Displacement, part 3

Dear Sarah,

The reunion has just been completed, and I’m on my way back to Halifax, as I’m writing this note.

As I expected, I don’t think they were entirely happy about my choice in things, and what I’ve decided to do with the way I lead my life. The one thing I will remember most and carry with me from here on out is the looks of boredom and disdain on their faces as I was regaling them with stories of travels abroad, the stories heard, and the possible paths lying clearly before me, all of them revealed without the benefit of science or progress.

Ultimately, it seems to me that to tuck away the things unseen there is a better hiding place away from the ones who have always told us there would be danger around every corner or near every event. It seems to me as well that perhaps I just don’t care any longer about the things I’m doing or about this life I lead, that there might be something else more important to accomplish, to communicate, and to preserve.

Sis, I think it’s high time I got myself back to the people and things that matter most to me. The waters are deep and are about to change.

Until I write again,
Larry.

— 2009 June 20

Under the winter sun

Dear Lenny,

A change of season is upon us now: the trees are bare, the winds blow unopposed, tears stain hard surfaces of the streets.

Weeks lie ahead: it’s going to be cold ,,,

Winter is upon us now, and I only have memories: the light blueberry fragrance in the way you smell on your skin, the penetrating gaze in your eyes in the way you look at me, the feathery yet confident graze of your finger and hands in the way you touch me, the firm and sensuous caress of your lips in the way you kiss me.

Someone once told me: where there’s something valuable to be had, standing in the middle of a frozen pond, you don’t run, you need only walk slowly and surely to find your way home. The journey is as important as the sum of its components, for us to stop long enough to hold those pieces in our hands, to look at them carefully.

I told them then, as I tell you now: I want to believe. I’ve been desperate enough to wish it to be true; I always have.

The next breath can’t come soon enough, Lenny; I need you.

Love,
Jameson.

— 2013 December 24

Displacement, part 2

Dear Wyman,

The curtains have just come down on our long-awaited reunion, and some clearly have gone down the path for the worse. It just goes to show that the big-time isn’t meant for everyone, that there’s someone else who’s ready and willing to take that extra step, if you weren’t already sufficiently careful, vigilant, or patient. Larry looked happy, but he didn’t speak our language nor was he able to keep with us; so, it was entirely obvious the rest of us would look upon Larry so poorly. We never said it out loud, but everyone at the reunion would look at each other with the same thing in their eyes: what the hell happened to him, or in other less politic terms to crudely put: how dare he. We didn’t particularly care if he was happy – all we wanted to know was whether he was with us or against us.

This reminds me of what cousin Selma used to tell us: go chase life, before it tracks you down and kills you. I also remember what I used to say to her: give me a gun, and I’ll give you a 5-minute headstart.

`Til our paths collide,
Solomon.

— 2009 June 13

An einem frühen Morgen in Prag

13. März 2009, 2359h CET

“In einer nicht fernen Nacht”

Der junge Mann, mich und eine Flasche Wein vor sich
und hinter sich eine Blitzkarriere als Geschäftsmann,
verstand viel von der Welt, nur die Welt verstand er nicht.
Manchmal vor dem Einschlafen dachte er darüber nach,
aber jung wie er war machten andere Gedanken auch Spass.
Er hatte Badezimmer, Telefone, Lichtschalter.
Danach schlief er ein und schlief gut, um am Orgen
wieder in einer Welt zu erwachen, die zu verstehen
er sich aus Zeitgründen keine Mühe gab.

Was er tat? Er kaufte, verkaufte, kaufte wieder
und war erfolgreich, weil er das Risiko liebte, den Anteil
der Lüge daran und das Geld. Die Welt blieb ihm trotzdem
ein Rätsel. Am liebsten hätte er sich, jung wie er war,
auch noch in die Ideen des Zufalls eingemischt.

In einer nicht fernen Nacht wird er schlecht schlafen
und aus dem Schlaf aufschrecken und es wissen, und
niemand und nichts, die Welt, das Geld, die Frauen
und die Frau, die er liebt, werden für ihn beten.

Wolf Wondratschek
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 13. März 2009

“Dear Anita” (reblogged)

Dear Anita,

It’s been a month since you left.

Every day, I look and check online for some sign that you’re gone. If I can’t find that notice somewhere, it won’t seem real, that instead I’ve fallen prey to some cosmic joke, and you’ll turn up somewhere alive, safe and sound.

There’s been a continuous jumble in my head, but if I don’t put them down somewhere, I fear they would disappear into the aether. With words streaming from one screen to the next, will they ever reach you? Will these thoughts, ideas, and regrets find their way to you?

When you left, a number of promises set off with you.

The promise, however slight or tenuous, of meeting one day, and I could properly say hello and thank you for your help and support.

The promise, mingling with the memories of having met your fellow travelers and friends, of having them tell you how much they missed you.

The promise, among well-organized plans, of visiting places you always wanted to see.

And when you were about to fall, I promise we would’ve been there to catch you. The promise, though ready as we were, we could not fulfill or prevail.

How did not I know about what was happening? Why didn’t I see your tweets or read your blog? What more could we have done?

Swimming in guilt, the feeling has subsided to a dull ache that’s wishing for an outlet and release. I’ve been holding my hands out, arms held high, waiting for something to happen. But when questions finally arrive, I know it’s too late again: supplication and submission sink slowly into the sea.

Everyone has responsibility for their own lives, but that truism seems to fall short of what’s necessary in our so-called collective. After all, haven’t we always been saying a place to rest and to call “home” isn’t completely out of line some of the time?

Once things go awry I suppose one waits an eternity to yell bloody fire in a crowded building, but thing is, we don’t do that sort of thing around here. Among friends and family, one endures alone and apart, a stranger and survivor of purgatory among the unholy trinity of shame, secrecy, and blame. In the rabbit hole, things rarely add up, and there’s not a lot to see but the rest of the way down.

I’ve heard the calling of the knives; I know they’ve been lurking in the corner for the last thirty years. Countless hours, grinding days and weeks, the weary months, and jailbound years must claim a price, and what’s true in the past remains unchanged in the present. If I’m not careful, a carefully constructed box opens to unleash despair; it’ll return to hunt and to haunt, like a long-lost friend.

But for reasons I cannot explain, there is still some undiminished capacity for hope that hasn’t fully gone. I’m still here; we’re here. It’s easy thinking to believe the light was extinguished; I guess I’d fooled myself into hiding among the shadows.

Moving on seems cold and unfeeling, something like an ugly dirty obscenity. The process of creating as before in your absence seems oddly wrong, but I’m certain you’d want us all to continue; you wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

Fact is you’ll always be remembered as being part of a group, whose members are joined by the algebra of uniting different people by a common interest. It’s easy to forget there are simple rules of making a connection, even brief, among all of the mathematics of our individual problems, equations, and solutions. Every person who’s passed into our lives in some way must take their rightful place; no one can dismiss the effect a person has on others.

I want you to know you were never alone. It’s up to us now to accept the simplicity of that truth.

Ever since I started traveling extensively over the last two decades, I never liked saying goodbyes. I’m not about to start, even now.

“I’ll see you when I see you.”

Sincerely,
Henry.


The above appeared initially on Fotoeins Fotopress on 7 October 2013.