This week: Lawyers/inheritance/early morning visit/.38/instinct

A notification arrived from another of the unknown sons of my deceased uncle threatening to proceed legally against my mother if she did not hand over the total of the money that is “rightfully” his. The basic problem at hand is that no money is rightfully his since my uncle actually owed my parents, and many others, substantial sums of money. My mother went once again into minor panic and then into denial, choosing to ignore yet another threat by the apparent endless progeny of the deceased man. It also has to do with lawyers. They will throw anything at you just to see if something sticks. We called Ricardo and he wrote up something that addressed the pertinent problems and explained the situation. I said I’d deliver it.

Their house, which is at the beginning of the not so nice part of town, uphill, is large. I got there at 06:50 which is the right time to get people while they’re still unprepared for trouble but already starting to get up or at least thinking about it; besides, you get to know a lot about them by what they’re doing at that time.

His mother was already up; he was still in bed and had to be called down, they have a large dog that liked me, I sat in their living room and drank a glass of Coke that was offered. We talked and agreed to arrange a meeting in the course of the week to further talk it out, this time with their lawyers and both my parents present.

The meeting was held yesterday, our strategy ruined by my mother accusing them in unkind terms of being conniving money grabbing parasites that should instead try working for a living; but all in all it was positive since we managed to reach the beginning of an agreement with their lawyers as to how we will proceed.

Strange thing: just before leaving my apartment I thought of taking a piece. Took the snubnose SP101 .38 out, checked it, loaded the barrel, put it inside its holster, but finally decided to leave it behind. Instinct is trying to tell me something.

Not a petty challenge for me.

I’ve been away from The Aradic Sismic, profligating, climbing, reading, meeting up with people, short travelling, watching movies and, it now seems important, going to the gym.

Writing and learning to write properly is an activity that requires time, patience, introspection, dedication and responsibility towards one’s admitted goals. To become a better writer, it has widely been affirmed, one must dedicate time to the activity itself in sufficient amount as to bring forth an evolution of the writer within into someone producing material worth reading.  This has not been easy since one cannot “do things” and write about them at the same time.

In lieu  of potential quality or written worthiness, I will have to adopt a more informal approach to what is consigned in The Aradic Sismic, opting instead to convert it into a “journal” of sorts were information is to be deposited for future reference. The future, I trust, will benevolently permit the time to sit down and learn the writing craft in a proper manner. For now, the priority is the consignation of “material”, the minutia of everyday occurrence.  The minute documentation of a minute life which is in itself not a petty challenge for me.

Clemence Smiled.

The dramatics of final farewells no longer hold uncertainty.  What should not be said is left unsaid, what needs to be done is done, actions linger more than words and awkwardness is avoided.  The feeling is not pleasant but there is a sense of liberation as well as comfort when I get back from the airport, turn the key,  go in, put some music on, and sit on the sofa; satisfied  that my apartment is once again my own.

This time there was something different, and it had to do with conversations I had with Clemence.  In a sense, they were not conversations; it was one long conversation with different chapters and acts interrupted by walks, eating, sleeping, sex, motorcycle rides and movie watching but always returning to itself and continuing. Sometimes with better insight, sometimes with  exasperation.

Her words have stayed. I found them when I came back and felt the weight of unanswered questions.   We knew we would not have much time together.  We knew we had to drive everything hard into the ground and burn it all up. Crash it. Break it.  So that is what we did.

Clemence was different. I am still in touch with Barbora, as well as with Ilse, even if it is  in an odd “so, are you still alive?” sort of way, and of course with Helena we have a promise that will be kept.  With Clemence no postcards will be sent, no Facebook searches or invites to be carried out, no polite happy birthdays needed or expected. She is gone.

She was not fast, nor slow; her mind moved like that of older women I’ve known, with the unavoidable weight of unadorned certainty.  When she made a comment she did not expect approval or dissent, she expected an answer on which to build and move forward.   Sometimes it got too intense, so we would have sex to shut each other up and stop having to think. it was good sex.

She smoked.  She did so calmly or nervously, depending on her mood, always apologetically like most young smokers do now; not having known a time when smoking was not frowned upon.   Clemence, smoking in bed, said to me, “you have sex to avoid forming an emotional bond with women, you treat your body and ours as objects”.

I let her smoke in bed because I can remember how good it felt, and because it was like if we were a couple in an old movie.  I let her inhale and then said, “yes, I treat bodies as objects, however precious, that’s what they are, but apart from being afraid of emotional bonding I like sex because it feels good”.   “You’re a sex addict”. “Do you think so?”. “I am sure”.

The words linger and the question of the part sex plays in my life remains.  I do not agree with Clemence.  I do not use sex to avoid emotional bonds with women, if I did that, I wouldn’t write or think about them. I like women. I enjoy being with them and getting to know them, and after having sex I discover great things.  I learn about their lives and past, their families and past loves, their heartbreaks and of their courage and victories.   I admire women.  Having sex with them is the one true way I have found to express this to them.

Have I lied, cajoled, tricked and gone out of my way to get a woman into bed? Yes, or course. Unless one is in love, and unless that love is reciprocated, I know of no other way to go do it.   Do I regret this? No.  Has it been consensual? Yes. Has it been the result of responsible and informed mutual consent with prior agreement of stipulated limitations and expectations in a rational adult way? No.   Am I an emotionally immature selfish asshole unwilling to compromise beyond my limited capacity for empathy and sharing? Probably, but I try to be self conscious of this and not let it get out of hand.

I told Clemence that I had a blog.  This blog. The Aradic Sismic.  That the header had a painting of a woman that was smoking.  “Ah. It is destiny maybe then? Destiny knew we would meet. That is nice. What do you write about on this blog?”   “Thoughts and pieces of my life I don’t want to forget”.

I told her that it had surprised me to find the amount of bloggers who were writers in different stages of development, all learning and writing, developing what they call “their craft”.   I told her of a blogger called Matt Williams who wrote interesting stuff and had commented once that I could write about the things that have happened in my life, and how, some days ago I commented on a post of his declaring that since I was not a writer myself my opinion should be taken as that of a layman, but that from that day on the idea of learning to write in a more methodical manner had began to grow in me.

“So you want to become a writer?”

“Yes.”

“It’s very hard to be a good one.”

“I don’t think I really want to be a good one, I suspect that takes talent I don’t have, I just want to be a real one, whatever that means”.

“Then you will need to make sacrifices and commitments, yes?”

“Yes.”

“And you may need a strong woman too.”

“I like strong women.”

“In English?”

“Probably in Spanish, I don’t trust my English to do what I want.”

“I wish you luck. If I ever see a book with your name as author, I will buy it, I promise”.

“Ok.”, I smiled.  Clemence can barely speak Spanish.

“Let’s watch a movie”.

“Which one?”

“Hanna. I like her. She’s brave.”

“I like you. You’re brave.”

She smiled.

On riding through the continent and things that happen.

Came back after having left you guys somewhere in Chile. Something has changed. Maybe you’re loosing your narrative edge, maybe the pictures are starting to resemble hundreds of others taken before, maybe this travel log has grown too long and you need to stop posting. Maybe you’ve lost your wanderlust and are just going through the motions because the agenda has been set, I don’t know and never will; the images no longer surprise or inspire and the words come through but are stiff, burdened by the condescending tone so often found in upper middle class Americans. Maybe it’s time to just go back and start working on building a home of your own, bike traveling having fulfilled its purpose, or maybe, it’s time to put away the camera, trust your eyes and memory without the need to photograph, live the road without the need to document, just you two discovering yourselves, just you two and what the road may bring. Remember, the road can nurture or destroy that which we carry within us as we ride through those long unending hours into strange lands that will be forgotten. Hardship is out there to challenge you, but also hope and redemption from within, and sometimes, on lost and lonely roads, you’ll still find the old and jaded motorbike travelers who never returned, it’s always good to meet them. Thank you for letting me tag along, I’m off now. God bless and goodbye.

Pale lager, pulled pork,a family lunch, thoughts on Barbora and Clemence

It’s Sunday and we had pulled pork and coleslaw with the family.   It had been a long time since I’d had beer with lunch, having opted most of the time for wine.   Sun all around.   It was good and we felt it that way.  Clemence has left and Barbora won’t come back.  I’ve been thinking about her lately, her smooth strong temper, the expression in her eyes when she wanted us to make love, the terrible blondness of her yellow hair entwined through my fingers.   The first times, in the amber light of my bedroom, I got flashbacks of Ilse and had to avoid saying her name.   Any way, Clemence will be back in a week or ten days, I am intrigued by that flash of madness that crosses her green eyes for a second or two when we speak. I can almost guess how she’ll be, her moves, her hair, her parting lips… but I can never be sure.   I will have to wait and see.

A new lover. Friendship forsaken. Back to the rock.

Update on the life for personal posterity.

A sense of vanity seems to pervade the minute documentation of minute lives such as the one presented here before you; day to day routines in search of some higher form of existence, an entrance into the life of the man that should be instead of the man that is.  Not a higher self in an altruistic sense, but a more efficient self.  At this stage, there is no longer pretense of virtue or redemption through the approval of peers, there is instinct, there is belief.  One foot moves forward, the other one then moves in front, one step, two steps, the road is walked upon, a day at a time, yes, that’s how it’s done.

There’s a new lover. Claudia.  She’s too young for me and never stops, always trying to move to the next part or thing, always trying to escape unto the next page or song, afraid of growing old if she starts taking it slower, afraid of missing whatever it is that must not be missed.   I pin her down, arms held at her side, keep it long and slow, deep, strong, grinding; she opens her eyes and there’s submission in them, almost devotion as she parts her lips and holds my gaze.  After, in between, or when we’re getting dressed, she asks questions, she wants to know who I am, she wants to hear about my past, she wants to find a door through which she can step in and learn how to love someone like me.  But she can’t; only Erika found that door, and as far as I know, she kept the key.

There’s also a new enemy. The name will not be written down.  We had been associates and it has to do with money and respect. Unpaid debts, broken trust and disloyalty.  Money, will come and go, it was not the issue of importance at hand.  They all know that, approached in the correct manner, I will always consider a renegotiation of terms to save a friendship, but he made me call  him and search him out after he missed the deadline.  Made me send someone to talk to him.  He tried to keep low, out of sight, thinking I’d let it pass, but even feeling his despair I could not let it pass, not after he had failed to be a man about it.   I listened to the excuses, weighed them all silently, remained unchanged, and then set new dates. His word was accepted, and so was his apology, but the eyes betrayed him and I felt his fear and hate blaming me for his mistakes.  Time will now have to pass, in due time, long after the money is counted and forgotten, he will be made to pay for his disrespect.

The rainy season is over which means its back to the mountains, back to the rock. Yesterday I went to them, placed my hands on the wall, leaned forward and pressed my face against the rock.  I closed my eyes and smiled, it feels good to climb again.

Eeva

Finnish. Dark long black hair, very white and pale smooth skin, strong blue eyes,  lips that parted slightly when she was listening and would move silently when she wanted to interrupt.   Dressed in black.   We talked about Latin American politics, sociocultural paradigms, the new left, the old left, the new right, postmodernism and motorcycles.

Then, the afternoon was over, her taxi showed up on time and she was gone.  Attempts at holding on would’ve been unworthy of the moment.

This Song.

Why this song?

Because her voice is impossibly intense. Because she seems mad, crazy, passionate and dangerous, because she sounds like she’ll tear me to pieces, because I know the more she’d love me the more she’d hurt me.  Because I want to hurt and be hurt, because I’ve seen and heard too much and only feel alive when emotions are too intense and strong to bear.  Because I know jealousy can be sick and insane, because I looked into her eyes when she aimed and took the shot. I remember, really I do, the way the bullet felt, the way it tore something inside me and how the blood was suddenly all over everything and me thinking that it didn’t hurt as much as I had thought it would, and I remember her crying and trying to aim at me again to take another shot. I smiled and just took the gun away, gently, softly, I hugged her then and the door crashed and the police hit me hard, too hard and I was suddenly of my feet and then on the ground.  I don’t think he even saw the gun in my hand until I was on the floor.  I wasn’t fighting back but I was getting hit, held down, getting hit and thinking how that morning I had vacuumed the carpet as my head was now being crushed into it, and I felt I loved her because this was life, on the brink of death, and I loved for having had the guts to pull the trigger on me even if it had been for the wrong reason.  The parameds rushed in, turned me over, started cutting away my shirt, A- ok, B-ok, C- not ok, putting the collar on me, looking into my eyes, asking questions, getting my vitals, I loved them, I loved their detached competence, they knew I wasn’t going to die, I felt sad, better men than me were dying lonely deaths somewhere, I kept trying to smile, they wouldn’t let me get up.     The drama, the waste and all the while I admired and loved her more for pulling that trigger.

Reading This:

Quote: How do we re-create the emotional truth of an experience, and what leeway does the writer have?

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-ca-david-ulin-20120219,0,1862704.story

Quote: D’Agata’s response, when he heard Fingal’s question? “It’s called art, dickhead.”

http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/books/2012/02/the_lifespan_of_a_fact_essayist_john_d_agata_defends_his_right_to_fudge_the_truth_.single.html