Friday, April 11, 2008

the artist

She was driving drunk, and couldn't keep it together, jerking the wheel to keep it straight, watching the cars behind her hoping they weren't police noticing the swerving. She didn't think about jail, but imagined a sobriety test on the roadside, stumbling on one leg, adrenaline hopefully coming to rescue, to absorb the buzz before it was too late.

She made it eventually and knocked on his door, and so unexpectedly and conveniently easy he opened it. He had locked himself away with his scotch and his movie; he looked almost hostile, wrecked, muttered something about her probably having something to say and for her to say it...something about if she raised her voice again or patronized he'd kick her out, twice...rushed to say something about breaking up being a good idea before she could say it as to avoid the mind's poison of rejection.

Then came the storms of "unlesses"--the worst being the one long: "Unless you never disagree with me being right...and accept the things I do for leisure to be very impressive and lucrative seeming no matter what or how broke I will always be...or you don't believe in me or my my father who painted landscapes after he got laid off from construction and my mom complained when he wouldn't rake the leaves...

Remembering the "My Mother Worked Her Ass and we were poor" story from a different night with scotch, she asked who him raked the leaves if his father wouldn't. He stopped for a minute after, "My mo..." then looking her in the eyes; lied in trying to maintain his arrogance, and long before, she knew he wouldn't know he'd be lying all the time like now, after letting his defenses down for the sake of either rest or ennui depending on the weather.

She was getting sleepy, his voice pleading and desperate, repeating redundant illusions for the sake of sound alone in her drifting; she watched his shuffling to bed in scoops of light, then exhausted, fell asleep finally allowing herself peace from a long and tired impending week of bracing some inevitable disaster.

In the morning the couch was cold, and her mouth dry, eyes swollen and sad in the bathroom mirror after getting up to brush her the soured copper from her tongue and lips. When she returned he was sitting up in bed.

She sat on the couch quiet for what felt like some sick sad eternity thinking, revisiting the carelessly thrown words from hours earlier, defensive accusations of obsession and self-centered delirium, before speaking.

"So what of it then?"she mumbled, without looking up, instigating his rattling off some drowsy romantic plan of experimental separation. In her mind, allswhile, crawled determination, dignity for a clean and bloodless break, though there'd certainly be a bruise and most likely a scar.

Listening, he'd put some thought into it, which she was proud of him for; he was all of 33, and it was the least he could do to put things into perspective at least once in a while aside from trying to be famous for artistic endeavours in an effort to prove himself to people he hated; like every other creative lazy asshole these days, she thought, like the pretty boys who played instruments before him from her self-proclaimed less mature phases, like her, like his father, but what was ambition good for these days--when she knew he slept well past noon on most sunny weekdays.

"I love you, I'm in love, there's no one else I want, I've imagined spending the rest of my life with you," from an artist with words borrowed from idiots, who borrowed from poetry read to gullible incubators worth trapping, those words like worms, dangled with their shiny hooks so obvious.

And he knew after her he was doomed in his drowning, that she was just foolish enough in his charm from a streak of luck, that the next would be foolish even without, some drooling mindless puppet, not even worth the distraction's sake of a toy, like all the others, just like him.

She hugged him holding tears and he kissed her neck holding her. She opened the door to leave and remarked on the light being nice, saying it was a good day to paint; he agreed.

A painting sat unfinished, of her reclining in a window, eyes closed and smiling as if nothing had ever been wrong. She walked out of the door, as he watched her walk away, wishing her a nice day at work, telling her he would talk to her soon.


steve d said...

trying to choose which line i like the best may be like me trying to pick out produce at the grocery store...i'll turn the cucumber or tomato every which way as if i know what i am looking for in a quality vegetable. this is probably easier and certainly more honest because i can tell you why i liked it, even if it's simply because i liked it.

'then came the storm of unlesses' the most tiring of all thought it was over and then comes the downpour of unlesses. fuck yuck.

'repeating redundant illusions for the sake of sound'. thanks for the cringe inducing memories of desperate bargaining. thanks s, thanks a lot.

'gullible incubators worth trapping' GU's, much better and corrosive than diaphanous.

'words like worms dangled from shiny hooks so obvious'...ouch. you really know how to describe disappointment, especially your own.

'he knew after her he was doomed in his drowning'...amazing s, really...that's a mature line written by someone who knows.

i appreciate the update. i am going to wander down the well and soak my head in alcohol now.

Sabra Embury said...

I'm soaking mine too, alone, and getting used to it's much less shameful than the alternative.

I'll give you a big hug back now.

Sabra Embury said...

Beauty to me comes from a variety of sources, suffering being the last resort. If your wife thinks that wisdom represents beauty then I see why she says that, if she speaks of those concepts interchangably.

I find much beauty in purity myself; in untarnished things, though not in naivity, which might be where "suffering" comes into play. Suffering sucks, but it's made me a survivor versus some soft loser; it's made me humble- another beautiful seeming concept; suffering opens perceptive channel blocks to help the brain rationalize trauma and digest it. I don't know if that's beauty though. Beautiful to me is springtime.

Sabra Embury said...

If you re-read my last comment, and I know the way that I sometimes represent my thoughts can be confusing due to dealing with higher concepts in general, you'll see that I said I found much beauty in purity--versus suffering. This was a response to your comment about my post, not the post itself.

The post is fiction, an ambiguous stream of thoughts released to make art, and deliberately manifested that way, whether it came from a recent experience or the experience of some other or a dream or day dream. This is how it serves as a vessel of self-preservation without over-exposure.

Some questions you ask about pieces I write are things I am not even comfortable talking about with friends or family members. Fiction is fiction. I am trying to practice technical renderings on this playground, and if some concepts or ideas provoke thoughts then I salute the execution and applaud myself, and thank you for being fascinated by my ideas.

Knowing all of this, I hope it's not hard to understand why purity appeals to me, after reading the story. It's rare. And in the context of a beautiful relationship...that is all relative to who you are and what you consider things to be and how you would like to consider them regardless of what they really are versus being very realistic too which might be all the same depending of idyllic tendencies.

GS, you have this habit of seeing things in black and white, asking whether I think purity is possible in relationships for example. What you need to try and understand is how many facets in the spectrum of a relationship can exhibit individual qualities.

It's not just pure or unpure. It's not good or evil.

There is this word: aspects. I like that word. It puts more color on things apart from black and white. Aspects.

Get to know that word please. And then ask yourself this question: what aspects of my relationship with my wife exhibit more pure qualities than other aspects? Then you will find purity, and maybe even a happiness where you didn't even know it existed hidden in some crevice, in some opaque area between black and white.

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