Sunday, September 07, 2008

Music, When Soft Voices Die

I'm twirling by myself in the centre of a large white room. Once in a while someone comes into focus. Then it's all a blur. Dancing. Strobe lights. A strange and beautiful music.

Everyone twirls.

Then Tristan is beside me. I am stunned by his radiance. Was he always this beautiful? He smiles into my face. "Everyone is beautiful at the ballet. And hearts take wing..."

He looks deep into my eyes: "You're OK now sweetie. You always were."

I raise my glass and toast to cheap wine and prawn cocktails and cold winds and waves thundering on the shore at midnight and shared confidences and the warm arms of a friend.

And love. Always love.

He dances away and I watch him go without longing, without regret, without the need to hold him back. After all, the ones you love remain with you.


And the Lady comes into view. "Darling, there are poems in the folds of my skirts, stories in my hair." I reach out to touch her and butterflies rise from her skin and settle on my heart. Sweetly like a smile. Gently, like sleep.

"Even as the eyes are closing," she croons. "Do it with a heart wide open." I know I will write. The words are coursing through my veins. I let them course...

And she twirls away, stars gleaming in her backwash.

The light has turned pink. The air is perfumed. I take great gulps of it. It tastes like butter pecan with hot fudge. It tastes like midnight in Paris when Maya sat beside me under the cold sky and we shared a Coke, chicken sandwich and some fries.

And there he is. Maya. He takes my hand and twirls me around. Angels don't need to talk. He smiles. An imprint of warmth. Then he is gone. I take a deep breath and wave.

The joy expands. The love deepens.

The light has turned golden. It spills on the floor, turns everyone luminous. My heart is going to jump out of my chest. But this time, I will not turn back. Or turn away. I am no longer afraid of this beauty. I open my arms to embrace it, bring it closer, hug it to my chest.

And then I see Kat. "The beauty is there if you look hard enough. We got fooled by the disguise."

She smiles at me and I notice that her hair is shining. Then I realise it isn't her hair. It's her. She's glowing. The words curl softly in her tresses. She has been kissed by the Lady. And we're both awash in butterflies.

She winks: "It's our little secret". Hugs me and dances away.

The music changes. It's Beethoven's Ode to Joy. I think of Immortal Beloved and bless Nessa. And there she is in front of me. She looks like someone I've known for centuries. She feels like family. And she says:

My love is warmer than the warmest sunshine
softer than a sigh
My love is deeper than the deepest ocean
wider than the sky

And then she's gone but there is a peculiar warmth in the air. Her warmth. And more butterflies.

I'm in a garden. The grass makes spring's freshest tints look like shadows. And there are flowers. More perfume. Sweetness. Light spilling from leaves. Bliss creeps in. And I wonder....

The trees here are old friends. I hug them and feel the sap rise in their steady hearts.

Thank you.

Thank you.

I love you.

Thank you.

Then I notice Mark sitting on the grass, strumming his guitar. I sit beside him and listen. I don't recognise the song but it sounds like he pulled it from one of my deepest and most joyful memories. I don't know it but I've loved it all my life. He takes his time imbuing every note with his own peculiar magic. Then he looks over to me, smiles and nods. I clap and bow my head in appreciation.

Thank you.

I love you.

And I walk away.

And my feet trip gaily of their own accord. I know not where they're going to take me, but the journey has been joyful, the people beautiful and I am filled with wonder.

There is beauty in transience.

When we demand Eternity from Love, all we get is Disappointment. But maybe if we take the moment for what it has to offer and demand nothing else besides, we get Eternity.

I got Eternity.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Travel Stories

I am reading a collection of travel stories by women and what strikes me the most is that each story doesn't tell me more about the place...but about the women themselves, what they're going through, etc. The countries they were in simply served to underscore all that.

And I thought about Christope Graizon who insisted he was a traveller rather than a tourist (he made a very clear distinction between the two) and pointed out that we go neither to see nor to do, but to find different levels of our personal dementia. That resonated with me although at the time I was only a fresh-faced 22-year old.

And now I've chucked my job and am busy sloughing off identities my feet have become itchy and I want to take to the road. Again. I want to travel and discover new lands and see with new eyes. I want to go where I am not part of the context and simply observe and write. Or not write. Maybe interact. Trip gaily through market squares where my feet leave no imprint on the cobbled stones.

One of the best presents I ever gave my cousin Praby was a travel journal of our time together in Bali. I wrote it out painstakingly day by day, taking note of the little happenings that meant something to us, and wouldn't mean anything to anyone else. I called it Sunset in Bali because my dear cousin never got to see one. There we were on the beach, and there was the sun setting, and she had one woman braiding her hair, another painting her fingernails and another harrassing her to buy mats. One look at my face and nobody bothered me much. In fact one American dude we met in Bali, in comparing us said Praby was a kitten and I was the next best thing to wrestling with an alligator.

Anyways, coming back to travel stories, I am dusting off the old wanderlust and heading off for parts unknown. Finally. I put it on hold and did what I thought was the sensible thing but now I know that sensible doesn't involve me being utterly miserable.

I cannot force myself to fit in. I can play at other identities for a while but then I need to cast them off.

And there are no solutions at the bottom of a brandy glass. Although I do intend to get pleasantly smashed in each and every country I visit. Preferably in the company of strangers.