Regina

Regina has deep green eyes and soft brown hair. There was a pause,  a comfortable pause, we both knew what would follow and had to let it build up a little for it to be true. Then she spoke.

        – I’m going to come back.

        – Good for you.

        – You don’t believe me?

        – Sure I do.

        – Thank you.

        – For what?

       –  For helping me.

        – Okay.

        – When I come back I want to buy you a drink.

        – That won’t be necessary.

        – Then let’s go for coffee.

        – Right.

        – I mean it.

       –  I know you do.

        – So? Maybe you can give me your number or something? I don’t think they’ll let me have it if I ask…

        – I think we’re done now.

        – No number?

        – No number.

        – Good bye?

        – Good bye.

She’s 18, got into trouble here and needed repatriation to Germany. I was asked to evaluate her and write up the report for the insurance company. The situation was complicated and required tact and care— she wasn’t easy. All through our first conversation Regina was trying to figure me out, calibrating me, testing me; wanting to know what I wanted to hear, who she needed to be for me to like her. I relaxed and listened; asked a couple of questions, let her do the steering, let her take me for the ride, let her show me how smart she was.  She’s smart, very smart. Knows men and knows how to handle them.

 Last year she spent six months in Spain, living with a boyfriend next to the beach. That boyfriend was 56 years-old. That’s a 38 year age gap.  She smiled, she cajoled, she cried and finally, she was brilliant—just to let me enjoy her cleverness. We talked about violin music and violin players; I had to play catch up but she’d always slowed down if I fell to far back. I knew what she wanted— if, the insurance company could establish she’d knowingly lied to them, it was over, she’d get a tough deal, and would have to pay for all expenses incurred. She needed a break and I let her have it; the Germans would come and pull her out sometime after midnight, I signed the papers. I got a telephone call from a man in Germany; he was brief, I was brief—we both appreciated each other’s brevity.

Maybe she did figure me out.

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The dark of the sun, insomnia and Kelly’s arrival…

 

Didn’t sleep last night. Tossing . Turning.

Kelly and her boyfriend came in. They had been dumped on the curb by the friendly taxi driver after he failed to find the address. Kelly stayed and guarded the luggage while Kevin walked the streets until he found the right door and then just started ringing the doorbell nervously.  I went down, swung it open, and when I saw him immediately knew who it was before he introduced himself.

We walked the two blocks in the cold and back, carrying the heavy luggage, trying to make small talk and not appear out of breath. I installed them a bit brusquely into their bedroom, told them we’d talk today and went back to bed.

Couldn’t go back to sleep, which is very unusual for me, turned the TV on and mindlessly zapped through the whole tirade a couple of times until I came across a film that looked convincingly old but not campy, it had this blonde guy, a mercenary, being offered a job.   It was set in Africa, which reminded me of a friend’s husband who, after knowing them years with me thinking he was some type of traveling salesman,  one drunk night made me privy to what he did for a living, basically “either enforced or protected specific interests through the professional use of military knowledge and experience”.    Anyway, the movie is called Dark of the Sun, and I do think it was good, in a Wild Geese sort of way.   I then turned the TV off and lay there in the dark looking at the ceiling thinking of Ilse. Yvette Mimieux had me thinking of her al throughout the fighting.  Some sadness, no regrets.

 

The Dark of the Sun

Emily

American as in United Statean. Blond.  Pretty eyes and deceptively sweet smile.

Activist.

Very strong ideals.

Ecologocically outraged at the current state of affairs.

She announces, “I’m a Scorpio”.

“I see, so, what are you doing so far away from home?”

“They told me this place has some very radical movements”.

“They told you wrong. Where are you staying?”

“I don’t know yet.”

“Come stay at my place.”

Pause.

She looks at me and doesn’t say anything.

“So?”

“Okay, but I have a boyfriend back home.”

“I’m glad, but, what’s that got to do with anything?”

She smiles and shakes her head.

I pick up her suitcase.

I can almost feel the trouble right under the surface, pushing her and pulling me.  Life takes a turn just when I started reading Dante, who’d have guessed.

On reading the Divine Comedy

A few days ago I finished reading Seven Nights by Borges which as you know is a set of seven lectures given by him in a very casual tone, for Borges that is, to an unspecified audience.

As you may also know, the first lecture is the one that verses on his impressions of the Divine Comedy by Dante and inn which Borge’s prompts all readers to enjoy this classic which can be safely called a masterpiece.    So, I began reading it yesterday and am  surprised by how much I feel to be enjoying it so far.

I’m reading it both in English and Spanish (hardcovers) and might try to look up the Italian version (PDF) today to better appreciate the prose. My first impressions are related to the intense thrill of the archetypical density found in almost every passage, a thrill which at present I cannot yet write about.

She forgot her shoes.

Okay. So Ilse has gone off to travel the world again.   Fiji, Australia, probably Indonesia, with plans to be back in Leipzig for Christmas.  She’s gone.  This has been the backdrop for the past week, with conversations about books, songs and movies, slow casual lovemaking, wine drinking,  dining out, morning walks, long motorcycle rides and once in a while, like an explosion out of nowhere, fast, furious almost violent sex.  Stupid arguments also, at least once a day, making up, both of us trying to be better humans to each other than we really are.

It was a sad goodbye.   She cried a little and held onto my hand.  She asked if I’d meet her in Leipzig. I said I would not. She asked if I’d go to bed with other women now that she was going to be gone. I answered that I did not know but it was a probability.  She told me I was an asshole.  I agreed but told her I wasn’t the one leaving.  She shook her head and frowned, exasperated at me one final time. I smiled, she did not. One last hug.  A final goodbye kiss.

When I went back home I found her favorite pair of shoes abandoned, in our bedroom, forgotten, looking very lonely there without the rest of her stuff, just laying there next to each other, probably not understanding why she’d forgotten them.    I picked them up and sat on the bed, one in each hand.  The night feels large and empty now.

Christmas in Leipzig. I’ll have to think about that one.

 

John of Patmos – The author of the Apocalypse.

This man´s story would make a great story for a book.  Fascinating.

“In retrospect, we can see that he stood on the cusp of an enormous change. This movement, which attracted few Jews within two to three generations after the death of Jesus, was attracting floods of gentiles all over the empire, particularly in those other provinces. And these other people would flood the movement and create, in effect, a new religion. We now know that John would have been distressed to know that leaders of this movement would posthumously adopt him as a Christian himself, and put his book in what they then called the New Testament.”

In the Questions section:

“…they vindicate the old revolutionary slogan, the worse the better, as if the more chaos, suffering, disease and so on, well, it may seem bad, but it’s just the necessary last step before eternal bliss. Rather that combatting it let’s just hurry it along, have this great orgasm of destruction followed by an eternal peace. And as part of this divinely unfolding plan, leading to eternal happiness, there’s going to be an enormous amount of deaths of evil people, also a necessary step for the coming Utopia. “