Monday, February 25, 2008

The Girl, The Woman, and The Man

When the girl was first treated like a woman it alarmed her, but she took it as a necessary rite of passage that could only take place with the compliance of the man. She only felt like a woman in relation to the man. When she was not with the man she felt like a girl again. This change in feeling came so naturally that for quite awhile it was imperceptible to her. It's hard to say what being a woman felt like to her, as opposed to being a girl. It wasn't just the loss of innocence that made her feel like a woman with the man, perhaps because she never lost her innocence for good. She was perpetually losing her innocence with the man, or rather, she was always discovering that she knew more than she thought she did. So then she realized that it was not innocence, but ignorance.

The girl started to suffer because she believed ignorance to be more blameworthy than innocence. She started to use the man as an antidote. The man didn't seem to mind. Regret always comes too late. She sought him out with the urgency of one distressed.

But when the man was not with her, she reverted back to her old world. She somehow merged back with its familiarity, and remained cocooned there until the man coaxed her out again as a woman. But after her encounters with the man, there was always the inevitable retreat.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Silence: his and mine. Our bodies lie side by side.

The sound of waves. Laughter from some distant party. The cloak of night conceals his features.

There is movement. He is mindlessly tracing something in the sand.

Out of boredom his hands begin to fascinate me. I hold his hand in mine, turn it over, squint at it in the dark, trying to determine the intersecting lines of destiny engraved in his palm. It doesn't occur to me that he will take this to mean something. Later, he insists that my interest in his hands is a sign of my attraction towards him. Later still, he tells me that my interest in his hands was a sign of my yearning to be possessed by him. What is for me, the innocence of touch explodes in his eyes as uncontainable lust. He has a habit of telling me what my desires are. He does so urgently, telling me what I want with conviction and force, and such utter persuasion that in order to thwart off my imminent surrender I either resort to flight or insults. He suffers from impatience, restlessness, recklessness. It makes him audacious and insistent, and sometimes a downright bastard.

Once, I tell him what he is with overwhelming sincerity. I march into his apartment with uncustomary determination. I tell him he's arrogant, egotistical, selfish - derogatory adjectives that I supplement with generic expletives like "asshole" and "fuck you". It doesn't last long. I'm a failure at tirades. When I'm left rummaging for more insults he raises his eyebrow, laughs and tells me that is exactly what he is. Then he turns his back to me, faces a half-finished canvas and starts working. I stare at his back, the way his muscles move as he paints, the image being born...He's not working for the image. He's painting to avoid me.

It's quite awhile before he steps away, and turns back again. He looks surprised to see me still standing there. I don't know why I stayed, didn't really realize I was still there till he looked at me and I started into my own presence.

I blink, the room suddenly seems too bright. After awhile he says he's glad I'm still there. I half hate him for saying that.

"I've destroyed it", he says, glancing towards the canvas. He fills a glass with whiskey and downs it in one shot. He fills it again and asks me if I want any.

He scoffs when I tell him I don't drink. He says incredulously: "How can you not? How do you manage to write?" He says this with the unflinching complacency of an artist acquainted with suffering, an artist who believes in its necessity, and who believes that drinking is the fundamental mechanism of expression. He says he always needs to drink when he paints. I tell him his drinking is just a gesture of despair. Evidence of suffering that makes him function as an artist. Suffering is his artistic identity. Without the belief that he is suffering, his whole artistic world would shatter. This makes him sullen.

He looks at me intently, with the gravity of silence, and says: "Well how do you do it then? Write..."

"I hardly write. Even when I write it's never much. I might as well not have written." I say with a shrug, and deposit myself in the chair by his desk. He keeps on looking at me as I swivel from side to side. Then he sighs and shakes his head. "Don't move so much," he says as he turns towards his canvas, "I'm going to try and capture you".