo searched for eyes against the force of his nearly self destructing body. He had no problem finding her blue eyes for they had found each other often in the preceding weeks. “Are you headed back to main campus?” Hugo did not bother to ask if she was walking since he had already known she was and always did walk. He knew this from his days of constant observation. “Yep” replied Jacquelyn nonchalantly. “Can I join you?” Jacquelyn tried to hold back her sudden urge to laugh at this boy who was wearing and always seemed to wear the seriousness of an old man. “Sure,” Jacquelyn smiled kindly. And so it came to pass that Jacquelyn and Hugo were off and on their way, side by side for the mile tread. The seriousness with which Hugo carried upon himself forced itself onto Jacquelyn, and she found herself walking and talking in a very serious and earnest way with this boy name Hugo. The weather was magnificent and Jacquelyn found ease in that. Hugo was completely terrified, and so in his overcompensation for trying not to appear nervous he flouted along the pavement to the left of Jacquelyn, as an utter bore. Jacquelyn could still sense his leaking petrifaction, and she too became nervous at moments. But to the third person observer, it was a picture perfect scene. The walk began with introductions, and small talk, and concluded with dreams floating back and forth between the two. The serious boy Hugo, took his dreams very seriously, but to Jacquelyn dreams were a sort of artistic exercise of sweet but utterly impractical and ever changing babble of, “at that moment” sincerity.  Jacquelyn and Hugo had one thing in common, they were young. Dreams roll so eloquently off the lips of young people, untouched and unscathed by some of the harsher realities of life, and their cruel henchmen…father time.

 

 As for dreams, Jacquelyn was going to travel the world, perhaps land in a third world country and import love to its children, and not for merely a few months, but for years, and as to when she might do it…well, anytime.. She noted with emphasis anytime! Hugo, who was the living embodiment of the Catholic ideal of a priest, as far as sexuality goes, naturally, he wanted to fight injustice, and rid the world of all the men who lacked his honesty and self control. He told Jacquelyn he wanted to be a reformer..something of a true politician….. finding the truth and then slicing and dicing anything below par or anyone who represented what was below par. He was going to be a birdying golfer of truth. The distant observer who saw and overheard these two might have smiled, and chuckled to himself, if he happened to be an old man that is. He would have been witness to a male and female whose main distinction from the other was that one happened to be a male and the other a female, apart from that they were something of twins, though neither Hugo nor Jacquelyn ever had a glimpse at such an idea. They both meant their dreams, the difference was that Jacquelyn meant hers as a young women, and Hugo his as a young man. Hugo, would plan and plot day and night and seek to arrive at his dream neglecting all the things in between the start and the finish that did not seem relevant to the goal, Jacquelyn would tuck her dream away, nearly forgetting it, and perhaps never pursing it as a definite event, but rather carrying it with her in her every day activities.

 

At this point in their lives they were both still so young and untainted by themselves and the world. How can I describe these young ones except to say they were so good that they knew enough to be bad … knew more than enough and processed all the best tools to be the average bipolar pish posh of half hearted moments of goodness and possessed outbursts of immorality. They even knew some things which they in their purity knew, but only as abstract concepts of immorality. But they were also very young, only eighteen, and though they had conquered a few years perhaps they had not lived long enough for me to say they were shining comets of integrity. Could it be that such premature flights to the heavens find, unbeknownst to their expectations, that time and space transform the pathetic distractions they had already pushed aside in youthful victory transforming them into undying beasts that raise their ugly heads with the regularity of each minute of a lifetime. Yes, perhaps time is all that is needed to bring down to earth these young ones these one’s who snuck through their youth unscathed by the jaded older friend that is the world. But to be fair they did not only sneak but they also waltz through the world proudly conquering all that was common and dishonorable.

 

It is true I have already described Jacquelyn as rich , but Hugo knew nothing about that. Rather he only saw something distinct from everything else. Surely everyone must have noticed the young beauty, but to Hugo’s eyes there was much more to see… possibly things that only eyes with the purity of Hugo’s could see.

 

Before Hugo could see about sitting with Jacquelyn at the University general assembly they were walking to, she darted to the bathroom with a blush, and without a hint of forewarning that she was planning on taking off. Hugo was sometimes nervous and very formal and rigid and Jacquelyn was a young woman full of ideas…. at times overwhelming ideas…. what some might call surges of emotion. Let us be honest, to be young and rather inexperienced and thus naturally taking all things pertaining to the possibility of love with the gravest severity… well things are hardly ever perfectly smooth. Though that is why these little epics of young romance are so exciting, so full of thought to the point of emotion.. So passion evoking.. So memorable!  It is as if something in us has lived before or senses that these young moments will be the last moments of clarity and certainty of love unadulterated by time and the great dulling shadow casting over the bright beginnings of life. The point is, Jacquelyn had a great many ideas and dreams in her mind at the time she meet Hugo, and Hugo was coincidently a rare one who seized on to the depths of people drawing out of people things they sometimes voiced and faced within themselves for the first time. He was not a magician, no he simply was one who looked at life in light of these things…… the things that often remained in the depths. However, none of the events of this relationship matter much as it never got off the ground.

 

A war broke out, and Hugo was sent off to fight! Jacquelyn met another man after the war, but he left her upon becoming famous. It seems that Jacquelyn’s husband was one of those types who had morality sheerly because he lacked the money he thought necessary to be immoral. Upon becoming rich he ran through women like a German through pints in October. He was championed as a lover of humanity feeding the poor children in foreign countries; better yet he was seen as a lover of life because he was kind and upfront with all the fun loving asses he bagged. I mean intelligent young women. After all perhaps they bagged him! Whatever the case, Jacquelyn was devastated. Jacquelyn jumped in line and then tried to redeem him to the man she though she loved. Though to the rest of the county he needed no redeeming… live and laugh they say! In any case, Jacquelyn simply got into the rotation the way a bullpen pitcher gets into the game to walk a batter before getting yanked immediately. Eventually she gave up became famous as well, started a foundation and preached everything untraditional. Jacquelyn advocated pornographic sex scenes as important for children to watch so as to help children develop and see these impacting sights under guidance, as opposed to some dark corner, since it was inevitable that they would see them anyway. In fact Jacquelyn advocated liberating all these things with so much conviction that every movie she was in included a shot of her on all fours!

 

As she matured she took on more mature causes such as homosexuality, and abortion of unwanted fetuses, in certain civilized corners of the world  also known as developing human being not only with the potential for life, but with life. Jacquelyn became famous for her statement that we should, “Thank God babies have alternatives for food other than their mothers breast because after all a women’s breast is her body and she has a right to decide what goes on with her body, and so if she decided her breasts were swelling to much and she did not want to feed the child… well then why not extend the definition of late term abortion so as to uphold the sanctity of a women’s right to her body.” When she first said this at a convention people thought she was being bitter and sarcastic and maybe revealing a change in her position.. ..In short the pro- choicers were shocked and quiet and unsure of what was next, but once they realized she was serious applause broke out ..Thunderous applause… Freudian applause of subconscious enraged bitterness at the pounding they had willing subjected themselves to time and time again.

 

 

 

At the height of her career as a celebrity Jacquelyn tried to offer her ex- a non-binding olive branch. She wanted him to shoot a film in which a suppressed homosexual leaves his wife for the local priest. At first her ex very much liked the profound daring of this films scripts, that is to say he liked the script until he realized that he would, in the name of art and the new school of authentic-realist acting, take it from behind in a “beautiful scene” that depicts the liberation of suppressed humanity. Even so, both Jacquelyn and her ex remained sweet hearts of the nation, though they did not work together very often. Everyone wanted to be them, every business person worked to dress like them, vacation like them, and have illicit drunken sex on the weekend like them. Naturally Jacquelyn and Max did their partying every night, not merely on the weekend, but then again what else does it mean to be a celebrity. Nonetheless, Jacquelyn and Max still managed to save Africa from aids and free the world from irrational religious suppression, or at least western religious oppression. They put an end to the political injustice of low taxes without any means to live well through government intervention, which they used their celebrity to guide the people to understand. Some people disagreed with Jacquelyn and Max’s political agendas and some even believed in God, but they all were united as a nation in the right to party.. After all what more is there to life. And so the story ends with the country in prosperity and Jacquelyn as happy as ever.

 

But wait, my mistake I confused my stories and there by render myself an author who is not credible. But let us be real, nobody wants a credible narrator. No! that will not due incredibility is the thing sought after, although here to again I may have confused terms. But damn it all, it is that part of the book where I affront and accost my readers and say its my damn book don’t read it if your too damn busy doing damn worthless things that won’t be remember two days from now! I mean if you just served someone a coffee and wore a smile doing it.. well then maybe I am to harsh to you, but to the kids who just finished using words like globalization and  ethical awareness while sucking on your or stroking your boss’s … well and of course wearing a tie or perhaps a polo and jeans so as to appear more informal… well why not pick on you, good citizen you may be…… that does not negate the fact that you are a metaphorical coward of reality. And though I might be a bit jealous of your pretty wife who you could never appreciate like a masculine artist like myself, or your ability to buy expensive cars though the one you drive has not taste, nonetheless both you and I know I have an edge on you here……. the poor poet who roams about in near poverty and the limited but utter freedom of being cox sucker/coward to no one, and yet aspiring to goals even weightier then the successful mainstreams man’s realized ambitions, yes here precisely you see me and I see you in all of your decorations and power, and I smile at you and you understand and I understand it is here that you envy me and what might bug you the most is the fact that you cannot understand why. But in any case why not assault you with words in the middle of a novel; after all it is likely you will read it as it is likely I will be called in to give you advice on marketing.   

 

So then, we left Jacqueline in the bathroom with an idea and in fact a great many ideas in her mind, as is the case with most young women. But most likely it seems apparent I am a male author and so I must describe Jacqueline in more detail and pathos then the plot itself, for she was a beautiful woman. She was tall 5 9’ ish thin yet defined. As we said before, her family was very rich bringing in over 2 million a year, at least.  It seems she was, and in fact she was, a very ideal young woman, with many of her own ideals, which of course added to her ideality. Jacquelyn dreamed of romance just like the next girl, however to her, her body was for her husband alone. Likewise it seemed she kept her soul’s fate tied to her body. Therefore if one was given one of course she would reveal the other. But both were hers to give in marriage, this was her romantic vision of youth. Could it be that Jacquelyn is best described as something of a throwback to a great Baron’s daughter in the 1940’s…. rich, beautiful, well educated, strong willed, and very modest in dress and conduct…. with a mildly teasing flair rooted in her awareness of her many gifts that she possessed and others desired. The young princess was a connoisseur of flattery and attention received, she was even generous in her refined tastes putting her appreciation of the art above the quality. In other words if she were a connoisseur of wine she was also something of an alcoholic…. drinking and enjoying the cheapest wine if it was the only wine available to her at the moment. In light of all that a keen eye might presume that it would be quite easy for such a women to be so “upright” and in control….after all, she lacked nothing, and she had good parents with a good relationship, her life was something of a little paradise, the type that the right dose of morality, good fortune, ambition, and perseverance can create in this typically mad world. In a very general view one might be tempted to say she was nearly perfect on all accounts. Yes she had it all, but she still might have been a witch about it, and she was not, she was kind and as I said before, a benevolent monarch, a kind strong queen of her high-school and then college, and overall social kingdom’s in which she moved. A virtuous and a bold women… that is how Jacquelyn was when we left her at the beginning of her freshman year at the university. Time went on and she left the bathroom that she had fled into without her or Hugo knowing the exact reason of her sudden flight to solitude. Jacquelyn told none of her friends of the very distinct boy she had walked to the assembly with that day. What is particularly important about this boy is that he had affirmed or watered the idea already sprouting in her mind.  To be exact, she nearly said it all to this interesting and borderline odd boy who was named Hugo.

 

 “Oh my!” “How strange… what a strange thing to tell him! How easily, he made me spill these things out in the open.”  So it came to pass that Jacquelyn molded a conscious, but un-intentional and buried deep and thus what one might call a subconscious categorization of Hugo as dangerous. Although, he was boyish, his mind was old, wise, and he was good looking enough to not be disregarded on superficial grounds. Jacquelyn continued on her day to day and did not dwell on Hugo or the mini event that had occurred on their walk that one day. Hugo did cross her mind from time to time, but she quickly pushed him and the ideas now seemingly connected to him back in the closest, and she did it with a suspiciously disinterested air of hurriedness. So he occasionally crossed her mind from time to time, and she quickly killed the crossing, and this continued on until their next meeting in which their ripening lives crossed each others, for a second time.

 

Jacqueline and Hugo strolled through campus again after their class the following week. Really, it was looking to become a bit of a routine. But the one day she brushed Hugo off after class, she ignored his question about her ignoring his invitation to hangout outside of class. “I am in a hurry, I have a hockey game to go to, so yeah sometime we can hangout, but I have to go!” Jacquelyn hurried off. Others watched the exchange between the beautiful Jacquelyn, and the ora of earnestness wearing Hugo….. who asked all of his questions right in front of everybody, thus forcing Jacquelyn to respond right in front of everybody who were leaving their classes and cruising through the hallways at a premeditatedly slow pace, the pace of people above being in a hurry….of people who could afford to be above such trifling things that their parents, who funded their capability to be above, were not themselves fortunate enough to be above.

 

Jacquelyn’s reply, given in full consciousness of all the other students around them, was a response with an air of indifference, but with the shrewdness to leave hope for her new friend Hugo. Jacquelyn was not trying to “lead anybody on” she was just unsure of herself, unsure of what she wanted or did not want, and wise enough to not begin the burning of bridges that she might later regret. In short she was both young and a woman, and so indecision was not the most foreign inclination she might have. But this indecision did not really bother her, it was an afterthought as much as it was ever a thought, and she went about her days with growing energy and cheerfulness as she grew accustomed to the new climate of college. My descriptions are growing arduous and uninspired, but this Jacquelyn girl was a myriad of views and feelings, in short she was a deep person, and her shallowness was only one facet of her complexity. In light of the full character that she was I cannot simply leave you with the description that she was young and beautiful, she’s the main character for crying out loud and so if her daily life was a bipolar mixture of ease and labor, well then describing her should be the same. Jacqueline was full of life, of energy, of day seizing, and as naturally as a profound, or in the least haunting idea came to her, well just as quickly she could overcome it….it could be nowhere to be found on her person, and one would wonder if it really was buried somewhere within her person, as those ever pioneering psychologists might suppose. In the following weeks it was for certain that Jac had begun her climb to queendom at the University. And just as easily as you might have predicted this….that you might also have foreseen that this Hugo professed his undying love for her with an urgency only befitting of the imminent end of the world.

 

The sun was out, if it was not they would not have been on one of their walk through the campus together, furthermore I being an author have the luxury of enjoying sunsets to the point of being something of a connoisseur of nature… I suppose you might consider it a corporate company perk. As I was saying, the sun was out, it was the beginning to middle of fall and so it was warm but not cold nor hot, something of a metaphor for how Jacquelyn looked at Hugo. “Jacquelyn,” Hugo said as he firmed his inexplicably weakening voice, “I think you are an amazing girl!” In all fairness Jacquelyn was curious about Hugo, she was not simply looking to enjoy him as her own personal court jester. On the other hand she could sense what was coming from him, and kept encouraging it although any intention of her reciprocating the feeling was no longer a serious consideration.  Jacquelyn replied with a cool and calm “thank you” She smiled at him as only a girl used to hearing the declarations of love from the opposite sex at the age of 16 could. Jacqueline was no longer sixteen, and so she smiled with a smile reminiscent of an old and self assured and patient soldier who observes the enthusiastic movements of new boy who just joined the ranks. Hugo was the constant fluxuation of the appearance of inexperience and the contradictory thoughts and movements of a veteran of experience. He was, apparently not an inexperienced swimmer diving into a stormy surf or a child as Jacquelyn was beginning to suppose, he saw her mild amusement at his expense on her face, and he became immediately angry, and she saw that he saw this, and her amusement was obliterated by the full red faced blush of pure embarrassment. As I said before, she was blonde and fair skinned, and thus the perfect victim for the stark contrast of her own blush. There was a good deal of walk remaining until they would arrive at their class, and the walked unified under the shadow of uncomfortableness, they were to much alike to find a solution, make a joke, or lighten up the mood. Jacquelyn had supposed that he might not be so interested in her in light of what had occurred, and she hoped he wasn’t……. this intriguing boy had lost his allure. A boy ready to pay her a compliment had become the proverbial dime a dozen as she had succeeded in forming her new climate to her liking, she had risen to the top of social ladder in just two months!

 

In many ways the time line of Jacquelyn’s severe idea and her meeting Hugo were interlinked. Hugo appeared right around the time when the idea was at its fullest power within her…..when she was facing it and continuing on in her everyday life in spite of it. Likewise, the decline of the idea, its death in face-time with Jacquelyn was accompanied by the rejection of Hugo. And so when I tell you that Jacquelyn began to see Hugo everywhere, you might get the underlying point. Jacquelyn assumed that Hugo had begun to follow her around, and this irritated her. In reality, Jacquelyn and Hugo had very similar schedules, put together by the very same academic advisor for freshman. Many times throughout the following weeks their eyes would meet at the most unexpected times and places, times and places they had happened to never notice one another before, although most likely the only thing that changed was that these times they saw each other.  Jacquelyn began to assume that he was not only following her but hunting for her eyes constantly. But these periodic and devastating eye locks where not initiated by a long eye search, and Jacquelyn began to sense this. She began to sense that these frequent connecting of the eyes had a naturalness to them, and this began to work on her already preoccupied mind, after all she had become very important and known girl very quickly, and her stock and reputation as an awesome girl compounded every day.

 

 But I am such a terrible author full of the most un-becoming inclinations that an author may have. I wish to tell you the sum of the story without the details or without a presentation, but if I am not a patient author I am not a dishonest one either.  For now I will resist the temptation. By the way, the campus in which Jacquelyn was rising to power was a very beautiful campus, sectioned off from the public and near the city but the university itself was situated in the countryside. Beautiful architecture and beautiful young people all over the place, full of zest for life, for the arts, for music in the moonlight, even the young accountants and businessmen had a subtle pleasure in the suits and ties they wore to class on occation. Yes it was a little civilization of people funded to study and develop their minds and bodies and enjoy life. There were gorgeous women everywhere, of all varieties, some tall but Jacquelyn was one of the tallest and the thinnest and the most well shaped and the richest, and the most outgoing. Surely she was not all of these things but it was a combination, in truth there may have been thinner girls or more shapely girls, but as Jacquelyn’s friend told her earlier that freshman year, “why worry Jacquelyn you have the right amount of everything,” a very obvious but true statement. After all America is a country where the first question you ask a stranger is “what do you do?” which in many ways is the same as asking, “what do you have?”, in fact the latter is what is meant by the question, and both the asker and the answer understand this.

 

Jacquelyn began to receive emails from this mad young man. He was a very certain concoction of crazy, at least in relation to social norms; of course his version of crazy would be forgiven him if he did something great or if it was known he possessed a lot of money. His craziness would not only be forgiven if he did or had either or these things, he would be celebrated for being crazy. For the most part, he got away with it because he was good looking and increasing good looking as he became even more masculine each year. What I am saying is, is that this Hugo of Jacquelyn’s would have been deemed a “creep,” if he was not so fortunate as to be so good looking. Jacquelyn, thought about whether or not she should consider him dangerous, but really her intuition was that there was not a dangerous bone in his body. She only wondered about his being dangerous because it was the respectable thing to do. For a good deal of time she kept the emails from this love sick boy and his existence in relation to her a complete secret. She did not really think about why she didn’t tell her friends about him. It may have been for one of many reasons. Perhaps to avoid embarrassment, or keep the excitement of it exciting, or maybe she found it all so exciting and yet ridiculous that she felt she had to keep it to herself. Jacquelyn did not like him anymore than she was annoyed by him, even so blushes were evoked, a smooth ship of state was brought to momentary halts, and this she could not ignore, though by trying to ignore it, and keeping it to herself she tired her best to ignore it. Her reaction to Hugo varied over time, sometimes she even found him comical. Indeed her reaction varied. But this was such a small part of her life, nothing more than a little sporadic headache that one noticed from time to time, though ever more so each time over time. Eventually Jacquelyn asked her mother about “it all.”

 

Jacquelyn took a weekend trip home. The newish looking little mansion was set in a tropical climate, decked out in woods and stones, and minerals, and metals….. it was a splendid looking house full of the newish and nicest looking appliances. I nearly forgot she took a plane home from the university. On the plane she sat in a black north-face zip up and light blue jeans, her blonde hair in a pony tail, and an e-reader in hand she was reading “A Harsh Reality”. Her mother was also very good looking, something of a twenty year older looking version of Jacquelyn, although she was thirty years older than Jacquelyn. It was early in the morning Jacquelyn’s father was already up and off to some engagement, and Jacquelyn and her mother were sitting at the white with threads of black marble counter drinking hot lattes from their espresso machine. Jacquelyn was on one side of the counter facing the oven and the other kitchen appliances; her mother was on the other side facing the large Italian doors overlooking the pool. Both were sitting high up in decorative bar stools with backs. “Jacquelyn my dear, I do not understand why you are so worried even to bother mentioning it….even as coolly as you did…. he is just a boy and there will be many more boys, you are so young Jac. I told you just enjoy your time at school, and he will lose hes undying love for you I promise. Just do not encourage him. I am afraid you will have to ignore him, and if you do he will sooner or later disappear.”

 

Jacquelyn did not realize it, but as I said earlier Jacquelyn had united the idea and Hugo within her mind. Hugo, in a way, representative something of the idea, even apart from the fact that he meet her during the time she was seriously facing the idea, her haunting idea about life, about her life. Perhaps you are wondering how I am privy to all of this information about Jacquelyn, and you are right to wonder, and I will tell you soon enough, but really it’s quite simple really. Well, I suppose I will just tell you now. I meet Jacquelyn at a certain place and a certain time, and I heard her story and it was quite a fascinating one. At any rate I am a professional and she was kind enough to tell me her story so that I might observe different aspects of it on a psychological and sociological level. In any case I am a psychologist of sorts, and she was kind enough to allow me to tell her rather very intriguing story…..after all she is a family friend.

 

 

 

I believe I have hit the point home that Jacquelyn had her many advantages. In combination with the great many advantages nature, or rather, as Jacquelyn professed, God had endowed her with; along with these many advantages came their own dialectical disadvantages.

 

“My dear you are so beautiful, you look so very much like X on Broadway!” “Look at Amy is she not so much more beautiful than the average women, then the celebrities in Hollywood.” And on and on went Jacquelyn’s brother- in- laws and brother- in- laws- to- be about their respective companions. The repeated the same theme with their persistence of insecurity each and every day of what became for Jacquelyn the eternal purgatory of family holiday gatherings. As the years went on Jacquelyn’s very gorgeous and, in their own right, intelligent sisters grew older. Her sisters were already a good deal older then the second youngest, that was Jacquelyn. Each year Jacquelyn became more embarrassed at her ass of a brother- in- law Brad. She was embarrassed for her sister, who tried to avoid seeing through her husband serious problem with the young and beautiful Jacquelyn.  “ Brad is such an idiot, so obviously insecure and tormented by me, I wonder if he even recognizes how pathetic he looks, and how bad he makes my sister feel, and hate me as a result. I don’t give a damn if he wishes to compliment my sister, he should he is her husband, and she is an exceptional women, but that doesn’t mean he needs to act like a sycophantic fool. Everybody realizes he is only a year older than me and 7 years younger than my sister. Everybody sees he is a discontented idiot, I don’t give a damn about him he is average to ugly looking, and his constantly offered opinions on every matter are far more than any notion of polite conversation-making that I care to deal with. His constant, “harmless jokes” at my expense only add to and confirm my sisters embarrassment, of her husband who is an ass!” Jacquelyn was staring blank faced at Brad for the entire duration of her bereavement of him in her mind, and then she looked away. “Ok Jac? We thought we lost you there, up tight again I see! She always so uptight LeAnn, really we need to get her a boy-friend!”

 

This was but a sample of the endless torture Jacquelyn underwent at family gatherings, and college social gathering where her friends boyfriends were seeking to move on to Jacquelyn. Jacquelyn, began to find men pathetic, dishonest, and utterly lacking in integrity, in short men were becoming a default of disgusting. Girl friend’s boyfriends and brother in laws like Brad, who always made a point to comment on every comment Jacquelyn made. Brad did this in addition to his customarily annoying public addresses on every matter. For a while, Jacquelyn had hoped her sister, and friends were not keen enough to realize how much of asses their men were, however she realized her sister LeAnn had begun to catch on. LeAnn began to constantly say, “Jacquelyn, really you shouldn’t” or “Oh Jac, you’re so silly!” “Your such an eccentric Jac, not everyone can afford to be as off the cuff as you!” Yes Jacquelyn’s sister had wised up, and decided to cope with it by further abusing the innocent! There were days, many days that Jacquelyn wanted to put a “Don’t hate me because I’m Beautiful” bumper sticker on her car, or stitch one on her shirt. One day in a feeling of strong and overcoming defiance she put a massive bumper sticker on her car…..only to roll out of bed at 1 a.m. and take it off in fear of all the people that would see it in the morning. The sticker was on her car for a solid 6 hours.  Jacquelyn realized that people would only hate her even more, with reasons to justify and cover over their deep-seated jealousy. One relief was that at the University, very few girls would dare to express their hate in any form other then the occasional and subtle glances and innuendos of bitchiness. Jacquelyn, was respected and well liked, and had secured enough popularity that it was taboo to openly say bitchy things about her. Jacquelyn really was a prime object of hate, although some bookish and intelligent women can tolerate the natural beauties that they feel superior to in intellect, they could not tolerate Jacquelyn in such a way, since her intellect was equal and even superior to theirs. And so it was that on a regular basis the cutting jabs of well trained women would still find their way to her, just as they had in her own family room over thanksgiving, delivered by a man who was selected because it was the best way to end her sisters loose ways with the most satisfaction, in a few words: a younger successful man!

 

At college all three of Jacquelyn’s closest friends forgot to mention to her that they all joined a volleyball team. It was a convenient thing to forget since Jacquelyn would steal all of the young men’s attention, the very reason her friends joined the team in the first place.

 

Oh I forgot to mention, Jacquelyn received a near perfect score on her SAT, and earned a national scholarship, which of course, she did not need since her parents, were extremely rich members of an extremely rich civilization. Naturally this irked everybody from her high school, although they provided nothing but congratulatory smiles seething with raw jealously. Indeed she had it all, and she knew she had it all, but she was humble in the most important way and so she was anything but a bragger. On the other hand Jacquelyn did not go out of her way to hide her superiority in all things other people valued. However, at times, Jacquelyn did refrain from disclosing all information so as to not alienate and stir jealousy in the people she might happen to be talking with.  Even through the time of Jacquelyn’s ascent and reign as Queen of the University this jealously of others provided a sobering slap in the face from time to time.

 

But where was I? Ah yes! this Hugo the young and desperate romantic that every women seems too long for, and rejects at some point in her life, this fellow who was only three years away from being a strong successful knight in shining bmw’s he kept sending Jacquelyn emails. Emails praising her moral virtue, and every other thing he could think of to praise her for. This began to annoy Jacquelyn. She found herself feeling guilty at not being the girl he thought and describe her to be in his unending stream of emails. This, in addition to her lust for attention began to get her into all kinds of situation she never dreamed of finding herself in. Her reaction to the oddly felt guilt was to act in opposition to his description. She found herself alone at night with various baseball players and basketball players. Eventually, Jacquelyn settled on a particular baseball player. Jacquelyn would not have approved of any of her actions, and yet there she was and she was crushed by her own disapproval. Her life was on fire, she was on the move constantly. She ran and ran everyday for exercise, to clear her head. She became involved in every on-campus organization the University had to offer, all the while remaining the life of off-campus society and its endless parties. Jacquelyn’s high activity level was not a surprise; per se, her family was always very active. Her father was always laying siege to the business world, and her mother raised children and ran her own hobby business simply for the fun of it, each belong to a number of their own and mutual social groups…activity in excess was the norm. And though it is that active people have many ideas, it seems they have very few of the haunting type, if they do face such an idea the simply forget it by default to the activity, or one might say they suffocate it with activity.

 

So Jacquelyn continued with her busy pattern. For the next four years. Though of course, there is a though, there is usually always a though, as I mentioned she went exclusive with the baseball player and thus never ended up with any sort of infamous reputation, the kind that most women do not really want to have, although the times seem to be changing. Jacquelyn was looked at as a moral leader and exemplar to all the women on campus. So Jacquelyn crushed the optimism and idealist notions of her youth with other enthusiastic, endeavors. Her idea that haunted her at the very down-and-out point of her early college career faded deep into the darkness of her mind. It seemed to her that most of her odd first semester was simply a low point of her life, a mere period of transition that naturally gave rise to all those odd notions and feelings within her mind. She realized that it was all brought about by homesickness, loneliness, and transition. She did not care to remember it at all. Perhaps this whole brief period in Jacquelyn’s life is best described in terms of the odd boy and the moments their eyes meet. Occasionally upon seeing the fellow about campus their eyes meet and her body underwent a brief shock, not only in relation to him, but as I noted earlier, in relation to the idea. It seems that the boy, and the idea had somehow grown to be connected in her mind…had become one! I should mention the only other instance Jacquelyn was shaken by the idea apart from the boy.

 

Jacquelyn and her friend Amy, a southern blonde pet of Jacquelyn’s, where walking to class from the general assembly. It was the spring semester of Jacquelyn’s junior year. An old part of the campus was under repair, and so the girls stared in horror at what appeared to be the destruction of the old library. “Oh my gosh Amy, now that is a man!” stated Jacquelyn as she backhanded Amy on the shoulder to get her attention. Amy glanced over at the great library being torn down, which was really simply under much needed restoration. Amy eyes settled on a tall man of about 6 4’. The youngish man was about 30 with longer black hair, brown eyes and a natural looking tan to his skin. He was thin and ripped with muscle. “Let’s get a closer look.” As they walked closer to the man trying to make it look non-obvious that they were staring at him, the man lit up a cigarette, they saw he had a gold earring in his ear and upon closer inspection a somewhat harsh look about him, even so it was clear to them both he was a good looking man, even in spite of his dirty pirate like look. “Oh my!” winced Amy. “Yes your right,” snarled Jacquelyn, as they both turned their gaze away from the man. The man noticed what had just occurred; he was good looking for all of his adult life, and was no foreigner to the varying looks that women gave him over the years. He looked right at Jacquelyn, and his stare went right through her. To Jacquelyn there was telekinesis in his stare, and she was embarrassed. To top off his knowing stare at Jacquelyn he changed his serious eyes to the mischievous mockery of a smooching gesture with his lips. At first Jacquelyn blushed, and then in appalled horror turned her head in a quick jerking motion that flipped her hair from side to side, this only served to make the man snicker to himself since her quick turn of the head was a very delayed reaction. “What was that?” questioned Jacquelyn with a consciously over dramatic flair.. “Other than gross? I have no idea.” replied Amy with a winning daddy’s girl sound to her voice. At this moment Jacquelyn had no recollection of her once overwhelming idea. Instead it was two days later at the local coffee shop with her older sister that it all came about.

 

“Jac dear, don’t worry just enjoy your last year…it will all come together. Besides you really don’t think Daddy would let you slave away at some boring job… at worst you can travel or do some missions trip…. or something… you know?” LeAnn was full of energy, she was always full of energy in public, carefully and care-freely adding emphasis to her statements with intermediate pauses filled with sips or stirs of her 6 dollar poor excuse for anything resembling a coffee. “I guess you’re right.” Jacquelyn was in a melancholy mood as she sipped on her crème brulee latte. She was looking for a new topic as she fiddled around with her drink, and it came to her and it brought a rejuvenating and mischievous energy to her being.  Just as Jac was poised with her semi-mischievous full energetic and conceited grin, she saw the man from the other day. Her excitement about asking her sister how a certain aspect of marriage was going with the ridiculous Brad, that was her sister’s husband, vanished instantly.

 

 “Oh my gosh!” LeAnn turned to see what Jacquelyn’s hysterics were all about. As LeAnn turned her wooden chair screeched hard against the hard wood floor.

 

The construction worker from the other day…. who was simply buying a coffee at a posh little café, well he could not help but notice Jacquelyn’s dramatics and LeAnn’s anything but discreet 180 in her screeching chair.

 

LeAnn’s eyes became immense, it must have been a family trait inherited from their father who had use his ability to make his eyes immense to surge his way through uncanny business situations…..often times without uttering a word. Just as LeAnn’s eyes capsized , at that specific instant and before she turned around to say “how do you know him?” the man was overcome by a glowing smile…a naturally arising smile….a compulsive smile from ear to ear, in fact he was looking and smiling right at them, and as he began to turn with his newly purchased cup of premium mild coffee in his hand what did he do but shoot them the finger that hails from the middle region of the hand… and then he turned and was gone! Now I should note, that his smile was not malicious nor was it resentful. It was the type of smile a younger brother might give his older sister after he has really succeeded in irritating her.

 

The construction worker, not the construction worker who had hair as black as Arabian oil and dark seductive eyes that played upon the tertiary emotions of a young women with shooting pangs of deep sensuousness and yet boyish innocence…..nor was he tall like one would imagine a strong ancient Greek soldier, nor was his flesh flesh that was itself sculpted as a natural body armor, no! He was simply a construction worker. In truth he might have been described like this if one new a little history and had a little bit of an eye for the splendor of things in the present, though I highly doubt Greek soldiers were tall which is beside the point. So often it takes a generation or two to finally recognize some of the brilliance of what was once present and even more brilliant in the present… though unrecognized.

 

How the two women pictured this construction worker I really have no idea. I imagine both might have seen a little of the dark deep sensuousness in his look, but maybe they pictured him as 6 4’ ish and tall with tan skin and noticeable muscle tone. Did she notice he had a beard line like every actor who has ever portrayed a dashing warrior prince or did she simply notice he did not shave? Old F Scott might have noticed the ancient and royal look about the man underneath his disheveled pirate like display but as to whether or not the women’s mind was so colorful is yet to be seen.

 

Ah but wait I am the author, and it turns out I do in fact know how LeAnn saw the mildly worn down 30ish something construction worker. LeAnn imagined him as she had remembered him to be…. something celebrity, something incomprehensible in everyday life, a rarity! A Romeo…a first love! “It’s ashame for him really, he’s just completely ruined,” stated LeAnn with a matter of fact superiority, and with a tone that indirectly affirmed and mourned his unique good looks. Jacquelyn’s eyes popped out of her head or at least she had the superficial and rather repulsive flash of the dramatic to make it appear as if they were going to.

 

“How do you know him ?”shot Jacquelyn firmly planting the ‘you’s’ emphasis in her sentence. “He went to the University the same time I did….To sum it up he, the construction worker that is, he was apparently obsessed with this girl. At the time he was shy, and relatively innocent and boyish and all that nice stuff that nice boys often times stop being when they become men. Anyway, he won her attention, they even became official…..” LeAnn stopped to stir her latte non-chalantly and passive aggressively eating up Jac’s entire concentration and odd interest in the story. “So anyway, for whatever reason, he dumped her and became a complete jerk. And alls I know is… what a tease! That is why beautiful women like us have a duty to unattractive wealthy men who won’t fail to appreciate their more becoming half!” LeAnn concluded her summarization quite pleased with her ending and laughed.

 

 Jacquelyn simply took it all in nearly squinting as if preparing to say her piece….. this was her usual way when something really interested her, she would actually stare at the other person with unbroken concentration and then whenever she wanted to respond she would posture her lips like a little child trying to restrain oneself from peeing the pants. Jac scowled a little as she broke a triangle corner off her peach scone daintily putting it into her mouth. “So what do you mean he went crazy? And why did he dump her? There has to be some reason?” LeAnn replied with a semi-frown of her own, “What’s your interest, he is infamous for doing dramatic things like flicking people off for no reason… it’s old news and he is too old to act that way anymore…its ridiculous!” LeAnn emphasized the old in news with a wave of her hand and an owl like “ooooolllldddd” coming from her lips as she leaned in toward her sister and snatched the younger Jacquelyn’s eyes with her own.

 

These young women where that new brand of what was once southern gentry… A very dis-configured confidence on the whole…. a mad brew that was a hodge podge of this and that. A pinch of romance, a pinch of American patriotism, a pinch of celebrated motherhood , a pinch or double pinch of religion, a full tablespoon of money, and when it all began to mix superficiality and arrogance formed at the top with pockets of soul and good heartedness and depth buried within. In a young woman like Jac it was a bipolar mixture that left one guessing as to what would, in the end, come out of the oven!

 

LeAnn made it clear she had no intention of discussing the construction worker who looked like “Hollywood.” The conversation moved to date setting for various social gatherings, and the new curtains LeAnn had just purchased earlier in the week. Jac had resolved how and when she would find out about that intriguing construction worker who looked and moved like ‘Holly wood.’ Little did Jac know why she found him so intriguing.

 

 Secret Days of A Lifetime

 

Meanwhile it was misting on a certain street within the country of France. It was early in the summer season and the aged buildings stood proud and erect as if twinkling their eyes at the enthusiastic people who appeared eager for summer and for excitement. On this particular street there were many out-of-towners, some of which were the minimum wage type and others of which were amply supplied on relative’s bountiful incomes… all of them carefree and having no worries of the morrow. Some of the more imaginative one’s drank wine since they were in France; the rest drank the same things they would have drunk were they sitting within 10 miles of their birth place. The women and the men were dressed with a certain zest, well pressed polo’s, v-necks, even peculiar sneakers with bright colors, or boating type shoes. The women wore spaghetti strapped dresses of all shades, most of which were low cut in both directions. To a competitive natured person the general scene of these people would fluctuate between disappointing and intimidating. Whether or not these people, who were flowing about the streets, appreciated the fact that they were in France…. that buildings above them had magnificent little balconies with swirling metal railings and were packed tightly to the next building with glass windows on the lower floors and wooden doors….whether or not being in France simply had an extra allure because it was something of gaining a friends admiration, or in fact they truly took in the feel of a city notorious for a deep sensualism that fluctuated back and forth between utter and classic unremorseful debauchery, and on the other hand a despairing and hopeful thirst for final and complete satisfaction, whether or not this was of any significance to them is wholly doubtful….it is much more likely they were concerned to get pictures for their own personal websites of artificial celebrity.

 

Ah.. it was the beginning of a new century, the 21st century, a rather peculiar century coming off the heels of a century that went from horses to Audi’s from Theodore Roosevelt to Ben Bernanke and Mario Draghi. From pigeon messages to the apple plates that magically shot messages off into space and back again…. across the globe far faster than any pigeon. It was the 21st CE in France in a certain city.. on a certain street that had for years reveled in art in literature in music in painting, and sculpting…in debates, in love, and of course in drinking and dressing well, and above all else being beautiful and full of desire and desirability on utopian like summer evenings. Also at this time in the new century, the world, and the country of Hugo and Sartre, were full of social initiatives, full of what a skeptical age might call quantitative conscience easing by the pumping out of charities and laws that were “for the betterment” of society….coincidently society was not getting better the rich became richer and thus the poor poorer.

 

This night the native people were leaning from the balconies smoking….. Thin and thick beautiful women with dark hair and uniquely molded jaw-lines, average looking men…. some clean shaven…. some with a little unkept facial hair and others with longer well groomed facial hair. The women wore subtle or striking heels and the men distinct watches…well you get the picture.  Though in many parts of the world smoking was no longer a thing wealthy or educated people did, on this street there was smoking and laughing and drinking and the clattering of heels on the ground and the firm grasp of arms around women’s waists and even some less diverse parings wandering about. It was France… it was the early summer and the world had ceased to run to stand still. Now most all simply ran, not to any specific final hopeful resting point, No! rather they ran to the next checkpoint…and the next… and the next, in brief it was a time of running with no other objective then running, not too something, not of reflection, any thought or idea was in relation to running ,and they ran to run to run some more.

 

On one portion of a block that was not so busy, one in which  they were beginning to close up shop there…there on that block sat a man in his mid twenties, his hair was full of body…not short but not long…smoothingly collected in a large wave in the very back of his head. His eyebrows were a dark black his eyes were a bold blue, bold only due to the offsetting of his black beard. His beard was that of a typical European…. full up to the cheek bones and down to the adam’s apple with two symmetrical spots beneath the lip and on both sides of a middle strip connecting to the rest of the full beard which ran beneath the nose. He was somewhat tall, around the height of 6 3’ or maybe 6 2’ on a bad day. His frame was strong and healthy.

 

He sat alone at a table which was outdoors and along the street, he was drinking coffee water and wine, he had accumulated three cups in front of him representing the hours he had spent there. The restaurant was closed but the three cup fellow had made friends with the closer at the restaurant earlier in the week. Apparently the three cup gentleman had won-over the native Frenchman by being polite and attempting to speech French all the while apologizing for his butchering of what he imagined might be a very beautiful language….oh and he also left tips in cash, a winning combination even for an American.

 

On the street and off to the curb-side to the seated man’s right he noticed a caravan of Range Rovers out of which walked a person who looked very much like a very famous actor. The three cup fellow noticed the actor immediately. This peculiar fellow watched the entourage unloading from the pristine silver and black Range Rovers as they ascended to the top of a very nice apartment. He concluded that someone must have owned the apartment or possibly they had made the acquaintance of a local, he thought this because this was not the typical Ritz that the wealthy-famous surrounded themselves with in every corner of the world…. rather sad really.. how they go everywhere and find themselves in the same place, the same setting. The young man smirked at this thought and his sarcastic  paraphrase of “the wonders of globalization.” All the meantime he had made his way toward the bottom of the apartment building in which he had seen the celebrity enter. For nearly all the previous week he had wandered around France by day and sat at that same restaurant by night. It was all a rather boring affair except that all of his relatives and friends and anybody he knew had no idea he had left the United States. This sole secret made it all very exciting…that and of course he did not know the language…and that he hated flying in planes and being somewhat of a country-side boy he only felt safe with a fire arm nearby. So it was that he found himself sliding into the apartments lobby on another man’s cuff, a man who fortunately was gassed, in other words entirely intoxicated. The man made his way to the top floor and followed the noise to two different doors as both seemed to be hosting a party inside. A very muscular and rotund man was sitting in a chair in the hallway. The rotund man looked the three cup fellow up and down and left to right. The young man pretended not to notice and moved about as if he knew where he was going. He picked the door to the right. He had already begun to knock when the rotund man introduced himself, “excuse me sir…. You speak English?” The young man nodded, “who is it you are looking for, this is a private party and all the guests are inside?”  The armored man began to guide the intruder away with a gesture, just then the door which had already been knocked, opened. The young three-cup man put out his hand to a dazed woman, “Julius Bouchard, I meet the host at the petite restaurant earlier in the week and he invited me to a party at this time and at this location?” The three-cup fellow named Julius paused “hmmmm I don’t see him, maybe I have the wrong apartment.” Julius began to turn as if to leave, all this time the body guard had been breathing down his neck and in the side of his face. “Shit! Here he is…. of course… he is in here,” She gave Julius a glance something akin to a bored and obese man seeing a new type of food which he had never eaten before. The bouncer was not convinced… “Maam, you know this man?” “Yes, yes he is some artist or something, very famous in this city! He’s thee….” “I’m a writer, script writer; you know… all of that stuff.” Julius rolled his eyes at the bouncer, “apparently you do not read GQ very often, but fair enough it’s your job to be suspicious” The lady grabbed Julius’s hand as the body guard adjusted his suit coat with his eye’s down. “My apologies sir, I should have recognized you!” “Oh it’s all-right, friend, its better we meet now before everyone is in oblivion and wouldn’t know their own mother much less a new acquaintance. After all we artists types are a dime a dozen.” Julius gave him a firm reassuring wink and followed the long dangling arms of the lady into a new world.

 

“So tell me dear, who is on the no show list tonight?” “Oh Bill Hankins, as always he is probably too trashed to leave his hotel room. Heath always has to kiss his ass. She flicked her dangling and seductively slim limbs to and fro, her demeanor and tone was that carefree something of a 1950’s Hollywood film, a film taking place in the twenties. “Well as you can see Heath is over there getting his fill/fix.. fuck it, it’s all the same, do you need to get that out of your system or maybe that is why Heath invited you in the first place, for some sport? Anyway you can jump in there or join me and the others out on the veranda?” Julius had walked into an orgy that made intercourse appear to be something of a sporting event with competitors lined up shoulder to shoulder….. the means of the competition on all fours in front of them. In a quick glance in the direction of the live animal plant homosapians editions, he deduced that none of the men were drunk, and as to the women….well who could know what they were or weren’t, other than on their way to being hospitalized.

 

“I’m Jillian, by the way.” Julius immediately noticed she had some type of accent, “a French accent, she must have overheard the English being spoken, during the scene at the door and simply spoke English and given that she was an actor perhaps took off her native accent, or maybe this was her actor accent?”

 

Jillian put out her hand as she introduced herself, her wrist dangled before Julius like a carrot dangles before a rabbit, it hung there out in front of her body and begged to be kissed. Julius thought about a simple and business like firm squeeze but he opted for the suave and flowing motion of a kiss on the hand. Apparently he had made the right decision, she smiled, “so Julius what is it that you write, maybe I have seen some of your movies?” Julius’s blue eyes were still a contorted look of perplexity and amazement….not only at the pressure of the precarious situation he had thrown himself into but also at the debauchery he had just seen and still heard the remnants of drifting through the doors to the veranda, French doors.

 

Jillian apparently could read his stressed mood, “Well apparently you don’t write porn scripts or romance novels!” Jillian gave a sincere laugh again with the consistent lackadaisical semi-aristocratic feel of a actor in a roaring twenties movies. As her laugh subsided she gently partook of a sip of wine, red wine, “the blonde fellow is my husband….” She paused, Julius, now aware of his completely previously unguarded expressions, attempted to wear a default expression of- “of course”. He was, however completely thrown off by her comment given that his claim to being there was that he had meet her husband at the restaurant earlier in the week. “Does she know I am a liar and an intruder, and not care! Or is she drunkgged, or damn it what is going on?”

 

“I figure it is best he gets it out of his system as opposed to suppressing it, and worse yet, as if for my sake!” Julius found himself looking at a very gorgeous woman….a very young woman who along with her sunset type beauty carried herself with an equally gripping and potent form of sensuality.  Julius continued his listening gaze as he fixed himself a drink of jager on ice. All the meantime he considered the objective and distant sunset like beauty of this women…. beautiful as a waterfall surrounded by glistening rocks of bright and vibrant shades of green trees and clear water and even a pink sky….. the type of beauty that one would not find oneself aroused for…..but but but, Jillian, as I said, carried herself with an equally vibrant sensuality…..an a- moral and unassuming form that took one’s thought to the aesthetic side of life as opposed to the ethical….. in short her sensuality did not lead one to laugh to oneself and think “ah a village bicycle  has parked itself in my driveway!” Yes well, with that said, it was Julius’s view that “her body was so formed that a person thinking about ice-cream, or being on the brink of a devastating war, upon seeing her for half a minute! could not but think, sex! Somehow her waterfall like beauty…. her pure and beautiful face could not deter one from seeing her in motion and thinking “here before me stands…. before me stands sex! The incarnation of sex!” Yes if an orange is associated with fruit this women, Jillian, was not only associated with sex in the way that women are by hungry men, no she was sex! sex to the celibate bishop of 30 years and the young teen who had never seen a naked women, the man who had just finished having sex the very moment before seeing her, let me be clear, even men raised by masculine mothers without father figures ….who advanced from an innocent childhood surround by female friends to the aware teen years surround by female friends who now not only liked boys, but liked boys with a new awareness, these men who proceed to their teen years and given their entire social upbringing and the screams of the world around them that they are gay and should be proud to be so…. these men who then act out homosexuality, upon meeting, upon meeting Jillian have rethought the entire minority opinion that they were born free and were merely surround by social condition that drove them in a certain direction. Indeed Heath was just such a convert, and well, he never looked back!

 

Anyway, where was I ? Ah, yes, yes I remember.  Julius was considering this women sitting in front of him, and he was baffled, he was no stranger to life, but he saw the scene he saw when he walked through the door, he remembered he very recent commentary on her husband’s participation in it described in likeness to him having some boring golf match that she had to wait on him to finish, and Julius found himself unable to process the world he had walked into.

 

“This view on this balcony is great, what a city, what a country! Are you from here?” Jillian threw him a glance, a very defined type of glance. Julius was truly a gorgeous man, I forgot to mention his perfectly squared jaw and defined chin in my previous description. He had a nice nose well proportioned to his face…. hair that was capable of any style, this particular time period it was pulled back into a small pony tail, a snub really with hair somewhat shorter on the sides than on the top. He wondered to himself when he would ever find himself receiving such a glance from such a women again. “Never! There can logically only be one incarnation of sex.” He was young and although he did not realize that such a glance would be a common thread running through the life of a man as good looking as him, he did rightly recon that Jillian was an exceptional women.  

 

His middle finger found the softness of her hair against it as his thumb lay against her cheek bone, and he held the side of her neck against the palm of his hand. From the moment at the door-way until this very moment he went back and forth between whether he would admit a deeper desire to find lifelong love within this woman and also whether or not her husband would impact either option. Julius began to flow with this tsunami of a woman possessing overwhelming beauty in her form with deep and powerful undercurrents of sensuality.

 

As his lip first grazed hers she pulled away, “not here, meet me on the roof in ten minutes.” Julius, in the utmost sincerity turned to make his way out of the apartment to find the roof access….Jillian began to laugh, “You thought we would have to sneak around my husband! Hahhaha take me here if you like or in our bedroom with the door open, it makes no difference!”

 

His face showed embarrassment and having been startled he paused blank-facedly trying to understand what was happening. All the while Jillian moved the spaghetti straps of her dress off her shoulder, they fell to her elbows and she gave him an unyielding stare. He saw her magnificent face, he saw her dress held up only by her breasts, he felt her stare, and the youth and the potency of his blood flooded his body and giving up on worries and acknowledging the unknown of many possible consequences, he feasted! He feasted on her flesh and bone, all the while something within urged him to find a way to her soul, and in bipolar like madness he moved about her, at moments using her, and at moments begging to give, at moments laughing many different forms of laughs, and a moments crying many shades of tears, at times he hated himself and her , and at times he loved her so passionately that he longed to die then and there as one with her so that they and he might have her forever. He found her soul, she guarded it with all her strength, but then in the end made it available to him, and when he realized she had unlocked it for him to take and lock with his, at that moment…. after longing for so many moments that it would be his, when it finally presented itself, he fled from her, and she in an embarrassed and greatly hurt fit ran away before he could ever think to change his mind!

 

The morning sun fell upon them soon enough as did her husband the famous actor Heath.  “I brought you kids some espresso.” He shut the doors behind him and pulled a chair to sit upon but a foot and a half from their naked bodies. Julius was noticeably startled and on edge…. looking for a means of defense.

 

“Thank you darling! I hope you called in the maids to clean and clear out the smell of you boyz’s rugby match last night… you know I don’t like the smell of sports….last rugby match you had I couldn’t eat seafood for a year the odor made such an impression on me!”  Heath chuckled, “I’ve already taken care of it.” His tone of voice changed as he addressed Julius…. Julius who was still looking paralyzed, “By the way, who is this guy? He shows up at my party and does the bell of the ball, my wife, on the porch for the whole fucking town to see.” His proud and angry tone adjusted to that of an objective academia professor, he was an actor, “ of course Jillian and I are far too developed for me to be upset, though still…. I am concerned for her safety and either you are a bit off or you have a pretty overconfident estimate of your balls !” Julius realized he had to say something, “well, I stumbled into this thing and wasn’t sure of what is what, and your wife she is unlike anything I have seen, but um, ah, well, my apologies, as I said… I didn’t have enough time to sort out what was what last night. So if you are serious, if in fact this is your wife… I am sorry! And I should go.. really!”

 

Jillian was simply sipping on her espresso and then flopped back onto the cushion that had found its way to the floor the night before. “Hhahah” Heath was forcing out a laugh, “no, no….stay…stay..let’s talk…who are you anyway?” “Well, in short, I am nobody, this past week I’ve been an explorer.. I suppose you could say.”  Jillian put a pillow over her head all the while Julius continued addressing Heath.  “I’m an explorer, I do menial odd jobs and I live… that’s about it really!” Heath’s eyes concentrated in on Julius and his mouth hung open in a rather consciously emphatic manner, “so who are you!” “My name is Julius Bouchard, and to answer your question I truly am nobody… a retail clerk…a waiter… this and that…that’s who I am!” Julius’s tone was slow and sincere, full of conscious control of every pitch of energy or charisma all the while trying to be as respectful as possible without appearing scared, which he really wasn’t so much as he was polite.  “Well Julius Bouchard I cannot see if you know who I am, or my wife, who you now know, but tell me how did you arrive at my party? Because if you are a reporter or a photographer I’m afraid our morning espresso will take shift to a different type of bitterness…..” “No! Heath,” Julius acknowledged he knew who he was, “no I am not a reporter and I haven’t taken any pictures… I simply saw a party and decided to take a peek and see if it was open to well dressed wonders like myself…. And of course it was… it seems.”  As you can tell Julius was growing more comfortable and even throwing in some subtle humor. He even began to have a bit of a bite to him as his feeling that this Heath was a dick, because he had such a wife and acted like such a pig, began to show through the cracks of his smiles….its all in the teeth and the eyes!

 

Heath was listening attentively, occasionally nodding his head or moving it in such a manner to signal that he wasn’t sure what Julius was saying and in the meantime Jillian had managed to cover up with some sheets and sit in a chair.  Julius had in fact scrambled for his boxer briefs upon the arrival of Heath, although he still sat at the scene of the crime from the night before in nothing but his boxer briefs. Mr. Heath Johnson was apparently gathering himself and still thinking things over when Julius decided to begin to ask his own questions.

 

“Excuse me, but I do not meet people of your… your station  in life every day, and I find myself in a very peculiar circumstance and I want to try and understand it all… so if you don’t mind ….well… you both seem to be very happy people and I wonder, are you? Or, you know… are you bored or discontent or empty or full of guilt? You must excuse me but this is part of what I do… I meet people and try to make sense of life….it’s what I primarily live to do in spite of my odd jobs.”

 

Just then a maid of some sort served breakfast…it was food from a nearby bakery and there it was….. Heath exquisitely dressed in a thin light blue and tailored tee shirt that was complimented by light blue lined sneakers and black athletic shorts, Mrs. Jillian Johnson wrapped in some blankets and looking entirely distracting with periodic boredom induced flings of her hair off to one side or the other, oh and the maid, the maid was a model like figure, though plus sized, she actually performed many services for the couple including a modern day concubine of sorts for Heath. The French breakfast of various meats and eggs ensemble with delicious pastries was something of a symbolic summation of the extravagance and absurdity of the entire scene.  The actor Heath, upon receiving his extravagant food, and what turned out to be a fittingly extravagant question, which Julius threw- out of his mouth in a somewhat irritated mood, Heath  gave a beaming smile “ah you are some sort of script writer… it’s all so philosophical…I love it! I love the courage of it!”  “He is a screen writer honey, isn’t that a coincidence?” Jillian trying to appear as pleased as her husband managed to give a bright eyed smile, “yes it is great…where did you study Julius?”  By this time Julius had managed to slip some of his clothes back on, which was fitting as the roller coaster in the dark type morning began to settle amidst all the pending threats that lingered around this very interesting situation.  As he fumbled to button up his shirt…. he answered in a mildly nervous voice, “well actually I am not actually a script writer per se; I have no formal education, at least no certificate to validate my studies. Although I did manage to get a hold of the undergraduate and graduate course completion lists for that type of thing, well I did all the reading, anyway.” Heath and Jillian were still all ears not ready to react as they were unsure what might come next.  “So yes I am truly a philosopher or sorts as are all good script writers, I have studied philosophy as much as the next man and I think it’s wonderful… I mean it’s the very basis and foundation of modern psychology, and sociology, and even scientific methodology much less political theory, and economics of course, I mean how can one do brilliant work in these fields without a firm knowledge of the movement of thought throughout history! So many secrets and solutions to the problems of the present have already been cooked and served on a nice platter of the past, but people get hung up on technology…. as if that truly makes us so distinct in the last 100 years from the previous…. how every many thousands of recorded human history.” Julius had finished fumbling his close together and was now well past his mild embarrassment of his lack of formal education and very much caught up in a favorite topic of his while trying to gather himself to remember to play some type or role….. though he was unsure of what role.  “So, as I was saying philosophy is the very pinpoint of western civilization….. of civilization… and even has a place in the more enlightened aspects of the eastern tradition. And it irritates me how these current fields and specialists carry on as if psychology popped out of nowhere…” Julius paused to see if he still held his hosts attention, Heath was all ears, and Jillian, well he could not tell, but he was happy to get on better footing with Heath, and he continued, “they go on and on as if they are orphans…. as if they can learn nothing from the knowledge of how they arrived at where they are in the present day….. as if nothing came before and if it did it no longer matters, and then one day the engine begins to smoke, the great mac cloud bursts and there is no one to fix it since they threw- out the manual….. and the progression of how it came together in the first place! And forget insight, forget innovation! there is nothing to innovate on if the original genius is lost and all that is left is slightly modified editions to the tenth power that no longer resemble the break through model!”

 

Except for the momentary glance at his audience in the middle of his speech Julius’s eyes became unfocused as he looked at his thoughts, now, when he found himself at a conclusion to his miniature lecture, he refocused and saw both Heath and Jillian staring at him with a mix of confusion and interest in what he was saying. Julius looked down at his espresso cup due to the pressure of the eyes upon him.  “This espresso is great stuff…. But anyway I am not a script writer, just an amateur, but my interest in all this is probably where my question from nowhere about your happiness came from.”

 

Jillian broke the intermittent silence “you don’t need to worry about the formality of your education with us, like many celebrities, believe it or not, neither of us have formal education beyond high school.” As she said this she leaned over and rested her hand on Julius’s knee… for a moment. Heath bit into a pear, “yes my friend, you were right to think that you could speak openly with us. Ask any questions you want…. say and idea you like… there is no need to worry it’s all good, and I love this type of thing, even a little argumentative debate if it comes to that.” He gave Julius a wink.

 

Possibly at this point you are wondering at the somewhat proper, or formal manner of speaking these celebrities and Julius conducted themselves with. It is true that both He and she had humble origins in both America for him and France for her, but nonetheless, they were actors in the first place, and thus had an ever present flair for the theatrical…. for the aesthetic, and they were also people with money….. and people of influence in various social and political settings, and so articulate mixed with some pop lingo… was their everyday private life form of speaking. Julius simply tried to dress to the occasion. Also, I might add that I must laugh at myself for saying they were of “humble origins” they were middle to lower middle class origins, not humble origins, per se, as people without great monetary wealth are by no means thereby humble! Ah but you begin to wonder at my growingly routine interruptions to the story but it is my story and my style and as I already explained this story I am a participant in, in so far as the details of it were given to me by others…where was I going with this….? Anyway…

 

Julius smiled in reply to their politeness “well wonderful! I am glad that even in the worst case an argument would be consider enjoyable. You see I have found myself in a very amazing setting, at a very pivotal moment in my life, or so It seems, I have to ask you about all this.” Julius began to gesture, almost without thinking, through the door and pointing his hand and eyes to the “maid” and then he recovered himself and gestured to himself and his new hosts, and the entire past evening.

 

“Julius, darling, why ask? Why not just except what is beautiful when one is fortunate enough to be swept up in it!” Heath arose from his chair in a quick moment and within an instant he was standing behind Jillian full of aggression yet masked beneath a quiet and erudite tone. He was now clearly perturbed by Jillian’s zest in each word she spoke to Julius…. and especially it seems her last statement. In seconds the scene returned to its uncomfortable flavor smoothed over with some uncanny sense of politeness which Julius still could not figure out. So it was that Julius found himself sitting and looking at quite a sight to behold. Heath pulled off the blankets which Jillian had covered herself with and he firmly grasped and groped her now exposed breasts. “These are still mine before they are his or anyone else’s for that matter, aren’t they!”  Julius wondered if he was in some sort of sick nightmare, but after all he had willfully became very much apart of the extravagant scene that started with a party the night before.  Heath bent and leaned his head around her back placing the whole of one dark reddish button into his mouth as he shook the rest of her breast with his grip. Jillian turned away as if to push him away, “Heath! Grow up!”  Heath walked away from her, “oh I know Jill, I know! were advanced and were free from old superstitious traditions, and were free to fulfill our biological needs and still love each other as husband and wife all the more….. I understand that our love is deeper than that hypocritical monogamy those old pastors shoved down our parent’s throats….. But by god you’re still my wife Jillian! Heath was obviously on the brink of rage but trying to contain himself. Jillian replied in a quiet and disinterested tone, “are you done yet?” “No not quiet, I’ve had a thought and I mean to say it now! Really it’s not like I show those women affection….sure I’ll call that maid out here right now and give it to her good enough that the whole town below thinks there’s an outdoor choir practice, but by god! I don’t show her emotion! I don’t show her affection!” Heath noticeably calmed down as he finished saying his piece. “Am I wrong; am I too selfish, to old fashioned…. to superstitious or religious in my thinking? Seriously dear?” Jillian rolled her eyes, at what seemed to be a very heartfelt confession by Health. Heath turned to Julius addressing him directly. In order to overcompensate for his uncomfortablenss with the situation Julius slowly and calmly re-crossed his legs giving Heath his full attention.  “What do you think Julius, am I being unreasonable to my wife? Ha! Maybe we shouldn’t have husbands and wives, maybe all that latest psychological research about social stability and emotional satisfaction is a croc.. eh! Maybe you have your own view?”  As Heath was pressing Julius for an answer, Jillian proceeded to take off the blankets she re-wrapped herself in after Heath’s tirade….. and now fully naked she mounted Julius, her face to his, and she began to say….(well I will not repeat the phrase) over and over again to Julius. I suppose I might add it was a two word imperative sentence with an understood “you”. Momentarily Jillian let up in her command as Julius sat unmoved, arms at his sides.  “Heath dear! You don’t mind do you? It’s purely biological, there is no emotion in it, I simply want his **** it’s simply a bit more thorough then yours…. but my dear no need to be upset… you’re my husband, he’s merely a tool! For my enjoyment, for my biological needs, for the betterment of our relationship, it only makes our love deeper!” Jillian got up from her place on Julius and walked into the apartment, her back to the porch, she said under her breath with an intentional quietness and yet loud enough so as to be heard, and in a tone of complete bitterness “my god. Why don’t you double team me, or do him yourself, we’ve gone to our fair share of gay pride parades!” Once she was inside the door she turned and in a normal voice said, “of course he should only be with you if he is willing, we don’t condone rape! At the most a little coercion.”

 

For a moment Heath stood unmoved in his rage…… He gathered himself, “Julius no worries, it probably has something to do with the mixing of caffeine and the lingering alcohol from last night,”….Heath forced a laugh, “well it could be all of that plus she went to a catholic school, and I think all of that nonsense ingrained in her since child hold still enslaves her from time to time… and makes her feel guilty…which is absurd, especially since she admits the truth of science and has said herself that not even her parents took all of that Catholic business too seriously….what was I going to say… oh yes, please forget about all that! And really please stay, I really do want to talk and answer your question. We will be back out here in a California second… so about ten minutes.” Health smiled and went after Jillian into the apartment.

 

Julius had collected the general idea of what Health was saying about Jillian but really he was still lost in the nudity of that women….her movement…. her jumping upon him in day light… walking out naked and then turning around inside the door.. the illumination of her dark eyes over her body looking into his as if telling him a secret….as if it was all to be his.

 

He mumbled to himself… “That is my philosophy, Heath my new friend your wife is my new philosophy, to ever posses and conquer and continue to fight to possess that maddening beauty…there is a purpose in life…. there is something to live for! To strive after her naked body and the subtly of a women that moves it about with such style.”

 

Julius poured a pinch of water into his left hand, and then into his right, he was using it to straighten up his hair…. smoothing down the sides. He downed the remaining espresso from the breakfast cart. His nerves were tightening and the anxiety had the potential to make him immobile.  He had experienced the feeling before, his voice would begin to crack and he would start to say very basic and obvious things. On top of all that he would even begin to sweat profusely. He knew the rush of a solid dose of caffeine would abate it and that this… this transformation, we will call it, this transformation from a very distinct man to displaying the symptoms of an adolescent boy would stop.  What is worse, should he have broken down under the pressure of the situation he had put himself in; he would have found himself backed into a corner, and being fully aware of being in the corner he would have raged out like a beast, not necessarily saying things he would regret, but showing extreme emotion which others always consider a weakness…..And which others typically snicker to themselves about, and he, Julius, would only grow furtherly angry seeing them act out such en-masse stupidity. The point is he was growing sweaty, tight at the throat… at the thought of his questions and his replies, and a sudden extreme urge to care what these people thought, a care which he was happy to rarely have…. It was his freedom, whether of defiance or despair or both, it was of no concern to him, only that he savored the flavor of having such freedom, which at times seemed to whisper to him ‘indeed you are superior to others ahahhahah yes you see their irony you see all the angles to be seen,” the extreme urge to care what these people thought came to him.

 

Julius settled into the lounge chair remembering why he was so happy to be himself, he was extremely good looking and intelligent to boot… or at least he thought he was and experience only seemed to confirm his comforts.  So he settled into his chair… picked at the fine French breakfast in front of him and thought thoughts that were coated in conquering, and victory…. And he was smiling to himself as he grew impatient for the fun he was about to have.

 

In half an hour both Jillian and Heath returned to the balcony where Julius sat self satisfied and relaxed no longer thinking about much of anything. Jillian had put on a thigh high and form fitting light purple summer dress, her rich and moist black hair was smoothly combed to the front and almost over her left eye. She had put on a black thick framed studious looking pair of glasses as well as glistening light pink lipstick. Heath looked fresh out of the magazine as he walked back onto the balcony. Heath’s hair was blonde and styled straight- to- up about three inches from his forehead, his eyes at thick blue, and his cheeks a redish tanned hew, he was tallish and well framed but soft on the edges. “Julius friend you stumbled upon us here last night, and it’s obvious you’re a very sensible man. There really is no point in trying to be discreet with you… in light of …well , everything that you have already seen and participated in. The shame of it is…. In some places in the world the great majority of people do not fully understand and except the superiority and purity of a relationship like Jill and I have. The main thing is there is something truly grabbing about you and I would like… we would both like you to stay and have some good times this afternoon, but if you think that you have just struck gold and now are  about to strike oil on the very same plot of land with your questions.. I mean” Julius cut Health off, “No, please! My phone hasn’t been on since I arrived last night and as you know, no one would believe my stories anyway, I haven’t taken any pictures….but please, listen, I will go, and please feel free to have your bouncer ,excuse me I mean your body guard, check me and my device before I go. It’s perfectly appropriate I can see how people like you must be cautious. But I do hope that I have not caused trouble! “No No..no! Not at all, no trouble, we are fine I just had to be sure; I mean I already was pretty sure about you; I just wanted to see your reaction. Well we just have to be cautious, and plus this whole scene might not go over well if it were sent to some tabloid, plus I mean every couple has arguments, but we are fine, we are great, (Heath pulled Jillian over for a kiss on the cheek) we’ve just been so busy lately.” Julius just stared at them unsure of what they were getting at.  Jillian brushed her hair out of her eyes, “I’m in a new movie. He’s in a new movie! We have friends to entertain every different town we show up in, and we still want to have time to ourselves …. It crazy! “Right!” chimed in Heath, “And we really do have a good marriage and we try to set an example for others, it’s something we really feel passionate about,  and it’s a shame you had to happen to see us so stressed. We just haven’t been communicating well enough in recent days, and all this mounting, fortunately we have been freed from all those traditional and religiously soaked institutions and their views and lingering ‘virtues’ attached to life views in general….. and of course marriage. But we realize what we are and where we came from and what lies ahead,  so we can live a truly happy marriage that is good for us both as individuals, and society, and our children one day.. I’m sorry I am really on a soap box hear, but while we were inside Jillian told me you’re a friend of Bill Haskins ( Heath laughed signaling his repeated interrogation was a joke), and if Bill respects you I don’t want to get off on the wrong foot. Bill doesn’t introduce people because he is board; he is a very intentional guy.” “Quite.” Replied Julius as he  dryly looked at Jillian to see if she would spill his secret, which he was certain she new… that he was nothing but a well dressed extremely good looking party crasher, who looked the part of high society “Hollywood.”  Heath too glanced at Jillian, and then continued, “So anyway, I want to set a good example, many people are beginning to understand everyday life in everyday evolutionary and social terms, or life and its encoded needs and society in relation to that. I’m just worried perhaps you have never seen that played out, “the details of it” shot in Jillian, “as you saw them last night.” “Right!” affirmed Heath, who now became completely understandable to Julius. Heath was in some way or another in need of Bill Haskins, and so he was irritated with Julius, but also insecure it that Julius was a mystery whom Haskin’s had sent over to meet, and Heath did not know why other than that he was “something of a script writer” and that he would not dare to ask Julius why exactly he was there, since he might have already known and forgot, or anyway should have known. It seemed to Julius he had no worries as long as Bill and Heath refrained from communicating for the duration of Julius’s stay….. since in Heath’s mind Julius was with Bill, and Bill was someone revered by Heath. Julius liked the conversation…. the excitement of it, and he found comfort in the fact that he had already outlined a plan to high tail it out if they should discover who he really was…no one!  He decided to play the role of an up- and- coming screen writer curious about the new social evolution of marriage.

 

Julius smiled he could sense he was going to enjoy getting to further experience these people. “Your absolutely right Heath, most of my life, I’ve been around people who either strateld the “old way” and the “new way” in some type of synthesis, either that or just people who still clung to their inherited religious fantasies, superstitions as you called them.” Julius paused, “You have to excuse me… where is your bathroom?” Jillian gave him direction’s and on the way in, low and behold , just as Julius had hoped he saw Heath’s phone lying on a table, he quickly picked it up, turned it off, and buried it in the towel closet next to the bathroom.

 

Julius came back out within minutes, and quickly reclaimed the conversation where he had left it. “ So yeah, Heath I was thinking about what you were saying on the way into the bathroom, and your absolutely right. You know, so many people try to hold onto the fantasies of religions and embrace the science of our age at the same time. However, I am aware that many in the upper echelons of society have finally and loudly embraced consistently this new “religion” of honest science and society…. the main difference is the poorer one’s can’t quite embrace it as fully as you do since the social structures, even though moved out from the old have yet to transition to the new edifice, they still live and work in a society very much in the undefined un-built but transitionally floating state as the one we grew up in.  You know what I mean? The fumes of religion still linger in the air and in the very bricks of the social structures although many are being rebuilt… and! nearly all affirm the plans to rebuild them.”

 

Heath smiled from eyebrow to eyebrow and putting up his finger to signal, “Hold that thought Julius!” He leaned over the balcony to shout into the street. “Kid …kid I’ll give you a hundred Euros’s to bring me two packs of cigarettes to our door!” Heath sat back down as Jillian and Julius smiled hesitantly at their surprise at Heath’s apparent sudden excitement. “I’m sorry to interrupt, but I can see you are a real thinker a real scientist of the arts… not some chat room coffee shop fraud…. which of course I knew would be the case, why else would Bill have sent you over if he didn’t really like you, unless of course he no longer likes me,” and Heath laughed to himself, both Jillian and Julius joined in. “Jillian and I are busy..so busy.. too busy to think, and I have always liked to think, to question things.. ever since I was in high school… I mean do you think that I continually take on philosophical screen plays out of sheer coincidence!” Heath smiled he seemed to be genuinely engaged in the moment with all the enthusiasm a man of immediacy…. of well refined and ever so practiced gratifying immediacy could only be.  Jillian got up and returned with the cigarettes she first offered them to Julius, “no thank you, I’m convinced they will prove smoking causes hair loss!” Both Jillian and Heath laughed….and so did Julius realizing that they did not realize he was serious.

 

“Well husband, this will be a nice changeup you get to think all day and I’ll get to smoke…two things we both deny ourselves too often…. it should be a marvelous little day.” Jillian said all of this with a well formed pronunciation and conscious over-dramatic-ness so as to indirectly affirm her boredom with their typical routines of supposedly spontaneously filled free time. Julius, in all appearances of seriousness looked over to Jillian; she was again dangling her thin arms to the ground in between a pull of her cigarette, “so you won’t be joining in on the conversation?” Jillian responded with a full and true laugh. “If you want my input or there is a certain subject that would need a women’s hand put upon it… well then…here I am. But really if your worried I am one of those women who has to give her opinion constantly to make herself feel of equal importance to a man….ha…well I have nothing to prove in that regard. There are things I understand well and there are others I understand about as good as a man under stand’s the thought patterns of a woman. For example, the man who cannot understand why his wife is upset…. Well stupid, she is not upset that you are a complete buffoon, she overlooked that for one reason or another, she is upset because you did not take her side in front of others precisely at the time when your arrogant buffoonery could have been endearing.” Julius was trying not to appear enamored by her words… well stitched with bodily emphasis, an eye flash here and wrist flick there, she was an alive art form of conversation, she spoke as much without speaking as she did with her words.  “Ah, that was profound enough…wouldn’t you say Heath, your wife plays the role of an intellectual very convincingly.” Heath, looked over at Jillian with a gentle sort of smirkish smile that was trying its darnest to sell endearing. “Never mind me being an intellectual I am a beautiful woman and part of being a beautiful woman is choosing only to speak when I am sure that my words will not detract from my beauty. Obviously, I am sole judge of this, knowing full well that some art connoisseur have less refined tastes then others.” Neither Heath nor Julius seemed to have anything to add…. Jill continued, “I know you’ve meet a beautiful women who upon self-assured and ironically novice talk posing on pretention became as ugly as a disease. Now, some men might be awaken on a very beastly level because of the very fact she is so disgusting and so they might think that they could stand the disease so as to have her for an hour or two, but if they think a second longer their thoughts go to the fear that she will never leave them alone after that…… And it would serve them right that her type would probably talk the entire time like she was walking along a familiar path in the dark…. and she might even give them a report card at the end.” Jillian lit up another cigarette, “I might add I’ve been around men long enough to know it all true, every word of it, but I’m finished…..you keep coaxing me on with your listening eyes.” “My listening eyes, I’m simply dumbstruck, first your looks, and now this!”

 

Julius was clearly growing enchanted though he quickly guarded himself and addressed Heath immediately in order to share his attention and avoid any further controversy. “Heath, where did you dig this one up at? You probably saw the brightest gold you’d ever seen above the earth and digging found the other half…. the half buried beneath the dirt to be even more brilliant.”  “ I like it…I like it, what an analogy, what a mind you have right on the spot you whip that up.” Heath again mumbled something about Haskins. Jillian chimed in, “One second, what does this dirt represent, in your little analogy.”  A person who knew Julius well would have recognized right away that he really had no clue what the dirt stood for but he was playing the part of Haskin’s mysterious erudite friend and so without fail and in an instant his face went from desperation to self assurance. “Well…, the dirt, of course, represents the superficial attitude and social norms a women who looks like yourself is supposed to uphold, for example to appear frivolous. And I would wager that even a woman like yourself had to overcome this at some early point in your life?” Jillian clearly loved the explanation, no one had expected anything quite that subtle and yet fitting to her person, not even Julius had expected to whip up something like that. Jillian was beginning to ask another question, “ah, ah ha, you’re bating me again…nope whether or not your right or miles off the mark I am going to sit here and simply smoke my cigarettes, in fact I might even dig up my grandmother’s old holder just to add to our pretentiousness.” Everyone had a good laugh, because it was true the whole scene was somewhat obnoxious …..and given that none of them had come from such wealth that sits around all day being artistic intellectuals with a lot of money, well they cherished it more than others, but also found themselves having the nervous twitches to get up and do something.

 

Julius again recomposed himself trying to avoid showing her too much attention and he quickly grasped after the word…… “Heath, where were we then, before the cigarettes that is? Or back when before you went to change your clothes?” “You had some questions, I think, as did I.. You first.”

 

The whole conversation Julius was constantly pouring coffee from the silver pot into his white tea cup and drinking the coffee and then switching his leg cross from left over right to right over left. Heath had his own routine to match Julius; he continually leaned his elbows on his knees and then moved back to sitting up straight with his hands half folded against his stomach.

 

“Right! Okay, I think I already asked some of this question, but let me ask it again. Are you happy, truly happy, I don’t simply mean in your marriage arrangement, which is still somewhat uncommon, but in life in general, and overall are you happy?” Heath’s posture remained unmoved for a moment with his hand half folded hands against his stomach, as he waxed thoughtful. Across Julius sat a very sober and sincere man when his mouth opened to reply.  “Yes, I am happy.” There was pause, and Julius was about to become nervous at having seriously pissed off Heath, just as Heath continued. “We all have long days, but I find satisfaction! I have meaning I enjoy life, and that is meaningful, and I am generous….. though I do satisfy myself I don’t forget others and all that, and in the end…..  I guess I hope to be reincarnated…… It seems likely does it? Did you know that matter and atoms have always existed and move in a continual pattern of evolving expansion and then collapse and then the repetition of the process.  At least that is how my one science friend explained it to me once.  Eternal matter is what it boils down to, I know the ancient Greek philosophers thought of that a long time ago…. and now science says the same, where was I going with this, oh…..but, I think I am a good member of society and I enjoy myself all the while not to the detriment of others…. you know….. I don’t exploit or buy things that exploit poor children workers; I am very considerate about all of those social issues. But all in all… life is a feast…what’s not to like about it?”

 

Julius was listening closely as if he could not believe what he was hearing, and yet how could he not believe it. He had nothing to find fault with in the man’s tone… he sounded sincere.. he sounded honest. If he found any fault it could very well have been rooted in jealousy! Julius just sat there and so Heath felt the compulsion to continue. “People like me! Sure when I was a kid and then a young adult…basically until I became famous, my family and extended family…. friends …they were all jealous of me. I don’t know if they were insecure and felt bad about themselves…I have no idea, it’s not something I’ve ever been able to understand or relate to. Even before I became rich and famous I had it all so to speak. I mean… I was tall, strong, good looking,  I received great grades, I was very athletic, I was artistic, obviously, I mean I am a fucking actor for crying out loud. You know I always believed I could do whatever I wanted to, either if the opportunity presented itself or I wanted to go after it. So I never really envied others….I was never truly jealous of others as much as wanting to compete with them and see who stood at the end… so to speak. What I am saying I guess is… that I was always very happy to be myself.”

 

“Oh, I see what you’re saying…..you were always a very self content person…. very happy to be yourself and do your own thing,” “Exactly, I’ve always been content and found purpose in life and all of that” Julius, nodded his head acknowledging he understood what Heath was saying. “I am curious; do you find that those same people from your past are still jealous?”  Heath started to laugh, “It is so strange…. such a strange phenomenon….. me and Jill used to compare notes on this a lot and we found we had similar stories. When I became famous it all changed they all started to sort of worshiped me as if I was not something to be compared too. It was as if the pathetic self hate of these people found relief because I was no longer in their sphere of comparison…. at least not in their minds….It was like I was set apart and I was not only by them but by everyone in society. For example, before I was famous I would wear some flamboyant jacket..or something.. whatever, well people would be irritated but after I became famous they thought it was great…..even though they would never imitate it themselves. I don’t see things like this……… but it seems to me that it seems to them that I am an idol of sorts… no longer considered in the same classification of men and so thats why I think they don’t compare their lives to mine anymore, not seriously anyway, and so they like me now, they love me like I am theirs, like I am their successful child, their pride and joy…” “It’s like you’re their living story that they live their lives through?” “Exactly, I love it…well put, exactly!” “But get this, If I act un-becomingly to one of the millions of different standards that each worshiper holds me to in their own idea of what I represent for them……well then their respect goes out the door. The more aloof I remain…. the more I am loved. But if become ‘down to earth’ by their standards…. the more on the level I am with an individual, well then they feel betrayed and deceived and they hate me for some reason?” “Because you ruined their ideal, so even if you were their ideal of a bad ass and your caught on camera apologizing to some jerk outside a bar, rather than beating him, well they will hate you! I think I can understand you because I have a lot in common with the younger version of yourself and people could not understand me working as a waiter and then driving a new bmw with nice clothes on and being self content, it would piss them off!” “Surely that’s part of it; you’re extremely good looking and that has a lot to do with it it seems. So, what can I say other then they are no longer jealous in the same way they once were but maybe that’s because they feel they own me or something, anyway, people can be assholes I try to overlook it and not feel guilty for being successful….. really you and I can’t help we were born good looking and we shouldn’t apologize for it.”

 

Julius had the urge to want to dissect certain ambiguities but he simply remained agreeable and nodded. There was a silence that grew uncomfortable.  “My Jill is right, your eyes are listening eyes…you’ve made me talk myself out.” Heath leaned his head to the side with a mischievous look, “If you tell me you’re a psychologist I’m kicking you out immediately even if you are Haskin’s friend.” Julius joined in on laughing with Heath.

 

The afternoon sun was growing warm but not to hot. During Julius and Heath’s conversation Jillian had went inside to change and was now sunbathing. “I have another question but I will have to hold it since I’ve been holding my blatter too long again.” “Well you’ve drank so much damn coffee it’s a wonder you not having convulsion’s!” Everyone, even Jillian began to chuckle from the corner of the balcony. Julius went into the bathroom, this time using the bathroom was his objective since he hid the phone on the first trip and came back out to find his blatter was feeling like it was ready to burst. But he had to endure the torture so as not to appear suspicious. However, upon entering the bathroom Julius pulled out his phone and began to text a message with a sense of furious urgency.

 

 “Brother, it has dawned upon me that if you for once in your life gave credence to those things you relegate to the land of “emotions”, which in your book are nearly complete shit! If you let them flow a little.. let them grow comfortable… let them have their say instead of brushing them off in a laughing manner of mockery in which you mask your fear, You might see the uncertainty of life and the nether land in which some courageous souls float about, You might realize that these things you call emotions are really your most deeply certain assertions of your rationality, that the great escape you pave with your own rational questioning of yourself, in other words its own undermining, the undermining of rationality as your highest rationale is in fact a great emotion…. a great hurricane….a great crutch in which you find the strength to limp past and wash away all the other “emotional” considerations of life. How often have I said it is all interconnected? Of course it is! Rationality itself says so, though not when outweighed by your emotional assertion that rationality is sound and safe and superior and in the worst case scenario utterly in the dark as to what really is your own cogito ergo …. But I think you get the point! And if you listen to it and work with it against yourself and your own dishonesty and fear you may…No! You would consider every past religion every new religion every knew sociological, scientific view, and through it you might have the most thorough and, most importantly, honest, apologetic ever. One that embraces the “emotional” and is thus all the more accurate and honest. But you are wise brother and you know the problems you might encounter in your own life should you let such considerations grow to maturity and you think, “maybe I will never make it alive beyond them!”… but you would! And it would be better to face the truth.. that these ideas you ignore as evil emotions are really rationally based considerations perhaps unaccepted by social norms and thus inconvenient. My point is your supposed rational rejection of emotions is the most inconsistent rationally I have ever heard of and very much fits your derogatory use of the word emotions. (Confess your sins rather than bury them and live the uncertain life… there is no other, at most only a delusional comfort in structures of stability but even these…. no matter how great we cherished them, even these will not give us peace or certainty! I apologize for talking so dramatic but my life has been so very dramatic the past few days…. you will never believe me!

 

Julius tucked his phone away what had brought him to this “emotional” outpouring to his brother, he did not know, and neither do I. Funny though it is, the brother he wrote the message to would have assigned the motivation to emotional factors, he was certain upon receiving the message that Julius was not in a rational frame of mind!

 

Julius made his way back out to the bottom of the balcony all the while re- combing the words he had typed to his brother. “Did I say that emotion was just a heightened and impassioned rational consideration, true, it may have less of a rational basis or more, but even so…and what is rationality if Kant did not hit upon something within his universal a priori, the universal structure of morality latent in all mankind in ever society and in every generation, as a category, who would deny it…not those who are aware that the limitations of language betray this truth.”

 

Julius finished re-combing his thoughts, just as he found himself on the balcony. “Welcome back!” “You know Julius, Jill and I were sitting out here when it dawned upon us, we were thinking the same thing. It probably seems shallow of us but you have the feel of one of our friends…you’re an exceptional looking man…you have “Hollywood” written all over you… a cut jaw, brilliant blue eyes, tall muscular frame… but not gym rat, and well dressed, it’s really a wonder we have not meet you before, at some party somewhere or another, at least seen you with Bill? Maybe we have?” Julius, became worried, it was clear that Jillian did not reveal secret, either she really was too drunk to remember that he entered the party under the pretext of meeting Heath at a restaurant, or most likely since she made the connection from him to Haskins because she was covering for him. There was no doubt in Julius mind, Jillian would not reveal his secret that he was nothing but a good looking richly dressed party crasher. “Beats me Heath, I do not think I have ever meet you before in person, I obviously know you, your incredibly famous, but as for me well I am new to the scene, I would rather Haskins explain his interest in my career to you then for me to get into that right now” “Oh of course, I was just saying how Jill and I feel so at home with you, on the one hand you have the feel of a person that is our equal or even superior in accomplishment, fame, fortune, and I do not mean obnoxious your just very content with yourself and on the other hand you’re so comfortable to be around, Jill and I don’t feel we have to try and impress you or compete with you….there is not that biting edge we get and give to other celebrities like ourselves.” “He is both elegant and down to earth, darling, there’s nothing more to it!” “And she acts like she can’t hear us half the time, ha!” “Well whatever Haskins has planned for you it will be huge I know that and I am glad I have the pleasure of meeting you here at the beginning of things. Really though…. you will be huge, you look like a celebrity you smell like a celebrity you even have the hard to pin down look of wealth.. but with the flare of the artistic and thus non-business feel about it.”

 

The morning had turned to afternoon and the afternoon to late afternoon…the sun burning through the shade trees on the balcony. Julius wiped a drop of sweat off his forehead as he smiled calmly. “Thank you! I appreciate your compliments, you are clearly one of the greats of your generation of actors and maybe history will judge you to be more……….I enjoy the idea of being a celebrity,” Julius mumbled this last part to himself, and then continued, “ although I have so often argued about such distinctions as so very arbitrary.” He said this loud enough for all to hear, though he was thinking aloud to himself.  “This might interest you Heath, it’s kind of philosophical…. it’s an idea of mine. I’ve often argued that history and time are the great equalizers of men…..” Julius paused taking a sip of white wine, Heath had brought out numerous bottles of wine and a fruit and vegetable platter…. and oddly enough he did call on the maid to bring it out.

 

The two men were growing quite comfortable and even began to forget about the lingering presence of Jillian in the background of the porch. As Julius crunched on some carrots and dip he continued “You’ve heard of Nietzsche? Of course you have what a stupid question, anyway he was somewhat irritated with the Christians haughtiness and disposition of superiority towards everything that they did not think was essentially related to the kingdom of God. For example, in Nietzsche’s view a Christian would look at a king and smile… a genius of physics or engineering and smile…. as if to say, ‘ah you wear this costume of greatness but in the end your but a man as am I a mere stall cleaner… just a man as am I … in the end facing an Infinitely distinct God.’ And I think Nietzsche pinned down that observation quite accurately and it irritated him… it irritated Nietzsche that these Christians seemed to brush aside great men and great accomplishments, which coincidently brought their own selves up to par, or even beyond these great men in their own minds….. when they were in truth just common men full of jealousy and hate that they were not successful in this life, and so they used their religion to pull down others and elevate themselves….they used God. Whether Nietzsche was disgusted with the Christ and Christianity itself or the religiosity of his countrymen, well that is still debated…. All of that long windedness to say, I think history acts as a great equalizer of me as the years roll on, oh surely some are taken note of in history books, some are remembered, but very few, really so few and even they are swallowed up along with the rest in a generation… an age….a half step towards this or away from that. Men amongst men amongst men amongst men. But even apart from that is there not something to the farmer laughing in the face of the very self pleased surgeon general or president ‘ah’ says the farmer, the janitor, ‘you can delay death from cancer for six months! You lead the nation in policy for eight years….great! I feed the nation…. the world for a generation, I keep the world clean; you and I are neighbors, though your house is bigger! What of it…. and if there is a God does that mean you will stand taller before him?’”

 

 Julius had become extremely animated….. entirely engrossed in the conversation unconsciously eating and drinking in between his pauses for eccentricities sake. Heath to appeared captured in thought alongside Julius. “Is that too American of me? Too Lockeian possibly….too I was my king until I decided to get on the ship with you mates.”

 

Julius seemed to come to his conclusion, he managed to glance over in the direction of Jillian and then he went on talking. “I am so very American in the old and probably most hated sense of the term!” “I don’t know if I understand you in all of this ‘American’ talk but your thought about history is certainly wrapped in some truth… and is very depressing to a person like me! I am not a kid anymore despite me always liking the idea of sitting around talking about life… and the numerous roles I played as an intellectual, in my personal life I rarely had the patience for it… it would always turn into something else even though my intention was to sit and reflect, and beat around some ideas with some friends…. I blame the damn alcohol…hahah. However, here I am sitting on this balcony enjoying the deep-heat and even the film of perspiration that has engulfed my body… the spiral railings… the constant and quite noise coming up from the street… Jillian’s long black hair and olivish skin against her soft sundress… your perfectly groomed and waxed hair, as if you just left the salon…. the feel of the cigarette in my hand and the satisfaction that I don’t need to be doing anything else. I feel all these and yet I find myself feeling a deep sorrow in all of this….. some, some sort of covert attack of depression…. And I don’t ever feel depressed… and now…. and now you go and say that and although I would like to argue against it…I have the good sense to notice you used just the right amount of details and generalities to suggest this idea of yours is no mere whim!” Heath took a breath, and downed an absurd gulp of wine. Jillian again appeared to be entirely consumed with a magazine, perhaps reading an article about herself while sunbathing. Julius sat feeling full of all of the vegetables and fruit he had eaten. Julius observed Heath and Jillian and knew he would not let this odd occurrence slip through the cracks. He wondered what would come next and he again remembered that the main thing he wanted to know about this couple… this couple that representative a whole current in the society…. who in his grandparents generation would have been considered gross hedonists enveloped in despair and enslaved to their vices…… He wanted to know if they were happy… happy per se, as he knew for certain his grandparents always were throughout the entirety of their life, a life that spanned quite a unique century of change. This was the thought that had irked Julius since Heath first invited him to ask his questions and discuss his ideas. This thought came to life again amidst all the distraction and rabbit trails, and Julius began to twist and turn in his seat…restless would be the word to describe Julius’s increasing agitation.

 

“But I have to ask you now while it’s on my mind and it is probably very rude but I have to risk it! Would you both be happier if you had a monogamous relationship? Wouldn’t that be more satisfying or are all those love stories really one dimensional fairy tales?” Julius was clearly ashamed of the boldness of his question, his entire disposition waned that of sheepish. Jillian put down her magazine, Heath had a look that seemed to be something reminiscent of horrified. “I think you must have missed the point! And are you really still hung up on this man?”

 

 Heath became quiet, Jillian did not saying anything either and then Heath’s shock lighten up. “Ah but really there is a deeper philosophical question hear I see… I see, ahahahhh you bastard your sly?” Heath’s offense was completely gone, though his tone was tentative. “Well here is my answer, Our desire are desires for more than one another and our desires are good… science says so, the history of the progression of mankind say so, really our desires are good, the desire to be first , to be the best, to defeat others, to have respect and friends, and a lot of sex and enjoyment…. they are all there within us….they are natural…what is natural is what is best… is what is in accord with our own self evolving systems/bodies and the world. Sure these natural desires have to yield a bit to the evolutionary friendly structure that is society, but this is all in agreement  with our notion of the higher mankind which we find ourselves trying to attain, but even so…. these old values….. these old western Christian and eternal notions…… they are opposite, they are the enemy….. they were conjured up not by nature, or nature’s mind that guides the selective biological engineering within our own bodies, no they were conjured up by unhappy men…lesser men, who though not strong enough to achieve their desires, still acted out the jealous and suicidal reactions of unfulfilled desires! My philosophy… but I’m sure you’ve heard all of this before… it is where we are…. only the fearful type….. the same type that cling to their guns and religion are afraid to embrace it, though even they embrace it in action though maybe they still refrain from doing so with their mouths.” Heath looked intently at Julius for a reaction to his unveiling. Jillian simply listened with great attentiveness all the while managing to pick up her magazine signifying she had no part or care in the conversation. Heath began to laugh at Julius’s blank and thoughtful face. “Come on man, do I need to explain how government and schools and education, how the new society as a whole more than amply makes up for…. and surpassed the type of training a child would get from one of those monogamous relationships of old! Look it pal, there were steps to this. For instance, homosexual marriage, before that the ramped in the palm of everyone’s hand…. pornography of every kind……. the irrelevance of traditional institutions like church… who were either too pussy footed or un-preparedly authoritarian in their views….. and all of which were filled to the brim with uneducated dogmatists drowning in their own guilt and hypocrisy! So then we have the irrelevance of marriage all together, as homo, and hetero, and switch hitting people are…. are ready to enjoy sex as they had witnessed since childhood on a computer screen. As all of these factors showed, marriage was a restraining institution of depressed unhappy people…. of the weak fearful people of old. But science has shown in spite of the degradation of marriage by all these factors…. and the institution of the church that held it down as the other factors beat it to hell, science has shown marriage has a place in so far as a strong companionship provides a solid stability to one’s own development…. and thus the development of mankind. But really Julius your sincerity kills me…hahaha. My friend this is a 100 years in the making and you are so truly interested in these questions! Haha. Don’t get me wrong the fantasy of true love…. of monogamy is a very artistic idea, I can appreciate that, but beyond the art in it…. It is purely unscientific, un-natural; it is pure mysticism…not a shot in the dark… but a shot in spite of the light. It really is a by-product of the old superstitious morals of a life focused on eternity and God… and what life is when eternity and God are nowhere to be found in life?  The only thing we have is time and man…that is what we have always observed before our eyes and finally bold and courageous men decided to fight up for the truth and the freedom in it!”

 

Julius was truly caught off guard, by Heath’s impassioned and coherent response which managed to keep pace with his own ever increasing puffs of smoke. Julius thought to himself how Heath’s view was the very type he was moving toward. However upon hearing it so forcefully stated to him as a matter of fact he found himself irritated. “To tell you the truth two years ago I would have argued with you, but I’ve…..well my head has been spinning for two years straight now. I’ve lost that thing that gave me grounding….slowly but surely. But I have to confess nonetheless, and in spite of myself as you both know I had quite a good time at your party, I utterly hate what you’ve just said!” Jillian again put down her magazine. “I am sorry, now you’ve caught my interest. I’ve studied some psychology back a few years ago when it was vogue and women realized it provided them with better excuses to be occasionally slutty than alcohol ever could, and anyway, I might guess your case. You, a young and attractive man, have wandered about from pub to club….your first girl was off the launch of an intoxicating evening and so every girl has been a little steam let off, a meaningless little trifle, all the while you want some type of true love, some type of deep lasting sober love.” Julius interrupted with somewhat of an agitated tone, for he was very agitated at her being able to perceive him so easily. “But I am not sure I understand what you are saying?” “I am saying you have never had a girl who wanted to be monogamous with you…. or you with her, or if you have it has never come together to even get off the ground. But trust me… give yourself a little experiment in monogamy and see how ideal it is!” Heath couldn’t help but smile as Julius consciously tried to collect his composure to appear calm and comfortable. It pleased Health since Julius had appeared so set apart….. so unflappable. “It scary sometimes Julius how she knows men’s minds” Julius managed to balance himself appearing to be fidgeting due to some interesting noise he heard in the street. “Even so I think it remains universally conclusive, the ways of the women remain unknown to man!” They all had quick laugh.

 

Julius began to frequently glance at his, in all likelihood fake or stolen Rolex, “It was a pleasure to meet you both, an experience I will not soon forget. Not to mention that I never thought I would ever meet truly happy, and at the same time reflective hedonists, or at least that’s what the old puritanical America would call you.” Everybody exchange uncertain smiles, nobody seemed to notice any tension or any form of a condescending tone in Julius’s last remark, but to be on the safe side Heath wanted to assure Julius they understood his comment was well intended, “As are you, it’s just maybe you are not as far along in the track since you are a younger.” Heath’s comment appears to be quite serious, but the voice inflection is what counts as much as anything, and he said in a half laughing tone while simultaneously drinking tea from his cup. “Fair enough!” Julius kissed Jill on the cheek and then proceeded to give Heath a firm handshake accompanied by a squeeze of Heath’s right shoulder with his left hand. That was that…. Julius was gone so quickly neither Health nor Jillian had time to get his contact info. Julius had gathered that both Heath and Jill had a certain notion of politeness and he bet on them not being willing to ask where he was off to…. they noticed his pointed and repetitive looks at his watch, his sighs of anxiety, and they took his affirmation, “that I apologize but I was having such a good time I forgot there is somewhere I really must be and I have already delayed to the max,” they took it seriously.

 

Julius was back in the street and within a few hours as lonely and as irritable as ever. The past two days of celebrity were over as was the excitement of the whole plot…. crashing a party on the pretence of a lie, sleeping with one of the most gorgeous celebrities of the era, debating with her husband, and all under the threatening excitement of being exposed, but to what end, there really couldn’t be any consequences.  This isn’t really the type of thing you hear often about, I can think of two reasons, the first being that the people who are actually capable of being successful at such a game have no interest in trying, and the second is if they were successful and had any type of dignity they would not sell their story and thus become a parasite off the very people they, essentially preyed upon the good will of. The people who aren’t capable are the ones who try and end up thrown out in the street on their backsides. Which could have happened to Julius, except he sporadically bordered a plane found himself on the outskirt of a foreign city on an overall extremely quiet night, and he slipped into a world which truly was open to him if he could find it. To sum it up it’s like when a cop pulls over a mass murderer on a traffic violation. The cop being a good cop was very likely to be the cop to catch him because the cop knew the criminal might be in the state and the cop was looking for him in the ways only a good cop can. Julius was looking at the world in ways that most would not, and so he saw things most would not. Simple enough really.

 

Julius knew why he had burned out of the prestigious and generous and fun loving company of Heath and Jillian that others would sadly kill to be able to reach out and touch the heel of. He saw the two options before him as a friend of Heath and Jill’s, and the only one he saw as happy seemed impossible. The fact that he lied was irrelevant, Jill was in on it, and nearly practically invented his connection to Haskin’s, Heath would certainly get over it, he was too big to stay angry over such a thing for too long especially when he liked Julius so much and saw him as a type of talented protégé. “A woman like Jill would never be his or anyone’s, if that was ever even in her cards… they had long ago been folded and it would take another lifetime to recover them, a sacrificed lifetime. So then, all possibilities ended in un-happiness…. at the type of enjoyment he knew he would never recover from, since, as Heath aptly put it, he was already on their track, just not courageous enough to acknowledge it.  Jillian gnawed at his mind, and along with her the thought of ‘how these people he just experience were truly happy’ worked on him….. the thought that such a society was not only in the near future but was in existence and working out well…. if not flourishing.

 

 Most troubling of all was his own recognition that if he whole heartedly believed these things, him and others like him would send the stabilizing and social order aspect of Heath’s religion to hell…. and the world would again burn from continent to continent, unless of course people were content in the bogus love your neighbor synthesis to social evolution… but Julius new it was only a matter of time, people always react to limitations, especially when they appear to be photo shopped.  These thoughts pounded on him…. what it meant for his life and his secret dreams he still harbored deep within his heart underneath the scar tissue he found himself continually seeking to add to. He had known that that was society he just could not get over that these two members of it were wholly bought in, not only in action, as he himself had been, but in thought… that they were reflective and not only superficially, but devoutly, the Aquinas and Ockham of the new order. “If they are reflective they should be angry, and if they are happy they should be superficial and intoxicated with life from moment to moment as if spinning around on a giant top through an amusement land called life, but they barely flinch upon hitting the stone of obstruction… reflective thought.”

 

Julius saw a prostitute in the window after wandering two blocks past the window he turned around and went into the women’s place of employment. “The world itself had balanced itself out in the last few decades,” or so he thought to himself as he left the store having received his purchase. Again he was alone and irritable at not having enough money to really feel secure in not working and he was also missing the satisfactory tiredness of work. He found himself thinking of his old old grandfather before he had died, when Julius was only a boy of ten or so. “The won’t reject they won’t argue, any discussion will be over… the world will get better in a certain way, I think. The will forget God because God never was, and never was anywhere to be found except in people’s minds.. or so they thought. Forget about death and judgment..forget about living a good life, values and meanings and satisfaction and hope will be forgotten or re-defined! But don’t you forget it Julius, because he will allow…. He will allow Himself to be forgotten, and this gift of life will go from being a life of hope and good to…to arbitrariness in a long slow death.”

 

The Immortals

 

As he thought of his not working a whole period of time before secretly taking off on this trip and how bored he was with life; He found himself in the late afternoon begrudgingly burning more money on food and drink but I might add it was very delicious food and drink at a very delicious looking and very quaint little deli. The type of deli that are few and far between in the states, and are growingly so even in the old world land of France. A glass window counter with blocks of meats and cheeses and breads and wines and beers displayed everywhere…..A balding barrel of a man with some form of an Eastern European accent guiding the meet slicer back and forth as he gets a fresh cut for your sandwich. After an initial attempt of poor French from Julius, and broken French form the well assimilated migrant, they switched to English. Julius was drinking beer which he had come to realize, depending upon the time of day, received very curious looks from servers anticipating a wine selection. In spite of his dis-satisfaction or general depression, his visit to a labor of love shop , if you will, had revitalized his energies and he devoured the sandwich  and the beer like a man who had not eaten for days!

 

“Ah forget it… it’s only money why skimp why grind it out when there are banks in the plenty reading to loans out 20,000 to people they never once laid eyes upon, why not be in debt like everybody else!” This was a deliberation of his mind as he won the battle to buy a second of the exact same meal he had just eaten. The balding butcher, or whatever you would call him, gave a smile at Julius’s order of an entire second. Julius was physically fit and strong and so the butcher automatically took pride in the deliciousness of his artisanship and the selections of his beer.  Lunch turned into the early period of dinner time. The business in the shop remained slow and steady and as Julius polished off his third beer and the fallen out tomato lying on his plate, just then in walked an eye catching group of young men around Julius’s age.

 

Now this is France and a certain area of France where style and zest and supposedly average looking women look far beyond above average looking due to inspired displays of individual fashion awareness. Women, but even so these men had an aura about them.

 

“ Illya,” this was evidently the name of the butcher, “how are you today Sir…. Claude, damn-it I forgot you like to go by Claude, how are you today?”  There was a brief and familiar handshake; from the obtuse jawed bald owner to the young suave with an edge young-man in a light grey suit….It reminded Julius of the color Connery wore in Bond films. The mid twenty year old wore a pair of brown and lightly wing tipped dress shoes of the oxford genre, and uncovered, upon the removing of his sport coat, a light blue half polyester half cotton polo  that was more Italian or French, then a typical ‘British’ American polo. The shirted was tucked into his grey pants which were not to tight and definitely not too baggy. A brown belt matched the shoes. To say the least and the most, if I described all the young men we would be here all day…each one of them was a finely and aware- ed-ly nuanced as the first. It turned out this grey suited man was named François. François had medium length dark hair… tanish skin, something akin to Jillian’s, a defined face and nose with greenish blue eyes.  The man who strolled in behind him was wearing a cutoff – collar leather jacket that was light with rapidly stitched methodically placed designs all over, holes hear, zippers there, ectera and so on. His hair was a blondish brown more than a blonde shade, medium sized, eyes: bluish, and black jeans and black sneakers with a pink v-neck undershirt. He was George, and behind him followed a black suit with longish black hair and dark eyes, and lighter skin then both of the first two. He wore a smooth toed boot that looked like a dress shoe when covered over with suit pants, underneath he wore black suspenders with silver clips and a black shirt , he was called Jean, though that was not his true name, and beside him walked Pete. Pete in white linen pants with string ties, light brown and green boat shoes and a solid pink polo…. that same smooth and silky style as François’s blue polo. Pete’s radiant baby face was sheltered with dark brown hair and centered with browns eyes. This particular day he had a sole patch shaped in a triangular cut.

 

Julius looked them over in broken intervals so as to not draw their attention. His posture grew afraid and defensive, and his paranoid eyes drew blank and his face wore aggression, and in a moment his body stated to the eye of any observer able to comprehend, “ I will kill a man if threatened, If I have not already!”  This is the fearful thought that was on Julius’s mind and what his body stated, whether or not the eye’s of others that witnessed it would consider it threatening and serious is another question which I cannot say for sure. Even so, whether or not the person who choose not to take him seriously would have found himself in a mistake is wholly possible as well. François gave Julius a good look over. He saw a well dressed man…. a strong man, a good looking man. He saw a likeness much like his own and that of his friends who were now ordering their meals

 

Julius got up from his table to leave; he was making for the door. “Excuse me!  Sir!  I recognize you, I’ve seen you sitting at the v café for nights on end. I noticed this evening you weren’t there…hah, by the way, I am François, and those are my brothers/cousins…stay and have a drink with us.” “Oh, thanks, but I have somewhere to be!” Julius was too taken up in a paranoid state of mind to do his checking his phone/his watch routine.  “Friend, I assure you, the café will be there tomorrow, and the next day….I promise!”

 

 The three now sitting at the table behind where François was standing gave a synchronized laugh. Julius shrugged his shoulders and turned toward the exist. “This town is full of interesting people, so full they all blend in to native eyes like my own… but you  … you are so boring in your manner, subtle I might say to be more positive… but stay..” Julius had on his defensive face, and it seems François read his mind. “….we aren’t gay… we won’t drug and rape you I promise! You are well dressed and you are not gay….so why should you be afraid of us!” The boys behind him again gave a hearty chuckle. Julius stood there…. Half laughing that François had guessed his fears. “Well,” François tone was now defeated as conciliatory… no longer excited and convincing.  “Well if you are a spy… you stick out like a sore thumb, besides the Muslim’s all hang out on the other side of the city with the Russians. Anyway, Pete hear knows watches and there are so few nice American models that are made in America. Yours is rare, it is truly unlikely anyone but an American, or someone who has been to America, would have a watch made by that small company.  So really, you don’t stick out so much, except that watch, but unlike half this city we always find Americans to be a blast but hey that’s the end of my sales pitch pal.. free beer and wine or a lonely café where there are no criminals to observe if that is what you here doing, and at which you will have to pay.”  “Lonely!” Julius turned and sat down at their table. He was sold by the man’s tone and the genuine appearance of indifferent masculinity. “Lonely….I’ve been waiting for my French bride to show up… one of those gorgeous librarian types with the glasses and the long skirt and dark black socks… a beautiful face of fine features perhaps even a slightly off nose, and a body tucked away nicely behind her conservative yet subtle clothes…you know the type that can unwrap herself and have the adventurous spirit to sail the seven sees by my side.” “Sail the seven seas? What part of America are you from…..Mayberry perhaps?” Yet again the table erupted into a chorus of laughter.

 

“Pernod. Pernod for everyone, Claude.” François, drank Pernod because it was no longer particularly popular like it once was. “Listen boys…. This place is about to pick up and I have my night waiters coming in so if there is ….” “Yes Claude, as usual we will have five bottles of wine and a case of beer……Oh what kind of wine do you like? Your American so maybe you don’t know?” “Oh I like beer to be honest….” “Brilliant.. were getting a case of beer.” George pulled out a pack of cash. “Thank you gentlemen, anything else you need… as always put it on a tab if you want. I know you’re good guys.” He meant to say “I know you guys are good.” Claude hustled back into the backroom only to arrive a minute later with a cart full of alcohol and some type of deli desert tray packed with meats and cheeses and fruits. George pulled out some euro’s, “for you!” and gave Claude a wink.

 

“So American, what is your name?” “I’m Julius…” “Julius? A good name. Somewhat French/ancient roman isn’t it. I’m François; this is George, Jean and Peter.” Handshakes ensued and so did the drinking. First two rounds of Pernod and then wine was consumed in such a way one might observe and think people can be dehydrated and in need of wine.  François drank beer along with Julius and the rest drank wine as if their parents were going to come in and take the bottles! Within minutes of eating and drinking the other three showed themselves to be as enthusiastic and outgoing as François. Julius was unsure if he had just entered the company of France’s youngest Professor of political theory or whether it was some type of elaborate joke, or maybe they really had mistaken him for a spy and he was on the way to the stove top and did not know it!”

 

“Democrat or Republican? Religious or non, Christian or other? Capitalist or Socialist? Thin women or what type of women?” “So you drink beer rather than wine? Always?”

 

 Before he knew it Julius’s fears were gone as were his imaginative suspicions. “So what is this Pernod? It’s good… not unlike Jagermeister…”

 

“At last we found an American man, the type our grandfather told us about when we were very young and he was very old.” “Ha you should have said grandmothers!” Again there was a roar of laughter. “I knew it gentleman,” Pete eyed the watch,… “a good but very masculine sense of style, athletic and suave… I knew it!” “Our own fucking Hemingway! He looked like he was thinking about throwing a few jabs at François earlier.” Again there was a wave of laughter.  Julius’s drinking began to show after his second beer with the boys, which was his fourth or fifth overall. They were drinking micro brews or in other words local French beers and the content was nearly double though no one even bothered to look. François switched to wine and on the table sat six bottles then eight bottles and then twelve bottles of wine sat empty on the table within two hours time! Unless that destiny set American watch had been broken a lot of drinking was done by these French man in quite a short time. “Julius pulled out his phone to check for messages. “Ah, no, no, no phones tonight! It is our night off…no nothing that can be related to work,” stated François with adamancy. Just good times!” affirmed Jean.

 

“As I mentioned Julius was now settled in. He was no longer suspicious because he had made a point to see if any of these guys noticed the very noticeable women going in and out of the sandwich shop over the two hours that had so quickly past.  

 

“So what is it you all do? “Ah, ha,” said George, “a very American question. Not what do we like to do or what is important in our life, no you ask instead, ‘what do we do?’”Julius was quick to reply, “but you asked me first!” “Yeah, so we did, but only because you Americans and all your fucking McDonalds influence.” “McDonalds!” echoed Jean…. And there was again more laughter from all five young men at the table. François answered Julius’s question after the laughter momentarily subsided. “the four of us are brothers and cousins, you know the typical story…… most of our parents were government employees so we are all pretty well off, but also familiar…. all of our parents were divorced or separated at one point or another, we came together and went out into the world, the street, whatever you might call it, since we were a young age we all went through school together…. started our own business together. We run a designer clothing shop for men on rue de r .”  Pete started to smirk out loud… Jean who was sitting to his right gave him a quick backhand jab on the chest … “what’s funny?”  “Nothing, nothing François makes us sound like the fucking musketeers… forced out into the street to band together because our parents were always fighting.” Nobody really responded to Pete, he continued to laugh to himself. Julius was still focusing on François, “So naturally we all have our own interests, but that is our main work…. we started very young, I confess our connections helped with starting up, but it’s been hard and fun work.” “Are you all married or you have girlfriends….I’ve seen many beautiful women in this city!” “What, you want to take François out on a date?” George was very pleased with his obvious but quick witted joke. “No, no homosexuality is cool its every persons own choice, blah blah blah, or everybody is born a certain way.. I for instance was born a murderer, and those sick fucking priests that molest children, they were born attracted to children, social circumstances and choices have nothing to do with anything” George leaned in towards Julius as he continued, “but it just so happens it’s not cool with us,” George settled back in his seat with a low and quiet laugh.

 

“We all have girlfriends,” said François, “and George has many girlfriends.” “I’m French! What do you want from me!” Julius noticed all of their movements and expressions were constantly bouncing back and forth from a very typical and refined French ease of expression prevalent throughout the whole city, he also notice in all of them except François, this aggressive bullishness and loudness about them that was something very distinct from the quiet and confident boldness of the typical French disposition he had come accustomed to observing.

 

“Let me say you all amaze me! You drink all of this alcohol but to little effect, it’s like your drinking water!” “We are drinking water friend, haven’t you ever heard of the French curse, Christ turned water into wine but the French turned it back into water!” “Yes, it’s true, many think it is a curse, but I don’t, I’m not some adolescent infatuated with getting drunk, and we love the taste of wine, so really it is a miracle in my opinion.” “Yes in your opinion François, but I on the other hand would much prefer to be a light weight!” retorted George. The other two rolled their eyes, and Julius smiled, and laughed. “Another round! And then we go!” announced François. 

 

“Oh where are you all going?” Pete answered Julius’s questions as François was taking care of their last order and accompanying expenses.   “We, including yourself, are going to the Select, it’s a great place…hard to get into hence ‘The Select’…..everything…gaming, tables, pool tables, dance, restaurants….it’s amazing!” “Oh no! You’re going to bail on us Hemingway?… Because you still think we’re going to rape you.” George again had successfully made the table erupt in laughter, even the waiter was laughing and François who was trying to hold it back out of politeness. François again spoke up out from the rubble of the laughter. “Listen, Julius, pick any random person in hear and ask them about us, I assure you, all of France is not in a great conspiracy to rape Americans.” Julius hesitated and then picked a girl who had come in and was now walking on her way out… a girl who he had been aware of the entire time he was sitting there. “Excuse me! I am an American, these gentlemen here, are they um….. are they straight!” She broke out with laughter and then quickly regained her poise. “Yes these are the Maxin brothers, not so dangerous for boys, but for girls…,” she gave George a smile.

 

“Ok , ok, I don’t need to ask anybody else, I’m sorry, but come on it struck me as odd that you guys were so nice and so friendly for no apparent reason.” “That’s easy,” replied Pete , “we like to speak English every once in a while, we don’t travel ever, and you seemed like a confident guy, who can handle himself.” “You see most guys around here are like leeches they want us…. they want to be us… to be one of the Maxin brothers or they want to compete with us …plus you’re a foreigner and we enjoy meeting foreigners, because like Pete said we don’t travel.” “Speaking of being American,” asked Francious, “did you ever play base-ball?” Julius laughed, “are we walking tonight?” “Yeah I like the fresh air,” “Okay, I will tell you about baseball on the way….. But surely you’ve seen on tv or the internet…” “of course, of course, but tell us about it…you’ve seen how they make French wine  on the history channel, and you’ve even drank it, but now you are in France drinking Pernod and French wine with French man…you know…..?” “Yes, Yes I see.” “So base-ball?” “Baseball? Hmmmm were to begin?” Julius’s head was noticeably on a swivel, George walked up to Julius and put his hand on his shoulder, “you begin by not being a like a little boy in a toy store… there will be plenty of women to see in a few blocks….Baseball!”

 

“Well you might come out to a baseball game after your seven hours or so in school all day, and you come out either with no energy or completely full of energy, not adrenaline, just energy. You’re familiar with the word adrenaline?  Either way you may feel on a particular day, but you always feel liberated, and not just because you’re out of school. Baseball has no painful tasks to endure no five mile runs, or sprints, or anything like that, it’s more like going outside and maybe practicing an instrument, except the instrument is more suited for movement, or manly.. You get to dive in the grass or dirt after flying leather balls and then you get to try and crush it with a bat. You get out to the field, which is usually surrounded by fields of hay or corn, literally amber waves of grain, and its springtime and the air is warm but refreshing and you line up and loosen up your arm for a while and then you take a few swings at the plate to loosen up your bat. All of this done with concentration on results and technique, and depending on whether you’re tired or energized, with sheer joy or sort of a relaxing lying down on a massage table type ease. And then you line up and listen to your name called, the national anthem and sometimes a prayer, and then you sprint out to your position full of pride and ornery competitiveness, your competing with everybody…. your own teammates and the other team and everybody that has every played the game. All the while this entire time there is constant background noise, people, the other players, and sometimes yourself, everybody is talking, teasing, joking, teaching, assessing, prepping, motivating. Maybe something like a military dormitory in down time and then before a test or small battle…..if you have ever been in the military? By the time of your first at bat, whether you have been dull and disinterested or energized and having a blast…regardless the adrenaline kicks in, your there alone as if at a penalty shot…everyone is watching you, competing with the other team and every individual that is playing the game, and has ever played the game, and some person sitting in the stands who doubts you. And you get a hit when it counts and you look at them and you smile and your smile says “who doubted me!”  The same happens when the ball is hit to you in the field, in a flash it goes from nothing happening to the spot light being on you. The environment changes from a raucous circus environment to you performing a violin solo before the world, and the success or failure and the style of how you finish the challenge affects not only you but also your teammates, who though you compete against them, are always in the end your teammates.  In France you play tennis or soccer, but this is a different dynamic of team and then individual…. and I believe it is so very telling of the American idea; it’s like a working metaphor for capitalism. It’s brawn and speed and fury, but also technique, and patience, and the outsmarting ken of experience, its individualism with the construct of a team, a solo performance within an orchestra piece, but with a constant flow…. pressure and release…it’s a constant trickle of contradictions, all under the title of game!” François was very pleased with what he was hearing he especially like how it was played on a field in the midst of fields and that it did not require terrible strain but efficient and exacting effort, “It sounds majestic!……what is this about it being like capitalism?” “Yes, how so?” affirmed Pete.

 

 By now they had arrived at ‘The Select’ …it was still early evening and people were playing cards and rolling dice and shooting pool. The five walked right past the all ready long line at the front entrance. Julius had turned the corner at the conclusion of his reminiscent on baseball only to be distracted and lost in this grand stately building that was ‘The Select’. Unfortunately his baseball talk had fallen to pieces, as he began to imagine the inside of that grand old royal looking cut of architecture. They walked along a side walk with flowers and trees on both sides, beneath what was the west wing of the two or possibly three story D Select club….if such a building can rightly be called a club…. more like a governor’s capital building turned into a club.  I’m sure there was some French word for it, in any case they came in from the Westside and then taking a left they were in the courtyard, a naked cherub statue… and all ….with a fountain beneath in the center of the courtyard, on both the left and the right side there were three foot pillars, a hedge and then about ten feet of walking space toward the front doors along the arms that extended out like a L and backwards L with the fountain pool in the middle. People sat on rustic metal chairs by tables of the same sort, they were eating and drinking in the splendorous outdoor courtyard setting.

 

The weather of objectivity never had its way with this structure. This particular evening it was humid and dreary, but upon entering the courtyard Julius found the old and grand architecture imposing its will on the weather… making it all seem something to behold. Calm and quiet, no sunset, the air was still as if before a storm and the ease of the fountain and the occasional rustle of the trees only served to add to Julius’s anticipation of what lie ahead.

 

“Let’s grab a seat outside for a moment smoke cigars and hear about base-ball and capitalism.” Pete was all smiles while George read the impatience on Julius’s face. “Relax, relax, the night is young and there are many more nights if you want… we are self employed, so we can certainly make room in our schedule’s for guests.” From the time of the deli all the way to the Select Julius had noticed George, François, Pete, and Jean. All of them were constantly dealing out large cash tips, to everybody, and anybody. “So I have to ask? I thought it is not customary to tip in France….. since the wages are set?” “Ah so you noticed them!” said Jean, “ they try to be discreet, me on the other hand… pah.. I like to … you know set a good example for others.” Jean had a mischievous smile on his face as he said this. “Its capitalism!” stated François, “ and maybe base-ball too. It’s all about capitalism! George here, he converted the three of us to capitalism during our university years.” “Ah, and who converted George?”

 

George was occupied lighting a thin dime circumference cigar with a medium to light brown wrapper and a green label. “Oh nobody converted me per se…..just Friedman and Hazlitt, old friends I stumbled across once upon a time! Plus I have always hated injustice from authority figures, and I also like to compete..go fist to fist you know…I was born a capitalist…hahah”

 

The Maxin brothers, as they were called, had a common theme of subtle sarcasm and understatement that was told by either their smiles or their laughs which seemed to typically conclude their statements. Julius just sat in his place, wandering, apart from the eccentricities of these Frenchman, what tips had to do with capitalism?

 

“We are teaching our countrymen one by one the advantages of good service and non-taxed cash… the freedom of cash…. the liberation of cash, the stashing away and saving of cash… the responsibility and the trust of oneself and one’s neighbor’s self with it instead of an elitist born body who knows what is best for everybody else, though not for themselves, since they live off everybody else at a much greater and freer station in the elite of society, or they merely use their power in governance to preserve their wealth and station and bog down anyone who has the desire to rise, and compete!” “To put it simply, more than George did, it’s about not running into your maid at a nice restaurant! That’s what it comes down to for them.” “You give tips so you don’t run into your maid at a nice restaurant?” “No dumbass Hemingway, what Pete is saying is, the reason the rich do not like capitalism is that they want to make sure that they will not run into their maid in a nice restaurant, and the best way to do that is to keep them dependent upon the government, to make it impossible to open up your own business, and entice employees, the idea is it eliminates social mobility in the name of, security and welfare. Sure a few might wiggle through the cracks, but generally the elite pay themselves from the working class, and use the working classes own money to keep them where they are by taking care of their money for them, general speaking.” George now retook the floor, so to speak, since everyone was sitting in the metallic like chair along the L shaped balcony of the courtyard beneath the silent and dreary sky. “ For example, in your country they cut out the middle, or have been trying to cut down the latter of social mobility, they tax them as hard as they tax themselves, though this is irrelevant since the combination of their wealth and power  keeps them out of reach, the tape up entrepreneurs so much that the one’s that do squeak through sell out to the big established businesses who are run by ex politician’s and vice versa big corporations who can weather the storm of excess regulation because it eliminates the little man and his competition, and all the while they feed the faces and give the crumbs to their own enslaved voting bloc who keep adding to their ranks from the defeated and former members of the once upon a time middle class.”

 

 “Parasites, fucking parasites!” shouted George as he threw his cigar into the fountain.  The waiter arrived, and certainly saw George throw his cigar, but he said nothing, and had no intention of acting like he saw anything. “ I am sorry, I’m sorry sir, here,” George handed the waiter a wad of cash, not in order to keep him quiet, whoever these Maxin’s were, I again reiterate, the waiter had no intention of saying anything . It seems George gave him a wad of cash just because….maybe he was embarrassed at being obnoxious…., “here, I will take care of it though; George went and picked the cigar out of the fountain. Julius was again on full tilt taking in all of what was happening. “Well, I am American, and I do like baseball and capitalism, but I am no economist… I just go with the flow! Though I know enough to prefer it over socialism…or ‘we are in this together,’ or whatever their slogan is now…they forget the dialectic…it is baseball…we are in this together…we are in this for ourselves. I sum it up something like this. You can have freedom and less security trusting yourself…. and the trick of security is that it is shaky since it depends on another man’s ethics and whether or not he really desires to be a civil servant or a civilian with servants i.e. a supposed representative. So you can have your own freedom, or you can have some type of uncertain security that will with certainty limit your freedom over your own life.  The funny thing is the left in my country wants the freedom on social issues, but not on monetary issues, and the right wants the freedom on monetary issues, but not the social issues.” “hahah…yes….well put!” François gave Julius another shoulder squeeze/slap.  George suddenly burst out in shout, “hey Jean stop being such a phobic…smoke won’t kill you….what does Julius think…..with you sitting 100 meters away!” Jean waved his hand, “put those damn things out already! And you won’t have to shout to talk to me!” “Anyway, your country can be saved! Just localize government, use your federalist system by bring back the importance of local government… implement policy that sures up work and encourages patriotic business practices…globalization should not be the death of the United States or capitalism in your country…. it should usher both into their golden age! Just limit governments….. make it more efficient and lean…you know…… get a national spirit of patriotism in business practices and boom. America should be booming again. Let me get a coffee,” George continued, “but for us, it’s to engrained in our values, if you want to be independent there is only the black market and guilt and corruption! And there is corruption! Rather than the government cracking down on bribes…they have their hands out. In many ways our country is a beautiful picture of socialism upheld by democracy…but if you want to be something, and you’re not elite…well then…you realize it’s a filthy picture.”

 

François was smiling so also were Pete and Jean, as if they all had heard George give this speech before. “Listen, lets save base-ball for another day. Let’s let Julius experience ‘D Select’.  We’ve been here so many times…… Julius, and as you can see we really enjoy discussing ideas with a fresh and foreign mind.”  Julius noticed a growing sense of urgency in François to get into the club, oddly though, François and the other three all had  an obvious hesitancy to go inside… as if they both wanted and did not want what they knew would be inside waiting for them.

 

The hostess was ready to take Julius’s jacket inside the door, after which he proceeded through a metal detector. It was a very embarrassing scene for Julius; he had left a large pocket knife in his jacket pocket. The security came over and immediately took the knife as they gave Julius dirty and suspicious looks. Oddly enough, Julius had noticed the Maxin’s were already inside on the other side of the metal detector. The Maxin’s still had their jackets on.

 

“ A knife…. I love it….hahahha. ..Our own fucking Jack London!” “Hemingway, he is fucking Hemingway, I said that from the start, fucking American wandering around France sitting at café’s all fucking day, hahahhaha, with a knife!!!” “Mother fucking red blooded American, and not a red neck. We found fucking George Washington….hahaha…no! no! Jefferson…Jefferson loved the French!”  François laughed at the very funny and excited boy like exclamations of his brothers, but as the laughter settled Julius found François looking at him with inquisitive eyes.  “I’m paranoid…what can I say… ever since I was a kid I wanted to be ready in case I ever ran into somebody who was no-good.”  “No no you’re a strong guy, but you don’t know the language or the town and you’re here alone…it’s smart to be cautious” As François finished saying this he leaned in towards Julius’s ear and began to whisper, “you are here alone friend?… if you’re not! Well then I’ll give you whatever it is your supposed to get…just enough to let you complete your job and me continue in mine.. and then you leave us be…as friends….we don’t have to be pawn’s…we can be friends and collect our pay and play our corrupt over lord/s rather than be played by them eh,eh…better to play them then be played by them and be expendable like pawns.” François was about to continue to make his case when Julius’s interrupted him, “No, No! Please! I’m here alone…really man, I’m who I said and that is it! No worries, I would swear on something..but what two people consider the same things sacred these days! I swear on..on the life of a beautiful women with a beautiful soul!” “ok okay, I believe you..sorry for that…it seems..we are all a little bit paranoid!” François and Julius both shared a nasally/snorty type of laugh/smile.

 

George walked up with a wine glass in his hand, “you two look way too serious. I would have got you a drink but I didn’t think of it!” “What is that in your wine glass?” asked François with strained eyes. “It’s a bowl wine glass full of Jack Daniels… I’m drinking with an American so why not keep the theme consistent.” François rolled his eyes at George, and then George shrugged his shoulders and took a massive gulp from his glass of Jack Daniels.  “What do you want to drink Julius?” By this point Julius realized that him attempting to deny their hospitality would only be received on deaf ears, besides that Julius would have guessed that a night of drinks at D Select would have cleaned out all of his travel money for the remainder of the trip. “I’ll have French, not wine, but a French liquor drink? Of beer?” “More Pernod for you, it’s a subtle drink and I think you will have brought it back in fashion by the end of your stay here in France.” François took another look a George and then shook his head and smiled, “I’ll be back.”

 

“That’s a lot of alcohol George!” “Well thank you Hemingway… a fucking great observation, a true observation! You should write it down! I want to get drunk tonight!” “Yeah that is what I can’t figure out, all of you already have drank…what 2 bottles of wine each, at least, and three or four shots on top of that, and now you’re still drinking! But none of you seem drunk in the least.” “Listen Hemingway, all of that is nothing. We already told you that wine is like water and as to the rest…you have to realize I also ate about 32 oz of meat and a block of cheese and a loaf of bread, and coffee, and on top of all that I’ve been doing physical work all week and barely eating enough because I am always on the go. So anyway, tonight I’m getting drunk.” George took another gulp of his glass full of Jack Daniels whiskey. “I’m getting drunk to forget many other times I’ve gotten drunk.”

 

George had managed to finish his large bowl of Jack and he helped himself to another cocktail, as a waitress walked by him with a tray full. George took three glasses off, two of which were for himself, and the other for Julius. “My girlfriend is beautiful, she is a saint….. I’ve been with her since high school, but tonight I am going to fuck another woman….. I already saw her on my way to the bathroom… bar on the way to the bar. I’ve been thinking about how I am going to cheat on my girlfriend all week, its been on my mind, it’s a relentless idea that does not go away!”  He finished the cocktails and was now resting his left hand on Julius’s right shoulder. Julius stood silent listening, George was beginning to feel the alcohol…he was probably drunk… but not to the point where he didn’t want to be taken seriously, “and you say, ‘ah, why do to a place like this’ if I don’t want to cheat?” Julius raised his eyebrows and shrugged his shoulders to signify his obvious agreement with the fumbled question. “I’ve thought the same thing, and I’ve tried it…but it didn’t work… I fuck the hair stylish or the curious girl out of high school working at the market or some old lady divorced and sitting alone at the café…..it’s quite simple really I just say hello to them and smile with a smile that says …..” “Julius. Here is your drink… oh no, George is talking your ears off and still drinking! George don’t embarrass yourself to our friend!” “Shut up! François, We’re having a serious conversation….I’m explaining to Julius why I am the way I am… beside’s, fucking Hemingway has listening eyes!” François shot Julius a look with his eyes that said ‘do you want out of this?’ Julius, understood François and with a twitch of his own face, said ‘no..Its fine..really’ “Okay, when you two are done with your fascinating conversation I’ll be at the pool table down the hall and to the right. Pete is playing cards, and I have no idea where Jean went.” George gave François a sarcastic salute goodbye.

 

“As I was saying Julius, I smile with a smile that says, ‘I see you want to fuck’ they say their name and then smile back, and with that smile they say ‘yes.. I’m starving for attention.’ They daintily put out their hand I shake it as I think about my touch on them, I then comment on their book, or their purse… and I say something like ‘I work in the fashion industry I have a book full of purses with a better color for your eyes …blah blah blah come to my apartment to fuck.’ And I used the word fuck to describe this to you Julius, because Julius, my friend, I do not make love to them I fuck them, and that is what most of them want anyway, there is nothing that has to do with love about any of it. I say something like that or about my wine selection or library, or about them modeling for me… it doesn’t matter, they have their aims and I mine, and the funny thing is I am rarely wrong. I mean, I rarely offend a woman….. how do you like that? That is how it goes….. François will call pissed because I missed some appointment, my girlfriend has no idea because I see her later on, and although I feel guilty at the sight of her, I ignore it and I fuck her too, and then as I lay beside her…. I vow to myself to never do it again. Then the next morning comes and when I’m eating breakfast on rue abel and some 28 year old single clerk sits and looks lonely and hungry…and I being the good saint I am, I feed the hungry!”

 

George was beginning to perspirate and he took a breath and looked to Julius to see what his reaction would be… “ah,ah, and even when I was poor…I’m not a blood brother… I was poorer and even then it made no difference… I had my girl but I would fuck all the girls I bused tables with..so really my money that I’ve made with my cousins has only changed the setting a bit.  The setting I meet women in that is…. Maybe I have a wider more spontaneous pool but nonetheless it makes no difference!” Julius remained standing filling in his lack of words with constant sips from his beverage. By this point Julius was moving back and forth between fixing the hair near his ear with two finger sweeps and the crunching of the ice in his teeth…..his drink had been all for nearly fifteen minutes but he kept the nervous motions going. George was still taking a prolonged breath hoping Julius had something to say… some advice or words of comfort.  The only thing George got was a smirking look from Julius…..a depressed posturing of the lips that said… ‘my oh my.’ George seeing the response continued as if he were waiting for a response merely out of some formality of politeness.  “You haven’t known me my whole life…obviously, obviously…”  George paused, and he paused again in that manner people who have been drinking often do because they momentarily lose their train of thought.

 

“But but, and ask any other of the guys, when I was a young teen, before I meet Laural, I was such a romantic. From 10-15 I contemplated being a priest, a soldier of God, a shining light of integrity in a crusty world.” George was animated pausing here and there… waving his hands…. raising his eyebrows up and down and side to side. “Even when I meet Laural, I fell in love because I loved her conversation…. her feminine company her person. I didn’t know anything about women…somehow I missed the meaning of all those perverted jokes of adolescence because I was too busy playing soccer all day…. soccer you call it soccer? I don’t know but I didn’t know a thing and then eventually we got close and well… but the point is I was so pure and I wanted to be pure, but now it’s all turned out to be quite the trick. I though one women and one woman only… I thought those other men who philander are dogs…weak dogs! Ahaahhahah, and my girl is a wonder… hah imagine some of those dogs I was so hard on have psychos for wives and they might not have even known it to start with.” At the end of this statement George’s disposition changed completely, as if some spell wore off he became calm out of nowhere. To Julius’s astonishment George spoke in a calm collected and clean voice, “And that my friend that’s why I’m so edgy…so drop dead sprint to go somewhere….Oddly enough at this moment I feel at peace and in control, but it will pass, it always does…” he giggled bitterly and quietly laughing a laugh of bitterness… “And we are.. hahah, and we are free! What a funny dreamy idea!”

 

George motioned for Julius to follow him as he got up from his seat and wandered over to the chairs in the entry room and had a seat in a large brown leather chair studded with golden studs. “I apologize I’ve given you a speech and a half… a lecture in disguise, I’m fine… so go.. and play some craps…here is my card, try not to lose more than 10,000 euro.” Julius just looked at him not wanting to irk him up again, “you’re sure?”

 

“Yes! Of course! I’m not drunk….. my motor skills are loose but my mind is never out of service… not unless I black out … otherwise things like money and women and anything else that can get you into trouble, well to say the least..alcohol doesn’t provide me the lack of ..shall we say, ‘moral reasoning’ that it apparently provides the rest of the world.” Julius just gave another half smirk smile and was on his way.

 

Really Julius was very distracted from George’s speech….with all the grandeur going on around him who wouldn’t be, but George reined him in and indirectly demanded to be heard. Julius had heard him, but to little effect other then hearing he was not particularly moved except that felt slightly bad for George, though he wasn’t too sure of that or concerned about how he felt except excited to gamble in a large way, and with the freedom he had always fantasized about.

 

Julius took his time; he found water and absorbed it like a man set out to accomplish something. He took his time…he had gambled before and lost to much of the money he could not afford to lose in a literal blink of the eye, about 10 minutes to be exact. He took his time surveying each room….. taking a little extra time on the richly dressed women, he landed on the natural amidst the manufactured women that were in a very certain sense put together in a factory assembly line type way. He took in the décor, the class of the old building and the furniture and the lighting. The table games he found and passed by giving François a nod. He saw the pool room and the now notched up dance floor with the seasoned D.J., an innovator on the appreciated, it is true that some D.J’s are so good they can play music that no one in the room likes but do it so well and with such taste that the people find themselves craving it the following week…. he gives them a taste for it….in fact there was just one such a D.J. in the room that night.  Julius finally found the craps table. He watched with the utmost concentration for ten minutes and then eased his way toward the table with the movements of a man familiar with the setting, though he was not in any way familiar with the setting. Julius knew he processed the ‘credentials’ of appearance so he acted the part. There was a definite sort of oddity that others observed, but given the coherence of most of his other movements he was noticed as someone exceptional. People’s imaginations were both irritated and interested in who he was…..though only for a moment….only for a moment when they noticed him were they thoughtful of him, since they were typically very much more concerned about their own movements and how they appeared,… and were appearing to everyone else each and every second. He made his move…placed his bet.. the die rolled and within seven minutes of betting he had lost 5,000 euro’s, he didn’t blink an eye. He left the table not wanting to waste or be in debt to the Maxin’s, having again lost money so quickly when he had tried to gamble well…..he became furious. This time his fury was different, rather than having the competitive conquer all attitude that he found within himself on previous occasions, occasions in which he only went on to lose more and more. This night he felt defeated …defeated, and the fury disappeared quickly, and he felt nothing but defeated by the game, but maybe also by life…he was on an adventure, but wasn’t he delaying the inevitable. Either way, he felt defeated and at peace in his defeat…. calm and quiet, and at peace in his defeat….as if defeated by a superior and worthy opponent. Nonetheless the activity of the recent days since the night he decided to crash the celebrity party…the activity had calmed to silence in the busy room around him and the thoughts that drove him to sneak away to France in the first place again began to hum their ugly tune.

 

The Art of Self Creating

 

Although he spent most of the beginning of the week sitting alone at café’s, since the time of the party crash he had visited prostitutes in the woods, in the city a cab driver tipped him off as to where to go for that type of thing, and where it is most safe.

 

 Then he meet the Maxin’s and so his week became quite eventful in a hurry. But even sitting at the café’s was an activity to the extent he was busy and free of his thoughts since the time he drove to the airport and forked over the cash to leave his car. Now he found himself at a grand wood finished bar. All the water he had gulped began to taper off his alcohol and caffeine surge. He sat quietly beneath an elegant and dim lit light fixture as he looked across at the opposite side of the bar. The bar counter was a circle with the bar tender and his craft shop in the middle. Across from him sat a petite and pretty women smoking a long white slim cigarette. She smiled a soft and sweet smile and he quickly looked down while giving her a teethless smirk of a smile. Low and behold Pete walked up beside the women, appeared to have exchanged a few words, and then called Julius over to across the bar where the aqua-eyed-women was sitting. Pete introduced Alexandra to Julius. Apparently Pete knew her father who was a diplomat of some fashion for a country in the eastern side of Europe. Pete had to leave as he was only quickly taking charge and delivering his own drinks to himself at his playing station, which was poker.  Julius sat and said nothing, after an uncomfortable minute and a half. Alexandra spoke first,

 

“So Julius, what’s your story?” Julius gave a quick and well practiced synopsis of what he was seeking to do as a career. He was apt to cover up his current absurd and secret sabbatical from college. Instead he focused on his desire to become an economist. He could roll over his rather insignificant station in life with ease since he was good looking well dressed and currently loaded up with the Maxin brother’s hospitality money at The Select. “I’ve decided to start education fulltime since I wanted to save up and invest rather than incur debt, plus I should get a lot of scholarships by being in the honors program. I’m basically waiting to get into a school in the United Kingdom and due a master’s and Doctorate in four or five years total.” Alexandra was looking at Julius listening to his every word in an extremely agreeable disposition.

 

She sat facing him, she was wearing a black skirt like dress with a pair of Jeans underneath. Her dress might have seemed too casual for the select but she finished off the outfit with a shining black slipper type shoe. Her outfit shouted calm but classy American, though her accent affirmed her being raised for a good deal of her life in eastern Europe.  Julius felt very detached…. very unmoved as he spoke and as he found her without much left to say on the topic which he had become completely spent on in a quick minute. Alexandra swept her hair up in a bun and then let it drop back down. The rest of the conversation went on with Julius asking boring and neutral questions…. the type one would ask someone to fill up a scheduled allotment of time with small talk. Alexandra, initially to Julius’s relief, covered every angle of each absurdly generic question that he posed…… as the night went on she seemed to show no signs of irritation and impatience at his dull questions. Whether or not she yearned to begin to open up her heart, who could say?  It definitely seemed likely since she became quite impassioned in her talk of two different topics. The one being the story of her childhood, and the other, her being caught between two countries and the two worlds neither of which seemed to be eager to claim her. “That is retarded it’s so stupid, your intelligent..your well educated…. honest you would be a great benefit… a valuable citizen in any country, not to mention that you would make the country more beautiful occupying its space.” She smiled at his cheesy compliment and both Julius and Alexandra turned their eyes to the ground.  Even in this cheesy jokery of his, he remained detached, although throughout the night he occasionally stole appreciative glances at her aqua eyes. He hugged her good bye in a firm and borderline aggressive way, holding her soft pale body against his for but a moment. He looked down at his watch…they had talked for three hours and forty seven minutes. It was twelve and Alexandra had her fill of some type of dry white wine. Julius shut the door to the cab, and they each exchanged an “it was nice to meet you!”

 

Alexandra was not particularly sold on Julius, although she did not dislike him. She was a woman and thus she would not chase him, she would not give herself over to him, not when he had risked nothing…had initiated no thing, though she did like him well enough. She had hoped they would meet again while he was in France, although for her it was, for the time, her current residence.  Julius did not think too much about his guarded and detached meeting of Alexandra, instead he looked for the Maxins who were still gambling. Julius did not think too much about his standoffish attitude toward the aqua eyed women.

 

Julius then finished out the evening putting his million dollar face- squared jaw prominent chin and poignant blue eyes to work. For whatever  reason and incomprehensible to him….. he had no luck. Typically he had no need of charm… as he truly was an unbelievable good looking man. He was as good looking and better looking than the most celebrated celebrities of his day. Really people would look at him and say “who is that?”  it was unquestionable to people that somebody that good looking was somebody…in the least, somebody mysterious who kept a quiet existence in small and select circles, and of course he had to have money, or some other distinguishing factor….. because it was inconceivable somebody could be that good looking and an average Joe at the same time so to speak…that type of thing would insult people and offend them. In any case his hunger went unsatisfied, unbeknownst to him because he had no hunger and the women he attempted to lure could sense it to the point of their being insulted. And so Julius found himself in Pete and Jean’s apartment on the penthouse floor directly across from the place where the celebrity party was that he had earlier in the week.  He was on the east side balcony explaining to François why he did not bother to even get Alexandra’s number. Julius was arguing against himself in his reasoning as to why he did not bother to further pursue Alexandra. François merely sat out on the balcony with a polite smile and listened to Julius argue against himself while he drank dark red wine. “You should have stayed away from the women tonight…you were supposed to have a good time…how could you possibly have had a good time….. you only lost 5,000 euro’s, which is nothing…50 dollarrrs…….if you do not leave the Select angry or exhilarated then you did not have good time.” Julius realized that somehow he was eager to fall in love with her……or maybe he was just eager to love, and be loved.

 

Either way he was depressed because he could not allow himself to even entertain the idea for three minutes. “Listen, just see where it goes…Pete can contact her… he knows her father..why worry why think too much?” Julius said nothing other than a consenting, “true enough,” knowing both that François was right and that he would not see her again.

 

It was now three AM and Julius went to bed with a more threatening depression then the one he had left the states with. He was in France and not only was he in France without anyone who knew him in the states knowing, he had crashed a celebrity party and became befriended by the Princes of the Parisian underworld. Princes who had more kindness and integrity and conviction then the legitiment people of station in which their parents lived and moved and had their being.  The Maxin’s had no need to dabble in the sex trade nor did they desire to. Although they were by and far breakers of many laws, none of them seemed to have forgotten the father’s admonition from their days at Catholic school, “to love their neighbor because God came and spoke these words with human lips…human lips boys!” and then the father would begin to cry… he cried like a rare and true priest, a man who was a living sacrifice for the love of God and His goods. He would tear up and weep like a man starved and dehydrated without the taste of a women and then he would try to pull back the tears….. and thunder out a deep herculean clearing of the throat.

 

The next morning the Maxin’s were up whipping up a true breakfast of champions. The hour was 7:30 AM Julius’s head was throbbing not so much from alcohol as sleep deprivation. He did not sleep much the night he was with Jillian and he did not sleep much at all since he arrived in France and stayed in hostels and literary slept with one eye open, and so he did not sleep but four hours a night. Paranoia is not for the poor. Julius’s eyes with dark circles underneath rested on four young men wide awake, already dressed, washed, and dappered up. Julius wondered if their three hours of sleep counted more because all the alcohol they drank put them in a comma, but he didn’t know what was a good explanation other then these men were immortals, descendants of the individual’s the tales of the Greek god’s were based on.

 

The espresso eggs bacon ham slices, sausage pieces, buttered toast, and orange juice sitting before him seemed to be a fair compensation for getting up at the crack of dawn after drinking and staying up all night.  The pastry’s and fruit tipped the scale towards his being extremely glad to be awake. The Maxin’s crossed themselves and prayed a prayer before they began to eat. George took aim at Julius as soon as the prayer ended. “You, most likely have an idea of our status as ‘businessmen’ but not even I have forgotten Father Fredrick’s fucking truth!” George went on to explain about their not dabbling in the sex trade… essentially the very thing I already told you a paragraph ago… about the Father’s admonition and tears. “You know,” said Pete, “a few weeks ago we were talking about him and so I tried to find him, and as far as the Church is concerned he ceased to exist. I had to pay a priest a lot to find out that Frederic was no longer a Father…. that he left the church after writing something of a summa theological  to the Pope on why priests should be allowed to marry as well as the disgrace of molestation and homosexuality within the church’s clergy. The pope let him leave the church in peace so long as his paper/book was ‘ never published.’ He is married and living in Germany!”

 

“Married in Germany?” pleaded François. “Married, and living in Germany…married to the younger nun Marilynn, the one who their were always rumors about.” “The converted call girl!” Pete shrugged his shoulders, “I’m not sure if that story is true, but that is the story. It sounds too cliché! To be true. Regardless, the Father moved to Germany and not only did he do that but he also got married! And I can do one better; he apparently is seeking to join the Eastern Church!” George’s eye’s went wide at Peter’s final revelation as he crossed himself ferociously and gulped a large cup of orange juice in a manner similar to how he was gulping the Jack the night before.”  François tried to lighten the mood, “well he always did talk a little too much about that protestant German Luther, at least for a French Catholic!”

 

Quickly and insecurely the subject changed to a joking tone about the largeness of certain aspects of François Fiancé.  “So Julius you’re on vacation so I think its best you stay here and rest while we attend to some of our business. We will be back at two… go out if you want..whatever, but we will be back at two. You are staying a few more days…we will take care of your plane tickets …so see you at two.” With the tick of a second hand on the new grandfather clock in the old apartment the tone changed to serious…too business. François gave a look at Pete who was taking his time eating a pastry. Pete saw the look…. François stood up as did the other three. They put on their coats and were out the door …in single file it seemed to Julius. To put the drastic transition more clearly they went from lying on the beach to straightening their ties in about ten seconds.

 

Julius browsed through some pictures in the living room; he found out from the pictures that all four of the Maxin’s had earned masters degree’s by the age of 21.  Julius looked through the pictures gathering bits and pieces of their life. It was apparent that all they had told him of themselves was the truth. The three brothers had wealthy parents, though George, their cousin was not as wealthy, though he was able to attend the same schools through high school, so said the pictures. Julius lay on the couch eventually falling asleep and dreaming of Alexandra as his wife…greeting him as he came home from work. He woke to disappointment to depression…. he faced the truth that he could not marry Alexandra because he had no direction…. he had no intention of becoming an economist or of doing anything but scratching some scratch out of a day at a time….for gas money…. most likely by waiting tables on the weekends.  He believed it to be true that Alexandra needed not only love but an established man….. a man, at the least, with ambitions… with a direction and a plausible intention to provide. “Given her childhood, given her father…this is what she deserved in a man.”

 

By now you may realize Julius was something of a scoundrel to women… rather than give the downtrodden prostitutes money, he paid for their services and though he always paid extra and was well aware that his good looks made the whole affair less painful for them, he tried to ignore the fact that despite all the hoopla he was taking advantage of beaten down people….. but he consider himself a beaten down person, and thus I suppose that is how he kept his conscience, and that is how we find him capable of selflessness when it comes to this women, at least, that is what seems to be the best explanation.

 

So Julius laid thinking and thinking of what he could set out to do to success and more income than debt……. and not hating his existence while doing it. But every with every idea came an objection…. came bunker busting bombs that obliterated the small seeds of hopeful ideas in his mind.  He had plenty of ideas but for every antidote there was a thousand new viruses that came out of it.  He thought it was possible a wife like Alexandra, so sweet and kind, would give him a motivation that overcame any of his doubts or fears of painful and ugly jobs. But he could not trust this hope…. he had never had the love of a woman!

 

He knew what he was made to do…his stomach new it, but it seems the world did not.  Julius had already concluded that the lack of Alexandra’s questions for him, and excessive talk, were more to do with his impersonal questions and her nerves more than anything else.

 

 Alexandra was somewhat sad herself and upset she had ever met him, though still having hope they would meet again. Julius eventually fell-asleep until two when George was the first to arrive. Julius spent another three days with the Maxin’s  feasting and drinking until three or four in the morning and then awaking at seven or seven thirty. The Maxin’s always came back home by two p.m. or three at the latest. During this time each day Julius contemplated Alexandra….the likelihood of his not being overwhelmed by her do to his circumstances………. and recent events itched at his mind…if he had been alone in the States like he always was then surely he would have seen it all differently, and this realization bothered him very much. Julius ended up meeting all of the Maxin’s girlfriend’s at dinner the following evenings, and so it happened that on, what was to be the fourth night, Pete’s girlfriend announced Alexandra was coming to dinner. Julius motioned François out to the balcony area for a private conversation. François had begun to grow a black beard, he kept it well groomed, he ran his fingers against the scruff at the top of his beard near his cheekbone, Julius lit up a cigar and François followed suit. The noise coming up from the streets below made itself known as François waited patiently for Julius to speak what was on his heart.  Julius leaned over the balcony looking into the street. “I’m leaving right now,” His tone was divided and dramatically soft. “Oh come on…what do you mean……Stay!…your serious?…..stay as long as you want..you can’t go just like that, ………….why are you in such a new hurry to go?” “I don’t want to see Alexandra again! It’s pointless to see her…. the best thing that could happen for me would be the worst thing for her! And she might sense it but she would overlook it and then she would awake to find herself again left to poverty by a man who was supposed to care for her!” “I’m not sure what you’re talking about but her father is quite well to do, and I haven’t heard she has even thought twice about you….hahaha.. .. your good looks have made you paranoid, it is quite possible that one out of one hundred women are not absolutely crushed by your devastating good looks! Haha.” François was laughing not because Julius was conceited, but because Julius was blatantly honest about how good looking he was, and all the while humble, like a billionaire who realizes early on that his wealth could be destroyed quickly and in the end means nothing but a nice grave stone and many hands ready to reach out to his dead person….. hands that rarely had interest in him while he was living…..except perhaps his interest.

 

“Well I have to go regardless of your making more sense than me. You have been so generous..such an extraordinary host…American’s will not soon forget the brilliance of a true Frenchman, in fact I won’t be able to help telling everyone I meet! You are all friends I will never forget and at this point in my life I could not hope to return you hospitality..and still I have to ask you a favor……………. Do you have any contacts in Germany? Somewhere I can work and sleep under the table…you know without government work visas and all of the obstacles that take forever.” François was somewhat perplexed, “Germany? Your family may not miss you for a week but if you stay longer you’re bound to get pinched.” “No I’ve thought it out, I left the 1st week of my fall semester at my university I can take online classes so I could avoid my family until thanksgiving without them knowing I’m not at the University.” “You’re too sly…what if they came to visit?” “Oh, I don’t think so, my brothers just visited and my parents are busy, so I should be in the clear, worst case scenario is I will have to transfer into another program. But I do have enough saved especially if I can earn money while in Germany.” “Hmmm, I do have a friend, who runs a restaurant….since you do not know German..do you?”

 

“Only a little, I can read.” “You would have to wash dishes..but he wouldn’t mind having you, he is quite the nationalist in private…and your very ‘German’ looking, you last name sounds German…tell him that is where your ancestors are from and I think he would be extremely pleased to have a good looking American German washing his dishes, cheap labor, and of course he can still be a nationalist at the same time since you are a long lost German, hahahhaha! I like the idea, I would join you washing dishes if I could, it would be something of an adventure for sure, hahhaha! By the way, I’ve just thought your adventures give a whole new meaning to a semester abroad haha! And the best part is, if you do it right, your friends and family will think you have never left the country in your life! Hahha I love it, I love it, George is right, you really are a grand bastard!” Julius and François laughed together and then François threw a wad of bills into the wind and watched them float into the street…..”My weekly offering..hahahhah!!” He and Julius stayed on the balcony relaxing until the haze of their cigar’s wore off.

 

François and Julius stepped back into the apartment. “Julius is leaving us boys.”  All three of the Maxins looked up or came out from their various locations in the apartment. “You’re leaving because of Alexandra coming over… Pete said you meet her the other night,” George wore a very satisfied look on his face as he was certain he had put the puzzle together. “I’ve heard of your type, the preemptive romantics who think too much and keep themselves out of danger…the danger of love and the destruction of one’s dignity if they find they cannot hold such an eternal wonder in their hands without tainting it….. and so also the eternal within them.”  “George the poet,” state Pete dryly. Julius looked horrified, the type of flash on a face that cannot be hidden, when a private and self assured man has his mind read….in impossibility, a thing he did not ever encounter and thus his inability to control his reaction. George who was the most talkative, and an extreme antagonist, softened up his response.

 

“Brother we are all romantics here…. men of books… of ideas and religion, whether or not by our own choosing is beside the point.” Jean smiled and laid his hands on both of Julius shoulders. Jean was a few inches taller than Julius around 6 5’. “Do you still think we’re some kind of weirdo’s fattening you up to rape you!” Everybody laughed and the mood was lightened. “To tell you the truth when we first saw you, you looked a little dark… a little jaded.. somewhat depressed, though your dress and general appearance said the opposite, it showed life. The owner whispered you were an American and we were sold by the intrigue, an American tourist with a soul! We always are looking for Americans…… since none of us have ever been to America and you were an American with a quiet and pensive style, so unlike the big movies, so unlike the type casts….stereotypes…it was so exciting, we were like little boys who had a chance to meet Hemingway, or the type of American our old grandfather had so often said such good things about. He loved the American soldiers he meet… even the obnoxious one’s…. he said they knew they were obnoxious and apologized and showed good heart in their own way. We consider ourselves something of the last of the Old French spirit, the deGaulle the Napoleonic spirit! Which of course is quite hard to pin down….. but so are we, vive la France! ” They all shouted vive la France! And then broke out into smiles and mild laughs recognizing that Jean had just ended up giving Julius something of a long a speech.  Julius picked up a glass and toasted “to life and liberty, and your Father Frederick!” Everybody broke into smiles of laughter “cheers!”

 

“So Julius should take the train and meet Wolfgang at the restaurant, I’ll call Wolf. Julius can travel on our business account.” “Definitely,” affirmed François.  “Well…..” François looked around, gave Julius a firm handshake and a hug followed by the other three, and then George took him to the station.

 

 

 

Germany and Nietzsche’s priest

 

Julius’s agitation at traveling, his fear and unsettledness from the leaving of his own routine at the University had faded as he grew comfortable with the Maxin’s.  As he sat on the train alone he again realized he was not at home in his little kingdom. He looked the other passengers over and then relaxed. The irresponsibility of not doing the tougher courses he was enrolled in as a residential student began to irk him as did the uncertainty of his future career….his loneliness…..regardless of where he was, and his general disinterestedness in whether or not he woke up the next morning. He sat thinking of the many possibilities of his life the many means he might pursue to gain wealth and stability. “Stability, income, two things he could not have anything in life without, even love it seemed! Love not sex! One didn’t really need much money for sex, at least not Julius, for him all it took was  showing up at a bar and buying himself one drink, that would be all it took to get laid on any given night. And he laughed at the fact that he never bought a single women a drink he went home with. But to love someone, it seemed to Julius, one must have the money to care for them and to show his love. He wondered and wondered what it was he could do for fifty hours a week without hating it…. how arbitrary it all looked as he sat on a train in France on his way to Germany.  And to be anything great, well that required ‘breaks’ and ton’s of education and thus ton’s of debt and more ‘breaks’…risk great risk as well as years of feeling one has accomplished nothing…since such is the life of a student…an academic.  Why couldn’t he have been born a farmer like his great grandfather and his grandfather after him? Why would people like his grandfather’s sell their land and their freedom to work in a cave full of the sound of machines or to work in a cave full of the sound of keyboards? Or to work as some major player in an industry or a government only to trade the enjoyment of a family for the means to support it.

 

A family..….where was a women his heart upon knowing found rest. Women… a hunger…for fifty different shades of cheese. Contentment, ambition, purpose, love, lust…..life.

 

Being Still The Fear of the Heart the Source of Life

 

Jacquelyn was at dinner with her sister and brother in law. LeAnn cooked a full four course meal, and they were currently eating a rich pecan pie and drinking a fruity red, really more of a pink, dessert wine.

 

Jacquelyn’s had sensed something secretive in her sister’s reaction and dismissal of the construction worker as at boring topic. LeAnn was getting playfully tipsy in a guardedly provocative and well practiced manner…. in the tradition of rich southern Baptist women. Her husband, Rick, had left to watch the football game while LeAnn and Jac sat on the porch listening to favorite songs from Jac’s Ipod.  Sensing LeAnn’s relaxed disposition Jac again brought up the construction worker. “So what do you know about that construction worker who gave us the finger?  I mean it’s not every day we get flicked off at a place like that!” Jacquelyn’s manner was very carefree and consciously non-threatening…very…. ‘we are on the porch, slightly  amused  and slightly bored …why not tell a juicy story.’

 

“Oh get off it,” LeAnn rolled her eyes. “Even though he looks somewhat shabby now, 10 or 12 years ago, whatever…. he was gorgeous. He spent an entire year, his senior year trying to get me to be his girlfriend. He was really gorgeous and strong and manly…. I don’t know…with that unique mixture of barbarianism and feminine sensuality…hah,” she lowered her voice as she used the word sensuality, as if unsure of the word fit, and also somewhat insecure using  the very  thought-out word for ‘some guy’ form 10 or 12 years ago. “He was like a man out of a novel.. you know, the type those lonely women dream about since they are brave enough not to settle for a slub like all the other women……..But, he was also outrageous!

 

He was very serious and quiet and somewhat intellectual like, or something, but then out of nowhere he would say or do something off the wall!” LeAnn tried to cover up her natural excitement she found in her voice as she recounted the past.  “It was usually an antagonistic like pestering type of explosion, usually after he didn’t… or things weren’t going how he wanted, but it was playful enough to catch my attention in a fun way.” By now LeAnn was getting very caught up and enjoying her narrative of the construction worker. “Like, what? Give me an example!” Jacquelyn was still acting the part of playfully interested avoiding the tone of serious at all costs, a trick she learned in one of her journalism classes though in truth she had mastered it at the age of six.

 

 “Like, for one, I wouldn’t go out on a date with him. So he found out where I was. Like once, I was out to eat at Couzin’s with two other girls….well, he showed up, came up from behind, kissed me on the cheek, and said, ‘LeAnn darling, you should have told me you were bringing friends…. Now I am late and look rude.’ I don’t even need to tell you I blushed like crazy!” Jacquelyn tried to hold back her smile, LeAnn was blushing terribly as she told the story but was too caught up in it too realize it. “The girls loved it and he sat and ate with us and I barely said anything the whole time but that didn’t seem to bother him, it was like he understood what I was feeling.”  “Were you even dating at the time!”  “No! Like I said I wouldn’t go out with him!” LeAnn’s eyes were wide and wild both hands extended in front of her. She was clearly loving her memories, loving the story of the attention she received from this gorgeous manly man, loving the story in a sort of prided way before her younger and now more attractive sister. “We weren’t even talking he just kept following me around campus forcing me to talk to him, and I guess I wanted him in the worst way but I also knew I wanted a more stable less exciting man!” “Like Rick.” They both said simultaneously, and laughed with a giggle. 

 

Jacquelyn poured her sister some more wine. The giggles at the expense of the very rich, but also very poor Rick had settled into silence. LeAnn’s glow of wine joy grew calm coincidently at the same time she was at the climax of her story. Jacquelyn fiddled around with the music selection on her iPod before she grew impatient and broke the silence. “So ….what happened next?” “Ohhh….. we started to date and then he broke up with me and took off to Europe.” LeAnn shrugged her shoulders as she said her words with uncanny indifference. Quickly, she recovered herself and in a defensive tone explained to Jacquelyn, “It was just one of those weird college relationships.” Jacquelyn poised like a CNN interviewer on the attack, she threw off her mask of happy go lucky and shot LeAnn, a “come on! Be serious!” glance.  LeAnn knew the look on Jacquelyn’s face well; it was one of a series of looks, a type of language, established between the sisters early in their carefree and tyrannically empowered childhood.

 

 LeAnn’s attitude, her body language, and tone, went bitch, “we dated, we had sex a few times in…like a few days in a row and then he broke up with me and went to Europe with his friend.” The defense of bitch failed, as LeAnn’s eyes were on the brink of release and she took off from the patio to the bathroom.  LeAnn, like Jacquelyn, was far too proud to cry in front of the other when they had preemptively dismissed a topic as trivial, it was all some way or another rooted in a certain sense of sibling rivalry. 

 

Jacquelyn was truly shocked by LeAnn’s breakdown. Jacquelyn really seemed to believe LeAnn really did not care about the story or the guy….much less that she had really been in love with him. Jacquelyn seemed to think LeAnn was avoiding the topic for mischievous reasons, and Jac felt terrible about ruthlessly driving this pain back out into the blood of her sweet sisters veins.  Jacquelyn sat on the porch stunned, and thinking over the years she summarized this guy, the construction worker, he was most likely LeAnn’s first love…. the very first man she entrusted herself too on all levels.  As Jacquelyn sat in shock it all began to come together…. how LeAnn went from a very rigid by the letter of the law type of person to sloppily carefree and indifferently wanton about so many things she was once very decided about, became so obvious to Jacquelyn as she sat on the porch thinking over how she had never failed to watch every little detail of her older sisters life.

 

Jacquelyn didn’t want to cause anymore problems so she left LeAnn be. She texted LeAnn a message lettering her know she was very very sorry about the whole thing and that when she felt ready she could talk it out with her. Jacquelyn showed herself out and gave Rick a patronizing “goodbye! Brother” after quickly explaining LeAnn was in the bathroom with an upset stomach from the cheap wine he bought them.  Ricked rushed to the bathroom door as Jac went out the front.

 

 In the following days Jac proceeded to ask everyone she knew about the construction worker. Naturally she did this as discreetly as possible by coming up with some fake story as to why she was asking about him. The story she sold always had the same chorus with different verses tailored to the person she asked. One day she had a break, she saw a friendly acquaintances of her own talking to the construction worker as if the two of them were old friends.

 

“That’s Nathan Parsons he was a few years older than me but we had some classes together.” “Oh, I guess he didn’t finish his degree seeing that he now works construction?” “No he finished, I was actually just talking to him about that. He seems to be working construction instead of teaching because of something to do with a criminal record…..I don’t know I didn’t want to pry and be rude.” “Sure. I was only asking because I heard he dated my sister?” “Yeah that’s right, forgot about that, I remember a big stir around campus about the two of them.”

 

 “Oh yeahhh… well I’m curious…what’s the story? My sister claims she doesn’t know what happened to him.” Jac and the man who knew the construction worker named Nathan Parsons were walking along the grey sidewalks to the student conduct office. Jac was interning and the man happened to be the dean of the department. He had worked for the University from before he graduated right up until the present moment some years later.  “ The story is he dated your sister for a few days…or maybe weeks I really don’t know for sure but….. he took off to Europe and from there the story gets even blurrier. He went with a friend…another one of the guys from the school, the friend came back in six months… apparently they had a disagreement. Nathan was gone for three years. The other guy left, so I have always guessed all the stories have to be from Nathan’s current friends who happen to be terrible at keeping secrets…like everybody else in the world! Still they are Nathan’s stories and they include everything: fights, kidnapping, sex and drugs ecetera and so on. The sex and drugs aren’t hard to believe….it’s common knowledge he came back a serious user, and the sex…well you’ve seen him…imagine him at the age of 23 or 24. Plus he was always lackadaisically intelligent, you know one of those guys in the class who always comes up with the poignant and troublesome questions…off the cuff…like clockwork…especially if it was early in the semester and the professor tried to embarrass him when they thought he wasn’t paying attention….the rest of the semester would be H for that prof!”

 

By now the man had found his office and was done filling up the walk with polite conversation. “Hmmm, that’s so interesting. Anyway, I am in for two hours today to help Mrs. M on the final stats for the semester. “Have a good day!” They both smiled and went their own way.  “Oh one more question….what was the name of the other guy…the one who took off to Europe with Nathan?”  The man paused for a moment, “you know the whole time we were talking about him I had his face in his mind….Will! Will Gersh. He actually works in the graduate admin department across campus………okay, you’re welcome, see you later Jac.”

 

“Who is Nathan Parsons? He was a disturbed boy who became a troubled man. His main trouble that set him apart from most men is that he talked openly about his problems. He shouted them… so to speak.. and quite literally at times.  He not only acknowledged his problems, he feed and watered them, he went to bed with them every night and ate breakfast with them each morning…to say he faced his ‘demons’ is an understatement. His parents were prolific and terrific and horrific liars! They lied and repeated the lies enough that a polygraph would be disarmed…I not only went to college with him, we grew up together. He was raised by troubled teens, stepbrothers, and sisters adopted from foster care. Was he molested? was he turned raw and ruthless by sheer cruelty? Who knows? It is certain that the worst streets of foreign countries were no foreign terror to him. Even as a boy who was tormented and hurt and neglected and lied to by his parents his eyes remained fixed on what was right, or maybe I should say his eyes were clear enough to see the wrong and hypocrisy of his parents though their own twice glazed over eyes saw only good as a description fit for themselves. In college he remained honest and screamed lies lies lies lies when he saw them. But he did not scream with his voice. He rejected the standards of the very niche within society he was formed. He rejected his society, and their lies. The problem for Nathan was that though his parents were liars and utter hypocrites he in his passion of youth, in his inexperience, he overlooked that his extreme reaction against them…his toying with the devils was no laughing matter. I know this so well because my parents and his were friends, and virtually of the same batch. But In short Nathan failed to realize that a liar may renounce drugs as deadly and be honest in doing so….. A liar and drunken gambling cheat of a pathetic husband may say you should not sleep with anyone but your wife and be right in saying so. A preacher type may preach that being arrogant is bad and all the while be the most arrogant man around, though one may rightly be disgusted by him but even so he is right in what he says. Nathan was young, and so was I, we embraced everything that our parents rejected in their façade of righteousness, we did it because they were liars and arrogant ruthless hypocrites, and I suppose we mistakenly broad bushed everything they had contact with as contaminated.  Damn I’m blabbering on in excuses we were a-holes, but well…what am I trying to say….. The sad thing is Nathan’s façade of rebellion became more and more practiced and in the end it was no longer him out to make a point…. no longer him in control….he became lost in his role like an actor who becomes a cowboy for a film and then finds himself wearing cowboy boots and spitting chew wades and buying a ranch on which he lives out the remainder of his life in seclusion.  Frederic was playing the role of a serious alcoholic, serious drug user, serious sex fiend.” “Why? I don’t really understand what you’re getting at.” 

 

Up to this point Jac had been listening attentively, at numerous times feeling inches away from grasping this very fuzzy explanation that was Nathan Parsons.

 

“He did it all to say to his parents, ‘ look I drink like crazy, I do drugs like a crazy, I have different girls all the time, and I dare you to tell me I am wrong…to condemn me!…you won’t dare, because you are filthier than me, even if you have never done any of these thing!.’  What I am saying is, Frederic did all these things, but his heart was not in it, it was as if he was sacrificing himself, trying to be the opposite of his parents because their vileness did not include any of these things, in fact they abstained from all these things and yet they were so vile.. so much viler then many of the people they condemned who lived in the dregs of society.

 

 

 

What ended up happening is he could not keep the dualism going, eventually his heart became immersed in the life he was play acting and he became addicted to all of it.  The transformation was an easy one to become lost in because his mind was looking for peace, and if this world and its supposed God had no answers, well then better not to think. His rebellion, his rejection of lies, his being an angry boy who pretended he was superman to annoy and avoid his parents, he found  being superman to be not only a great out, to exploit and highlight their utter self delusion and vileness, but also a way to pass the time and not have to think about the questions a man comes upon as an adult…playing superman solved this problem. The only difference between him and I, was that I ended up feeling sad for my parents before I became lost in their antithesis, alcohol, drugs, and sex and above all honesty and a loving and non-judgmental disposition to others, all others except the proud, and self righteous that is.”

 

The man who was Fredric’s friend looked at himself as something of a guidance counselor, even though he was merely a paper pushing administrator he wanted so badly to be a guidance counselor, and he took this opportunity to talk, to try and guide Jac. Not to mention the story of Nathan and his own story were very similar to a point, and who wouldn’t buy a person a cup of coffee that approached them asking if they could have the good pleasure of hearing them talk about themselves.  That is to say upon finding out who Jac was and what she wanted to talk about, he quickly offered to have some coffee with her at the student café three floors below his work floor. And so Jac sat listening, and listening, because in her mind it was really all about her sister, Jac was a psychology major and she was piecing the puzzle bit by bit, attaching all the terms and methods she had learned to different parts along the way and concocting an inductive masterpieces of causation within her mind in order to make sense of it all.

 

Jac seemed to think she was so interested in all of this because it was her sister, but really there was an even deeper driving force, which she would discover much later.

 

“Religion may a times seems a nice stable little opiate of the masses, certainly smug people who have never seriously considered it seem to think so, but really opiates are the most efficient opiates. Nathan’s plastic trash bag cape and rubber dish wahing gloves, his costume of superman, was drugs, was sex, sex because his ideal women his savior was also a façade…. a mere mirage of feminine mystery and beauty within a selfish immature and self deceptive beast called women.” “You can’t be serious, my sister was barely twenty, how could you blame her, she was young, and how could she have known or ever lived up to what your friend needed at so young an age….and to call her a beast…I imagine that you’re not married!” “I am sorry, I’m sorry…really.” He waved his hand showing his ring finger. “I am married and my wife is great, I was just getting caught up in the way we were at the time we took off to Europe…. how we saw things and what not…I am sorry, but that is how he would have said it then…and he will never talk to you about any of this, so I wouldn’t bother, you will most likely get a … ‘f- off!’ from him, and that is about it.”  “No it’s fine, I just wasn’t sure where you were going with all this.” “Where was I going?….oh well, fortunately the man settled down a little, he has meet a women had a child and works construction. He still drinks very excessively, as always, but he plans it all ought so as to not interfere with being a father, he takes fatherhood very seriously. Jac did not yet realize at the time what her fascination was with this Nathan . To her it was all curiosity about a secret in her older sister’s life.

 

  Jacquelyn had yet to remember her haunting idea, much less confront the idea as it was in its full development and power; No! She had not yet let the idea have its say. Dare I suggest that her study of psychology was nothing other than a way to find scientific and socially acceptable securities….. so as to cover over and explain away the things in her heart she did not want to face. I suppose I do dare it but I am losing my self-control as always and getting ahead of the story.

 

The man apparently had more to tell about Nathan as something had just come to his mind as their little mock interview, or whatever you would call it, seemed like it had come to an end. Jacquelyn found herself with nothing else to ask.  “Let me tell you a little anecdote about this Nathan. Upon his deciding that the world and he, himself, were irredeemably corrupt, he became fearless. That is to say death was on the fore of his mind and it had as much significance to him as getting a drink of water while swimming in a natural spring. One night while wandering the streets of England he was robbed at knife point. His passport, his money, his book bag with most of his belongings…everything! Upon turning over his belongings with the greatest portrayal of fear and desire to be accommodating, he sprinted down a parallel street tackled the thief..beat him within… I would guess two hits of his life, and then proceeded to not only take back his wallet and belongings but all of the thief’s including his clothes with the exception of his underwear.  Here is another story from when Nathan returned back to the states. One night he was sitting at a bar drinking. His friends were at the bar with him but they had wandered off to their own interests. As Nathan sat alone at the bar he was approached by too very scantily clad women….you know…. the type who were young and bored and mostly un-ashamed to be ostentatious about looking for a ‘good time’.   Frederic was in an irritable mood because he had just ended a relationship because the women wanted to control him. The girls approached him and then sat there on both sides of him giggling and moving from one sensual position to another. After about nine minutes of this Nathan finally spoke, he shouts, “What the fuck! You want to fuck or what?”

 

The girls……… who clearly wanted to do just that were startled by his forwardness, with startled and uncertain voices they said.. “nooooo?” in a questioning and flirty type of tone. “Well!” says Nathan, “Well if you don’t want to fuck then get the fuck away from me!”  Nathan got up and found us to say he was leaving. The one girl, after her period of shock was over, began to motion towards the walking Nathan to wait but she was too late. I was fortunate to have come out of the bathroom in time to watch all of this unfold in earshot….I have to say it was unbelievable given the setting!”   Jac just nodded her head completely shocked at half of the things this guy was telling her, she didn’t know what to say or what to think about any of it, she just sat there as her face which was usually loaded with expressions grew blanker and blanker. 

 

That was Nathan…one of those religiously bred man who upon realizing that God would not personally appear to shake his hand and say “it will all be alright!”  Became angry and spiteful in his self-debasement. What is was about this Nathan that stirred and ignited the buried purpose within Jac’s heart is hard to say. But to be sure, the more she learned of him, in fact the very anecdotes I just mentioned that she heard from the guidance counselor, who apparently carried no hard feelings toward Frederic, the more she heard of Frederic the more her life grew quiet , the more she avoided the business of her social life, and the more she found herself in solitude thinking over her future and her young and short past….. A past that was possibly no more than four or five years deep and yet most likely appeared to her to be the most profound of her life, or of anybodies life!  What she had done or hadn’t, she couldn’t say specifically, she had moved…. she had been moving and doing and so she was happy, or so she thought.

 

 It was now Jac’s final semester and she found herself throwing off all her commitments…avoiding all her friends that were her life.  She nourished her mind very well as a high school student, so though her university years were of little educational significance, as is often the case in this time, her mind again remembered and she again began to see and to also see-through. Boys became shallow and stupid, their praises completely boring and predictable their ideas and goals…. textbook, their words empty…their touch…disgusting…nauseating.  Her goals…her one time heart’s desire to be a magnificent mother ..well that also began to become quite cracked. “Look around all these children become adults and their mothers are in tears at what they have begotten. Husbands that are ambitious cheat or are busy and un-romantic. Yes I could get a wondrously decorated cake of a life, but I could not also eat it…. only display it! appearance….appearance…appearance.”

 

 She did not stop dressing with the usual classy style but her use of makeup became spartan, or perhaps I should say Mennonite or Amish. Too her dismay she found her skepticism justified, most men truly did only look for that manufactured caked up perky breasted bleach blonde of the new southern girl tradition……as for the other men…well she decided they wanted young action…of any designation. She looked at her own mother. Her mother was no mere frivolous women who was a slave to her children. She had her own business, but even still her mother and father’s ambitions and goals seemed to have no definite goals or purpose. And like many before her who were nurtured in baths of wealth, she began to despise its false sublimity…its gilded mystique of superiority and especially its addictive and usually arbitrary end.  She no longer knew what she wanted however she did having a growing list of what she did not want. Her resolve and disgust of her social life fluctuated in the remaining weeks and months. For weeks on end she would have no need of the praise of a man….. a thing that had made up the scenery of her life each day of her life to that point and was as common as the sunshine in the Florida she had grown up in. Some days she missed it but then after frivolous texts and dates she was even more disgusted with herself and it!

 

Jac had skipped her annual spring break outing to the south of America….. an outing which included truly carefree living. Although these elite and privileged children, of corporate workers and government employees alike, had little to worry about during the school year, really the only thing needed was passing grades since their parents connections and foresight in saving from their abundance of income funded by their fellow countrymen, many of which they  sold out in the name of multiculturalism or an additional two million in profits the upcoming year…since their parents had plenty of money and connections waiting for them… a job of their choosing after college or perhaps the funds for further education. So really the pink skied nights of expensive beer beachside grills filled with find moist meet over the cooling evening sand and the soothing sound of crashing waves had no expensive debt cloud looming over their heads…no there was only the looming feeling of utter freedom…of ruling the world and maybe jumping into those night waves in complete nudity hand in hand with a young friend in the prime of their life, a life that was consciously bred for good looks from the very outset. No there was no concern to loom over these young and privileged individuals. 

 

Young men with near six pac abs and pec’s reminiscent of the great Schwarzenegger. Young women with the latest one inch pieces of cut and seductively designed materials, either gorgeous by birth, or by 16th 18th and 21st birthday presents of an enhancing nature on each of the three celebrated birthdays…lips had become popular in  addition to asses and tits…. I apologize for my rather harsh use of wording..but breasts and rear ends are parts of real women… tits and asses…are more like car parts at an auto shop.. like spoilers and bumpers…more practical than artist unique or beautiful.

 

Jac hated herself and regretted every minute of missing her final and annual living of life to the fullest.

 

 In the middle of the week she was not but a click away from booking tickets, only to abstain with her hand on the mouse…. as the idea had in fact come to pressure her mind. In her entire life she had never felt more alone. Not since the few days her mother was a few seconds late to pick her up from day care and she cried…had she felt so helpless and alone with herself. Her negations of life….. of what she did not want, turned into the birth and blooming of the idea in her heart.  As is so often the case, the religion, to say it fairly, her upbringing …the setting she was shaped in had come to her mind nagging to be reconciled to her current  reality…her now present and matured mind found a highly stable and pleasant childhood that flowed seamlessly into her current adult life of parties and fun. The incongruency she found, the prick of an otherwise excellent massage that was her childhood, was the intermixed religiosity of it.  The idea was the uncanny and disturbingly loose ticking sound that ruined the enjoyment of her rolex life…style and class, morality often being associated with a sense of class. Two personalities and paths to her life were alive within her. That is to say two paths seemed to develop before her and within her, in which she could decide her life and thus also her personality. A phenomenon hard to pin down but prevalent in every individuals life, though often it does not seem to be an extreme decision or even a specific one, rather it is typically chopped up into a long series of small decisions…….it’s much easier for the mind to cope with that and keep up its daily routine of life. The one that was akin to the idea was deeply buried underneath selfish and frivolous concerns of her overflowing and otherwise strong undisturbed and carefree personality of jovialness and the self comfort to look to be a guide to other women….  who were less secure and happy than she was. Jac had always wandered about like a benevolent but fierce monarch of her environments.

 

The air was damp but daily and increasingly warmer, it was spring after all. She jumped into her sporty little sports car and arrived at her favorite hangout, or hideout, where she would go to recoup for an hour or too, recoup from all the activity of her brilliant social life. The café was empty and filled with employees, which she did not even know as acquaintances, since all the regulars were off on their own spring flings which they could not afford. Her hope for an atmosphere of people…noise and conversation and laughs was disappointed. And alone she sat looking at the trees across the street. The early summer sky full of color, but “so what” she thought, “this is beautiful I suppose… and better than ugly, but right now what do green leaves and pinkish streaks in the sky do for me? Make me sadder…for some reason…they make me sadder!”

 

 All this sitting alone and thinking was new to her, she had never found herself in circumstances like this before, and the funny thing is she was there by her choice, everything in her life was up to her…some people sit alone because they have little choice in the matter, but this was not the case with Jac. It was new to her and she had a typically ‘confident’ and exacting thought… “my goodness…I’m becoming one of those rare and silent, thoughtful women! Though unlike the type I’m thinking of ….I’m gorgeous…hahah not that artistic men don’t love me as much as the athletes but now that I’m all thoughtful all of a sudden…now they might worship me!” She thought of the name Hugo.  “But who would want that… the artistic man… he is so full of troubling thoughts and ideas…all of their damn ideas…who wants that….the wife of a starving genius… or the mistress of actors or writers…hah no! If they are so damned smart why aren’t they rich!  What in the hell am I doing here…. this is crazy! I should be lying on the beech …what a dreadful thing ideas are…what a terrible monster reflection is …it used to be a rest, a little fantasy after weeks of partying and being busy, a simple romance novel or movie  and a few flashes of the imagination and now I’m turning into queen Elizabeth or something!”

 

As she was getting up to leave to go home and watch a movie, and probably eat some ben and jerry’s ice cream, she saw a thin very good looking- well dressed man her age sitting alone in the corner of the café… he seemed to be peering over his notebook, pen in hand, occasionally looking up at Jac and thinking over an entire romance epic with each glance! “My! Artistic men….! He should get a real job…he is probably a bar tender or a clerk at a clothing store…he dresses like the Armani man…….I bet he wants to be broke and in love! Hah”  Jac had developed the game of ‘tagging’ as she and her friends called it, of writing on napkins, or talking out little biographies of what passerbys were thinking or who they were and what they did. She caught herself doing this alone with the company of her own mind and no other, and she immediately stopped and moved on to what movie she wanted to watch. “Midnight in Paris! The good old days when there were well rounded men!… classy strong men”

 

Julius sat on the train and found himself in drowning despair. He had sailed the seas….made love with beautiful women numerous times the past weeks… including a very famous one. He wanted to stay with Jillian but he knew she would not have him …not for longer than two months of everyday life at the most. Two different prostitutes he sought to begin relationships with, the first one did not trust him and thought he was ‘too good to be true’ and ‘up to something’. The second one only laughed at him, she was already hoping on another one of her repeat clients, and then of course there was Alexandra.

 

After each rejected him he found himself somewhat relieved.  After he made it through the day of his rejection the next day his depression would lift and he would find the thought of monogamy to be a very boring and impossibly unrealistic fantasy. 

 

Amidst his enthusiastic and anticipating joy at the women he would meet in Germany he found the thought of freedom, the freedom that haunted and teased and spat at George Maxin, he found it transient and its calling of a purer order….. of the order of love.  It’s not that he was actively looking for love, he was wondering and he was impulsively swept up with these women, and then he found himself wondering whether he was not really roaming the world for a women unlike any other. As I said, after the initial rejections he found himself terribly upset. Now on the train he sat overwhelmed by despair and depression and utterly pessimistic at life…. “sex, yes I can have sex,” but as he thought over these events he doubted anyone would ever feel and live out that un-explicable love for him.  And it dawned upon him that the love of a woman was the only thing that drove him, drove him to plot out a path of pay and prestige… if it was necessary. The only thing he did not have in life was the adoration and love of another, he had everything else, and had the utter conviction he could achieve anything else if he set out to, the type of conviction…. the type of inner resolve that if spoken is mocked until one day the mockers eat their tongues and feel disgust and shame as their jealousy and offense signaled their recognition of the truth of it all from the very outset.

 

He had yet to decide his path, whether he knew it or not, or I should say whether or not he would admit it, he was waiting for the love of another to give value and meaning to whatever it was he decided to do.  He resolved that, upon returning from Europe he would search and seize success in a way and with a focus few could replicate.

 

“Success, an expensive foreign car, an expensive house or apartment, or both, expensive suits, and watches, expensive restaurants and drinks, a job were people sit around and use words like allocation, leveraging, talent, flexibility, growth, ethical, global, initiatives, austerity, efficiently, acquisitions….. where people sit around in cloths put on with the highest level of consciousness there is regardless if they be hoodies or tailored suits lined with gold, there they sit over-pathetically trying to appear relaxed and carefree or powerful, as they use these words, and tighten budgets and make cut’s on all the employees except themselves, they, The Arrived, the elite, who need double their salary more than their countrymen need an extra 5,000 $ a year each, who need their expense accounts wide open to attract the best talent! Success! In life… excess in life, and the funny thing is they would give to a charity sooner then take less themselves and pay their countrymen more, and why is that? Because they want the power and the feeling of superiority to be unthreatened they don’t want to see bill and his wife at the same restaurant as them even if bill can only afford to go twice a year. And the funny thing is, these elite, so many of which believe in a God hahahhahahahahah, are typically religious or worse yet do gooders who aren’t so presumptuous as to know this or that about metaphysical non-sense but have the good common sense to love their neighbor!!!!!!”

 

 Julius thought and knew he could play ball in their park and win…. and what’s more not sleep well at night consistently embracing a scientific view of life, and ignoring all this hodge podge  and moral talk of social stability that men like Heath blabber on about to ease their nearly dead but ironically occasionally accusing consciences.  Julius, could be superman, if he wanted to be, and not fly with pinned wings , “ yes there is need for social stability, there is need for order, it is important that everyone else is naïve and follows these morals that no longer have a basis or any relation to the scientific and evolutionary view of life, it is important that they follow so I have a stable world to maximize my own pleasure while I wisely undercut these mores that I preach, while I rely and count on the vast majority of others following them because they are too stupid too realize they are deemed worthless by their own accepted and scientific axiom of the origins of life and the purpose and movement of history!”

 

 Julius sat on the train and smiled a smiled out from his despair.  He looked out the window and saw the moon ¾ full with a glowing rainbow encircling by nearly six lengths of the moons apparent size.  The first thing he did after exiting the train was to store his luggage with the station attendant who then directed him to the nearest and most legitimate brothel. He tried to kiss the women’s lips but she could not allow it and he tried to lay with her at the end of the session but she would not have that either.  The world is at least one thing for certain, an ironic place, a place of bad timing…. a hard hearted soul might even say it is comic. Though may I give you a hint, the courageous one’s look to make their own timing

 

It was quite late so he jogged through the streets being very cautious in fear of any trouble he might encounter in a foreign place…. the unknown.  The city was dark and it was growing cold… it had a stern silent sad, and majestic feel to it, something reminiscent of the age of castles and candles.  He rented a room after haggling English out of a seemingly German only speaking taxi driver, who looked anything but German. How is that for a racially ignorant comment, though since I acknowledge it must be something other than ignorant, unless of course one is only more ignorant if he is able to acknowledge his own ignorance and be perfectly content in it.  The room was small and his despair, his loneliness that remained with him in every different corner of the world again said hello…..he drank himself to sleep. He became unconscious from alcohol for the first time in his life. He dreamed fields of green and gold, warm sunsets and hot noon hours. He was strong and sweaty…. there was grime on his fingers. He was a farmer, although in his dream he thought he had died and his farm was the afterlife…was heaven. His wife was out working in the vineyard. She was a standout appearance and her face fluctuated between odd and ugly to beautiful and exotic, the entirety of her body was strong and beautiful. He loved her face… her eyes were bright and though it was peculiar it was like no other and he loved that he loved that it was not one of those pretty faces that looks like every other pretty face. Her form was tall and thin and strong below the waist, she was irresistibly gorgeous. He went inside to wash up and look over the farms transactions and general finances…all was well. In addition to being the same strong and bright mind he was in life, he had become a skilled craftsman and engineer. He had learned these skills with all of his time….a friend gave him a good portion of money and Julius built the farm from scratch learning every step of the path. Oh how his wife loved him. He did know why….. but she loved the oddest things about him. They sat together at dinner and talked plans as to what to do with their success, what goods they might pursue, how they could now afford to have many children.  They sat on the porch on a love seat and they were laughing, they laid stretched out faces upon one another…. her body on his and their eyes looking into the sky and then glancing side by side into one another. They fell asleep on the porch and when Julius awoke to the feeling of cold he awoke on the porch. It was now late morning and his wife and farm and the satisfaction of working beneath the sun as one’s own boss were replaced by the light peeping underneath the bottom of his hotel room door. He oddly enough did not feel tired, although he had only been out for no more than four or five hours. Alongside his throbbing headache came the realization that he had wasted most of his money that the Maxins had generously given him. He went down to the main floor and bought some pain killers following which he proceeded to lay on his bed. He could not escape the running drop dead sprint of his mind, the kind of oppressive haunting that a despairing drinker encounters after taking in too much in too short a time. The body is floppy and seemingly relaxed; apparently it isn’t since the mind surges and conquers any chance of sleep. Normally he would have encountered this horrible phenomena the night before but his blackout delayed what turned out to be the inevitable ….the fear of going outside of his firmly established stability…that fear which had weighed on his every attempt to get on a plane and do what seemed riskier than the everyday life that was set so firmly in his familial past. His own future had returned to question his every move…to remind him of his having spent all of his savings to do the trip. ….that he had gone to see the sites of history but also to find that allusive something that would undo his lack of ambition and total indifference to life…… that would undo his lack of desire to do anything in life but his half hearted little bouts of debauchery which momentarily numbed his pain.

 

As he laid on his bed he again faced and traveled all the paths of life he might take that he did not have the ambition to begin. He now knew what he wanted and it was not to roam about the world full of money power and sex. It is true, he did not truly have the security of seemingly limitless income, but he realized in the first place it would take tons of time to earn and unless he hit it lucky it would never be limitless. It is also true that he did not have the business of a powerful prestigious job to compliment his money and ever dis-satisfied appetites, even so he had wet his palate with the so called princes of the Parisian world, he had tasted enough of the wine to know what lay at the bottom of the gleaming glass. He saw George in France and hundreds of others ten miles from where he was born! He had roamed about with the appearance of limitless wealth at least for a few weeks, he had tricked his mind into the allusion of having no concern and fully appearing the part of good looking intelligent wealth to the world of aesthetic paradise …a beauty at times deeply intermixed with raw sensuality and on the darkest moon absent nights what some may rightly call aesthetic allusion turned to disgusting and base evil!

 

To his surprise he found the admonitions of his elders…. the admonitions of loose and exaggerated prose barreling out of stupid and inexperienced un-educated mouths… out of fearful mouths, he found truth underlying the disguise of gross selfish stupidity belted out by fat and dogmatic people full of arrogance against others, maybe these people had once wore sad sincere and humble eyes..maybe they had once upon a time found the treasure of life calling to them as they stood on the edge on the top of bridge at skyrise, one scoop away from their spirit being buried six feet under long before their body would, maybe they had embraced the truth, and they found hope and power in it…even freedom, but maybe also they became arrogant maybe they slowly and surely perverted it and then lived on in a gusto for life that was vibrant and far removed from their former sorrow…though little did they know they had not found life but lived vibrantly in the demonic…… Maybe the king had sent out an edict of liberation to all who are soldiers so that they might do good and some soldiers took the liberation and did the opposite, though they held the glory of liberation with them and thought they continued to serve that beautiful vision they had once laid eyes upon. ……Maybe they had forgotten their sin and pain so well they again practiced a new form of it without guilt and to the oppression of others. How horrible, and yet strings of the truth were unconsciously weaved into their words bursting with hate and self righteousness.  

 

Julius lay still as his head jumped up and down propelled by pulsating bursts of blood. Amidst the near implosion of his body his mind tore around through this and that and every assertion he had ever heard that was worth remembering or beat into his head by family or media or any other agenda. He began to see… to see the eloquence of freedom and carefree living rhetoric, the rhetoric of harmless enjoyment…to be a brutal slavery…a compounding debt that took away from the very fuzzy strokes of beauty and peace laced thoroughly within the rhetoric of the much kinder and mild mannered apostles of the living of life as it supposedly is. His head throbbed but he needed money and he needed another body to enjoy, or was it also the false sense of companionship…no there was no longer any of that in it…. it had grown past any lingering connections to anything good or meaningful……as if a bigmac has much significance other then filling an empty and impatient poor stomach.  “No I want it  …I want it I do not need it, I could do without, but why do without what is so pleasing. Maybe I will become a lawyer and settle down after I tire of this season of life.” Julius laughed to himself with one of those cold and bitter laughs one laughs when one hears a lie told in the greatest sincerity.  He rolled and tossed and turned. The pills were not enough…. he had drunk to the point of unconsciousness, possible very near to the point of death. He went down and bought another packet of pills. He came back and collapsed onto his bead, “I found it, I’ve found purpose in life I found motivation to live…enough of this damened thinking! They lie and say drinking numbs…no drinking provides so many freakin calories the mind goes into overdrive and beats the hell out of you while your body is in pain….how fitting.”

 

 His mind could not rest and his head still throbbed and his loneliness waged war with the satisfying and pacing lust. He found peace in the concentration and planning out of his day once his headache faded. He fell asleep and to freedom from his fears and pains, his planning to plan, and the itch for a women’s soft and firm flesh in conquering and breathing the breaths of youth, of being young and having many tomorrows upon tomorrows. He awoke around 2 pm feeling very thirsty, his tongue was plastered to the bottom of his mouth… there was no saliva.

 

LeAnn was on the phone with her and Jac’s mother. “Jac is acting weird… I heard she skipped her spring break trip and her friends say she virtually disappeared.” “Disappeared! How do we know she’s alright I haven’t heard from her in weeks, she hasn’t been answering my calls.. which isn’t anything new but….” Mrs. Bathenon, LeAnn and Jac’s mother, was frantic in fear of the worst things she had ever heard on the news in her fifty plus year life.  LeAnn somewhat enjoyed getting a rise out of her mother, holding the phone out so her husband could hear his frantic mother- in-law..all the while nodding and smiling. “No! No! Jac’s fine, she safe! I just saw her this morning she’s just acting strange that’s all.” “It’s probably graduation, she is such a go getter she probably is worrying about her next sixty years!”

 

The conversation continued with back and forth theories as to what is going on with Jac. The whole conversation was something of an art of inherited years of the right mixture of idle gossip antagonism and sincere concern. Mrs. Bathenon hung up her cell phone… she was sitting out on a grey stoned porch with white pillars and a bronze like metallic flat roof. Mrs. Bathenon was drinking strong and sweet home brewed tea from a glass pitcher with flower imprints. Mrs. Bathenon’s mother, the recently widowed Mrs. Oban, was also sitting on the porch enjoying a cool glass of tea and fresh air being blown about from an encircling fan mounted on the porch ceiling.  Mrs. Oban was perusing a magazine as she listened to her daughter talk about Jac. Jac was somewhat of a favorite grandchild. The only somewhat aspect about it was Mrs. Oban was kind enough to lie to her other grandchildren and say she liked them and loved them all the same, which she knew she did not really mean….Jac knew it too, they would both sort of wink at each other at such moments…I suppose their souls through the smiles on their faces.  

 

“Sounds like Jac is starting to face the world outside school girls running around on a college campus.” “Something is the matter! It doesn’t sound like Jac.”  Mrs. Oban, who was very old, put down her magazine and readjusted herself in her chair…. her hand shook a little as she pushed her tea back on the glass table behind her.  “Jac wants to love and to be loved ….all this time she hasn’t been thinking about it…except maybe as some type of attainment like becoming a lawyer or graduating or marrying a business owner. I know she has because I not only know my grand kids I pay attention to the kids these days and how they think, and there are two main types.” 

 

Mrs. Bathenon was listening to her mother closely, wondering if she was going to say something extremely wise like she had on so many occasions or if she were going to get muddled up in her old mind like also happened from time to time in her these late years of hers.

 

“There are those ones that don’t worry about the future and just live day by day, they usually are too selfish to ever attempt to even consider sharing a life with someone….I think this kind is just like the next except the main difference is they look for arrangements on a day by day basis….. the second group wants to marry but really it’s just like the selfish arrangements of the first group except they want more stability and arrangements that last with people who are more than just a catchy romantic mystery of sorts…the women want money and the men want a trophy to show off, it’s not even sex so much as it about pride with what there wife looks like…. just like the type of car they drive…they can get sex everywhere anyway.  Now, my darling Jac is bound to be the second type. Now that her secure little world is closing up shop on her she feels a little lonely and her by the book self-centered ideals of marriage as some career arrangement with her own personal butler for a husband are beginning to grow blurry.” Mrs. Oban raised up her one finger, as if to say “mark my words,” her finger shook a little as it was a gentle finger raise that she began to drop as soon as she had brought it to the height she wanted…she did it all in a seamlessly fluid motion… it was something of a trade mark of hers that she used when she said what she meant to say and knew and was so pleased with her insight that she wanted to let you know she had more to say. She drank some tea, not unlike the winner or the veteran winner of the Stanley Cup……. by slowly take a gulp of the bubbly with quiet but gleaming eyes of satisfaction.  “Maybe, and I do hope so! Maybe my little Jacquelyn is beginning to feel vulnerable and lonely.”  “Oh mother! You and your intuitions!” Mrs. Bathenon was finished listening though she still pretended to as she browsed and texted on her latest model mobile phone.  “You know by the time you were in high school your father and I had money and now you and Dick have money. Everybody forgets your father and I did not have more than a nickel to our name after he paid for our marriage license and the justice of the peace. It never crossed my mind to think about whether or not he had money or would make money…nobody had much money in those days!  We were living and working on our own, just getting by, and we loved each other so we decided to keep doing what it was we were doing, just getting by, but we did it together! If we wanted to try and change work…none of that mattered! The only thing that mattered was we were together….! After that was taken care of we were happy little poor people working happy little poor people jobs… you know this damned idea that you need a yacht and a mansion before you can get married or have children is complete  baloney…their full of baloney!

 

Mrs. Oban broke down into tears at the memory of her late husband, the early years of their life together and the deep appreciation of one another that translated into the blissful selfless love, “to be loved like another loves themselves and to love effortlessly wholeheartedly anxiously…. to love another even more than your own self..or for certain..your own self without them …that is something of value  that eighty hours a week and no inheritance can buy!” “Oh mother.” Mrs. Bathenon gave her mother a loving sigh…a ‘you know mom, I think your right, but an inheritance can sure help a person find someone ready to love them wholeheartedly.” They both laughed and nearly cried together beneath the tours of majestic memories. “I’m going to write Jac a letter…I need to write her a letter.” “Oh mother…a letter! Just use your phone for crying out loud……………………………okay mom I’ll get you some paper.” “No, I’ll get it.”

 

The tears and the laughs had settled as tissues were pulled out of the porcelain holder sitting on one of the tables.

 

 

 

My dearest Jacquelyn,

 

I hear the strangest things about you. That you’re pushing off your friends and social events? And in the very last semester of your years at the University? It has dawned upon me that you have never known of an uncertain future. You are not only from the wealthiest nation on earth; you are also from a family wealthier than 98% of the country. You have had and have every privilege a girl could conceive of. Sincere and devoted parents and you are gifted by nature by God, as well being undeniably beautiful. I’ve come to realize and remember the earlier years of my very old life. I have so quickly forgotten my life when I was your age. From birth my life was the complete opposite of yours and what mine has been since your grandfather’s success. I am old, and I have enjoyed being a mother and a grandmother to so many. I was once even quite beautiful not unlike yourself, so was your grandfather, and we were lovers. Your grandfather’s death has again brought me back down to earth. Jacquelyn, the pains of life can be avoided by a girl like yourself for your entire life. For so many years in the middle of my life I really did not have a worry, health problems none of it mattered, money always proved able to heal.  I loved your grandfather since I was a poor girl who was well on her way to being an old stubborn maid.

 

I worked in factories and barely got by. I was pretty, but I was picky, and maybe I wasn’t as pretty as I should have been to be as picky as I was. I was depressed and the ability to avoid depression with the company of other girls my age became impossible. They all began to marry. I worked and lived in the city to avoid my fears about life and avoid the feeling of feeling alone and even in those days a women did not feel safe going to bed at night alone or wandering around the city alone every day. I will get to the point darling. I did not have any worries about having to work or marrying a person who had a prestigious job, or what I should do with my life. What I had to do with my life was work to eat to maybe buy a nice dress and meet a nice man and enjoy a nice life. Unlike these women of today who supposedly enjoy living alone and hooking up on weekends. I did not enjoy living alone and I certainly had no interest of hooking up on weekends. That was not my desire, though in the city I could have achieved that quiet easily. The world has not changed as much as they say! Jac my dear, life does not have to be lived by the unwritten book of people in the social class you have lived in your entire life! It is quiet okay to marry a poor man so long as he is a man of character. It is even ok to marry a man that does not have the ambition to be wealthy, so long as he is a man of character, and is not lazy.

 

What is more, I suppose, if it is really your desire, it is okay to not marry at all, or anytime soon. But I warn you! Living the life of an ‘independent women’ focused on business and the attention of every man and social events and hook ups  every weekend may turn out to be an entrapping enjoyment but it will never be as satisfying as the love I had in a man like your grandfather! Maybe you would love that lifestyle, but I think you would find living like that would be to avoid the greatest risks and joys of life! Dare I predict you may find yourself feeling old and washed up and bipolarly depressed and excited, and eventually married to a man just because! I am growing tired of life, it is hard to live without your other half especially at such an age after so many years of the support of his heart and lungs alongside my own…they have become dependent! What a funny idea!  I believe this will be the last we talk. I was poor, I want you to understand that my dear little Jacquelyn. I was poor and your grandfather was poor once, without the slightest intention of becoming rich, at least he never mentioned it while we were dating, and his work was most assuredly not prestigious , and we did not talk about buying this and that. We talked about about each other, about our youth and our beauty and what we wanted out of life most of all! We wanted to love and be loved, passionately, and in integrity, the passion of a life time! As to the rest, that was only a concern after the main thing was achieved, us being together. Yes my dear I think I am beginning to repeat myself. We were lovers in those days naked and starving in love, and life was bliss and he was not ashamed nor was I . We were truly ignorant and ill-educated in comparison to you and your generation, but we were not too in love with ourselves to miss out on a love far superior and more self loving than selfish individualism. You have all the benefits to live the most selfish and self fulfilled life a person could want. I dare say you could even marry and not risk a thing and not let go of your self-centeredness one bit. Your sister ended up like that, though I don’t know how, she was never like that! Listen dear, I am not calling you self centered so much as the whole ideal or your generation. And should you heed my advice, and should you wish to marry where will you find a man that is not self-centered? For even the lazy un-ambitious supposed romantics are self centered. There is no desire to risk or sacrifice anything in this world today. Even married ones don’t want to have kids because they cannot afford it! My God! People of my day could not afford anything much less kids. If we waited till we could have afforded things back then we would have never had a thing. Now days people can afford new this and new that, but they can’t afford marriage or children, damned fools! And I even became one, the snobs like myself and your mother would see the occasional family of five children in hand me downs and an old minivan and look at them in disgust! Your grandfather always just smiled knowing the more pretentious I became the more a friend at dinner talked about what is economical , the more I began to forget some of the happy days of my life and why I was still happy even then! That sweet man did not forget or ever stop living his dream of life. He remembered we had our children while we were broke, and I suppose he knew he had lived later on in a different generation he would have driven a junker and eaten in every night before he would have given up his beloved children. He would have lived in a smaller house and felt the rude stares of people who did not understand why he had so many children who he could not afford to have. Why he didn’t work longer hours and provide for his children opposed to being at their ball games and dance recitals, he did both. He worked long hours often, but when push came to shove he made no apologies he was a free man and I believe he loved me so much as the years dragged on because I supported him, I believed in him, I trusted him, I did not care if he kept up with the times and their values. He never looked at another women the way he looked at me, there was an unspoken respect between us from the very first days of our marriage we never broke it, and at the point when other marriages began to deteriorate ours grew stronger, our immature arguments waned as the years went on.  What did I mean to say? Ah! He did not yield to anybody’s values, but I did, I became utterly lost in them, even fostering these values of the times on my grown children and grandchildren, and all the while your grandfather just smiled. I began to think I loved the money, the society, I would never give up those years on that old half a farm house with little mouths to feed, and old rag tag dresses and suits and socks to stitch, the penny pinching. My God he was a brave man and so was I I suppose. My God if we had waited until he had money I would have wasted the best years of my youth, maybe spending four nights lonely a week for three just as lonely with another random beer breath . I would have had less children and a worried guide book of which I would have tried to meet for every detail of this life.  Oh dear Jac here I sit at the end of things and life is too short for the nonsense of this world. Do not let your life be dictated by companies that want to sell you a new model of something every year. If the other boobs wander about in prada and luis vatton at the age of 20 with a swagger of accomplish let them!  Shop at walmart my darling if it means you can afford to have a knight in shining rags like my dear Thomas to share your youth with! If it means beautiful little children and something that gives more meaning to your hard work then the satisfaction of having gorgeous purse with a dead French kings name on it.  But if you do wish to be alone or you think such men no longer exist well then use all your privilege for others, and be patient my sweet child.  No need to spend your money and time trying to get picked up….he will find you.  And darling one final thing, if you wish to make this country great again, use your station to remind people what made this country great, freedom, risk, and true romance driving it all.

 

I am so old, my mind is still sharp, but I am so old my strong sweet sensitive child.  I can do nothing but laugh or cry at the thought of how old I am, and isn’t it like a few days though. Oh Jac I wish you the happiness I had in life, and I hope you now understand where it came from! Live life sober and face it! Feel it in your bones! No prescriptions for depression or this or that, don’t drown any of it out with busy-ness or mirages of good times that only puts you deeper in the hole of which you cannot face and are trying to get out of by forgetting in the first place.

 

I love you so much, you may have my eyes…but you have your grandfather’s spirit!

 

Grandma Oban

 

Mrs. Oban put the envelope inside and on the counter for her son in law to take out the next morning. Her wet-stone-cold blue eyes and her defined face and faded white hair were the carbon copy to the younger Jacquelyn Bathenon. Writing the letter left her exhausted, and she went back out on the porch to sleep. Just as Mrs. Oban had told Jac in her letter, she felt she was upon her last days but she again felt life in her bones as she leaned back in the soft white chair. She found peace and joy amidst her reflection of life and even the sorrow in it, yes precisely there she found joy and peace….. facing sorrow once again for she found alongside the sorrow of her husband death the joy of his life!

 

And we wonder why there is joy in these sorrows of life but I will tell you why. Because in these sorrows there is purity and that is why there is joy….. because we recognize these sorrows are perfections unfit for this present world so we call them sorrows and cry at this world but smile all the while because in this purity we find sorrow because we see what is and what could be and yet that it is not and what we are, and yet we smile in our tears knowing they have defeated the world and shown it to be a lie.

 

Jac had received the letter not less than twenty-four hours later. Mrs. Oban let her daughter know it was to be overnighted. Mrs. Batheson did not argue or bring up the ease of email, apart from recognizing that her mother was old, Mrs. Oban still spoke with a voice and with eyes that had the fire of Ireland in them.

 

Obviously Jac was of the generation of computers and text messages but she could not help but traverse time and mirror her grandmother in her youth-full of moisture across her cold deep pale blue eyes and high cheek bones as she cherished the cursive words of her Gram’s soft hands, the hands that had so often tickled her back and whispered sweet little saying in her small ears.

 

 “She is so wise, she is so strong, she was so beautiful, sweet Grams.” Jac cried with a smile on her face throughout the entirety of the letter. Crying and laughing, and crying again, she could hear the tone of her grandmother’s voice in each word and sentence, every word, every comma was understood by her, perhaps clearer than hearing a recording.

 

Jacquelyn awoke the next morning and prepared her own breakfeast. It was a feast of pancakes and blueberry muffins, excellent French roasted coffee, the kitchen filled with the aroma of freshly ground beans. She made eggs and bacon and for some odd reason she put on a classical song from her Ipod, which, unbeknownst to her was the four seasons of Vivaldi. She heated up her milk and sugar and mixed it with her coffee. She was comfy and cozy in her pajama pants three inches to high above her long legs. She was wrapped up in a large knit sweater with sleeves about three inches longer then her thin long arms, and she sat at the head of her light brown wooden table. Her wooden chair had a checkered cushion sewn onto the wood, it was quite warm from the sun beams radiating through the kitchen window and back porch door. She was full of resolve……. a new appetite and hunger for life.

 

Julius stumbled out of bed late in the afternoon. He snickered at a sign he saw at one of the restaurants he had seen in France,, “en vino veritas!” it was a Latin saying “Yep that is exactly why alcohol is not a relief but a tricky devil of a torturer…a muse who is really a Siren so seductively devouring instead of delivering on her promises. “en vino veritas en vino veritas ….How the hell will I find this friend of François’s ?”

 

Julius kept trying to think what the name of the restaurant was and the only thing he found coming into his head was McDonalds and the Olive garden. “I’m so freaking waxed, what the hell is wrong with me?”

 

The odd thing about Julius was that he never-to- rarely swore in the company of another person regardless if they happened to be a person that swore every other word or not at all, but he had come into the habit of swearing to himself all the time and he felt crazy for doing it, or insincere in it because it was so uncommon for him and an action actively controlled. He thumbed through his wallet which he was apt to keep in his front pocket. A pocket which he brushed his hand over every five minutes to make sure that it still contained a wallet. He found he had enough money left…… and so he found a brothel and told himself that he would find his connection immediately afterwood.  “After all…the worse case is I load up my credit card cause I need a flight back at some point…who knows how much that will cost. I have to find this resterauntier and work and stay….. my look at her.”

 

Julius had found his way into a brothel and before him stood a very attractive green eyed brunette with pale pink lips and a full form in young skin. He smiled to himself as he pushed a bang behind his ear. “This is what they mean by a European sightseeing trip!” She was not cheap, she was a legitimate business, or at least it seemed so, and she charged nearly everything he happened to have left. She was definitely young, no older than 19 for certain. “My name is Rita.” Her eyes were bright and full of life, full of a seemingly eternal thirst for attention, Julius was most likely one of her best looking clients that she could remember.” “You’re American?” Julius hesitated, “I overheard your attempt at German when you came in the front. I am American too!” Julius’s eyes became very wide, he was shocked and had it not been for her youth and bright eyes and smile he might have run out of the brothel, for some odd reason that he could not put a finger on he felt on- the- spot- guilt knowing the she too was an American, as if he had been found out by someone that knew him..it was somewhat irrational but that was his feeling.

 

“Yeah I am an American I am a hockey player I was loaned out by my American team, so I meeting some coach today at 8 pm to get set up for the season here.”  “A hockey player! You look like a hockey player! I don’t think I’ve ever been fucked by a hockey player. ..But I do meet plenty of Americans.. probably some of the dads of my old classmates or even my dad’s friends, hhahah! But hey, that is how it is.. they are married to these old bitches and you know …well here I am!”

 

Julius stared at her somewhat appalled…the illusion and mystique of foreign women, a broken down foreign women who he could make gentle romantic love to and then ride off into the sunset with…well it was shot to shit! On the other hand he was seduced by her youth and her seductive smile and ever glowing gestures of freedom and wanton carefred-ness He smiled a sinister smile at her and gestured for her to show him. It is true he had already frequented quite a few brothels on this trip of his, but on this occasion he was transformed into a man of refined tastes in depravity. He was cool and calm and smiling as if at a sporting event… he intended to shock and embarrass his opponent. In short he was ruff in his movements and even rougher downright cruel with his words! He labeled her right within thirty seconds of finding out she was an American and a young one…thirty seconds after his shock at the annihilation of his romantic delusion was over. Yes he was no mere pretty fool when it came to sizing up other people. He could read a book by its cover even better then the authors own words could have told the story, or so he thought! As soon as the deed was done and he was out of his enraged trance, as if coming back to his Mr. Hyde. “I am sorry for all that! I don’t know what my problem is. I’m just a dick you know!” She was calm and pacified… the glow in her eyes was calmed to a steady drugged liked stare of peace and ease. She had liked him….a bad ass hockey player who satisfied the many warped values which she had been and conditioned herself to cherish.

 

She hated life and she hated men and yet it was this type of man that balanced out her world and made her feel at home….so to speak. Or close to home.  Julius went on somewhat confused.  “Yes I am so sorry you’re a beautiful sweet girl and I’m lonely that’s all, and ah….if you want you can stay with me and come back to American with me. I’m sure you’ve been around ass-holes your whole life but I will be a good guy…..I promise!” She just looked at him not saying a word.  She had become somewhat confused as to what this man was about, and so she sought to reassure herself. “So you mean go to America after your done playing hockey this year?” “Oh well….actually I don’t really play hockey. I just made that up but what difference does it make…hockey players are all cheaters anyway. If I was a hockey player than you would know I was lying about being a good guy who would love you and take care of you and be faithful to you…..” “So what the fuck do you do?” “Well right now I am finish up school but I am going to complete my degree in…….” “You’re a fucking student?” She squinted and shook her head, your paid time is the fuck up, and I don’t fuck for free!” “I’m sorry….listen I am really sorry…let’s go out for dinner…. I’ll buy you dinner. I’m sorry it had to start out like this… I was so lonely and I wasn’t going to go through with it I was about to leave but you were so beautiful I lost all control! But please I want to know everything about you…..please!” “Are you drunk, are you high…. ‘elegant?!’………… get the fuck out! “I will pay you twice as much for another hour to talk!” “Go! Get the fuck out ! You’re a freak!”  As you can tell she was irate, and he was groveling and begging like a school boy. And so it was only natural that he began to wonder. One begins to wonder that perhaps you are a lost soul when the few times you say what you have thought so often and so secretly in the depths of your heart ….when you say it in the light of day and you are called a drunk and you are laughed at like a joker!

 

 Julius was not a man to be buried alive in sorrows, oh no! He was hurt, he was offended, his most valued asset was spat upon, and like a vulnerable child, he felt the inclination to roar and conquer with hate.

 

He left with the face of a man who had just seen his life’s work destroyed. As he lay on the bed earlier in the day and also on the train ride to Germany and…perhaps years earlier … long before he took off on his trip…. He had decided that his dream of fun and fame and fortune was not to be compared to the simple happy life of love and the freedom to love one woman. He was quite convinced this was what he always wanted in spite of his not admitting and being un-able to define it clearly for so long. The entire duration of his trip Julius began to seriously consider whether he had sought out pleasure because that was what he wanted in the first place or whether he went after it because he had failed to achieve or to gain what it was he really wanted.  His desperation and despair would point to that being the case. On the other hand his constant satisfaction and thirst for varieties of women seemed to suppose otherwise. He faced two positions and for the time being he brushed it all aside and decided to find the contact that François set him up with.

 

 He decided he would work and try to live morally, no women, no drunkenness…. he resolved to face life…his search for meaning and purpose in his own life, his disappointment at the failure to receive reward for his hard work. He decided he would face life and leave himself patiently positioned for his great hope in life being realized, he had in fact resolved that he wanted the western ideal. One wife who was his beloved…his lifelong lover and companion, and that he wanted freedom to sustain the picture and not break it to pieces because he was a walking bottle of forces and urges for a never quenched thirst, of forces and urges that controlled him and left him lonely and nearly as hungry or perhaps hungrier then he was to start with. Most of all he wanted God, though it did seem he was not anywhere to be found. 

 

Julius found Max at the restaurant and beer hall he owned, Das Schone Haus. “I’m looking for Max Hertz.” “I see, well, it is peak hours and Max is very busy. Come back in two days at ten o’clock in the morning.” No, I am here about a job, my name is Julius…please tell him that Julius, François Maxin’s friend is here ….please I am already two days late. 

 

The host had been around the restaurant long enough to know that Maxin was an important name, “Jah, I see, yes I heard about his, I’ll go tell him…one moment please!”  He motioned for Julius to have a seat in one of the dark brown leather stitched chairs behind the host’s desk. The host came back out within a few moments and lead Julius through the restaurant and to the back just to the left of the kitchen. They went through a pair of double swinging doors, and then took a spiral stairwell to a large room of an office; there was no door, only two men standing at  the entrance. It was not really smaller than it sounds; after all it was a large restaurant that was the bottom floor of an entire city block.

 

Max Hertz was sitting in a dark brown leather chair identical to the one in the lobby. The chair was off to the side of a large wooden desk. He was not sitting at the desk but by a little table and surrounded by three large leather chairs. On the table sat a magazine with a small German flag on it as well as numerous papers scattered about the little table.  Max Hertz wore a dark lustery grey suit which was well tailored to his fit body. On his face was a pair of rather heavy frame glasses. He looked to be late thirties his forehead protruded out of his receding to nearly bald hair line. He did have black hair on his scalp and down the sides and back….it was hair that was cut very short. His face was full and rounded, a once upon a time good looking man. Max got up from his seat and took Julius’s hand, “so you’re late! But it is a tradition of Americans to show up in Europe late hahahhaha! I see that Maxin has not lied; I will have an American GQ model washing my dishes hahah! So you see this room…. it will be yours while you work here. I will only come in during the times I know you are scheduled to work, other than that you will not see me. I will pay you half what dish washers are normally paid but you get free food and a nice room Ja?”

 

 Julius just listened and nodded his head to Mr. Hertz’s blitzkrieg of questions which had the trend of ending in his own self confirming “Ja!” “You will work the same shift Wednesday through Sunday…if you ever want to change you must have someone cover….also, your pay for each week I will give you every Monday in cash…this works too Ja ?

 

“Thank you so much Mr. Hertz it is so kind of you to give me this opportunity.” “Who knows, maybe one day my son will want to visit America, and I being the frugal father that I am will make him work his way around…and stay with you, who knows! The Maxin’s said you were trustworthy so…..Ja enjoy your stay, and if you need anything call me.. here is my phone number.” Mr. Hertz handing him a card, “okay I will leave you to your room….goodbye for now ja.” Max did everything quick, he was sharp and had somewhere along the way given up waiting for people to verbalize the response he knew they would give, and so he did most of the talking and confirmed everything with his own ‘ja.’

 

Julius for the first time noticed large wooden doors that Mr. Hertz pulled shut. Mr. Hertz was in a hurry and didn’t explain what food Julius could have, nor if there was a key to the door, or even where to get the food. Julius simply wandered around the room and then into the kitchen, he figured all this out haphazardly. He found food and began to drink many different kinds of German beer. He began to enjoy his days washing dishes, often times the workers in the back would have on radio stations that played songs from the states.

 

 He wondered the streets in his free time…. spent some of his money on little items, a drink a snack, whatever. The city was very interesting but in the end it was just another city. He took up the habit of visiting a certain landmark church; he would go and sit inside to read. He had picked up a German history through the eyes of its native philosophers; or rather more properly said their philosophy. The book was in English and so he sat in the church and read the book, read of Kant and Nietzsche and even some Luther before them. On the days he didn’t work his mind yearned for women, he took up playing texas holdem with some of his coworkers….he didn’t need an exhaustive German vocabulary for cards!” And so nearly a month went by, a very quite month in which he would once a week contact his family and keep up the appearance of being at college

 

The city itself was something of a combination between what a city looked like in the 1980’s United States ….so it had a very soviet bloc country feel in one sense, but in another it displayed the 21st century more than most of the big cities in the United States. One morning to early afternoon Julius was about to go in to the church when he noticed a man staring at him through a store window across the adjacent street. Julius stopped for a moment put on an intimidating posture and then walked into the back of the church and sat down in a very wooden pew, and then he began to read more of Ecco homo by the German Nietzsche. About ten minutes later Julius heard a door screech, a man came in and sat down in the pew parallel to him. He was wearing a wool type materieled brown suit coat along with a similarly heavy material pair of khaki pants.  The pants were just plain kaki, not grey, he wore wired rimmed glasses with circular cut glass in front of his blue eyes.  He had the feel of a petite man, his features were fine, a face one would notice, but he was taller than average. After a few moments in which Julius sensed the man’s eyes. ….the man was trying to see what Julius was reading.

 

Julius did not answer though he gathered the man had asked him what he was reading.  Julius did not feel comfortable volunteering information to strangers in a foreign country, and was as he always was, extremely paranoid. “What are you reading?”  “Ah, its Nietzsche’s Thus spoke…..” “that is a funny thing to read in a church.” “I suppose I am beginning to see that.” Julius gave the man a suspicious stare. The man could sense the same thing the Maxin’s sensed upon their first meeting Julius. “I’ve noticed you coming in here day after day. I’m a bit of an eccentric myself, and so you caught my eye….your certainly not a cleric or a preacher that’s for sure, but your young and you enter the church in the middle of the day…not a common sight, furthermore, every day before you step into the church your eyes linger far too long and longingly toward the direction of a certain street!” The man smiled knowing he would really unnerve the young man with what he had just said. Julius smiled politely not having any idea where the man was going with all of his observations, and he became even more poised to dash from his seat.

 

“I’m Frederic” the older and distinguish looking man a half step across the aisle leaned over and offered what turned out to be an unstrained and firm handshake. “I’m married to a German though I am no German! As I was saying I’m something of an eccentric. I believed I was supposed to talk to you.” “Really?…..what about?” “I believe that I work for God! I really do, though I am something of an independent contractor hahahahah, but I do have a very good resume, not to mention I know three and a half languages……!! So you can imagine I charge God a little more than most priest types…hahahahhahahah……” following this outburst of laughter the man’s tone turned from jovial and light hearted to serious with a fluency of bitter irony. “Yes I said to God I would not work without a lover, a wife….and He said to piss off or so it seemed ahhahahahah! Apparently he became shorthanded hahahahhahah!”

 

 Julius continued to listen and smile. He felt the urge to trust and listen to this man…there was something so authentic and pure about him…he reeked of raw authenticity… a chorus of honesty ringing in his every word, he was no salesman! No! He was something else all together, a smell that either serves as a warning for some to flee or others..courageous one…. to stay and savior the smell of something unique…the sight of a blue jay or a cardinal amidst the grey broken foliage of a dark and dreary cold winter, he was clearly not dangerous per se.

 

“So you talk to God?” “Oh yes!” “Are you a pastor or priest…or something?” Julius suspected the man may work at the church. “No” The man smiled the type of smile one smiles when they have told the exact truth and yet refrained from telling information that would change another perspective. Julius waited for him to say more but the older man….Fredric, said nothing.

 

  “So, does God talk back ?”  “Yes of course…when He wants anyway!….. My friend maybe your Hollywood has given you the idea that all older people are particularly religious, but really I’m not that type…not to mention my generation was not a religious generation either, really the last generation of many religious old people died off in the middle of last century.”

 

Julius just listened giving facial expressions of acknowledgement. This older man, Frederic , presumed to be able to size up Julius and each attempt he was not yet found to be presumptuous.  “Well sir, if you are one of those people who considers it his duty to help God across the street, as if he were a little old lady…..well that is always ridiculous.” The man laughed a laugh of true enjoyment and sincerity, “oh no, oh no not at all, certainly God is not a little old lady, hahahhahahahha”

 

The man’s laugher was compulsive and hysterical…… the sincere eruption that moved the people within his vicinity to begin to laugh along with him. The man finished his laughter and looked straight at Julius as if casually reading his mind, or worse yet his soul.

 

 “I might have added I have received his help, it is He who helps me who helps others who help me, and who helps me to help others!” Julius looked at Frederic and his pale grey blue eyes beneath his wire rimmed glasses; he looked at him trying to understand what he meant “He helps you? How !” “Truth, purpose, freedom, self control, love!”  “Were you from a communist country?” “No!” “The others I’ve heard here and there, but freedom, tell me priest! How does an invisible and virtually none existent God free you or anyone for that matter!” Julius found himself speaking with a touch of bitterness and anger that was not intended. “He spoke honestly to me…..He said you sir are a sinner, selfish and destructive towards others and your own self as you were intended to be…every once in a while you hear a near silent whisper of the good I instilled in you but your do not heed it because the sin you love, and hate on occasion, it owns you…. you are not a free man! You are a lost man in a big world searching for answers, you have forgotten me as have your ancestors. I do not fly into the earth from the clouds and say here I am ….here are your answers, although, I have come and I will again!” “God told you all of that!” “Yes! Yes He did! He said that to me, and to many others!” “I see……………..You know I really must be going.” “Fuck that!”  stated the old man with a smile. “Excuse me?” Julius was frozen from leaving, he stood in utter shock, it was not the type of thing he would have dreamed of hearing from that man who was sitting across from him.

 

“ You are a liar, you don’t have to go for another hour!” The older man laughed in his smile and someone who had known him his whole life would have seen the ten year old boy of his past anxious to shock, anxious to antagonize, anxious to realize what was exciting and what others only had the imagination to make boring…..life!”

 

“You didn’t think I was allowed to say that hahhahah. But I’m free…I’m free to do evil, though that would be like you Americans in your freedom to govern yourselves burning your own constitution. You see I know why I exist.. I know where I will go.. I know where I came from, and though your right, I don’t know these things with ‘certainty’ neither does anyone else, though let me be clear, I do know them they are not mere beliefs among other mere beliefs, oh no! I have supposed old Kant’s demolition of the relationship of Christianity and reason long ago…Kant poor lonely brilliant bastard that he was. Furthermore, I can speak of morality and meaning in life without choking on my words like the atheists and those other religions alike! And that is something ….that is something that is not a hope I must wait for, that is not waiting on data that has yet to come in, that is moving with purpose and rationality and love here and now…. it is to live in-spite of death and its snares…it affirms the union of emotion and rationality…compassion….. it affirms active love and purpose…in life, here in now… here and now!” 

 

This little speech was no speech at all, but a conversation. Julius began to interject on several occasions, but the older man adjusted what he was saying to reply to the question which Julius was about to raise, or rather should I say move from his mind to his pale pink lips.  The older man was not a psychic; he was merely a very knowledgeable and experienced older man, the stereotypical type of wise old man which one seldom sees in real life.   Frederic did not seem completely satisfied with what he had said, and what he was trying to say, and he waited in the dark, now wondering what Julius might say, as he nervously began to readjust his glasses.

 

“Your free ?” “That’s right…temptation comes but I’m free from giving in to it, free to enjoy what is best in life! And even when life does not allow us to enjoy what is best, there is nothing like peace in your soul!”  “But everybody can abstain from this or that if they really want to.” “Can they? And if they can, can they honestly say they really want to abstain, or do they merely find the strength to not do what they want to because they fear immediate consequences?

 

Do they understand why? Can they really and fully appreciate what is best? Do they really know its best, do they really believe and desire it or is it just some half superstitious urge they feel good about from time to time…if they don’t believe and desire it they are simply self inflicting ascetics who do not have the courage to live out their true desires!” “Fine, but what makes you free?” “That is easy, Christ! God revealed! God with us! Conqueror of death and restorer of life! Reconciler of the creature and Creator. …The Creator who reconciled his creation to Himself by getting His own hands dirty!” “Yes, yes I’ve heard the story…God creates man, man sins, God…Christ as you call Him, is murdered by men… the creator by the creature, and yet he defeats death after suffering at the hands of His own creation and then he forgives his creation. Of course there are a thousand problems with that story!”  “Oh? Do tell.”  Frederic’s eyes were gleaming with intrigue and something akin to mischievousness, his resolve was uncanny it was a humble confidence and yet so very confident and that I suppose was the uncanny-ness of it… the confidence of a man who had thought every thought to think, who had struggled and screamed under torture, who had bravely affirmed every doubt to the enth degree, who had been smothered  to death by his own mind searching for meaning, reaching out and screaming at His supposed God, only to hear silence, and at most the echo’s of his own scream.

 

“One! We don’t know there is a God. Two, why did God allow us to sin? Three, why only show Himself to a few people in the 1st century in a small part of the Roman Empire, and four, that is the answer to all of life’s questions! Come on!”

 

“One, something coming from nothing or a ball of play-dough metamorphosing into the 21st century is not science its madness! Two, I don’t know! Though I could give you a thousand possibilities. Three, you’ve heard about it! and He didn’t properly show Himself  per se, He somewhat hid Himself, whereas the morality lining the history of humanity and the mountain tree line lining that horizon that overlooks this city both somewhat show Him in a less hidden way, don’t you think? Or do you still like the biological idea that the basic components of life have their own teleological intelligence that is not only superior to Beethoven, but the creator of him.  And four, yes! That is the answer to all of life’s questions! Christ! Christ the revealer of our sin, the restorer of our good, the restoration of mankind children of God to masters of the earth pleasing to God. Though, obviously, your friend in your hand…,” Julius looked into his hand, it was his Nietzsche book, “he might have other things to say about the historical Christ, but oddly I find a good deal of that same Christ in Nietzsche’s own views.”

 

“Hmmm. Hmmm” So how is Christ a purpose for my life? Am I supposed to be celibate live by the book, and blow the whistle on the corrupt, and then be killed, and then get an eternal reward, which probably I do not want…right? But that is not this life! Apart from the fact that it is far from guaranteed in light of how we know. I’m sorry but I don’t know about God and eternal stuff as much as I know I’m now sitting in this pew!” “Really…. I would have to agree, though in another sense maybe I don’t. However, Christ is a purpose for your life in so far as He tells you of your sin…makes you face it and your lost incompleteness, forgives you for your sin and makes you complete, and then your eyes are opened to life….. to profound meaning and purpose. You find your purpose in life is to live well…. is to live in the love of others, to create to enjoy His order.” “Really though, when has Christ ever told me of my sin?” “Hasn’t he though?” “What about a man on a deserted island?” The older man began to laugh so hard he fell into a coughing fit. Julius could not help laughing along with Frederic; he realized his question was pretty flippant.

 

“What about him?” queried Frederic. “Yes, yes what about him.” sighed Julius. “I don’t have all the answers. I don’t have any answers maybe, only I might have the best questions, and surely that is something. I simply and plainly told you what I think and believe no more no less…think! And believe!”  “ So how does this confronting and forgiving and freeing all happen?” “It doesn’t all happen at once or if it does I don’t know for sure, it seems to be ongoing really. “ hmmmm, interesting…you puzzle me priest. You don’t seem to be so sold on selling me this?” “Hahahha, I might say the same to you, priest! You don’t seem so sold on admitting you’ve known of Christ for a-long time and in-spite of yourself… you have the heart of priest! Your eyes give you away…take away the nice leather jacket the edging and don juan flair to your style and how you carry yourself, and I focus on your eyes, and I see a sinner who has already begun to turn into a saint..hahahahahhah.” Julius was outraged and embarrassed at Frederic’s words, and his face showed it.  “Listen, I’m very much hoping you will see the truth in what I am  telling you, however, I have no need to lie, or sell God like a used car, and He has no need of me to do that, life is never easy and never neat nor is it tidy! Even the peace I told you of isn’t exactly as it sounds. Even so, what I said about purpose, love, freedom, it still holds its value in-spite of life remaining messy, arduous, and uncertain!”

 

Julius had settled down as he was embarrassed at the showing of his embarrassment. “So this Christ has given you joy in life?” Julius’s face and tone was the most serious it had been throughout the entirety of the conversation, it was poised for listening with the utmost focus.

 

Frederic looked down as he began to laugh,….laugh, almost bitterly. “For most of my life there were many days in a week when I wanted to become an artist…so many days as a young man I wanted to paint an abstract mural of red all over my bedroom wall with the aid of a hunting rifle….. the very same wall I knelt on my knees and prayed to God by.  I prayed and I prayed but the only peaceful thought in my mind was a rifle my head flying back against the wall and my own dark rose colored red blood plastered to the wall. The idea came to me so often, and I often found myself taking a deep breath, a breath of relief as I envisioned the painting…truly I did not always find comfort in my prayers, but in this thought I found comfort, a paradoxical thought a paradoxical idea of cowardice and courage for it is neither one nor the other, it is both! But it’s possible I’m not a good Christian…… It’s possible I was not a good servant of the Lord and His church, even so that is my true answer!”

 

Julius just looked at him not saying a word.  “I might have added, that even in these moments of being ‘artistic,’” he again gave a quick bitter chuckle, “even as I longed for death I believed in Christ, ultimately my hope was still in Him!” “Believed in Christ for what?” “For what?” Frederic was for the first time severe in his tone! “Have you been sitting here with me, what the hell have we been talking about ?”  “Oh, right right, no I know your answer to that….its just that sometimes you say Christ and I think this Jewish man in the 1st century, but you mean God of Course!” “I mean both, He knew what He was and who He claimed to be and that’s why He said ‘do not be offended that I am a man…that you know my brothers and my mother and yet I claim to be the God of the Jews’…  the most proud God of the most arrogant people…. the God who says I am the one and only God there are no others…..the God of Moses, but before and after Moses the God of mankind…the beginning and the end!”

 

Julius said nothing……and then he said “Frederic it was a pleasure to talk to you, truly an experience I will never forget, but I really must go this time.” “Oh yes! It was a pleasure, I am glad I came to talk, it might be the most important thing I’ve done all year!” Julius found himself again puzzled by one of the old man’s statements, he stored this phrase of Frederic’s in his mind for another time to piece together and make sense of.

 

Many questions begged to be addressed but Julius went back to work ignoring these questions letting them linger in the false consolation that a temporary heat pad might bring to a bone full of cancer.

 

The Mirage,

 

 Youths Eternal Daylight,

 

 Do not go gentle into that good Night,

 

 

 

Jacquelyn finished her breakfast, washed the dishes, wrote her grandmother a reply letter and then abandoned every measure of security and safety that her very secure and safe life had afforded her.  Now to some there is nothing courageous about not being content with good circumstances, but when Jac renounced her inherited ease of life, her social life concerns… which is to say her rock star friends and their values, she renounced every explanation and every excuse….. she renounced selfishness…. she renounced sound wisdom, logic and rationality. When she did this she embraced morality, love obedience and trust in her God to live life not in fear or idleness but with courage….. with a very define purpose that had no conceivably definite latter to reach that purpose, she out on her own but with an extended peace, a peace given to her that would never fail her so long as she was patient, it was a confidence…. a true personal confidence not in things.

 

Jac took enough money out of the atm for a one way ticket and a weeks worth of food and housing and then she was gone with nothing but  a small carry on and a wad of cash in her pocket, that and nothing else, no phone no credit cards no nothing at all! Jac stepped off the plane in her black north face zip up jacket long jean like pants and her long blonde hair in a pony tail. She had landed in the Netherlands.

 

 The city she found herself in after leaving the airport was an old and beautiful looking city full of stately looking buildings, a little canal, and plenty of posh new architecture and style as well.

 

Why had she gone? Why had she gone in such a way with no warning to others, with no money, with no safety …in utter irresponsibility and foolishness. She was a young woman, an attractive young woman, if that makes a difference, in a city with virtually no resources and no clue where to go or what to do. She realized all of this before she left, and that was all the point. The idea had been nourished in her and now blossomed into this madness…. the sincere facing and confronting of life and her beliefs about it.

 

Naturally Jac found out about good hotels in the area from people on the job, and thus they had the seemingly-ness of being all the more trustworthy. She went to the hotel and reserved a room. She did what she would have done were she with her family on a family vacation. She seemed to forget she had taken not so much money. She went out of the hotel and had a bite to eat at something like a restaurant. She ate fish which arrived in front of her and to her surprise, since she had no idea if the waiter understood what she had said. The waiters English was few and far between, it was not so good. All the while she ate and she wondered why she had done what she did, and she feared that it would turn out to be a pointless little protest, a little eccentricity that only a rich spoiled girl like herself could even begin to dream up. Jac wandered the streets, they seemed quaint and peaceful, serene “not unlike a little town in New England on a larger scale, or so she thought.  As she moseyed about the city in the frigid weather she made plans in her head to use the remaining money to fly home in the morning. As she neared her hotel and reached for the money she thought she was going to use to fly home, Jac realized, to her complete horror, her stomach dropped, she had been pick-pocketed.

 

The wad of cash in a rubber band in her front pocket was gone! “Impossible, I would have felt it!” And yet it was gone! She felt panicked; her already cold pale cheeks became flush. But then she found her grandmother’s resolve within her, the resolve she had left her comfort and entrapping safety of home with. And then without uttering a word smiled at what she believed to be the encouragement of God.

 

Jac’s eyes froze at huge as was her custom of the dramatic, she found herself looking at women her age standing in lingerie or nothing at all, standing and sitting and posing in large windows. It all came together, it now all made sense to her. But what was it? It was the idea, her purpose, it was why she believed the spirit of the Almighty had given her the idea….had made her feel empty and made her sense her life was meaningless and full of unlived beliefs she supposedly held. And now the benevolent queen of every social milieu she had ever treaded and artificially transcended….. again came to the fore of her person. She found herself moved with a sense of meaning and purpose. Jac believed that she was to be the benevolent queen to these “unfortunate women.”

 

Jacquelyn was many things including very self-centered and unknowingly arrogant. But she was not so arrogant to hate these prostitutes as so many people from her neck- of- the- woods might. She saw them and immediately saw herself in the reflections of the glass. Her face reflected and covered over theirs. The idea had full force in her…. question upon question that she might have never considered in an entire lifetime…the questions bombarded her and had their say! “Why were you born rich in a rich country? Why were you born beautiful, why had you always thought it was owed you? Are you better than them? Are you? You know you think you are ? Just admit it!  Are you more moral? You are aren’t you? Are you smarter than them? No matter what where the circumstances of your life you would never stoop so low, would you ? No you wouldn’t. Why did the world roll out a golden carpet upon your arrival.. who are you ? You think you’re safe? You think you’re secure? Do you? You deserve the golden carpet how dare anyone who considers touching your carpet! But why did you get a gold carpet? Yes the setting and the props of your life suggest you are quite something! quite superior! and set apart! but now that you see them before you…maybe you can see yourself before them naked, how powerful ! How significant! how distinct you are! Will those fine family jewels…. props of prestige.. posh power and purported purpose follow you through the grave! But you worked so hard to get where you are? Your father worked hard, he deserves it, he set himself apart! Oh really? Is that so! Pick your poison will it be eternal punishment? A Nietzschean re-run? So, will the end show you to have had a better shake? Is it all too much to think about? Maybe its ok, maybe their ok? Maybe you’re ok? Everybody is ok? It’s too hard to concern yourself with? Why think? Just live ? Everything is true ? everybody makes their own truth ? all truths are one why worry? 1+2 =3 and so does 1+1 morals are relative ergo murder can be good? No way! Not this time! Your mind, your soul! is not composed of the shit that comes out of human mouths.

 

“Do you speak English?” “Some?” “Oh good! My name is Jacquelyn.” “My name is Miriam…your American?” “Yes.” “I’m from here though originally from somewhere around Slovakia, anyway.” “It’s nice to meet you!” Jac began to realize what Miriam must have assumed given that Jac had entered her place of business, her office, if you will, though I rather you wouldn’t.  “So will you be getting off soon, I would like to talk to you…..I want some company, I will buy your lunch in exchange for your time?” “You don’t know your way around?” “Right! I don’t, so it would be great to talk to you!” “Ok, sure, why not! We can go now.”    

 

Miriam led Jacquelyn through the street to something akin to a bistro, a deli, although I no longer have any idea what such a place is properly called in Holland, a café.  They both sat at a two-seat -table against the wall. To their respective left and right hands, elbows…. on the wall was an inscription…… a very distinct and entirely unique type of inscription. A child might see it and suppose a giant with a giant pencil wrote into the wall. And really that is the best way to picture it because the writing was not only on the wall it was dug into the wall a solid two centimeters. 

 

Jac could not help but notice it and for lack of anything better to begin a conversation about she asked the obvious question, “What does that say?” “Oh! It’s so beautiful; it’s why I love to come here!”

 

It reads, “The pages turn along life’s way, pages that you write upon a way that is already written for you, but do not be offended, and do not fear! Truly, do not be offended the pages are your own And the way is shared by all who have lived, for the way is life. Do not be fearful, I will tell you a secret, I have heard there was one who followed the way which was already written for him, he followed it to completion, and he wrote the way upon his pages I have heard of his pages, and even life that does not begin beautifully as it should ends beautifully, even those who do not write ‘regardless of’ upon their pages hear a final ‘regardless of’.

 

Miriam took a quick and overcoming breath and quickly began to read another quote on the wall across from them. She did this after pronouncedly speaking each word of the nearest quote with great feeling. “This other quote says: The times on the watch are familiar and unchanged but the wrist that wears it is the true measurer of time. The skin is tight and then it is loose, the complexion is clean and then it is spotted and then it is dry. However, note this well! Even if the skin was unchanged the wearer of the watch would find that the soul has its past memories, its present thoughts and its future hopes. So few escape the illusion of the watch! I am sorry for them! It is such a cruel trick to rely upon a device that makes everything always in the present when the great power of humanity is to be in the future ….in the past while in the present. To be in the future-past in the present, the past-future in the present…to be in the present and in the future present!”

 

“I thought about it for days when I first read it. It’s so profound, so true!” “Who wrote them?” asked Jac. Miriam was elated by the question. “That’s just the point! Nobody knows! The story is the café was closed one night, as is always the case, and the next morning this was on the walls. There was a power outage that night so the cameras could not even see anything, not even a masked person! It’s freaky! Oh! And there is another one! Just wait till you hear it! It says: So many long for brilliance in their lives, so many have brilliance and throw their filet mignon to the dogs in their ever un-sastisified quest for a big mac. So many have the opportunity for brilliance, and though they long for it, they reject it! Because they are weak. Whether they are fundamentally weak, or weak in their supposed strength, it matters not. Both complain. So many want recognition and when they go unrecognized they grow upset. I have yet another secret of a secret composer, rival even to the immortal Von Beethoven! His name was Johann and he was anything but average. While Herr Von Beethoven composed masterpieces Joe worked hard, he was a lover, a father…… an artist of virtue, and he was not this because he simply did not know any-better, no, he longed for it….. he dug his nails into the wall striving after it, he was  a composer of the lifetime. The secret he and Von Beethoven shared is this secret which is no longer a secret; though I will whisper it in your ear in-case it is holy. They did not need recognition to appreciate their brilliance they did not need to hear the applause of others to know God had given them a gift, and their satisfaction was superior to the one who hears applause and sighs relief. Flowers fade and surely the grass withers, though it grows again, but applause fade forever, mankind is fickled never doubt it. The great composers wandered through life with a secret twinkle in their eye they were working on a great composition, they had been given and would achieve brilliance.”

 

Jacquelyn listened as attentively as a person in the lifetime habit of talking could. “Wow, that was no little saying, it was a story.” “A story, yes, is says ‘A Lesson’ for artists, you call it… a parable?” “A parable, yes! It is like a parable.” “I love these quotes they are so powerful and they don’t mention  prostitutes ….I’m so sick of literature, every book of classic literature, French, Russian, English, there are always prostitutes….it drives me crazy, and you know what? I’ve figured it out!” Miriam became comfortable quickly like an outgoing person who had been starved of company for a long time.

 

“These great men who love prostitutes and dream of marrying them! The trick is these authors could find it in their heart to love a sweet humble women, who is promiscuous, but not a bitter proud women who is chaste, to them the chaste and promiscuity are irrelevant from all angles. The proud women offends them, could you imagine a brilliant, say a Tolstoy, and let him be humble say, and then imagine one of these girls who mistakes his humility and laughs at him like a child, she offends him, she throws-away the immortally faithful love of a handsome and brilliant Nietzsche for a lawyer, there have been so many lawyers but so few Nietzsches. He would forgive her, and this would only serve to further belittle him in her mind! She cuts into his dignity, smiles at him like a child, pictures him to be weak… he takes her assault, maybe even feels sorry for her, but he must despise her and think she is stupid, but they don’t allow themselves to despise her rather he feels sorry he feels like there is someone to rescue but beyond his reach, but women more and more grow to be a stupid and frivolous breed in his mind, a higher sex like their young ideal minds once dreamed? oh no! Only more elegant in the form of their matter, though they are as stupid as their male en- masse counterparts. And so in these heroic authors minds they say, ‘give me a prostitute- a true women that I might not only make happy, but who will be happy with me, who will love me with the tenderness of a women, not the disgusting female Frankenstein machismo of this culture. I want her -the truly strong women, he says to himself.”

 

 Miriam noticed that Jac was seemed taken aback by her fast and powerful talk, so she continued in a much more matter of fact tone, she simply removed the passion from her voice, or toned it down a bit. “ It’s all in their novels…it’s so plain to see. The actual truth is, many men think the first part and then in their hate of women take it out on a prostitute, that’s what really happens, and if there is a man sincerely looking for the love of a prostitute, well the prostitute now hates men and takes it out on him, because no other man leaves himself vulnerable, and so really these fairytales of prostitutes and marriage are a dream, an overplayed cord of the great dreamers of mankind….storytellers!”

 

Miriam was a … I don’t know what, she had no concept of social bounds, or if she did she didn’t really care to disregard them as much as she was a born talker with a pleasant and new audience. She was not one of those to talk all the time, but get her comfortable and bring up a topic she liked and oh my..she was magnificent.

 

Miriam was floating on her thoughts, and Jac was trying to keep up as her socially engrained religious conscience was irked and red flagged every other sentence. And let us be clear, what does Christianity have to do with Christ when it is proud, for they are not the God! Oh my I’m getting off topic, I should keep my composer….. composure. On the other hand, I’m the damn one telling the story so I suppose I can say whatever I damn well please; you simply don’t have to read it!

 

“I’m sorry I ramble on I’m sorry! But anyway!  I like these quotes so much!!!” “You know what’s funny Miriam?…..” Jac called her by her name…. she was in the habit of using girl’s first names and patting comforting hands on their elbows. She did that to all girls, it was part of being a benevolent queen. She especially made a point to do it to girls she had just meet…. college freshman she found herself compelled to mentor and what not.

 

 “You know what’s funny Miriam. On most days I wouldn’t be very interested in these quotes. Today, I was moved by them, like, unlike anything really! I’m not the type to cry during a movie, even.” “I’m the same way, but they strike a tune familiar to so many people….I think of the second so often during work when I hate it, him, and myself!”  There was a pause they each took sips and bites of what-have-you…..bites of imperfectly triangled scones with luxurious amounts of white icing and huge chunks of cinnamon spice immersed and melted within the scone, sips of that brilliant café ying yang drink called a latte, so bitter and dark and yet so creamy and smooth, and sweet if you choose.

 

“So you never said what brings you from America and to Holland? What brings you to me?” “That’s a good question!” Jac was caught off-guard, “I’m not sure …would you think me strange if I said God ?” “No? I guess not? But I’m… not sure what you mean?” “You believe in God Miriam?” “I’m not sure if there is a God and I am not sure that if there is…if he is and is good, then he is very odd………..So Many people think they have answers, and it is easy to have answers when everything is going well; I just live life, you know, I have goals and hopes….sure, who doesn’t! Sometimes whatever I’m doing makes sense, and then a day later I cannot think of a single reason why it ever made sense……what can I say…. …………A-lot apparently…..hahahah,” Both Miriam and Jac began to laugh.

 

Miriam was by all definitions exquisitely beautiful. She was tall, her upper body was thin, she had a prominent face with long brown hair that had a curling tendency, though it seemed she straightened it, her eyes were blue and shone bright though they were no means big blue eyes. Her lower half was not to thin and not to large, she was an effortless beauty of form, her teeth were not American, that is to say they weren’t perfect and would in fact strike-catch an American’s eyes who would be unaccustomed to seeing beautiful perfect women with technically imperfect teeth.

 

 Well they both laughed, Jac with her perfect teeth showing and Miriam with her imperfect teeth showing…how often does one see two beautiful women of the same category, shall we say, truly enjoying each other’s company nearly free of all the pettiness the degrades the beauty of any women.

 

Before Jac became lost herself in the laughter she listened to Miriam’s every word with the urge to preach, to preach with an air, an air that unbeknownst to her was judgmental. She didn’t want to come across rude or judgmental. She thought she had the answer to this girl, Miriam’s question. Little did Jac know, that she did not even know the question much less the answer to it…she was oblivious to her conceit. Jac hesitated her self-assuredness, which until the last three months had followed every second of her existence, though this time only showed before her mind from habit. With a hesitation her judgmental and all-knowing disposition faded into honest ears, ears ready to listen and learn. She was after all in a foreign country and in a foreign place in her own life in addition to all the foreign externals, and before her sat this girl nearly the same age as her, just as tall as her, just as beautiful if not more so. This girl, this Miriam, this prostitute, though media outlets would have you believe all women of the day give out the body like kohl’s gives out Christmas coupons, thus making Miriam, merely more financially savvy, even though they would have you believe that to be a prostitute was a formality, it still meant something profound, even in a day when so many strived to be sure that everything meant nothing profound, even in the day in which not only God was dead but the whole encompassing idea of sacredness. It was the generation of satire….. of jokes….. a generation of jokesters that in- the- end would be found to be a joke accomplishing greatness in their cowardice selfishness, their empty lives of Friday nights and default marriages with one child vacations!

 

This girl Miriam, that Jac in her new found humility….. in her honesty realized she could not yet comprehend much less give advice too and critique. “But what about you? I know nearly nothing about you?” “You know I’m an American. I am a southern girl without the accent….” Jac could sense Miriam did not get the reference “southern girl” ,and so she continued…. “I really don’t know much about you Miriam.” “Oh come on! I’m a prostitute what more do you need to know about me! Guess one of the stereotypes for young girls like myself in this entrepreneurial venture and you will be close enough I’m sure. “Oh no! I don’t think that’s true!  Though stereotypes often have their roots in reality, that’s what my dad always said.”

 

Miriam looked away upon the end of Jac’s statement about her father hitting the waves. Jac noticed that Miriam had a strange habit of looking at nothing. Miriam would ask a question looking Jac in the eyes…like people normally do and then Miriam would look away as Jac began to speak. If Jac was about to say something Miriam would look and then if it was a question she would look away while she answered it, as if she were looking at what she was saying.

 

At some statements Miriam’s reaction was completely and compulsively unguarded. For instance at the word ‘father,’ Miriam’s face twitched, it was a reaction like a knee reflex at the doctor’s office. Whenever Miriam used the word prostitute her inward looking eyes winced and her whole face froze in that wince of embarrassment. The catch is Miriam was not exactly embarrassed before the other person, rather she was embarrassed about the other person’s probable rude assumption, an assumption of her own that had rarely lead her wrong. Somewhere along the way Miriam had learned people and she had learned them so well she did not need to look at them and their facial expressions. She looked in on her own words and waited for the standard responses. It was as if anytime she said anything that was meaningful to herself she did not need to have a live human sitting across from her because she knew how they would respond….. what conclusion they would draw, and so she would wince as she spoke a certain thing or heard a certain question posed to her, she winced for them and their stupidity…. their misunderstanding of her, she would wince at their arrogance and her inability to brag about herself…even if she was not bragging but merely stating facts, and thus well within her rights, so also she could not speak positively about herself without wincing. Miriam could sense Jac was the type of person she would have to wince with!

 

A tree fell in a remote forest.. a deep dark black forest. Most likely no one heard it fall or even felt it fall, in a proper sense. A stone in a creek became so rounded that it fell off the stone it had rested upon for at least a few human lifetimes. It was cold, and the night air was deep, and it was silent, a general feeling one takes in rather then something one properly sees. The moon shone bright upon the few snowflakes dripping through the air, the  street lights a few nice buildings and the few people leaving them in well tailored thick stitched winter coats, nice black, silver, white cars. A man saw all of this though no one saw him. Did the man exist? technically yes, though in that place he did not…no one knew him, no one saw him, he simply observed, he saw a beautiful women leaving a church on a Wednesday night, getting into her car. She was…she had to be nearly thirty. He could see himself sitting across from her, seeing her smiles hearing her words and laughs, and he could see himself sitting there seeing in her a beautiful life, a purpose, a joy a magnificent meal so that he did not and she did not have to go about the task starving . He could see that, and he could see that it did not matter what he could see because it would depend on her seeing it! It was a large world before his eyes, large enough and with enough blur in the distance to suggest there was more behind it within it. He wandered if there was a women like him sitting in the cold, thinking of him as he was thinking of her whom he had not yet meet and yet who he had meet enough times to cry. She who would, unbeknownst to him, take joy in him. Some would like to say the tree never fell, or worse yet if all the trees fell, one might suggest they shot out from the roots like a missile, or that they were growing toward their complete evolution upright upon their reaching their connection to the stump in 1000 trillion millenniums….like the one tree that was left standing upright off in the distance… the one tree that was not blown over during the terrific storm. Suppose our man standing there alone in the dark witnessed the trees first standing upright and then falling over. Suppose he did not live near the forest at the time and he told those about what he had witnessed once upon a lonely walk in the dark. Suppose he promised that one day he would provide evidence suppose suppose suppose, but if he only received his supporters on that day what could be the point of it? Perhaps he would not bother with the evidence, if no one first believed him or cared that he was an honest man! The difficult task of being an honest man…there is so much implied in the phrase ‘an honest man.’

 

The kitchen was nearly closed, the restaurant had been locked and the remaining staff had been waiting for its last two guests to leave for nearly an hour. It was a peaceful calm bourgeoisie historical sort of restaurant that felt at home in the cold dark months of winter in Germany. It was warm and warmly lit. The host had left, so Julius watched for the couple to get up and then unlocked the doors for the couple to exit. They were a beautiful couple, a handsome man equal to the women’s beauty. He was obviously rich otherwise handsome man seldom find themselves with exquisite women. Women seem to be able to overlook their insecurities about being with extravagantly handsome men, if he, the man, is rich. The money seems to make them feel safer from the prospect of receiving less attention than their husbands in the face of their own beauty, a phenomenon which makes women, who exist to be nothing more than pretty, extremely distempered. Money also apparently lessens the fear of being cheated on by a very gorgeous husband, as gorgeous women who would not otherwise marry their equal in appearance unless if he also had money, or so thought the young Julius who was keen to observe men and women everywhere and anywhere he went.

 

 Julius looked for and noticed this type of thing especially since in the states he appeared as a poor man, though while in Europe he played the part of a rich and gorgeous classy manly-man with far more princely class then the lifetimes who had been nursed on gold since their conception. He noticed the women and how women noticed him, he savored their reactions to his words and glances like a sociologist writing a break through book on the minds of women, a doctor coming forward with the a cure for cancer. He had all the tools, good looking, strong, intelligent, and the ability to paint himself however he felt so inclined with the every enduring powerful paint of words.  He had already sincerely developed the postulate that a good women needs to be lied to, initially at least in order to trick her into accepting what it is she really wants, what she really wants- but would never accept- if presented to her in pure honesty. I might clarify that this observation of Julius’s had nothing particularly to do with sex. It was much more a macro postulate… theory….. whatever you want to call it…the observation of Julius the traveler, the observer, the experience-sseur of life who secretly lived with both eyes open at all times, hidden beneath his silence… an at times out-right portrayal of dull wittedness.  Julius had seen this postulate lived out by an older friend who was a good man but who would have never received the marriage of his sweet wife and their presently open and honest relationship without his initially deceiving her. How terrible! But that is not the question that Julius was concerned with…whether or not it was terrible was irrelevant to him, the question always was…is it true!  Julius had another friend who was a bold one. He knew he liked the girl he was dating more then she liked him, in his opinion it was because his perception of the situation was greater. In any case he spoke of the tiger standing to their side ready to devour them and sure enough she denied the existence of the tiger….. she denied its existence as she was devoured by it! This friend of Julius told his date about the “rules” of dating “the game” he explained its ins and outs to her, and surely as he spoke of it she fell prey to it. He thought she would be the women to prove him wrong, to transcend the social norms created by weak women and especially weak men. He sought to imply he liked her and had no interest in provoking her interest with stupid tricks, immediately she smiled the smile of arrogance, and he knew she thought him desperate..she became proud and flattered like a girl is by a school boy that she pats upon the head and sends on his way with a condescending smile, he saw it all in her smile that she was so ingrained in the social norms….. “the game” that she responded to its very rules and prophesies while denying they exist! Julius thought his friend was idiot for testing the poor girl to the detriment of their relationship…but his friend said he needed to know if she was a weak spirited women regardless of her intelligence….. was her spirit a spirit of the masses….. that was the question! Not whether or not she could solve math problems, and so she walked away thinking it was her who was leaving him….Julius’s friend simply walked away bitter and disappointed by women, only to entertain three more at the same restaurant within the following two weeks…so much for his desperation….naturally the girl later realized her mistake..but it was too late she had shown herself to be a spirit of the masses……….. a body and brain but no soul no mind.

 

  Julius observed all of this, he listened to his friend’s anecdotes, he listened to his acquaintances anecdotes…like Plato might have listened to Socrates like a rookie might have listened the exuberant Babe Ruth brag about his intuitive knowledge of baseball in a drunken rant.  He listened, but he wondered too…he wondered as he listened if their wasn’t exceptions and exceptional people…… people who….. men and women who flouted the insecurities of mankind! He thought of Heath and Jillian and this is exactly what they thought their relationship represented, rising above insecurities and weakness, but no! It was impure it was disgusting it was….. was unduly arrogant in its hopeless and intuitively foreign, scientific axioms which the jury remained out on from one generation to the next, it was fundamentally dishonest in its self applauded attempt at openness. Or so he thought, his mind for the time being was open, a task which no one can truly endure for too long a period of time without a mental collapse. 

 

So Julius moseyed through the rich-wood-furnished-warmly lit restaurant underneath a cold dark German winter’s night sky. He slowly made his way back to the kitchen after again locking the doors to the restaurant, he readjusted and picked at different set pieces already prepared for the next day’s open, he was thinking with zoned and somnambulist-like eyes…. the type after long hours of work.

 

Back in the kitchen the official manger on duty was in a great mood, and on this night playing one of his bipolar roles of friends of the staff, the type of universal bipolarness of all people in leadership positions who are in fact, if the course of history would push the point, not leaders in the remotest sense.

 

 It was a busy weekend and they were all offered a beer by the manager, a beer from one of the taps that one of the cooks was apt to point out  to the manager was almost empty and near expiration. In the kitchen the backdoor of the restaurant and many of the cooks and staffers..bus boys and what not where standing outside smoking in the cold. Typically everyone was in a hurry to leave as soon as work was over but free beer is free beer, even in Germany, apparently, or perhaps especially in Germany, Julius wasn’t sure, in either case everybody seemed settled in to finish off the tap and shoot the bull.  Since Julius had recently taken up the solitary life he had spent a good deal of time learning German. He was the type of American to complain when  new-Hispanic Americans didn’t know English in the United States, a type much more prevalent in the private conversations than the nation-face would ever have the courage to acknowledge. In any case, to be more exact, he didn’t really complain as much as consider them extremely arrogant bastards…the notion of being an illegal or first generation citizen in a country whose language, due to its prosperity and weight in the world, is the universal language, and then trying to demand that its citizens speak the language of a predominantly new wave of first generations citizens…pissed him off.

 

“ Imagine the arrogance of these people demanding signs be put up in Spanish, or worse yet the greed of advertisers and lack or national pride to liter the county in many languages in order to make a buck! It would be like France spending government dollars to promote wine from California due the recent influx of naturalized American French citizens….madness!”

 

Julius was a great nationalist, that is to say he loved America, and the cooks and kitchen staffers of this German restaurant were equally nationalistic of their country, countries…there were a few eastern Europeans. It wasn’t long before the American and the Germans in the Kitchen were shouting in unison “Piss on the Politicians!” “Politicians who have no pride and no allegiances accept their own borderless elite and the all precious golden nickel.”

 

 The politicians of the kitchen, the great wage laborers, had their disagreements giving and taking on many issues upon hearing the opposing person’s fervent view. These types, the intelligent and informed ditch diggers of a nation had a way of finding one another, or so it seemed!

 

Julius was astounded by the Maxin’s and their patriotic and political fervor and now he was downright shocked by the kitchen crew in Germany. He wondered had he merely run into one in a million odds in the course of a few weeks, or were the people of Europe restless with their recent reputation of disinterestedness. In America Julius heard talk of QB’s and touchdowns, to be sure fubbal had its fair share of air time in the kitchen, but unlike the Americans who received their view of life from politics in a well packed bag lunch handed to them by their mommy the media of each day before they headed off to school, well these Germans and eastern Europeans illegals, and of course the Maxin’s….. they read literature, they read political thought, economics, religion , philosophy…original sources…classics and therefore it began to make sense to Julius as to how they came about having ideas of their own…the bought and paid for media could piss on itself  as well as far as they were concerned!

 

This particular evening the bravado banter of beer went something like this. “Fuck the Greeks, Fuck the Euro! we work hard we live frugal let us have our own currency, reinstate the deutschmark! It would be worth two to one on the euro and the dollar and match the pound pound for pound!”

 

“You say fuck the Greeks! The Euro? But then the world will fuck you! You forget what your country was up to just a few years ago, and many think you still owe!” “Yeah this form the Pole who hates Germany so much he moved here to work in a kitchen..hahaha.” Everybody laughed including the pole who was one of the first to break out in an out roar of laughter.   “Seriously though! Fuck that I didn’t do anything, my dad didn’t do anything, I don’t owe anybody anything!” “I read the economist it says that Germany should do this..do that do this do that It says Julius’s fucking country should vote for this guy….not that guy. I have a question, who gives a fuck what the fucking economist thinks! Who asked them to write their fucking opinions?  Who is their view good for? Why should Germans do this or Americans do that?  Who made the fucking economist the fucking moral arbitrator of the world? Old Hitler would have said they were run by Jews, Jews without allegiance to any country except their own unseen country of hidden fortunes moving the pieces on the world chess board. Hitler was an asshole as far as the Jews were concerned..he was a sick bastard. I’m not saying their Jews… these fucking world police… fucking elite who have no home, no wife they are faithful too, fuck them and their fucking utopia, or infinitely increasing production..little-rich-pathetic-bastards who dream of printing presses that continually print out money each sheet more valuable than the one put off the press before it…..Greedy fools who stand for nothing but an increasing yield as they try and rule the world from behind a dark screen.  Merkel should do this should do that! She should do what the fucking German people elected her to do, not what some nameless fuck who was on his knees at Harvard or Cambridge thinks!” “Cheers to that!” “What a speech!” The boys gave him something of a jeering applause because they didn’t like his long windedness.

 

“ That was …well to put it politely…. quite the macro take on things!” “Obviously it was macro; someone like me who digests thousands of micro details couldn’t hope someone like you understand the links from micro to macro! So why waste my breath… your attention span wouldn’t hold up.” “Ja ja  I forgot the genius of Germany who washes dishes!” Again everybody broke out into laughter, even the people half listening while pursuing through their iphones. Even the self-acclaimed genius laughed, although he never said he was a genius, it was an unspoken aura that he considered himself brilliant and on the brink of breaking into the world stage in a big way…as soon that is, as soon as he was tired of washing dishes!

 

The cigarettes burnt out and those who had no reason to brave the cold air rejoined the conversation as the others came back in to lean on the countertops and preparatory tables. The next day was the slowest of the week and most of them had off or short shift in the late afternoon or evening. It grew into a long night as the nearly dry tap turned out to be very resilient.

 

“I have a two year old son and a twelve year old daughter…my daughter is a good kid. She’s smart . She gets good grades, she takes school seriously, she’s nothing like me hahah!” The cook shook his head in disbelief of his own statement that he could have such a good kid. Now my son he is going to be trouble I can see that same look in his eyes that my brother and I had.” “You’re from this city Craig?” “ Ja I grew up, not far from here. I got into lots of trouble from the start. But things have started to come together. Better now than never! You know man you never said , what you’re doing here? What part of the states are you from?” “I’m from the northeast originally, I go to school, or I should say, I went to school out west. I came to Europe to be free. I wanted to get away from constraints!” “You went to university far away from your home? Isn’t that freedom?” “Somewhat, but it’s all organized it’s all artificial freedom, it’s not real life where you have to really fen for yourself.

 

This is the best way I could think of escaping my family’s financial strings …. I mean at college I’m under their control in a sense. The only way to really be a man was to take off to another world ….hahhahah that sounds funny when I say. (without anyone knowing). Julius thought this last part to himself but he did not say it aloud because he was, compared to many people, over cautious and over thoughtful of every detail he had long ago decided was of high importance to him… in other words he was paranoid. “I’m a new man; I have no stress like I had during the breaks at my parents house.” “I can understand that. I moved out at 18 and me and my friends split up an apartment. Sometimes only one of us was working, it was like we all took turns not working for a few months out of the year and we always covered  for each other… scraped by paid the rent, ate little to nothing and smoked and drank the rest away. We meet lots of girls since our apartment was right near a University. Eventually we got into serious drugs and then things went  from fun to serious.” “How ironic.” “Yeah exactly, before that it was like college but without college work and college bills like you Americans all have. We dated college girls even, they didn’t care we weren’t in school….we were cool, we had our own place we had money, or so it seemedahhahah!” “It couldn’t have been that long ago, you’re still young.” “Ha it’s true I’m only thirty and I was living like that until about twenty five. My girlfriend at the time, the mother of my children, was with me and then not with me. We were on and off on and off and so on during those years. We ended up together, anyway. ……………..I would give anything to be young again, young and single.” “Really ?”

 

Julius just listened nodded his head smiled nodded his head and looked perplexed when he was supposed to. The cook that was talking Julius’s ear to deafness was apparently a normally austere man. Very few of the other cooks had ever heard him talk this much before, they just looked at him and then at Julius and then shook their heads in confused amazement. “What got into you tonight man?” “He is a traitor, he’s too good to talk to us Germans, his own people! But he talks and talks to the American!” hahahah The mood was still jovial, although it fluctuated in seriousness and passion and intellect in accord with the amount of beer drunk from the seemingly brand new nearly dry tap.

 

At this point in the evening, and it was an “evening,” as the emptying of the tap turned into a sort of party, at this point or at one point near what turned out to be the middle of the party, everyone, and I mean the word everyone as literal as a word can be, every Hans, Karl, and Wolfgang went out for a smoke.

 

Julius’s life before going to Europe was a suburban life, a small town life, and college was similar. His whole life took place in Mayberry, as far as violence was concerned. This city in Germany was not known for violence or crime in general……a man turned the corner entering the back street into which the restaurant back door opened to. All the kitchen workers were outside, two or three breaths of life giving death into their cigarettes when a man who was obviously running, turned the corner into the backstreet in which they were all standing mildly starry eyed looking at the stars, or their toes, as men do when they have run out of things to talk about. The man who turned the corner in a full sprint immediately locked eyes with the kitchen crews, and the kitchen crews meet his. The running man was shocked to see a fully dressed well enlisted kitchen crew at that hour; likewise the crew was shocked to see a man turn a corner with such a sense of passion. The running man froze at the sight of the kitchen crew… unable to initially comprehend what the large group meant for him and his situation, or so seemed his frozen reaction.  The man froze and then there was a cap like sound, the man fell backwards and then a puddle began to engulf his motionless-head.

 

 For a person like Julius it was not every day that a person saw a person die before their eyes in one sweeping instantaneous continuous motion. Apparently the same was true for the rest of the cooks. No one knew what happened and then all at once everyone understood and tossed the cigs and ran inside and dialed for help. The police came the medics came the staffers went back outside gave testimonies …..the party was over, the man , the young man, was dead shot in the back of the head! It was not a robbery or at least it didn’t seem so, no other person turned the corner before or after the shot…one of the cooks, there is always a curious one…peeped through the nearly closed door crack and watched as the others called for help. It appeared to be an execution. Could it be that the now dead young man’s eyes focused in on Julius’s as he rounded the corner and in shock came to halt. Could it be? Yes it could, and it was.

 

Sometimes the intense moments of life never come to some people in some places, but what if someone sneaks out of the routine un-noticed …goes after life expecting it to come to him in all its glory, what then? Does the person learn new things or do some old father’s words ring in his ears, “you can believe me now son or you can learn what I have already learned, two plus two always equals four, even if the font is dressed up differently!” Most likely both happen, but what does that have to do with a man rounding a corner in the height of his capacity for life..looking into another man’s eyes his own age, and then falling in death.

 

The street was lit and dimly lit to be exact, though a dimly lit street when you’re in it is does not seem very dim at all.  The dead man looked distinguished as his body lay unmoved upon the street and his blood. He was by all appearances a man Julius could relate too, a man like Julius…young good looking, well dressed, an expensive silver zippered leather jacket, the type with the zipper three quarters to the right and off the center. It was odd for Julius, he didn’t care the man was dead, Julius hadn’t cared when his own cousin died, at least not like he was supposed to….not full of tears and emptiness and longing for that person.

 

Julius was already a widower in his mind, and thus in reality, the reality outside the mind and within it always overlap. He had already lost his most beloved, a hard phenomena to explain to a person anxious to hide their own insecurities, though I imagine many others in moments when they stand apart from their participation in the collective wisdom of the idiocy of the masses could understand the phenomenon well enough, Julius who had never been married and never had such a beloved except to say he had always been fundamentally alone in the world. He loved his family.. he truly did but he did not know them and they did not know him, they were together often but not together as Julius understood it..he felt structured for something else, either a Bonnie and Clyde type of ‘us and everybody else’ or he was alone plain and simple utterly alone. All that was to say he felt odd seeing a man die in an instant in front of him, it was odd because he was not shocked he was not horrified. Maybe he read the history books and the stories of wars with too great an imagination when he was in school.

 

Everybody else was shocked…. hands on their heads calling any person they had to call, and the person they called expressed even greater shock through the phone. Julius could have very well went back inside and continued to finish off the tap of Elisha. He realized all of this about himself and he felt odd, the profound wisdom of the masses can beat the hell out of a person, even if it is nothing more than lies shouted loud with well dressed and articulate scientists/doctors doing the shouting as the new priests of the new order. 

 

Everybody called it a night and Julius headed to his room above the 1st floor of the restaurant, he took a butchers knife with him and made sure his room-door was securely locked.

 

 The man’s eyes had meet his…Julius found himself replaying the moment in his mind over and over again……again, that the man then and there fell dead before his eyes, that instant  later seemed to be of no consequence…… whether the man was dead or not seemed irrelevant but now Julius needed to know who the man was and he would have wanted to know even if the man had not been shot, because as happens in rare occasion of life amidst the alarm clock …the monotony of pretending to yourself your doing something important for ten hours and the endless repetition of thoughts and urges that are about as shocking as the sun rising is, there are rare occasion when  a man sees another man or a women sees another women, in case you needed me to clarify that a women can see herself analogously in my example of a man seeing another man,  there are rare occasion when a man sees another man and they look at each other and they both simultaneously see themselves in that other person, both see each other and there is an immediate respect and appreciation of some obviously unspoken things.

 

The nights were long ever since he stopped his “on a whim” sexual lifestyle he could not sleep and the infamous street down the way from the church called his name. Whereas most nights he lay awake thinking of his past and women of his past, this night he thought of the man who looked him in the eye. He remembered that he once read a book by some author with the name of a state. At night when he was alone he would mumble to himself, mumbles laced with profanity, he typically never used….he did in private what most people who really have no inclination to curse do in public. “What’s her fucking name…..Wolf no Virginia…that’s the damn name.” Why he mumble or why he mumble and swore was unbeknownst to him and when he caught himself doing it he did it with embarrassment as if someone where listening. He thought of how he had read her describe a person on a train meeting eyes with a boy in the middle of his tennis swing. She was describing a certain instantaneous odd feeling of attachment and sorrow at the acquaintance never being made between two people….except the shared space of a glance. Her whole anecdote was not before him, but the sense of it, or I might say the impression of it was. “Oh it was that damn story about a mark on a wall!” He looked about his dark room that had something of an executive type of finish to it, a power desk, leather chairs with big studs, a couch wood floors a fireplace pictures of landscapers on the wall…he sat up from his cot and went to the one leather chair propped up his feet and surveyed the room, it was silent and he sat alone. It reminded him of his last years in high school sitting home alone at Christmas time, the two story house was silent, candles lit in all windows…. the ten foot ceilings….. the Christmas tree with museum like elegance… the piano, the 1920’s pole lamp behind his reading chair in the corner of the house to the right of a large wooden bookshelf, the grandfather clock would tick and swing into action…..a door would pop from the heat, dampness on the front door  windows……just him and the house, the house had his influence in it, and likewise it had its influence on him, middleclass-large well decorated  elegantly decorated and yet nothing close to a mansion, classy, distinct but humble. The house liked him more than anyone else who had ever shared in its humble confident beauty, it was his house…. they had grown up together the young house and the young boy, he even managed to through in his three cents as to the decorating of the main room which dawned the two large Italian brown leather sofa’s with bronze studs, that was the same room the Christmas tree was in. “Oh that damn book, she talks about how she loves to watch trees and I’m watching this room and it brought that to mind, come on ….will I ever sleep!” 

 

He leaned back into the chair, “oh come on.” After grabbing his blanket off the cot….he already had the fire going …he was still thinking of that little story by the author with the name of the state, “all these people out there around me and yet I can hardly believe it, it is I alone in this room and every room through my life whether or not there are times or people outside …ha its like they pop up whenever I feel like going to the forest to see them!” “I’m losing it!” Was his last thought as he fell asleep and reclaimed peace, though he was often irritated in his sleep.

 

“Its so warm and cozy in here and it smells like coffee. It’s a nice café, one without the stench of grass!” “Oh that’s right I forgot it is legal to smoke marijuana here!” “Yes but only in certain places, this café is not a weed café!” “Really, I didn’t realize it worked like that?” “Most Americans don’t! These kids come here and the first thing they want to do is smoke weed everywhere…it’s a typically joke among the natives.” “Right, and then they come back to the states tell all their friends ‘its awesome you can smoke weed anywhere,’ and forget to mention they were embarrassed and asked to leave four different restaurants….hahah”  “Exactly!” Miriam looked at the time, “well I should be going, but why don’t you come see my apartment and have dinner with me there. I’ll pick some food upon the way. I want to hear all about your American life, why you are here? Why you are here alone? All of this?” Jac smiled the smile of a person who loved to be found interesting by other people. It is one of those repetitive facets of a beautiful women’s life that oddly enough never grows dull to their ears. “But my life is really so boring, I go to college, I am graduating…..blah blah blah you know.” “Oh my goodness! We are going to have wine with dinner and then you will talk.”

 

After stopping to pick up some ingredients for a sturdy European –hard-times type of soup and a posh little entrée of cheeses and vegetables, they arrived at Miriam’s apartment. They had to endure a long walk to arrive at the apartment since it was not near the center of the city. The building was older or less taken care of than the section of the city Jac’s hotel was in. Jac stepped into what was Webster’s metaphorical definition of a shoebox. It was small, a tiny kitchen with enough room for two seats and table and then a bathroom and another room that was both Miriam’s bedroom and living room. 

 

“Oh my goodness your apartment is so nicely decorated, it is so quaint so stylish!” “It’s small but you don’t have to be rich to have class and imagination and a sense for style.” “These paintings look like originals?” Miriam smiled a truly precious smile that typically only good little children can bring into and bless the world with. “They are, they are mine.” “On my goodness, you are sooo talented!” “The table, the sofa…everything I got for barely anything, and then I reworked them, restitched them, repainted them everything right in here, its crazy really!” “You’re so talented!” “Thank you!” God bless her she nearly blushed as she said thank you.

 

“Please sit while I get dinner prepared.” “I want to pay for the ingredients… but it’s a long story. I purposely came here with no money.”  “Do not worry about paying me, I’m fine, its my treat, you paid the café….what you said sounds interesting though? What do you mean?” “Like I said before I believe God lead me here and I want to rely wholly on Him, it sounds strange but I know I had to do this.” Miriam was unstill with facial expressions. “Do what? Starve in Holland! When I was little I prayed and all that, there were so many rules this and that… I just love now; I don’t try to over think things. Sometimes I might pray, I’m not sure why though I do. Your some kind of runaway nun or something!” “No, I’m not a nun hahah, but I’m a Christian. I believe there is a God who loves me and who gives life its purpose.” “But you don’t know what purpose?” “Not exactly… I haven’t been doing it before, I know that!”  “Hmmm, well maybe I see what you’re saying..a lot of girls do drugs or in the least drink a lot. I don’t and it doesn’t make it easier because I know if I get into that I will never get out of this life. As long as I am not on drugs I know there is still hope that I will get out of this life.” “Have you ever thought about college?”

 

“Yes, but! It’s not like that here, either you do well and go for next to nothing or you just don’t go, and I have no ideas about other countries and other schools and all of this, I mean I’m part Romanian part Slovakian, I’ve barely begun to understand how things in Holland work. I try to look into things online… it’s hard though and my English reading is not great!” “Oh, I see I understand, plus in the states we have entrance exams… all these things that make your grades irrelevant. It is all so irritating.” “Yes these standardized tests promote a certain type of person only, it’s a terrible idea! What are grades for! Plus the government standards of accreditation you always hear about! What are they for!” “So, what is it you want to do then, Miriam?” “Anything, I would be a waitress if I could, anything but this, I used to apply and apply and apply but eventually I gave up. There is nowhere to work and make a decent living anymore they all pay nothing and then everything costs the price it takes two people to pay for! Like an apartment for example!”

 

“That’s sounds awful, I’ve never really thought too much about it.” Jacquelyn was somewhat irritated, part of her was ready to give  a five step lay out as to how Miriam could begin college get a different job and leave her present one. She didn’t want to come across rude or stupid. Miriam seemed to know a lot about many things. She just couldn’t believe that Miriam had to be what and where she was in life. Although Jac never had to work or want for anything she had always known that God would provide, after all that is why she was in Holland… to live out her faith not relying on the security of her family, fortune, or friends.

 

“So do you have a boyfriend back home ?” “Nope.” “Just no? that’s it ! There is no story, looking at you that couldn’t be true.” Miriam took a bite of her food; the pasta she decided to make almost appeared like bowties, little bowties….. steam continually rose up from the bottom of the plate.

 

Miriam brushed her brown hair to the side.. puckered her lips  and blew on the bottom of the fork which was full of noodles, and then she took a bite professionally avoiding the smearing of her lipstick. Both she and Jac dragged the fork across their respective sets of teeth. The sauce was a mixture of white and red sauce sitting apart in two side by side ladle fulls on top of the bowtied pasta. The apartment was extraordinarily cold for such.. for such a small place, although things cozied up as the meal heated up the apartment. The paintings on the wall were all rural, Miriam had painted farm houses, vineyards, beach towns, it was all warm and rural landscapes.

 

“No I’ve never really had a boyfriend; I’ve dated a football player for one year, school year…so about eight months. But I decided he and I had nothing in common.” Miriam was listening with a mildly skeptical look, “it took eight months for you to figure out you had nothing in common?”  Jac flushed, her eyes went down and to the side, “I don’t know I guess …..all of that stuff makes me sick in the stomach it’s so stressful I don’t like to think about it I think it should just happen easily.” Miriam began to laugh, “you are asking me, who is the wrong person! I came here to date a man I had meet in my country, he was travelling, but he was charming, we continued to talk online when he left he even said he wanted to marry me, and so I moved here to be with him, he left me, I was so devastated, I thought I loved him so much…people do stupid things when they are hurt and angry.”  Jac sensed that Miriam had said all she had wanted to say and in a certain respect more then she really wanted to say, though she did want to tell Jac. “I was something like in love once, I guess. I mean I felt such strong feeling for this one guy I meet early-on while I was at college, buttttt I fought against it  for some reason it’s so strange to think about it now…and I thought it was strange then………wine really does make you talk.”

 

“I love talking to you though Miriam, you’re so direct so honest you’re something un-like I’ve ever really meet, there’s just something about you.”

 

“I try to be honest and straight forward regardless of my insecurities another individual’s or societies. ….maybe that is what you mean, who knows, it’s just this Slovakian wine it’s cheap and potent.” “No, I think what you said might be true, which was such a profound statement by the way. I think that if you don’t worry about looking good, it makes me feel comfortable to be honest, even honest to myself since you are so honest.”  “It’s funny we can try to be honest to ourselves, but if people perceive us incorrectly they may cause you to begin to doubt yourself…and it might be good if you are really being dishonest with yourself and if your are not it will be harmful. So either way it seems an individual is lost if he is completely alone.” “Lost?” “Yes everybody knows people are meant to be social, companions, and the greatest relationship of all love is marriage, and it is therefore the hardest because along with easy springtime love comes deep arduous love the most-true companionship.” “I’m not sure if I get what you’re getting at, but it sounds profound.. your such an artist, I can’t think that abstractly.” Miriam began to laugh, “What I am saying is not abstract its life, watch it, live it, you will see what I said before your eyes. It’s a different word maybe… true…ah….meaningful deep relationship. An example, friends hangout together when it is mutually beneficial, in both their interests, however, true love must rise to the occasion even when you don’t feel like it and your desire to make the other person happy is equal to or even greater…it is your own happiness.”

 

Jac listened to what Miriam said and it sounded familiar, but she was sure there would be something wrong with it. “You’re saying true love is selfless, that’s in the Bible.” “Yes, selfless…kind of, the self finds it fulfillment in union with his beloved one’s self her happiness is his own, and hers is his, of course I have only ever seen one or the other, never does it work the way it supposed too.”

 

 Jac was listening but her face contorted every time she heard Miriam use the masculine pronoun as a designation of universal humanity. “What your saying is Biblical,” Jac said this with a type of surprised voice betraying the reality that she had heard something similar to what Miriam said thousands of times from preachers, but it never had the power it had as it wisped off the lips of Miriam in her accented English.  “Yes, I guess it is, it’s probably a lot of places.” Jac shrugged her shoulders, “maybe?” “Your right though, that is what I meant to say, selfless. Relationships like marriage, even old traditional dating, are hard because people are so openly selfish, people want to be loved, but they don’t want to love, so nobody is happy…relationships companionship lifelong-love, marriage is replaced by drive thru sex clubs, online hookups or my business…its all the same that’s why I don’t feel ashamed! I’m not different then everybody else in this culture, except that I openly call a lie a lie and cheap cheap.” Miriam was very prosaic, very matter of fact, and she went on as she continued on in her manner. “I don’t lie, I don’t pretend to be interested in love in order to hook up to satisfy myself and be on my own selfish merry way. I get paid… I work, for most people sex is selfish enjoyment with no greater significance. For me it is work.. it is money no false pretences no facades!” “But you can always hope you can always look to God and hope?” Miriam laughed, “You can’t change a culture in one generation, if there is a God it seems that not even He is willing to strive with mankind and its stupidity. No matter how sincere your prayers you can’t convince God. You can hope and hope and hope and you can be disappointed and destroyed. Don’t misunderstand me, being hopeful is not being naive but people will take advantage of you all the same!”  Jac was listening with her focus being on responding. “If you trust God he will not let you down!”

 

Miriam might have been furious, entirely outraged by Jac’s unyielding declarations, but she had grown to tired and mature for that, Miriam just looked at Jacquelyn with a calm complacent stare that spoke the words, “I’m sorry, but you will find out how it is, even you will join their movement, even if it is unknowingly.”

 

“But I do not necessarily blame God, I don’t know anything about that, all I am saying is you and whoever you will meet in this generation are both too selfish to ever have a beautiful marriage, a lifelong romance….I bet when I say those words you think of money….or things very much related to money?” Jac was shocked by Miriam’s directness, very few people had ever talked to her like that, after all she had always been the benevolent queen bestowing her merciful wisdom on others.

 

 The sound of conviction with which these two adamant women spoke, very quickly became congruent with their voices. “But Miriam, everybody knows that marriage is never like those love stories or movies.” “I’ve seen it, I have seen a lifelong romance before, it can happen and both people can be very happy…their marriage can be the source of their happiness even in spite of living in a shitty country.” “I thought you said you had never seen a romance where both love the other more than themselves, or are nothing without them….. whatever you said? I’m confused now, so what are you saying?”  Miriam amped up her facial and hand animations so as to help clear up her point. “It has happened in the past, but it is unlikely to happen today, people are too selfish……. the western ideal of monogamous love was at its peak in the mid to early 1900’s, women rights were being acknowledged and great civilizations that are now sleeping and complacent found themselves in wars started by their aristocratic governments and I think life was more serious and people were forced to see the significance of the most sacred things in life!….maybe I am wrong but that is what my grandfather used to say and the history books have all the pieces that add up to that !”

 

 Jac suddenly noticed the many books stacked against the corner of the wall and the wine she was drinking with her dinner put an intuition in her mind that this prostitute who knew so much of life, and who spoke so lovely, a loveliness that made wisdom sparkle as a bright gift, unlike the dark wisdom of wounded consciences which was the only type of wisdom Jac had ever known…… the thought came to Jac, that Miriam was the secret author of the brilliant quotes in the quaint café, she quickly answered as if to hide her revelation. “You could be right my grandparents on both sides had happy marriages, the strange thing is that all the movies that depict those times show everybody having affairs and partying it up like today.” “….but in nicer cloths…..hahahha of course there were people like that, the question is was that the majority?  Your Hollywood is so deceitful they try to appear realistic, but they always import the current century, the current decade into films with settings one hundred or 3000 years earlier, it’s so stupid, I love indie films …right you call them Indy?” “Yes indie or independent.” “Of course, independent, that’s right! I love them most!” “I’ve only seen a few …they’re okay, I wasn’t use- to them I guess…..but aren’t they just as… you know, flavored?” “Flavored?” “Like the independent films are so self-consciously ‘real’ so they overemphasizes certain themes too?” “Everybody has themes. You’re right. I was just complaining about the overt importation of today’s values to the past, as if a miniscule minority similarity of the past to the present was the vast majority in the past!” “I see what you mean, but you might have to repeat it hahahaa.”

 

The two women from two very different worlds whose existences overlapped in the same world, grew silent.  Miriam checked the time on her phone; it was about time for her to go to work. Jac began helping clean up and Miriam went into the bathroom. “No don’t worry about cleaning up I’ll get it tomorrow, if you want you can put the dishes in the sink.”  “Are you sure, it’s the least I can do.” “Yes, Yes!”

 

Miriam reappeared from the bathroom in white full-length spandex type pants; she had a jacket on for the walk to the underground. “Relax and read a book, I’ll be back a bit later!” Miriam thought about the oddity of her going out to work a degrading work, regardless of how she tried to cope with it, and the girl who was Jac, a women, who in all probability was a much wealthier American girl on an emotional carefree joyride across the word on somebody else’s, a rich father’s dime, the idea struck Miriam like a temptation. She thought the thought and it irritated her…… she killed it. She was resolved to do whatever she damn-well pleased even if it be against her own interest.

 

 Jac was a nice girl and Miriam was beyond being jealous or angry at other people, at least not Jac. “No I would like to walk along….. meet some of the other women…” “Oh my, so you’re on some type of mission journey after all! But dear if you have no money your really can be of no help, these women need money, it really is the same-old story, most of us wouldn’t do it if we could do something else. Even the ones who were young and naive and thought it glamorous and exciting at first, even they want out, but it’s hard to get out of anything once it becomes your livelihood…you know what I mean dear?”

 

 For the first or perhaps the second time Jac had to step-back from the situation, so to speak, and the puzzle that Miriam, who was Jac’s age if not younger, was, so wise so kind such an old heart…. resigned but not defeated, so loving…. when she had every reason to hate, so honest to herself when she had every reason to lie.  Miriam’s tone was not altogether sweet and gentle, at times it was sharp wrapped with a thin layer of pointed glass, but the words were kind all the same.  Jac in a sense new this but being the prosperous daughter of a capitalist, which Jac was in case you had forgotten, she knew money would not solve this problem, for one girl perhaps it might, but did these women know how to survive any other way, could they handle money. Quote on quote “rationality” often hampers quote on quote “emotional” generosity, and we say ah a greedy person..looking for reason to be selfish. Whether this was the case with Jac is yet to be seen, because she herself did not yet know the answer herself.  Little did Jac know the miniature financial crisis had hit her father’s investments like an angry bull in the past few months?  In short, Jac’s family went from excessively wealthy to middle-middle class in a few months though the plates were shifting and in motion for nearly a eight years. Her father’s unyielding optimism and desire to expand had, on this occasion, been crushed….annihilated. Her family was accustomed to an annual income of over a million per year. That former lifestyle and their new income, as they barricaded in somewhat late to survive the storm that hit their industry and their small business, was good, but hardly good enough for people accustomed to, that is to say with bills and monthly expenses far exceeding a way of life they had never dwelt in but for a few seconds on their way up from the middle and even then they had the confidence of families with wealth to seize hold of opportunities without any fear or doubt, families which were the reason Jac’s father’s blind eye to pending peril proved to be non-fatal, was incomprehensible to them.

 

“I mean I haven’t tried to save you Miriam, if anything it’s been quite the opposite, I am aware that it may look like I am about to burst into a sermon but I have learned a lot in the last few months and I guess I just want to understand you and this whole other world which I might have found myself in just as easily as you found yourself in it.” Miriam broke out into a laugh, “you surprise me, usually people aren’t so aware of themselves.”

 

It was cold and dark……….. people’s breath filled the cold streets like little lengths of smoke, fall turned into winter that night.

 

“You realize you can’t really hang around in the building once things get going and I would not expect the girls to be especially nice to you.” Jacquelyn nodded with the assurance of a truly confused person, the type that thinks they understand things and people and even God. She was on a journey to help others and please God, God would protect her she was certain of that!

 

Miriam and Jac entered the building with large windows, it was surprisingly cold inside, one would think such places would be warm…..Miriam waved at various people moving about all the while looking ahead and continuing to walk, heads popped around corners and intrigued glances landed on Jacquelyn.  “Ok you can stay in this room and shut the door in a little while , but for now you can wander around and talk for half an hour or so…but you better get out of the way when things pick up, and they always do within the next hour!”

 

It was around 10 o’clock, Jac looked around…. she saw girls younger than her; she noticed them as if the older one’s were not young once. She found herself talking to a girl about seventeen named Katya, Jac asked the usual questions, “where are you from? What do you hope to do? What’s your family like?” Eventually Jacquelyn warmed up to the questions like, “how did you decide to get into this line of work? Is it okay?” Katya explained she could not find other work, her grandparents were poor and now her grandmother was barely screeching by in the countryside of Eastern Europe. It was a sad story, the type of story that had been relegated to myth in a world where everybody was supposedly well-off and free to do whatever they please! A world in which, if a women was a prostitute, worked in pornography, ect, it was because they liked sex or were too lazy to get a real job……. and of course the standards of women in first world countries applied to women who lived in third world countries.  It turned out it was Katya’s first night, she had been supporting herself and her grandmother by working illegally at a restaurant but business had slowed and she was out of money, even the money she had saved had run out, and could you believe it a person in the twenty-first century within the sphere of western civilization was hungry and without the opportunity to work!

 

“You don’t have to do this dear, let’s go I can help you!” Just then as Jacquelyn was thinking of how she could help this one girl, in-spite of her not having any access to her money, just then as real life would have it…….. just when two people are about to fall in love…… just when one is about to take-off in success, another piece enters the chess board of life, the only obvious reaction is that it is not fair and that one did not see that piece coming, if the two are to fall in love they must risk…. they must be decisive….. if the one is to not regret he must leave the comfort of his job…… if one is to soar one must look up and face the gunpoint criminal about to rob him otherwise one slides through life full of repressed anxiety and full of regret and full of distractions to ease the grief and regret that comes when one does not face the truth of reality and seize it in humble love, distraction from regret which is worse than facing regret….it is the poison of this day……..the selfish generation…the generation of self-love….the deceived…the generation who does not have the discipline to possess life’s most valuable treasure…youth is gone and you have been deceived unto death oh sad one…and what is really sad is that there are truly sad one’s who did not destroy themselves in deceived self love…. . the idea that we are all good- happy-people who only have problems when other people don’t do what we want.

 

Just then a young man walked in, I would say…thirthish, “I’ve paid for her,” he pointed to Katya, “I saw her from the window an hour ago.” “Katya. Leave you don’t have to stay here and do this, I’ll meet you where we said!” Katya slid out the door before the man knew what was happening. “Hey! I’ve paid for her!” Jac ignored him and walked out and went to the office type room with the desk and some filing cabinets. The man followed her. “Hey if your in charge here then you at least have to give my money back!”

 

“Okay! How much ?” “200 euros!………your quite gorgeous really! Are you working tonight?” “No!” “ Now that  I see you, I’d say I should have chosen you in the first place….I’ll give you another 200 euros right now…200 for you alone…a tip and we will forget about the money I paid downstairs.”

 

The man was good looking.. very good looking well dressed which only served to make him all the more good looking, and good, people always associate nice clothing with nice people! “I’ve only made 500 Euro this week but I’ll give you all of it!”

 

Could you believe it Jac found herself to be flattered! Though she tried her hardest not to be. “Besides, I’ve already paid you can’t keep that for nothing, even if you are gorgeous I won’t have money long if I do things like that. You forced that other girl to leave; you’ve flattered me, really. Listen! Let’s go to dinner and call it even!” He softly grasped Jac’s arm who had begun dreaming about what type of important person or celebrity this extremely good looking and extrememly well dressed man had to be. “Fine!” “ Just a kiss before we go, after all I’ve come here….and a kiss will help me get my mind straight and calmed down. I’ve never come to a place like this before, I’m so lonely my life is so busy and your so beautiful, a kiss and then dinner!” The door was kicked shut with the back of his 500 euro shoes as he finished his kiss. Jac thought about screaming but to what avail, she was where she was, and it would not matter, or so she decided…..she did not dare it his eyes warned her and enticed her not too…somehow God would save her.

 

 The man laid down the 500 euro’s and left the room. She hated him or at least she wanted too, but she knew she really didn’t….. she hated herself. Why hadn’t she screamed? Miriam would have straightened things out, Miriam knew how to handle things she wasn’t scared of anybody. Jac’s mind went like a seesaw, she was raped, she wasn’t raped, she wanted him, she was scared, she could have screamed she could have resisted, there was no point in resisting. She left and took the money to Katya who was waiting at the café. Jac kept 100 euros for herself and gave the other 400 to Katya. Katya did not ask about the money, with wide eyes she said, “thank you! Thank you! You’re a savior! Thank you!” over and over again.

 

“Do you know any honest people Katya? People of integrity, somebody that is trustworthy for a girl in your situation?….who could give you a  little work.” Katya sat in her short skirt still chilled from walking in the cold dark air that was winter without a family. “I cannot think of anybody, its all the same regardless of the job, teachers, managers, married men with children…its all about sex. That’s why I was there because I thought and I thought and that is what it always came down to anyway…there are no good people in the world there are only circumstances that make people appear good! If you’re a citizen then they might at least fear laws, but I am not a citizen.”

 

Katya explained this all matter-of-factly with emphasis on the part about there not being good people anywhere in the world. Jac again found herself flabbergast…at a loss for words by this young girls matter of fact disposition about a life that was absolutely horrifying to Jac’s mind.

 

Elsewhere in the world a baby was born to happy parents. A married couple knew each other for their first time. A record was broken. A battle ended. A man’s cancer disappeared. A college graduate nailed an interview and received his first real job. A husband bought his wife flowers on the whim of love. A lonely thirty-two year old women meet a nice man who was not a pervert for the first time in her life. Cousins learned to ride bike together. A hard working day laborer at a grocery store received a raise and was promoted to manager with tuition for business classes.

 

 A piece of grass grew and stood green in the summer air, a flower blossomed bright in the spring sun, there stood a house amidst fields full of vines and wheat and corn and rows of trees full of apples and pears, the house was brick and it was clean and the words spoken within it were pure and true honorable and strong.. willfully content and uncompromisingly happy! Joy gleamed from the windows to the kitchen table, it was a house of dreams of the passionate type, brave enough to begin a lifelong romance on scratch, the winters grew dark and cold as is their custom but the house remained warm and bright.

 

Jac began to walk back to the house of excitement, but along the way she noticed a nice restaurant with wealthy handsome young men sitting at the bar….. she went in and she went home with one of them.

 

She was let down, she was angry at God. Angry at God in the way a young women whose heart broken by her first love is….. her virtue which she had entrusted to the man and to God was tossed aside wantonly but the physical sensation of pleasure remained with her mind as a strong undercurrent of a memory. She was angry.. all was meaningless and the undercurrent of pleasure showed its face with more boldness claiming to be the solution to the pain. She was destroyed not by the young man or by God but by her own deception. A better man would have come along but being a good man he would seek to relate to her soul and she would feel no connection because in her despair and deception she established the pleasure of the physical as her standard of love, her standard of being appreciated. Naturally the good in her soul would seek to reclaim its supremacy in love but it would find that the foundation of the relationship built on pleasure was weak and the cycle would continue until the soul was dead, and perhaps by default she would one day find herself play acting a happy romance a happy marriage in utter loneliness… the beauty of her youth would be gone a stupid beast of a man would be her bed partner…. and unable to face reality, life would become the precise practice of focusing on frivolity to the fullest. “The neighbor’s new car is ugly! My dear.”

 

But now at last you must excuse me for I have behaved well through the entirety of this story up to this point, or almost. But how hard it is for a former philandering fornicator to become married and then find the only job he can land is as fashion analyst who must stare at young lonely hopeful (what a combination) women all day. Likewise, how hard it is for me to tell a story and write words and words and words and say none of the many words a great egoist like me longs to say.  And what I must say is this: nothing but a little anecdote those Maxin brothers enjoyed as a vision of America.

 

 “How is it I can bash my fellow man calling him a beast and a dumb ox and a great many other things? How is it I can look them in the eye? First of all they do not read! Secondly we do not live in a country of gentleman and day laborers; we live in the land of the free where all are gentleman if they please. The man who cleans the toilet may reserve a table at the nicest restaurant, live musicians and all, for him and his love. A man worth 20000 times him may sit in the second best seat at the same restaurant on a particular evening, though he being the rich man typically eats four meals a day in the best seat! If the 20000 times man dare say ‘ah you’re the bum who unclogs toilets, my 200,000$ toilets to be exact, what are you doing in my seat!’ The plumber who is also a gentleman with good taste for good food and music and attractive women, he may very well be a gentleman and tell the other gentleman, ‘to fuck off!’ And should it so happen that the rich man feels inclined to use his wealth to ruin this plumbers life because he was not accustomed to being stood up too, if indeed the 20000 times man used his wealth to work the law or to influence the plumber’s employer, or anything of that sort, in this great country of the home of the brave..the plumber may, upon becoming unjustly cut off from his livelihood, he may hire a lawyer, or if the lawyer is too expensive he may wait outside the restaurant and put a piece of metal in the prigs face and explain to the 20000 times man that in America…. in that great country of celebrated self-reliance, the rich and the powerful and the corrupt are never as mighty as they may think! It was said a long time ago that although God may not have created all men equal in regards to the values of a mankind Smith and Wesson did!”

 

And you must excuse me for I have gotten off track, but that was something George Maxin said which I dare record in a country full of little brats with machine guns who are pissed off, and perhaps rightly so, though if they were told why would fail to listen anyway and clearly do not have the moral fiber to do good in reaction to the pathetic society that bred them, and let us be clear even great society’s have a few little brats….but great society is not a phrase which I shall grace this falsely flattered from birth façade of fearless fearful little fuckers….. unique selfish little bastards everyone of them.

 

“I do love to dream of the wage laborer, smart and handsome, well beyond the duties of his occupation, moral and strong, slow to anger…. a beautiful wife by his side who wouldn’t even joke of trading him for a young Brad Pitt, yes even a white picket fence, the type that a generation upon debauching itself became so jealous and hateful of themselves to despise with an evangelistic zeal…though they were raised as children behind the white picket fence. And let me dream of a woman who is not a financial assessor or longing to marry a comedy club, but who smart and strong and self reliant, and above all romantic, which is the tallest order,  a dreamer who dreams of faithful selfless love from a man and not a Mercedes and endless days of hung-over martinis sitting above the pool.  It is dream I speak of, for I live in a country that was once full of evangelistic red-faced men energized from the buffet ready to speak of hellfire or white clouds depending on what was in vogue, and then came the reaction, angry women dressed in pacifism and ready to kill for their right to not use condoms! Thin men in fabulous silk suits desperate for God to endorse their right to stick each other in the ass….after all marriage, if not a holy and loving covenant historically believed to be under God, is then a historical contract of property. Seeing as God in their view does not exist, or if He does has spoken new revelation to them alone, it would seem they are anxious to reinstate government ordained slavery of the sexual nature..Indeed “I own your ass”….ceases to be metaphorical and becomes the catchphrase of a government ordained institution!  Apparently the freedom to stick one’s shaft most anywhere one likes is not enough, and the icing on the cake is all these people, pacifistic women ready to kill included, hate economic policies of freedom to prosper and that of course is so obvious…small business of the mom and pop genre are often times the means to the livelihood they despise! High taxes and government regulations and mandates on large corporations are easily abided by, but the little man….. the neighborhood manufacturer is crushed and along with him competition and competitive prices, for we care about other country’s satisfaction before our own peoples. And so it is that again there shall be the “gentleman” and the servant, the servant who serves the gentleman  his coffee, his dinner, who packs his car who cleans his carpets who is no longer aloud to work hard and take 10% of his profits, who is no longer able to work for himself..because the government…. the large corporations and the media have undermined the white picket fence, and have glamorized Friday nights getting trashed on the five dollars you have to spare from you eight dollar an hour work week!  The government and its military of angry teachers who hate the white picket fence and have sworn an oath to destroy one’s freedom to it, indeed they will try to nurture the mind from 5 to 25 in every other possible direction, even the direction of abortion, government housing, and food stamps….slavery, and pathetic debauchery to ease reality.”

 

 And I might imagine you will not read the rest of this story for dear Julius was a pitiful boy in his lost lusts, but now that he has said things like this, for indeed these are his words, which he worked out one evening alone in the dark room above the kitchen in Germany, now that he has said such things  he is hateful! He is self-righteous! Oh no! Julius has no room to hate the well dressed homosexual, whom, when he was young would listen to filthy disgusting ugly talk of women in the boys locker room and feel like vomiting while full of rage at those words the other boys said of those kind girls who were his friends. How strange that such a noble boy might become in one specific way so much like those gross boys in the locker room. No, he did not hate them for their perversion and lust anymore then he hated himself for his own, he hated them for their demands that undercut his own re-found dream of a white picket fence! Julius had no room to hate the murdering women who don’t like condoms, though they began to stir his blood as he sat alone in a room in Germany, as did the politicians who ran against corporations and then ran with them… for behind closed doors they are one and the same. Julius had found himself sitting alone in Germany the very night that our dear Jacquelyn had lost herself in Holland And don’t you find as did Julius, that being immersed in a context and then removing yourself from it allows one to see it all the more clearly, not with the eyes and ears alone, but with Plato’s mind’s eye!

 

Julius looked in his mirror….well not his mirror but the mirror of the resterauntier, who was a friend of the Maxin’s, whom’s room he was staying in. He looked at himself…he was dreadfully good looking…. his boyish blue eyes not light old-man-blue nor dark-deep blue but boy-blue playful-blue his strong jaw his chiseled cheekbones, his sandy blonde hair, his black scruff growing after five o’clock, it was all so odd to him. He had mastered the art of getting a women’s clothes off, and in the process of this mastery his deep rooted boyish noble allusions of womankind were shattered…all the women he so revered..whom he stood in awe of as a teen…. had he stayed the polite gentleman his mother taught him to be….. he would have never laid a hand on a women before marriage, and he would have never known that nearly every women he had met had longed for his hands to be on them. It was all too easy and his life as a young bachelor was a grand egotistical sculpture of himself towering higher than any other building in the city, he erected his statue so that other men, men who might be tempted to mock him or even simply consider themselves his equal, so they would see….he, the unemployed college drop-out living on cigarettes and wine of charity..yes he, he could undress the most conservative god fearing women in the country, and he could do it without breaking a sweat…. without buying a single drink at a bar….  without paying for a single meal. Whatever his reasons he could do and so he did, and then he laughed at his old noble allusions, and he spat upon them and then one day he found those allusions to potent and to true to be forgotten, and he loved again, but the women did not have that kind of love for him in return. How maddening to be a great athlete and watch others play….. to be a great painter and to see others paintings while yours sit buried in your basement, to be a great accountant and to have not an accounting job, to be a great cook with no restaurant to provide your services too, to be a great looking man and to not be worshiped for it like all the other good looking man, or in his case to be so good looking that a women may give you her attention only to wander off in some madness for some other man, to have a great heart and to never share it with another in that capacity…and it is true he had rejected so many..he was no saint! And Julius found himself like an attractive girl with an ugly face does in high school, all of the boys tried to sleep with her in secret, all the women wanted his attention, and then when he loved with all the passion that only a man like him can love with, a man with no insecurities, a man who has known beauty, his own beauty his entire life, and desires the woman’s all the more…. every nuance every movement that only a true connoisseur of beauty could begin to notice….. a man to whom a women is the winner at his game…he had lived all his life in the game of beauty in the masculine affirmations of aesthetics which borders on ethical boundaries. His mind was as sharp and comprehensive as his blue eyes , “a women a women , those poor boys don’t know how to begin to appreciate a women!” and he would laugh as a great painter laughs at rich art collectors at art auctions as he eaves drops on their pedantic comments for a hearty laugh. A great athlete was once asked whether or not the game was as easy as he made it look, irritated the athlete looked at the man, “sir, have you ever played sports in school?” The man nodded his head in curious wonder at where this was going. “What about gym class?” Again the man nodded his head, “and was there ever a kid in gym class who no matter the sport could beat the entire class whenever and however he pleased?” “Every gym class has such a kid.” “This league of professionals I play in is kinda like my own gym class.” The man was dumbfounded, he had watched the player his whole life and he thought on his every movement his enthusiastic laughs of triumph his occasional bouts of carelessness his reactions of fury, and he was horrified! Such was Julius’s capacity to love a woman for life, to appreciate the feminine….what were annoying or unnoticed necessary evils to most men where bright complex translucent colors easy for his eye to see. And yet no women had ever loved…. had ever loved him in return, which is to exclude the one’s he never loved, of course. Perhaps they saw the purity of the love in his eyes, perhaps those blue eyes in the end gave him away and they laughed in-spite of his great reputation…. it was too much …too ridiculous for an experienced man like him to see who they really where as a women and yet truly love them. Out of all the men he would be the one to affirm their femininity in opposition in distinction from himself and so while he was laughable he was also an unspoken terror…. he was not a dumb beast…. a rabbit to be pulled about by the carrot, they would lose themselves in his love, their nature cried out to him, but their mother and their century cried in a still clearer more recent voice… “Do not lose yourself to anything!!” The sin of offering up the body had become a sacrament and the giving of the soul a sin, and somewhere Nietzsche laughed a bitter and knowing laugh at the stupidity of humanity.

 

He was a man in a time in which being a true man in all the most, revered, esteemed, and toilsomely earned acts of painful integrity sense of the small three letter word , was a joke. Or no! He was not yet such a man but they could see the potency of the potentiality within him to be such a man, for its whom he had always been in his heart and mind….. and quietly in active daylight for a long time before he began to rage. In Germany he had become still and quiet again, he had that healthy amount of work to occupy his time, and in the space time he had picked up smoking to help in his effort to keep warm as he wandered about the cold streets frequenting music shows, plays, movies…whatever he could find on any given night off of work to distract him from his loneliness.

 

He thought over the women he could have loved forever had they let him, the ones in the states before he left for Europe…he knew had he had a successful career they would have stuck around…or so he thought….it infuriated him, and he wanted a women’s love while he was nothing, and no one, the reality that he would accomplish much and accumulate wealth was a mathematical certainty to him, but they must love him in the beginning before he had accomplished anything or else he would despise them forever as oppose to love them. These were his thoughts he thought as he wandered about a foreign country….. a country that his face looked at home in, especially to those from the rural parts of the county where the blood in his veins had once mixed with sweat, and thus the earth. A strange idea to think a man, something like an earlier car model of himself, had once strolled the same streets..had once seen the same cold night sky. This peculiar country that had somehow managed to influence the shaping of his thoughts in-spite of his growing from the milk of another breast that was another country.

 

He was lonely, he was unchallenged…. he was nearly purposeless, and he was near to that wreck of  mankind he had once looked at in disgust during his time as the perfect child the perfect teen.

 

Must I really describe to you the bright white headlights of classically modern cars, the heavy pee coats that the men wore and some to their knees. Glasses, lots of people wore glasses though contacts were still standard in the states. Everybody moved with an air of having something important to do. Have you ever seen a city? Have you ever seen women and men’s breath turn to fog in cold air as they walked into old formal stately buildings that had their own sense of pride against the new sheen of towering erect edifices. Rich people with nice bags and shoes and coats, black sedans cut around the edges like unobtainable sports cars.. though they were merely sedans  with Olympic circles on the front and blinding white lights, taxis with plane propellers on the front. A general European tone of intellectualism, even superiority, though over whom one might ask? A tone that is nothing more than rational cowardice of a people tired of philosophy- tired of old morals and quite content to have no hope since structured social hedonism was much more exciting too fading –to-dead but still wounded Christian consciousness, or possible nothing more than an inherited feeling of bitterness towards something they had actually never experienced for themselves. In any case, it was Germany and the beer tasted good to Julius though smoking was like trying to buy a disease, and Julius noticed enough people with what had been relegated to the look of artists, musicians ect, people with the same tone of rational scientific stagnation but with a deeper full look of despair and a humble openness to others…..little did they know it was the damned arts faults that secretly moved them closer to their creator though they seemed the furthest away to pole lined eyes. Commerce was a creation of man , but the mastery of the earth, not to gain advantage over another but to enjoy and explore and order …well…that is the art of , and ‘the art of’ is something of a Socratic recollection of a world not billions of years away or even an eternity away but some thousands of years ago. Old Socrates gave too much credit to the great mind of his, only a Greek could remember something from another world, even a Greek scientist like Socrates could not control his enthusiasm for the godlikeness he felt within himself!

 

I do love to assault my reader and so if you wish to hear the ending of the story you will have to bare it! Who the hell am I to say such things? I’m your worst fucking nightmare, a loving neighbor perhaps hahahah. Do you mean to ask whether I am psychologically disturbed or depressed or melancholy or any of those shit things that composers of great works are supposed to be ? No I am none of those things that would make you feel better about yourself! I am not boring! If that is what you mean. If you find anybody who has an ounce of passion to be scary or angry or dangerous well then as I said I am your worst fucking nightmare. For I have all of the wrong opinions…a young man with old views…indeed eternal ones and to your horror my zeal for education is something Dominican or Jesuit, and my personal life is something monastic…what horror…what horror there is no hypocrisy to ease your intellectual guilt as you shove a giant beneath the rug! But even if there was it would have no consequence for you, though you would be sure to think it does…but it is impossible for there to be for I am Henrik Vetterer and who is Henrik Vetterer after all! No I am not the giant! I am simply a simple soul who dare acknowledge its plausibility. Oh I am not squeaking clean…no not at all! But I have no interest in appearing such, I will confess my sins to you as if you were the priest ready to wave your wand and absolve me like Christ claimed to be able too. My eyes will look down in sincere embarrassment, but I will not tell you of my secrets for they are for God alone, but my sins are no secret! No I am not boring! Though I may very well have the steadfastness to work right alongside you in your nine to five, hahha, in fact look to your right hahahha, could it be me! Impossible! What horror! But really do not worry I have not secretly been laughing at you, no no! I respect you and your steadfast work, but don’t dare tell me that men who are not boring are insane! You scientific shysters don’t you dare tell me that because my blood runs through my veins without my commanding it that you can explain emotions and rationality and the soul and everything else under the sun because certain parts of the brain can run like my blood without my immediate command, the sacred scientists whose first holy sacrament was the letting of blood, my oh my what illustrious works of genius will the next century reveal the untouchable gods of human engineering have poisoned the people with….but I will tell you…Philosophy! The philosophers became scientists and now the scientists have become philosophers, only a philosopher has the mind power to observe something in the 20th century and mathematically trace its roots to five hundred billions years earlier and continue speaking in terms of observation! But I have decried the philosophers, when really scientists, men in white coats nurtured in growth in dark rooms with bright computer screens, are the ones I wish to spit upon in their intellectual intimidation…I look better in an Audi any way! But don’t you dare tell me that people who are not boring are insane!

 

Ah yes now that I have cleared my throat and loosened up my voice….where was I ?  I was describing Julius’s view of the people of the city. Yes, yes and then I became excited remembering why I wanted to recount this story so badly, because in my crossing Julius’s path I had found a brother! A man who had been king of the club that was the 21st century only to renounce it, only to be still and know there was a God! I had meet a man, a real live man in the 21st century, a century that prided itself in the extermination of men, a century who said in a non-chalant erudite like voice “ mankind is God ! Mankind creates its own truth!” and somewhere in a city a drunken man wandered out from his garbage can and saw the signs and saw the screens declaring man is god! and he mumbled under his breath with a confident smile… an arrogant smile that not even the most powerful man in the world could duplicate, he mumble… “Mankind is God! Mankind creates its own truth! ……ergo….mankind is dead…..”  and the old man laughed to himself.

 

Anyway, I had meet a man a real live man in the 21st century, who said, “I am a man..not masculine like the supposed manly-men and not feminine like the supposed refined men. I am an intellectual not like the angry intellectuals and not like the cool aid drinking masturbating Christians, I am a man and if you don’t like it go fuck yourself…no hard feelings!” Such was Julius when I meet him and he began to tell me his story, and though I doubt he would have used those words at this point in his life… his smile as he looked away from you and your stupidity would have said it all.  Yes Julius embodied the man I had clung to life to see enter into this new century before I left, for I had to know whether or not it was the end of humanity of merely the beginning. Is it not appointed unto men to do good in this world here and now as we look to sky from time to time to see the time.

 

And wasn’t this story about a young women? Yes! Precisely! But being a man I am perhaps biased to linger to long talking of Julius. Jacquelyn! the story is about Jacquelyn not Julius. For just as the strength of man under God had died so also the strength of women under God.

 

Along with the potency of the excitement of pleasure Jacquelyn found her feminine longing for attention to have been awakened on an entirely new level, its strength… the strength of the desire for attention.. for praise and affirmation from all those walking about with nicely cut hair and expensive shirts and well cut jeans, but in truth she was deceived in this allusion too, for the raw yearning for attention, which had always carried her with pleasure through her college years had been mutated into a far uglier and far more powerful monster than ever before, or maybe it had been just as ugly in college but without the concrete and honest display of it, but nonetheless  it had always been in her heart and in her lustful eyes…never quenched with the unending desire for others to lust after her. And now her despair had given her the courage to do what was the only obvious thing to do when one is consumed by one’s beauty and is stupidly flattered by the attention of men…as if the erection of a penis is some great feat!

 

Jac returned with Miriam to the house of thrill-repute. Jac stood in the window; she sat in a chair and read a book in lingerie, not concerned to see who was looking for she felt their eyes. Nothing particularly moral or even Christian irked her conscience so much as the wealth she was raised with, it was in the context of wealth that she thought of her actions as a debasing form of receiving her life blood…her attention, but this thought mattered little for the spirit of the day which called for adventure, it cancelled out any such dread. It was only a moment in her life which she was not responsible for. God had let her down…things had not went as she planned, she followed His conviction the teachings not of her upbringing alone, but also the teachings of His church His supposed book….. His spirit, and she was let down in utter disillusion and darkness! She was good… in the past few nights men had given her kind words as always but in addition even when they thought they were about to have power over her she could see in their eyes faces of worship….a rage of passion a thought on their eyes that bowed before her as if she was unending….. her beauty impossible to obtain….. in complete satisfaction it was the face of the horror of ecstatic worship…..eyes that looked on her as if she was in that moment life itself…eternity itself, and so she stood as her heart always desired to do…waiting for worshipers to come and pay homage to a beauty as essential and powerful as the sun! She was god, the source of life as a women, and the source of death, the power she had over powerful men… she could deny them… toy with them and bring a look of deathly sorrow to their faces, but this was nothing new…she had done this all her life though this was also new in that sex seemed more intimate in relation to her pride. Now that she was in the house of thrill repute, now you see the cancer inside the sweet young women was there long before she had crossed the sea. The moments of her glory were only moments ….the glances of eternity a mere biological clock. Her down time between the next day of accession to the thrown was an unending compounding pounding of surrealism…a thousand thoughts and all at once upon her mind. And the soul, which dies without good, turned dark and fragilely hard like charcoal…like the look of a lung with cancer, as if in an instant it might fall off and disintegrate.

 

And this my reader, my friends, if you are still with me…this is where our story begins! I’ll bet you could guess that Julius, though he was reformed or reforming found his bags packed and found himself drawn to Holland….Holland the mystique of Europe, the most fabled European country of all young person’s journeys and their epic fables. A grand party was Holland, Las Vegas but with class…after all Vegas is not a real place it’s more of a theme park, it stopped being a real place when the mafia and the strip died and the corporation was born.

 

 Holland beckoned but the Maxin’s connections would take him no further then Germany. He had saved a great deal of money and though he pretended not to know what it is he would do in Holland he knew precisely what he would do..Ivan’s feast would be but a boring Friday night instead of the mad bout of debauchery before he ended it all. Julius plotted out his trip preparing every detail so that he could do it as if he had done dry runs. He was paranoid he was precise he wanted to blend in despite his lack of language and knowledgeably.

 

And could you guess that the city he arrived in, indeed the very café he took his first Dutch meal in, had deeply carved words in the wall. That is not how I would have it, though apparently that is how the unfolding of history would have it. And should I have the date we could see together, you and I, how many important world events happened on that day…world events that the unfolding of history lead up to, that had we traced it back together we would supposedly see as the inevitable result of all that had preceded it.

 

It had become a routine for Jac and Miriam to go to the café in the late afternoon in between shifts…so to speak.  Jac sat facing the door; she did not need to look twice to recognize a face she had seen some five years earlier on early morning walks to class. In walked a man who had once been a boy. His eyes were the same, silent straightforward and full with the concerns of the soul. Had she seen him in France she would have had to look two three four of five times, his eyes were not the same when he was in France and the meeting of their eyes on one of those days though they may have recognized one another would have meant nothing to him, and so also nothing to her, for in their relationship it was always his eyes that were the source of the energy…what set him out amongst the other worshipers as somebody perhaps beyond it, though he was never her ideal, though he was every woman’s ideal.

 

Their eyes meet and as unlikely as the events of their own five years would have it, even so their hearts jumped. Her eyes expanded to take in the broader chest and wider shoulders, the full muscular arms the walking posture of confidence the slightly imperfectly combed hair and strategic scruff on his face… the blue eyes of what once was a puppy. Within his glance were the eyes of a wolf, the current state of the soul could not erase the many days lived in a different way.

 

Hugo was now Julius, although long before he took the name Julius on his flight to Europe he had frequented bars and clubs and pubs and every type of place accessible by his lonesome, and when he gave the name Julius there was no friend and no history to cast doubt into his eyes. He had learned to relish his great freedom of going out alone with no sidekicks- with no insecurities…. without extra heads who could not help but have the truth on the tip of their minds…which is nearly worse than lips for then the whole body and spirit wear words rather than getting them over and done with by speaking.

 

He decided to not decide anything, he went to a table and had a seat, she would have to wonder whether or not it was him, though he knew it was her..there was no doubt! Her face had remained the same since the makeup she wore and the way she wore it remained the same, when she was a teen she looked older then her age, the makeup aged her, and now she looked seemingly the same, no doubt she began to wear less and therefore evening out the years the way young women can.  He felt nothing for her, he had meet other girls who turned out to be his true first loves, and the most realized first love he had vanished in the night like a vapor…the last he had seen her face it was smiling and then on his lips and then he taking for granted another day ended it short with a mere peck good night in spite of his youth’s longing for more, and that girl was not this one , this girl…was not Jacquelyn, Jacquelyn who was but an ideal frame of his younger and purest idea of a women and they shared pavement and sunlight and the warmth of that sunlight for a mere ten minutes on a few days in the late summer at the very beginning of their lives within a decade within a century within the history of a nation within the history of mankind within the creation of God, and it was pleasing to the mysterious God, and I know this because I know math and the morals of my soul cannot be seen as the evolving fossil in front of me, I know this because I know blood and pulses run through my brain without my command and yet I am not a piece of sporadic mass…turn a fish into a man or get the fuck out of my life you preachers of sorrow……. you magicians of history turning bones and carbon into the promise of a city decked out before my eyes, and yet my eyes cannot see it, I was not in the beginning and who could say whether the beginning or the end was in the present…. you magicians you sorcerers in lab coats, they walked together beneath the warmth of the sunlight for a few days in the late summer in the beginning of their lives and it was pleasing to God, I do not speak symbolically I do not speak the language of the arts I speak science equal to the esteemed mechanics who are ever confounded by the human body and whose magic is really rather shabby, what is an extra year of dying with cancer from those who have claimed to uncover the foundations of the universe and displayed it as it was within a museum in all the empirical glory and majesty that only science can provide to a young child on a field trip , the great scientists who can make the soul happy or glad with but a pill, so can roger down the street though his lab coat is a black hoody! Really though I do appreciate our scientists so long as they do not pass off bad philosophy as the arduous philosophy that is science, so long as they refrain from turning a beautiful and calm walk of two spirits on a summer day into nothing more than the foreplay of a porn video.  I do not write fantasy I do not take the ugly and make it pretty, and most importantly I do not push drugs and call myself a professional! You do not need an orange plastic bottle to find the ecstasy of my prescription you only need to have lived and to breath and to realize beneath the shabby spirit of this day, beyond the foul air of cowardice and laziness and lack of self control, and thus the lack of personal freedom……. the breath of life can never be taxed or extinguished, you are not alone in your secret breaths, breathe deeply!  And the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living being.

 

Jac had never meet another guy like him, and he appeared before her sharply dressed and strong, a boy who had become the successful man he knew he would become , or so it appeared to Jacquelyn.  The look of his eyes was still wildly light and pure but they had a new edge of a man who sailed the eight oceans or maybe a ninth and tenth sea as well. Julius had learned to where his skin well and to hide his worst fears so that for bouts of time he forgot they existed, though he never forgot this, he was not that type of person. As a boy he would step into the batter’s box at a baseball game and be wholly convinced he would fail and yet he always got the game winning hits, and had anyone told him he would fail he would hate them and be certain of proving them wrong, all the while his mind always lay in the default with its idea of the worst possibility.  People misunderstood this in him as he took to verbalizing these fears in his speech, and that is what they thought of him, they did not know he was only talking what he thought of with no choosing of his own, a thing which happened to be entirely different from what he would do!  That is what Jac had heard from him in their younger days, and lets be clear, people do not age in calendar years alone.  She would hear none of that on this day. In walked her secret dream, for in her secret dream Hugo was not Hugo as he was but as Julius appeared on this day before her, a self-assured accomplished man. Julius was not solely concerned or focused on Jac in-spite of the fate filledness of it all. He could not help reflecting upon the moment his eyes moved off Jacquelyn and onto the women whose back was facing him, her long neck and torso, her thin arms… her petite yet defined chest, for she was clearly tall and the arch of her lower back which ran into an ever so subtle and poignant definition from her thin waist, the wolf had teeth ready to sink  in, it was lust in all its power, maybe I should call it desire the type that would not easily be satisfied… the type that could turn a prodigal son into a penitent one …. that lust could be turned to love…… if there is such a thing, surely this was it. The woman was Miriam.

 

For all I have said of Julius this far I am not sure it would be and is clear to you that Julius was not the type of young man a women, even an old acquaintance would approach, there was always a certain seriousness to him, he took himself very seriously, and other perhaps sensed this about him. Jac said nothing despite her great desire to speak to him, her struckness of this impossible moment…. this low probability moment or should I just simply coin the phrase this ‘evolutionary moment.’ When it came to lost loves of the past Julius was calm and at peace not to mention that a very certain itch had driven the recently reformed man to Holland. It is wholly questionable whether or not Julius would have spoken to Jac had his eyes not found rest upon the other women who was Miriam.

 

“Hello Jacquelyn,” Jac’s face lit up, “If you’re not Jacquelyn Bathenon than I need to see a doctor!” “Oh my gosh! I haven’t seen you in forever! What are the chances!” “I know, it’s crazy.”

 

Both were preemptively un-eager to ask the other why they were there as they both realized the uneasiness with which they would answer that question. “So, at long last Jacquelyn is traveling Europe….on a mission’s trip like you talked about?” Jac looked down, now more aware than ever that Miriam was sitting within their conversation. Julius looked over and smiled at Miriam. “I guess…..not really, I’m just sightseeing!” “Ah, so the two of you are doing the old euro trip huh ?” “Oh no, this is my friend Miriam, she lives here I just meet her not long ago.” Miriam and Julius politely shook hands. “So what are you doing here?” “Sightseeing, took the semester of grad school off.” “nice!” 

 

This conversation was of the rapid fire brand in which constant talk is made in an attempt for the two people to overcome their anxiousness and anxiety brought on by the intensity of their interest.

 

“Have a seat if you want.” Miriam affirmed Jac’s offer. “Thank you, I will.” “So what have you been doing? Finished with school and all of that?” “I just finished grad school and I’ve been working with the media team at school for campus events, and all of that type of thing, sporting events you know.” “Nice, sounds like a fun set-up.” “Yes it’s not too bad.”  So like a typical conversation the two went back and forth and really told each other absolutely nothing, not why or what they were doing in Europe, not anything significant that happened in their lives since the time they were both younger and too inexperienced to have mastered the art of small talk and thus they spoke openly and from one’s heart to another back then. They both looked at each other and saw each other thinking about what they really wanted to ask but did not dare do! “What about you, are you still going to be a politician?” “Nooo, I’ve given that idea up, I’ve come to Europe to clear my mind…. I mean, to think.” “To clear your mind and think, makes sense I guess… new place and all of that.” “Yeah, exactly.”

 

At this point it was obvious that this whole happening was uncomfortable for Miriam, and so Julius beat Jac to it. “So Miriam, are you Dutch then?” “No, I’m from Slovakia.” “Ah wow, so what do you do in Holland?” Miriam looked to Jac and Jac to Miriam, somehow in their exchanged glances they decided they would not mention Jac had been working alongside her, or at least not in what capacity” “I’m a prostitute.” Miriam did not say this with the type of confident self-assured pride she usually said these three words with. She said it almost as if she did not want to but felt she had to. Miriam looked down as she said it, and thus gave Julius’s shocked face time to recover, “well I am sure whatever your price is you’re a great bargain.”

 

He said it in a certain tone that Jac and he could sense was him really saying, “ah I don’t judge you!” Miriam seemed to get this as well , “thank you,” she smiled and looked him right in the eye as she said it, and he looked away. 

 

Topics upon topics where now avoided by all three. Miriam did not want to appear a certain way to Jac’s friend for Jac’s sake, and Jac did not want the truth about her recent episodes to come out, and Julius did not want much of anything about himself to come out. Miriam, who was about to leave before she was politely brought into the conversation, which she was seeking to avoid above all else, now made her exist as she was anxious to do and Jac was anxious for her to do, since Jac saw something providential in her meeting of Hugo, who you know as Julius, her meeting of Julius in the middle of the world when both of them should have logically never been there at that time.

 

“I have to go, it was nice to meet you Julius.” Julius just smiled and looked longingly into her green eyes. He did not want to take his eyes off of her, but he had too since Jac was right next to him.  Jacquelyn Bathenon, who would have thought I would see you hear, unbelievable!” “You know I’ve never forgotten our walks.” “Really! Now that surprises me even more, I mean I was just so star-struck by you then, and being so egotistical and despairingly in love all at once, I took all of your desire to avoid me as an affirmation of your feelings for me, which of course I assumed you were fighting …haahahah.”

 

 Julius truly began to laugh heartily at the end of his recounting. “Oh, I was so young then, I didn’t know what to think! You were so intense I couldn’t be near you I felt… and since I didn’t know how to deal with how you made me feel, I wasn’t sure how you made me feel, other than you made me feel…. I just avoided you. It is so strange hearing me say that, I’ve never really realized it until right now!”  “hahaha, no I don’t blame you, no hard feelings, I was sad, I was so taken with you, and I had never let myself feel that way before. I was a complete wreck!” “I wasn’t ever mean to you.” Jac smiled flirtatiously as she said this.  “I mean, I guess moving to the other side-walk on the other side of the street isn’t mean….hahah” Jac laughed with him. “I didn’t know what to think so I just ran away!” “The funny thing is, is that I hardly know you.” Jac smiled, “you knew me, there really isn’t that much to know,” Jac paused as a thought came to her mind, “well there wasn’t a whole lot to know back then,anyway.” Julius smiled, and said nothing. “You were just a boy then, you’re a man now. I mean you have grown up a lot… you look older.” “You look the same, exactly the same, though I thought you looked old for your age back then, hah.” “ Wow! Thanks! I guess?” “So what would have happened if I said I liked you back then?” “Hah, I imagine we would be married and working at our jobs right now, eager to come home and see each other, make a delicious dinner… drink some wine…. listen to some music… snuggle.. sit on the porch for awhile… cross talk over books…and of course have each other for dessert.” “Hah, every night of the week? We would do this month after month year after year?” “Of course, or at least until we have kids, hahahah.” “It sounds nice, how do you know we wouldn’t get bored?” “Hah, I’m rarely bored, and it’s better to be bored with another person that you love than just yourself. Besides, we would have a record player, it’s absolutely essential to have a record player and old records like Frank Sinatra singing…… of love is here to stay, we would have a small apartment, half an old farmhouse with fields nearby, we would be poor for awhile, but everybody would be jealous of us all the same, every once in while we would break the bank and dress to kill at some expensive restaurant…it would be great.” “Poor? Why would we have to be poor?” Jac loved the little picture Julius painted, especially the part about being poor. “Well, what fun is it to be young and in love and have everything, you can be lazy if you have everything… no creativity, everything means more if you poor, life is more real more powerful, money always brings the allusion of security and along with it boredom and ungratefulness, so even if we did happen to do well, I would insist on living in a small apartment and living on a little, we could start a college fund for our kids or something hahahah.”  Jacquelyn smiled and smiled she could not help but to continue to smile and feel the easiness of the younger days walking beneath the warm sun, talking of the aspirations of youths…dreams.

 

“Well, you know that just because I would have dated you doesn’t mean we would have married.” “hah, you had a hard enough time getting rid of me after a few words, imagine trying to overcome me after a few dates..hahaha.” “Oh my, aren’t we full of ourselves.” “No, no, it’s not that but who wouldn’t give up his life to save it.” “You always did seem to be so resolute, which is why I think you scared me!”  “How do you know that you wouldn’t have hated me, if we got to know each other better?” “Hah, I doubt it.”  Julius found himself quietly glowing, a compulsive smile upon his face at the end of each of his statements.

 

 They both grew quiet. Jac found herself transported to a happy vision of what her life could be. Julius too lost in a frame of mind from his past, in the end, he could only think of all the wasted years she decided to waste for the both of them. Jac too looked back with regret of what could have been, her current off the wall living had for a time been erased from her mind. Julius’s mind never beat around the bush, it always push and shoved its way to ends…to the minds demand for satisfaction. He knew what he would do and what he wouldn’t. After Hugo disappeared from her sight years ago her mind wandered to the thought of him from time to time.  She felt love for him when he was an insecure dreaming boy, and now a new hope was restored within her. He was a more mature version of the pure good boy she couldn’t help but take seriously in spite of his seriousness about everything. 

 

Julius appeared to have it all together, and whether or not he did is irrelevant, because he had confidence he wore his own skin at peace with it, or so it seemed. He always could figure out how to succeed and then enact the self-discipline to embody it. Jacquelyn saw herself being the mature women she always wanted to be, a married lover above other men and their attention, which she both loved and distained, a strong wife full of her own intelligence and supportive of her husbands, a mother  loving and stern and full of smiles. In Jac’s mind it was always about being mature, the idea that one could love and be married and be young and stupid and learn and grow along the way was spat upon by the culture that nurtured her in its own malcontent…… half assed philosophies of the weak….. of the selfish…… of the dying who in their affirmation of living life to the fullest denied it and mistook aesthetic despair for happiness!

 

Hugo had loved her so much back then, after all she was his first love, or experience of the feeling of love, but who makes such distinctions to any avail.

 

It was all clear to Jac, this was why God had been working in her life, she felt bad about her recent little breakdown, what if he should find out what…what if it changed her somehow and now would ruin everything. Maybe she would be punished, she had not had enough patience and faith and now she ruined what was in store for her. Jac made herself wander back to happier thoughts, fearing that her fears would ruin everything. She, the benevolent queen who was never on edge about anything, accept in the dramatic insincere role she played from time to time for her own amusement, she found herself in the passenger’s seat. She had let herself end up there. Jacquelyn had let that side of her win out….. the side that was humble and thoughtful… that was reflective and truly moral…. that was sincere and had the capacity to truly love another human being other then herself, this was the idea within her that she had let conquer her into the magnificent women she was intended to be. The dangerous part was if she loved others with the passion and precision that she was so practiced at in loving herself. Jac’s capacity for love had not changed, it was powerful. She was a powerful woman but in place of her unshakeable selfish self- concerned confidence she found herself in loving others, in another…..Jacquelyn was uncompromisingly vulnerable, that is to say she was accessible and open to other human beings…. human beings who had no conception of love as an ethical exaltation …who had no conception of the soul!

 

“You’re as perfect as ever Jacquelyn, you still have that something I so astutely noticed when we walked together.” “Thank you!” Julius waited for her reply, he had learned that a women’s thank you meant so very much about their soul, so much could be learned in the way a women said thank you!  She had changed, he noticed this distinctly, that half of her, that bipolar all at once attention starved and self-satisfied monster of a beautiful face was nowhere to be found in her  “thank you.” That arrogant smile that she and so many women had given him with their, “thank you” was nowhere to be found. She was the first to teach him of it, and then over the years he saw it again and again, and his eyes would grow disappointed when he saw and heard it, he filled with sorrow at the regret of what could have been and with anger at the stupidity… the raw naivety of such an arrogant smile, his ideal was obliterated again and again, the term women became synonymous with all the worst things in the world, regardless of the possibility he had run into a bad batch of a small sampling, and he found himself in brothels, and bordellos, and every other nice sounding name for places of pain, and in these brothels he recovered his high opinion of women as he again learned to feel guilt towards a thing he no longer considered human, the thing being woman. He was shocked, he thought that in entering these horrible sad and sinful places he would become irredeemable, hateful, and even out right evil, but no! He again saw compassion, honesty of a very certain kind, yes above all he again saw women capable of honesty, and Julius again felt guilt. He had expected Jac to smile with arrogance at his compliment, and he had planned to do what he had so often done with great mischievous satisfaction, he had planned to go off the deep end,  say crazy things and twist her mind about so that she would run away thinking she rejected him, he did this often in the past few years and at times took it to extreme levels in his bitterness, professing love in letters, engraining himself in their cold hearts so that they would never forget him, though he wanted nothing to do with them the instant he saw the smile. He would say, “I know what that smile means” and like robots they would always say. “no you don’t” he would look down and smile in hate perhaps occasionally caring the baggage of past experience with him to the ruin of the present, he would change his personality and begin his routine.

 

He sat across from Jacquelyn, her fair skin, her long blonde hair with its waves near the bottom, her fine strong facial features her blue, yes….and he felt love for her, but the love one feels for a sister…maybe it was nothing more than the very vengefulness of a once hurt ego that always knew it was right, an ego that said, “you had your chance! You wasted years of my life; you ruined the great gift of youth! You cannot have me all this time, on your terms, I am a man! Not your footman!” Yes the ego says ironic and confused things. But in truth Julius had not expected Jac to be the women she was when he decided to walk over to her table to become acquainted with her friend, she had changed and he was caught off guard, and he felt for her.

 

“Jac, I have to go, it was good to see you. Our time has passed, our honeymoon ship into the horizon has sailed without us. I’m sorry but this extraordinary occasion of finding each other in the middle of nowhere cannot be what I know we both hoped at different times it would be. I gave you every opportunity then, I begged you, really I did and I was too young and to pure to be insincere then. I am a different person now. I’m sorry!”

 

Jacquelyn’s face became distorted with pain, she did not even bother to play the game of, “how out of line you are you egotistical prig! What are you going on about.” Jac did not do that, she barely scrapped out an, “I understand! I do!” For all of his great foresight Julius did not see this response, and he wanted to cry, he wanted to cry and hold her and never let her go, and though his self acclaimed great mind tried to understand why he could not stay with her, though he knew he would love her forever as a brother loves his sister, but he was not naive enough to ignore that he knew it could have easily been the love of lifelong companionship, that possibility he would never deny. Julius looked away, and left, he knew as was his custom he would feel it more in a few week!

 

Jac was devastated, God had teased her yet again since she began to try to be a good person, He had planted a hope and the crushed it, annihilated it! She sat at the table trying not to fall out from her chair, she felt weak, she felt nausea, she stayed in her seat quiet for hours all alone, she almost accepted it, she almost resigned to peace and trust and even braver hope, but she could not bear to face her thoughts any longer!

 

A child with the sheen of kingly ideals upon her face, noble, strong, majestic radiance beyond the reach of temptation and paradoxically full of compassion….. give her but a millimeter and she would take the entire generation. But this is not aloud; the children of kings.. the pure of heart they must have their heads bashed upon the streets for it is written the pure of heart may not have happiness upon this earth. For it is written the sins of others must make you a sinner too, and the queen was cut and the sheen upon her face died, she fought for yards and yet the world would not give her a millimeter, and so as it is written the sins of others you too are guilty of pure one, and so she paused and she believed them and their poisonous wisdom that, she too was guilty, that she too was not pure of heart, and so she paused, gave up for but a moment…she was deceived for though she was pure of soul her faith fell to their deceit and she did not continue to fight for the millimeter like the resilient ferocious daughter of a King that she was, it was rather sad she listened to their poisonous words and the hidden side of their words… for along with their chants that it is written that she too was guilty for the sins of others, they whispered it is unfair that you should not get but a millimeter when you fight for yards with a pure heart and unshaking vision on the good. She was paralyzed by the poison,  and though she would rise in the morning determined to fight once again with the faith and assurance of a righteous-eyed queen….. the millimeter would not give, and the taste of the poison lingered within her mouth….. it infected her noble blood, and she lay paralyzed again and again, but the ideal did not leave her heart and she found her faith once again, but the temptation had infected her and she craved the poison though she also hated it, and the faith of her once pure heart was not strong enough…she needed a stronger faith so that she could in the least begin to fight for a millimeter once again, she prayed as she was taught in the King’s court, but it made no difference, again and again she would arise with her soul’s eyes set upon the pure and good ideal, and again and again she would drink the poison. Christ was the queen’s God and the Jew rejected as a fraud by His own people was found to be no magician by the queen, and again and again she would arise resolved toward victory and on past the millimeter, and again and again her prayers would succumb to the poison. And there was in my village a quiet noble faced old women and she told me this story, and she told it in an odd way, for unlike most who feel they have a story to tell she told it with a tone of little concern, though at times she was enthusiastic on certain points she often seemed like she really didn’t have a great care in telling though she also wanted to and knew she must. I looked at the pictures on her mantle… picture of happiness pictures of love, and I noticed a painting upon the wall, it was the picture of a blind man… his body was naked and strong, sculpted in the Greek form, and he was on his knees, except for the blank stare of his blind eyes his body was the Greek masculine perfection of a warrior, and he was on his knees as if he were praying…. he had a black string with a cross hanging upon his neck, and his one hand had the necklace in his grip pulled out from his body, and the other hand had its fingers dug deep into the dirt, and his mouth was open and he was screaming bloody murder. The painting was unforgettable! It seized one’s eyes and never let them go! The woman seemed to have finished her story and I was confused because it did not seem to have a conclusion. I asked her if she had finished her story and she smiled, and I noticed the cross upon her neck was like the one in the painting upon her wall, “Christ is not a magician, but the truth of His Spirit is powerful.” I smiled politely folded my check and put it into my pocket and thanked her for the coffee, it was cold outside, and fixing a roof in the middle of winter on a cold day makes the simple offer of cookies and coffee an impossibly wonderful and unexpected simple treat.

 

Julius waited outside the café, he followed Jacquelyn to the house of thrill-repute and he saw whom he wanted to see in the window. Julius had no concern of what Jac was doing there; he assumed she was on some type of missions outreach to the girls who worked there.  Julius slid into the building; Miriam came down and meet who she found to be Julius. Miriam was taken a-back and unsure of what he could want. Julius didn’t crack a smile. Miriam just looked at him waiting to see what he had to say.

 

“I’ll pay the rate for an hour for us to go get some food, or a drink.” “What?” “You’re working, but I want to ask you some things, sooooo?” “Oh my gosh, no! no! Its fine! Not much happens for a few hours anyway.” “Is Jac outside? Do you guys just want to go back to my place?” “No, Jac’s here. But that’s fine! Just me and you can go back to your place, I think that would be best.”

 

So Miriam and Julius made the rather long hike to Miriam’s apartment. Julius explained how he knew Jacquelyn, though not mentioning the event that had just transpired. Miriam listened attentively to the description of their college days, and the very words he used, and the way he carried himself, and she decided not to say anything about Jac’s involvement in the business those past few days. Miriam told Julius about herself… about her childhood and how she came to Holland. She told her very candid and heartfelt version of her story under the assumption of Julius and Jac’s relationship and the fear of Jac telling Julius anyway and thus Miriam appearing a liar. Usually Miriam skipped the sad details and made things look happy and free from bad circumstances. Julius told Miriam about his trip and what he intended to do in the states for a career, and all of that type of thing.

 

Julius looked around Miriam’s apartment noticing her paintings. “Did you do these?” “Yes.” “Their incredible!” “Thank you!” “You are so gifted…so skilled, to think this talent is hidden from the world in your apartment…it’s sad but also a sinister thought….. You’re so talented! They take you captive the way the greats do!” “Thank you!!” Miriam nearly, and tried not to, blush in humility with both of her “thank yous!”  Julius smiled and for the first time broke his serious mood.

 

“So what did you want to talk about?” “Tell me something Miriam, do you think people can still be happy and in a true marriage? You’ve experienced life and meet people from all over the world, what do you think?” Miriam seemed to think Julius and Jac were dating or lovers or something, because Jacquelyn did not have the time to explain and so Miriam had to put all of this together, including Julius coming to her apartment without Jac….Miriam answered honestly under this assumption. “I think marriage is the best thing, but! People are toooo selfish for the best thing. People can rarely love another as much as themselves, but if both seek the others happiness…and there is that mystical connection in the first place, or even noting more than attraction… it can be the greatest gift of life!” Julius smiled and looked at Miriam in a way that confused her and made her uncomfortable. When Miriam gave Julius a look at the café she was being impulsive, she had time to run through it in her mind, and she was not the type of girl to betray her friend, since she began to assume that Julius was definitely with Jac….she got the impression as she talked with him on the way to her apartment, and the way he first said he had a question and did not want Jac to be around seemed to point to this. Miriam thought that maybe Jac was cheating on him, in some craze or who knows.

 

 “I’m not with Jac, I never was…we were young friends once in love I suppose, but we never even kissed…it ended before it began, or…. it never began and never ended we just thought of each other from a distance, but that was a long time ago!” “ Oh!, I wasn’t sure.” Miriam smiled. “Miriam, would you marry me?” Julius cracked a very confident smile.  “What?”  Miriam smiled as if they were flirting. “Will you marry me…..be my wife! Share life with me! From this moment forward until we die!” Miriam just looked at him like, “what is the joke?” “I’m serious!” Miriam turned away from him, lit a cigarette and started laughing. “You want the milk for free? Hahhhahah your not even going to tell me your rich haaha!” “I’m not rich I’m not even established at all! And I want a companion not just a sex partner!” “You’re so serious.”

 

Julius sat down across from her took one of her cigarettes and took a lean, “I’m entirely serious!” He looked her in her green eyes trying not to drop his eyes below and all over her equally magnificent form.

 

“You’re crazy!” Miriam locked his glance. “Either that, or a genius.”  “And did you think I would say yes?” “Nope!” “Then why did you ask?” “I want you to say yes and there is no chance of that If I don’t ask!”

 

Their eyes remained locked this entire exchange. Miriam let into a solitary laugh, she looked down.. put out her cigarette and then looked back up, “Okay, I will”  “Seriously ?” “Yes! Till death do us part?” “Till death do us part!” For the first time his eyes fell off her eyes and onto her body, and he looked back to her eyes and they kissed…. he undressed her…… Some hours later Miriam got up and looked in his wallet which she pulled out of his back-pocket from his pants that were lying on the floor. Julius lay and watched her do this. Miriam opened it up and dumped it upside down, nothing came out, “You wanted a free bang! You Bastard!” 

 

Julius laughed the laugh of what sounded like pure evil to Miriam. He got up, he picked up his pants and put them on, he put on his shirt and his jacket, and then he pulled out of his inner jacket pocket a money clip. He laughed again, “you think we can dig up a priest with this cash at this hour?” He kissed her, “come on, get dressed, let’s go.” She smiled looked up at him and shook her head, “okay one minute!”

 

They did manage to find a priest that night, the priest’s wife served as a witness. Julius left it up to Miriam where they would live. Miriam having no family thought they should be near his in America. They had their honey moon at Julius’s hotel with the rest of his cash from Germany. They went to the embassy and made things official, when they finally got back in the states Miriam worked at a clothing store and Julius waited tables while they finished their degrees and looked for career jobs. They lived in a small apartment on a small amount of money with beautiful paintings and music from a record player adorning the petite apartment, and they began the daily grind of monotonous happiness! My grandparents loved each other for sixty faithful years unto death!

 

Jacquelyn endured her pain and the poison that crippled her.  She began to date and married a Spaniard who played professional soccer. She meet him at the brothel, she never called her parents for money…. she never changed anything since the day Julius left her in the café. She continued quietly and powerless in the routine she had found herself in. She in faith fought for yards and could not get a millimeter, she prayed and was teased and lay broken.  The Spaniard cheated on her… was perverse with her and sporadically treated her like trash. She loved him, and remained faithful to him and prayed for him. In-spite of all the events and let downs, Jac never quit praying since the day she left the States.

 

 On a soccer trip his plane had to make an emergency landing due to engine trouble, this happened about five years into their marriage. He return home and cried on her shoulder begging her for forgiveness and loved her dearly and faithfully for the rest of his life. Jacquelyn and he started an orphanage for children from Eastern Europe; initially it was an all-girl’s campus. As far as I know Jac never saw Miriam nor Julius since that night in Holland, but she found herself in relation to God even though for a time she thought she had failed God or been failed by God or both! Jac youthful beauty faded as it does with time but in Europe she found her self because she found it in relation to God….. because she found God .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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