Sunday, April 18, 2010

the long slow seduction...

I stood on the platform and waited for those arriving to disembark. Tired and weary travelers coming from the south... or from Spain. They bump into me and they shove me out of their way not caring to stop and go around me... they do not even notice that I am standing there... I am a phantom... I am a shadow of an affair that ended all too soon... I breathe in the putrid night air poisoned by stale perfume and bitter wine... and the echoes left behind by those would be artists that came before me... I let go a sigh... and watch it float away to the other end of the station.
I picked up my bag and made my way to the train... stopping at the entrance, I force myself to look down the platform to see if she came to say goodbye... and then I remember... I never told her I was leaving. I step in and find a place to hunker down... A place to make the center of my universe until I reach Berlin.
I remember thinking I wanted to get out of Europe before winter trapped me there... but I met Sarah... and I stayed until the end of February. There was no need or purpose behind my trip to Germany other than I had to get out of Paris to clear my head... and shake the smell of Montmartre off my soul.... the lights outside flickered on and off as whimsical pieces of poetry drifted in and out of my head... trying to find a permanent place in my collection of unfinished masterpieces... I thought about Carmen... as I always think about Carmen... how I left her too... without ever saying goodbye... I think about Carmen now... and wonder if she is happy... did I make the right choice? Probably not... and there I was trying to get the hell out of Paris... thinking of Carmen and running away from Diana... knowing that when I get to wherever I am running to - I will be alone again...
When I am an old man - and I have lost my senses - I will tell the demons that keep me company at night the tale of my amorous adventures... and they will ask "who was the love of your life?" and I will take a long dramatic pause to stare into the abyss of my miserable wasted youth and say... it was... Amanda... of course by then I wont even know what I am talking about and may get the muse of my life confused with the love of my life... so while I am still young and can remember the story I want to tell when I am old - I am going to tell it as if Amanda was the love of my life, for, eighty percent of everything I have ever written I wrote for her or about her... I thought of her when I was kissing the lips of women whose names I never knew to begin with and I dreamt of her on those long lonely rides across deserts and highways and restless seas... on buses and cargo ships and planes... but... Amanda and I were never meant to be... I headed to Chicago to chase after a dream... chasing after me... and she had gone to Hollywood.... we haven’t spoken in ten years... I no longer know where she is. The demons - perhaps one or two of them whom found me entertaining enough to stay with me for so long may ask - "what about ‘E’...?" well... she and I were definitely not meant be together... don’t get me wrong... I wanted her... I desired her... and many times in our relationship I had convinced myself that I loved her... and that she loved me... but in the end , it turned out that we were only filling up time with each other until we figured out what it was that we really wanted... and as it turned out... I did not really want her enough to fight for her and try to figure out how to keep her... I learned that I did not love her enough to try to understand her... and learn what she wanted from me... or what she wanted me to be... but... neither did she.... and after all the lips I’ve kissed and all the pretty words I’ve squandered in the dark of lonely rooms in lonely cities... I’ve had time to learn... or to convince my self that ‘E’ was not the love of my life.
Carmen... my dear sweet Carmen. You haunt me more than any other. I’ve carried your whispers with me around the world in a bottle of Chanel no.5... carefully packed in my shaving kit for nights alone in strange hotel rooms... I have burned in flames of passion bursting from my skin when I think of the love you gave... I fall to my knees when in my dreams I feel your trembling fingers slide across my chest... I crawl on my belly, as a band of demons slice my back with whips of fire and barbed wire, trying to reach the alter of your breasts... and the salvation that I find in the nectar of your cunt... I burn for you still... and it was that night in Paris sitting in that train, waiting for the hum of the engine to turn into the rhythm of passing villages, that I realized... you were the one that got away... you were the one I should have stayed with. I have made many mistakes in my life but leaving you, my dear, has proved fatal. The night you called to tell me you were getting married... to ask me to stop you... I did not realize you were giving me a second chance... I did not figure out, till it was to late, that you wanted me back... I did not stop you... I never saw you again... but every night of my life since then I have burned for you... I will never know if what I felt for you was love, but I know I cared for you. I will never know if I could ever be true to you... but I know that I did lust for you... I will never know if I could have spent the rest of my life with you... but I know that I hunger for you... to this day... I hunger for you... I will never know if I could have made you happy... but I know that I desire you... I tear at my flesh to release my soul to find you... burning for you.... I will never know if the man you are with makes you happy... but I know that his soul will never burn for you... as I burn for you....
Diana Campos had me trapped in her seduction long before Carmen had come into my life... in fact I was still with ‘E’ when I first met Diana but as hard as she tried... and she did try hard and often to get me to give in to her... now... I was never playing hard to get with Diana - I just happen to always be with other women when she would slip back into my life... and when she would slip out... she would slip away to Buenos Aires or Mexico City... or Chicago... or Rome...
Diana, whom today is still very beautiful - perhaps even more so, made her living, when we were young, by modeling and acting... and she was good at it... but I never knew - when she was with me - if she was still acting or living in the real world... sometimes she had the habit - as do I - of drifting from reality and wandering off into a private world all of her own... and as seductive as that world may have seem to me at times... I had my own dreams to chase. Somehow... and I really cannot explain it, Diana slipped back into my life when I met Amanda... and she slipped out again... then she reappeared when I met Irene... and then she was gone... She came back when I met Carmen and stuck around just long enough to tease me before I met Camille... Diana and I were pieces on a board game controlled by some strange and cruel celestial being mapping out the borders of lust and love... everyone that knew us at the time were confused at the relationship she and I had... were we lovers?... no... did we want to be?... yes... could we have been?... sure... if she would stick around long enough for me to surrender to her charms... we would have gotten together long ago... but she would never give up her career for me... or anyone for that matter... but she told people she loved me... and these rumors would make their way back to me only to be dismissed and forgotten in a drunken haze as I dove into the arms of another.
And it was in the mist of a drunken haze in which I found myself in the night Carmen called... the night she asked me to stop her from getting married... that night I should have gotten out of bed... and thrown the girl I was with out into the streets and run to Carmen... but I did not... I poured myself a tall scotch and lost myself in the haze of booze and cigarettes and cheap perfume... A week later I was in Chicago chasing after Diana... and here for the first time I will admit she was the reason why I went to Chicago in the first place... she of course came and went - always hinting at the feelings she believed to be love for me... and only me... and I... one gin and tonic away from abandoning love forever...
A folded piece of paper on the floor greeted me when I walked through the door... it was simple and elegant... and seductive... and the only word written on it was ‘Atlanta’ she sealed it with a kiss and I could smell traces of her hand cream... I was on the first flight out in the morning but when I got there she was gone... but left a ticket for me with the concierge. Destination: Paris.
It took us about eight years to get together... she said she was getting out of the business and I said I could start over anywhere. Our relationship was one long slow seduction after another... and it’s all we did - taking turns seducing each other... loving each other... we bathed each other and fed each other and clothed each other... we would spend weeks at a time in bed... we were John and Yoko... and we wrote post cards that we never sent to the friends we had left behind telling them that all bets are off... I was off the market... yes... between sessions of love and sessions of coffee with pastries... we planned out the life we would live together... how we would make our money... where we would live... the names of our children... and our wedding would be a very private affair as I have no friends to invite... all those bridges have been burnt. We made love and wrote down our plans as if we were planning our alibis for some undisclosed crime that may or may not have occurred that fall... it seems that various pieces of art had been mysteriously liberated and redistributed during our season in Paris... and she watched over me jealously in her little apartment... turned out that she was very insecure... and very possessive... which I did not mind - it had been a while since a woman was that nutty over me... and in a way it made me feel good...
We had planned a trip to Normandy but the night before she got a call for a job back in Buenos Aires... though she had said that she wanted out - she was filled with excitement at the thought of it... turns out she thought she was getting too old and would not be working much longer... to know that she was still in demand made her slip back into her little world... two days later she was in Buenos Aires... I spent three nights alone there then I filled up my ruck sack and split... I dropped of the keys with the building custodian and let her know Diana was back in Argentina, the elderly lady, whose name I have long forgotten, already had Diana’s contact information... I was going to make my way back to the states that night but I wandered the city like a zombie with no particular agenda to fill and no concept of time... I ended up in the Latin Quarter and I think it was on Rue des Ecoles... or was it Saint Germain...that I met a girl named Sarah... I invited her to have dinner with me and our evening together turned into my winter in Paris... we made love early in the morning... she worked for a bank... and I wrote long letters to friends I no longer had... when Sarah would come home from work we made love until we got hungry and I would cook for us we would go chasing after her favorite jazz bands if it was not too cold or go to little shops trying to find old records from the sixties - the Rolling Stones... The Doors... The Beatles... and we would raid the magazine stands and book stalls on quai Conti... she had an old boxy record player that she used to listen to her records on that had only one speaker... I wanted to buy her a new stereo but could not find a turn table for the records... I remember sitting down on the floor to write the letter telling her I was leaving and hoping silently that I was not repeating the words I had written for Diana... I don’t know if Diana even read that letter... but the letter I wrote for Sarah I stuck in my bag and left with it.... and that brings us to me sitting in the train... thinking of Carmen.... I did not know then that I would end up back in El Paso... chasing ghosts round every street corner... haunted once again by the smell of her... by the sound of her... by the moans of slow passion of her... as I fall on my knees in the dark once more for her... and burn for her.......

(art work by Pam Powell)

8 comments:

Isabel Martínez Rossy said...

Interesante y un tanto angustioso relato éste, Dash... lugares, mujeres que van y vienen sentimientos confusos, pérdidas, reencuentros... quizás, simplemente, la vida...

dash deringer said...

...las cosas que se me occurren escribir despues de dos botellas de vino...

Isabel Martínez Rossy said...

Entonces...¡Salud y creación, amigo!

Chef E said...

I am reading this to Citizen Cope, gives it an edge- I enjoy my music and reading...

I dreamed about you and awoke to an email...

aQuieSToYyo said...

This deserves my whole attention. I've copied, pasted and printed it so that I can read it comfortably in bed. I'll tell you something then. No time by now.

dash deringer said...

this is, perhaps. best enjoyed with a few glasses of wine... and I am very interested in knowing what you think... I love it when a woman gives me all her attention...

eMi said...

At this point of the story, I guess you have for ever trapped one of those artists whose echo has been with you all this time. That’s why you (or Amanda whispering in your ear) could write brilliant things like:
“I let go a sigh... and watch it float away to the other end of the station.” , or “whimsical pieces of poetry drifted in and out of my head” .

Sarah, “E”, Diana, Irene, Camille and, of course Amanda and Carmen, have been accompanying you through an ongoing journey. A journey which is letting you make a great discovery: you are all by yourself. Your lovers have become the “unfinished masterpieces” of an unfinished collection which will always be associated to places that you will never be able to visit again; even though they do not gather the musty “smell of Montmartre” (I know what you’re talking about).

Keep writing, dear Dash. Record your memories now that you can. If not others, you’ve got a reader: “toi- même” when you are old. Besides, I want you to know that I ‘ve become one of your most passionate fans.


PS: As I am a teacher, I found several possible mistakes. I know this is my fault :-(. Could you check them for me and tell me if I am wrong?

-one or two of them whom found me entertaining enough to stay with me
-she and I were definitely not meant be together
-and the salvation the I find in the nectar of your …
-sitting in that train
-Diana, whom today is still very beautiful

deborahflorence said...

There's a song by One Republic. I changed one word in the chorus and now I think it suits you.

I did it all.
I owned every second that this world could give.
Saw so many places, the things that I did
With every broken heart,
I swear, I lived.