A man of conscience
And it begs the impossibly mind bending question, am I doing it because I want to do it or am I doing it to prove a point to myself. etc. And so on, et al.
I remember my graduation ceremony well, it was my family’s proudest day. We were the generation on straddling the time when university was still an achievement. Proud as Punch: P.A.P.
Years later I’d look back with a sense of alienation at photos of my long hair and apathetic squint.
This person I do not know, yet we’ve lived each other, through and through.
You remember this time now, but will you think about it
when there are only seconds left?
A conscious man is not a man of conscience.
I learned this the hard way in Istanbul, this lesson was tough. Groundhog class.
Everything comes in three.
That particular end of the week was quieter than he could remember in months. Jacob noticed the pacific December air as soon as he left the apartment on his way to a record shop, where in the stillness of a Sunday there was life in the city yet.
He’d made the acquaintance of a woman who he’d imagined he’d only ever read about and never meet, a Gertrude Stein type. Jacob was the traveler who became a regular and then the status of a regular became something more, with Julie. She’d told him that Hawtin was in town and was putting on a show at her Shop and that he was invited, he was one of the first to know.
As Jacob marched towards the Heart of Montmartre, Paris was a narrow, white sepulture. In the wake of violence the police patrolled the streets like lovers in arms.
The first time Jacob had met Salome she was a young girl. She’d let a room from him on her travels through Sydney, She was traveling with a friend and the two stayed with Jacob for a month. They’d taken an add for a single room and the first time they’d met, the two girls mistook his Australian hospitality for lecherousness. Between teaching him about petty theft and blue cheese, the girls taught Jacob about their home. And such are the wonders of Paris.
That night, the first since they’d been together, there was no premier screening. Charline Dupont lay in her bed, carelessly not-reading a book waiting for her boyfriend to come and join her. He was late.
A shared love of cinema had become their ritual end to the night. The only rule: neither mustn’t have seen the film before. It was his job to pick the movie before starting the process of rejection, there wasn’t a movie she hadn’t seen and she never missed a new release no matter her schedule at the shop. Eventually they would find a title.
Routine is the sibling of boredom, and the ancestor of contempt, and forgiveness can be given where permission can not. Tomorrow he would leave, there would be no encore. His peregrination had come to an end, punctuated by the irrevocable fact that their relationship had been damaged. Foolish mistakes had driven a stake between them and pride now kept them apart. Right through to the end, their relationship had followed script of a B-grade romance — immoderate joy coupled with tacky and predictable mistakes. Like something they would have watched, and laughed at together, before eventually falling asleep.
They would say to strangers what they couldn’t say to each other. The unbridgeable silence eventually leading to his departure.
In retrospect, he would punish himself for his impetuous decision until his youth retreated and his face became slack. She didn’t know it yet, but she would suffer silently until time made the memories black and white: The bad forgotten and their love placed on her mind’s dais. They lay together for what he knew to be the final time, his open palm replete with the sadness of her ignorant touch.
He looks around the room at her objects collected over half a lifetime from various markets, second hand shops, and the kicks and knacks sent by her friends. She was a avid taxidermist.
As he pulled the shattered pieces of of a boiled egg stuck in the perforated plug at the bottom of the kitchen sink, the one that lets the water pass but stops the food-shit from falling into the hole, he realized that she helped him enjoy the mundane things in life.
What he couldn’t see then became clear to him now. He stopped, epiphanous, and thought that life is a series of uninteresting moments, to eat, to clean, to work and to rest is to live. This had become his life. She helped him punctuate the everyday with moments of rapacious sex and joyous laughter. And now that was gone.