Observations.

William Merritt Chase  A Sunny Day at Shinnecock Bay
William Merritt Chase
A Sunny Day at Shinnecock Bay


They were unable to retrieve their steps because their footprints had been washed away by the sea. In vain they were trying to look for some marks on the sand among the pebbles polished by the tireless waves as if by a skilled jeweller.

I wanted to help them as I could see what they were looking for but I did not. I kept observing as I was gliding through the sky above the waves. Sliding through the clouds, playing with the fragile hot air balloons hanging almost motionlessly in the sky. They seemed to be so sure about their destination, so ignorant of what to come. The were happily unaware how gentle and cruel, merciful and merciless, pleasant and violent the sea and the wind could be. They had no idea about what they did not know.

I was looking at the blurry sand dunes on the horizon as the wind was playing with  the sand, changing the line of the horizon as if tired of the same scenery like a musician scribbling the notes while composing a new piece or a writer scratching out the lines and starting anew.

A little girl’s hat went flying in the air, I know in about a minute her cry carried by the wind would be heard by everyone. She did not cry, she looked up as the hat was flying higher and higher, white, light hat with a red flower and a red ribbon. She stood there looking into the sky, the expected look of regret was substituted by a look of wonder and amazement and I looked at the small dot in the sky with her.

– Look, Mommy, the wind likes my hat, it is trying it on. Silly wind, it does not know how to wear it. Let me show, – she yelled trying to show how to put an invisible hat on.  – Like this and the flower should be on the side not in the front. Her Mum laughs, the girl laughs, I laugh.

A couple was walking hand in hand along the beach, she had a light scarf in her hand and the wind was tugging at it trying to snatch this light, sweet moment away but they held the scarf together in their locked hands, holding on to the moment of happiness. The were turning into small dots on the horizon like grains of sand with a crimson tail following them, melding with the sunset.

The pages of an old newspaper were rustling in the wind,  hoping that someone would read them. Only the rain will finally pin them down and read what had happened while it was gone, to catch up, to wash away the ink  and make the news soggy and blurred.

There was no one else to observe, the wind got a bit tired too. Sometimes we are the best of friends but sometimes we are at odds with each other as he can forceful and moody and I am usually compliant and observant. Overall, we still prefer to stick together even when we disagree as we both realise that we are much lonelier than an average being, much older and lonelier and we have to stick together.

On Wondering and Wandering.

Marc Chagall Paris Though The Window
Marc Chagall
Paris Though The Window

 Paging through the pictures  and sepia postcards  is a pleasant activity once you are back from yet another trip. In all honesty, I do not travel as much in reality as I do in my imagination. Visiting tiny book stores where books are warm from the Sun as if they are just out of print, marvelling at colours which could be names of desserts: vermilion, titian, bisque, puce, smalt. You add associations to the chemical composition of the photographic developer and memories help to make your latent image visible, memories and a bit of light. It cannot happen without light!  Who would have thought bittersweet is a colour.  Flânerie is in full swing, you stroll up and down every street,  walk around every park,  from bench to bench, from page to page. Spring is uncontrollable, like unruly curls which are always in your eyes.  You are experiencing the city in a million different ways, sometimes  being unaware of it. Yes, it is idling but it is also the time when your mind absorbs, digests, organizes the changes brought by spring. Even if it happens every year, it seems we tend to forget how green, green can be, how deep navy-blue sky is, how warm the sun feels, how fresh the wind smells. We need time to observe and be reminded of these changes.  As the spring is taking its toll, flânerie flourishes and winter is somewhat reluctantly  setting the  birds free from its icy cages, the soft catkins curl up on the branches of trees and we walk, walk and walk on.

Autumn Sketches.

Small House at River in Chartres   Henri le Sidaner
Small House at River in Chartres
Henri le Sidaner

 It is a season which tastes like honey and coffee with soupçon of cognac. It is a season of yellow cats and burning leaves.

Lighthouses always  remind me of  some distant dreams. The light gives hope and creates an illusion of closeness. It makes you believe the worst storm can be weathered.

 No tricks just treats. It is warm and sunny, the air feels like velvet, the rain is preparing for the night, the sun is setting cautiously and the lighthouse is blinking standing guard as it always does no matter what the weather is. 

The rain falling on the asphalt and you can almost feel its bittersweet taste. The sound of falling drops is as if a piece of dry wood is being rubbed with a piece of sandpaper. Cotton candy clouds will soon melt away.

Burgundy, Crimson, Nutmeg.

The watercolour landscape seems a bit washed out by the rain and the picture of some dark foggy city is in sepia tints.

The apples are particularly poignant and the wind rustles my hair as if we have been friends for a long time. It is time to get ready to fly, to move, to leave, not to be afraid to look  through then last window at the back of the train.

Autumn is making everything look vintage, summer is getting old in front of our eyes. I can see million of dust ashes flying in the decaying rays of sun, they are moving upwards and going nowhere.

I put on my French looking jumper with buttons at one side of the neck.

I jump into autumn  headlong, hoping that the heap of leaves is soft and crusty. It is never easy to really part with summer, it is nostalgic, it is like leaving home, it is like opening a letter and not writing back for a long time.  It is rebellious, inappropriately colourful and frivolous.

Cleaning autumn leaves is like cleaning after the party – summer garden party;  colourful straws, popped balloons, plastic packaging, cups, knives, glitters from summer dresses, a bow tie from someone’s fancy party costume. 

The trees continue shedding their leaves, they have been doing it for years,  after a party a la Great Gatsby  all summer long, they are now taking off their clothes, throwing them carelessly on the ground. It looks like the party goes on, a burlesque of a sort where actors  have  5 minutes to change between the shows.

Meet Summer.

Kees van Dongen Corn Poppy
Kees van Dongen
Corn Poppy

My bag is begging my to travel.  It somehow always ends up near me, in my way, behind the door, under my bed. No point in resistance. I pack something of indigo,cyan, fuchsia and magenta colours and waltz around the room.

Summer could have at least sent a message that she was on the way. We have been friends with Summer for a while now but I do not know how it started, I thought it was because we liked the same books, she thought because we liked the same boys. That was in high school, I suppose. Not much has changed in my tastes in both areas and we are still friends with Summer.

She has arrived at around 14 just like promised, although I never know when to wait for her. She had a potted plant with her and one suitcase. I was very happy to see her, just as she was walking towards me, I thought how simple happiness could be and that during the moments like this we think it is simple.  Summer was going to stay for a while, I knew it, I could see it in the way she walked and smiled and the potted plant gave her away as well. Summer was going to stay.

There was so much to talk about that nothing was said. I made tea and focused on forever. This is how it is going to be now. The whole eternity of warm soft breeze, flowers, ice cream. Foam on the sea looked like cappuccino and we took a stroll along the beach. I felt like I wanted to breath in all the air there was and talk for ages, non-stop.  But never ask a tightrope walker how he keeps his balance. If he stops and thinks about it he will fall down. We walk what seemed like for hours but the beach never ended, the sky had not limit. It seemed like Summer was watching it all from the safe distance. I would understand why she did not want to talk much, in the heat all arguments got abandoned, drinks got warm quickly and linen was impossible to iron.

The apricot colored sun was about to set and we were still walking along the beach, the foam looked like lace on the sea and the air was slowly cooling down. How long can I actually spend here? One month?  A week? My whole life?  I think I will start with one day.

Back in the house, Summer unpacks and we drink tea. She talks little, I do all the tea making and talking and she seems to be fine with that. I am thinking if it is ok to ask her why she has come in the first place or why she has arrived later than usually and why her attitude is so cold but instead I am talking about long winter and new movies. I am afraid that all these pent up emotions will end up in the rain of tears during the night but it will be fresh in the morning.

Despite her outward display of friendliness, I sense, she was concealing something. “I am leaving soon, you know that, right?- she told me in the morning. I knew that all along, so my faked surprise did not fool her. “I know that”-, I said slowly, as slowly as you can say one syllable word.

We met like best friends and we parted like best friends, do not ask how we did that, our story lacks a plot, it is an illusion but it makes a warm memory. And we both are good at balancing.

The next day I am back where I have started. I can still enjoy my long walks and my long. thoughts.

Glam.

  Dante Gabriel Rossetti The Day Dream
Dante Gabriel Rossetti
The Day Dream

The city looked like a chess board and this time I was playing black. It was my turn and I slipped into a cobble stone street between the buildings. If I had not been there, the street would be empty but you were there too and if only there was any power to erase the memory of your heart beating!  There is not such power… yet, there is a different kind, more known as glam. Something like magic but not exactly. It takes a second to perform it, it is like being electrocuted or like mixing two chemical ingredients.  I might not like the chemical aspect of this experiment but I do like the magical aspect of it. Magic is elusive, translucent and evasive. In order to perform it, one has to pay attention to the elegance of the detail. I am still not sure about my glam powers, I feel like they might backfire or betray me exactly when I need them the most. Like last night. Deep down I knew my glam was back, it was there burning hot inside of me. I know I need to learn how to control it, I cannot unleash it upon the world and let it run loose, enveloping the buildings, mixing up the cards that they have been perfectly arranged in someone’s hands, swirling in the air pretending to be autumn leaves or snowflakes or raindrops or dust in the sunlight. I have to be careful, I have to know more about it. The only problem is, sometimes I cannot wait, I used it and then have to pay for the consequences. Apparently glam makes you vulnerable when you are using  and it affects others at the same time. It affects you first before you can see its affect on others. I have not realized it yet but it happens in a split moment and it should be timed right. I have never timed it right so far, it either hurts someone else or it hurts me. Sometimes I want to get rid of it all together but apparently it is something you are entitled to, some might even say it is a privilege. I myself, am not sure whether it is a curse or a blessing. A couple of times it came in handy and I used it well but what I did not expect is what if someone has glam too and knows about it more than I do, what then? In some cultures it is seen as witchcraft but here it is a gift which you need to master and appreciate, you are not supposed to show it off and you have to be subtle and honest about it. If you have a glam you admit it humbly if no one asks you keep it to yourself . Apparently, I failed on all fronts.I have never experienced anyone using glam against me. It seems it is the first time ever that I happened to be a  victim of my own strength. I come home and sink into the armchair feeling utterly exhausted. This is strange, I do not even have an armchair. One more late night latte  and we meet at the bottom of the cup. I am trying to reassure myself that I am not afraid of this power anymore. I  am still not sure about its limits  but I  am  more aware of who I am.  Chestnut rain, woollen blanket and an empty sky full of crimson leaves from all over the world.

I walk around the city observing people, is it possible to tell who has glam just by looking at them? I doubt it unless I use a little glam myself ans see their true colours. Now, true colours is not just an expression it is more of the reflection of what is real. The expression true colours is spot on, when I used glam I can see people’s thoughts in colours, their inner state, it has shades, it has a certain palette, with more experience I will learn not recognise and identify it. We truly break in into other people lives with glam and then it is very difficult to let go or leave without taking anything.

I walk like this every day observing people until one day I feel exactly the same as when I am about to use my glam only I am not using anything. I turn around and do not  see anyone but the feeling continues. Glam, glam, glam it burns and I answer back, I sense static and it is a bit scary because it is much stronger than it normally is. I look around and still do not see anyone. I want to walk faster but I am glued to the spot. So this is what happened last night, heartbeat and glam and I was glued to the spot and could not do anything about it.

All I need is a little glam and then I can erase the previous night, the chess board, the heart beat.  Yesterday, I was a black queen on the chess board, today I am a white pawn, does not this happen to everyone? If I had not been there, would you still be there? It is something like magic but not exactly, it is a glam. Glam! And the lights are lit. Glam! And your coffee is hot again. Glam! And you are not alone. Glam! And you are alone when you want it. Glam! And you are gone to return when you want to be back. Glam! And the piece of paper is not wrinkled anymore. Glam! And I forget the heart beat. Glam, glam, glam, I guess it does not work every time.

Jack and Jill.

The treachery of images (This is not a pipe) La Trahison des images (Ceci n'est pas une pipe) Rene Magritte
The treachery of images (This is not a pipe)
La Trahison des images (Ceci n’est pas une pipe)
Rene Magritte

I never really liked colour white, it is empty and disturbing, it is for that reason that I feel uncomfortable in hospitals, too much emptiness and loneliness. However, in my line of profession you can not be picky, so I put on my white robe and shoes and go to interview a new patient. It is never easy with new patients, they are so certain they are right about the way the see the world, about how they see themselves and how things have to be or could be. The more I work here the more I realise that it is true for everyone even if you are in no need of special treatment and care.

He walks into the room slowly and we watch each other curiously, cautiously, methodically on my part, meticulously on his.

– Do sit down.

– May I?

– Yes, of course, please feel comfortable.

We talk but he does not feel comfortable and I even more so.

– You have amazing memory for dates and years, – I remark.

– It comes easily, I used to be good at mathematics just like you in high school.

This is not the first time he is using “just like you” in this conversation. I am jotting it down, shivering from the cold that these facts give me. They are like icy wind blowing through my brain. I look up.

– Just like me?

He switches to a different topic, trying to cover it up as a slip, I feel it is done on purpose.

– Were you good at mathematics yourself?

He does not answer, he slightly nods and looks outside.

The more we talk the more certain  I become about the fact that I am not interviewing him but it is the other way round and sometimes it is not even a dialogue, it is a monologue on his part about me. I regard it as coincidental imagination, thinking of all the fancy medical terms I can think of to give his state a name, I am frustrated even, I want to send him away.

– The same colour your wife liked.

I stop and look up from my paper.

– Which colour would that be? – I say impatiently.

– Why? Green.

The moment I felt I lost my patience, I lost it all. I could not handle this interview anymore. I sent him away. Looking though all the notes I have made so far, how neatly they stick together, starting from my high school days, up till my medical career, marriage, divorce and the fire the hospital I worked previously at.

Why was he transferred to this place at all? I look at his record realising that he escaped the same fire I did in the previous hospital. I pick up the receiver and dial my old acquaintance who went in a different line of work after our medical years but luckily we have not drifted apart.

– Hi, Jack. Are you busy?

– Hey, no no, have time for a cons ilium of you ask me.

– This is exactly why I am calling. I need your advice.

I tell him about today’s events rapidly at times chaotically, repeating myself to make sure it is clear. Jack is patient and professional about it, I can feel it. He listens and nods, I can feel that too.

– You need to take him to a different environment, rather than the hospital one, it might be that another environment is going to effect the way he is telling the same story differently.

I think about that trying to apply this advice and see how it is going to work in my case.

– Thanks Jack. Do not tumble down, talk to you later.

I look over my notes before I go to sleep and then do not got to sleep at all. Instead of tossing and turning, I’d rather be walking and jogging. I go outside. The air is heavy with the darkness of the night, it weights on me making my thoughts even heavier. I am trying to put it all in order.

Margaret loved green. I am good at math and the fire was no coincidence.

Next morning I make a point of calling Jack first thing but somehow never come round to that. I need to make a series of interviews with the patient in order to learn more about him and somehow myself.

– Tell me more about the fire.

– The fire was an arson organised by a patient in the hospital in order to escape, – he says without slight hesitation.

– What makes you think that?

– It is as clear as day, you set the fire to the building and escaped.

I feel like the room is turning around me. Is he accusing me of an arson of my previous work place?

– I was there, – he continues, – among other doctors.

That’s where heavy thoughts overpower me.

– I need to make a phone call.

– To Jack? You still call him, ha?

Up Jack got and home did trot,

As fast as he could caper;

And went to bed and bound his head

With vinegar and brown paper

I look into his eyes and see my reflection, it is a scary realisation of how glassy his look is, sober, straightforward and glassy.

– You may make your phone call, Jill. If you still like to be called that.

I dial again and again but no one picks up. He, however, picks up my white empty, lonely robe,puts it on and like all those times walks outside of the room closing the door silently behind himself and I hear him say.

– The diagnosis is the same.

A Page.

Konstantin Korovin. A Portrait of a Woma
Konstantin Korovin. A Portrait of a Woma

Something that looked like a page from a diary caught in the rain blew into my window and I had no time to remove it until later when it has already become dry and was hanging helplessly on the rear window of my car.

I was reluctant to throw it away although someone else’s handwriting made me uncomfortable, I do not like prying and even if I am not reading this page on purpose, it still feels like I am reading private thoughts that are not supposed to be read. At the same time leaving it in the rain, for people to step on and cars splash dirt on seemed unfair and cruel.

I folded it and put it in my pocket, got an evening newspaper and drove home through the rain. Again. I have not seen anything but rain today, I have not seen anything today.

I came home and tossed my keys on the table. I went through some routine rituals that accompany every evening and settling in my arm chair with some tea and unfolded the diary page. To my surprise it was typed up not handwritten, all of a sudden it made the situation less personal.  Honestly, deep down I was ready for some adventure but the typed up impersonal look of the page took some excitement out of it. In the corner of the page there was a list in pencil scribbled upside down, as I turned it around I saw that it was a shopping list. It read:

1 pumpkin

3 mice

2 crystal glasses

I turned the page over and started reading.

October, Rainy  

Dear Diary, 

I hate my name, I have no idea how many times I wrote about it but no amount of screaming helps. I hate my name.

***

I am not sure what to think about this beginning. Hating your name, what does it actually mean? Does it mean, you were called names as a kid, does your itself mean something ugly, does it have a terrible urban dictionary definition, all names have anyway. I read on.

I do not like my name for so many reasons and everyone thinks it is so nice and sweet and suits me. I wake up each morning, I love mornings and the first thing I think about it how much I hate my name. I tried changing it to Laura – it is a determined and hardworking name,it is far better than Lucia – too soft, better than Linda – too cold, better then Lola – too happy or Ludmila – too foreign. But none of these manes seem to stick. 

New name does not bring you new life, I am still who I am and my name is Love.

***

The page ended abruptly and I was looking at it like in a black void not sure what to think. So, your name is Love. Big deal! or maybe it is? Of course, I have no idea why she hates her name so, maybe teasing at school, maybe it is a family tradition, maybe some coincidence. I do not want to think about what I have just read but somehow the content of the page seeps into me and I feel sad. I went for a walk into the rain never to discover who the author of the page had been, I take the page with me and leave it on the bench. “I hate “Love”, –  is what the page essentially says, can one actually hate love? I look closely into people who pass me by, they look tired and bogged down with some thoughts of their own, they do not hate, they do not love, the are just passing by. I think of going back and picking up the page but I see the wind is swirling it in the air and it turns round and round becoming damp. Suddenly, I stop. What about the shopping list on the other side : pumpkins, mice crystal glasses… Nothing makes sense somehow and I go home, never to see that page again but its content never really leaves me. I sit down and start writing.

My name is Love. I live in a studio apartment. I do not know who my neighbors are and I put L.L on my door. I like when the sun shines through my curtain, tea and the colour of my hair. Even if I do not like my name, I try not to think about it too much. So, it is Love. Let people call me whatever they see fit. I do not mind, I have friends and I am easy- going. I started this diary long ago and then forgot all about it and now when I found it I was surprised how a person with a happy name like mine was able to write nasty things about myself. Diaries are not for that, they are for nice things and that’s how it is going to be from now on.

I reread the page and throw it out of the window, it floats in the air and the rain makes it heavier with every single drop. I feel like I sent a little bit of love in the cold grey world outside.

The rest of the week was rainy. I make plans to walk and read, refurnish my balcony and buy a potted plan and a new curtain. I look through my mail and see a brown envelope there with just my name on it. I opened it.

October , Sunny 

Dear Diary, 

They promise a sunny weekend after all the rain, isn’t it nice?! I wake up somehow I feel complete. In the world which is balancing between strong feelings – love or hate, it is very difficult to find your balance. We tend to lean towards extremes, we think golden middle is an unattainable cliche, we refuse to believe in magic. But every pumpkin wants to be a carriage even if for one night. 

Love, 

Love