God, If You’re Watching - Snippets & Shards

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Post by juno on 1/9/2011, 13:50

i can't write in chronological order lately, so i figured i'd try a new technique - write the scenes as they come. part one.


We’re in a room, and somebody is playing the harp. People are milling around, all gold and jade, cream and ivory, bits of diamond and wine scattered, a million dollar mess.

–Yeah, she says.

I turn to Lua. God, she’s beautiful. But I don’t notice, or at least pretend I don’t. Because she’s miles away, staring at me like that, like she doesn’t know me, takes a swing of her drink and eyes me haughtily. She’s in conversation with two suits and a blonde, and I’m here feeling like my hands are too big, I’m not sure what to do with my shoulders. Air is thick, and she’s smiling. I don’t care.

–Charming, charming, croons the lady next to me before leaving to make small talk with a couple I don’t know. –Oh, and help yourself to some hors d’oeuvres.

I do.

–Any stranger would mistake you two for lovers, says a familiar voice beside me.

–Always fashionably late, I retort, Marc’s last six letters dragging through the recesses of my mind, smashing through the harp and an untouched cello, grazing the chandelier and sinking like a weight into my chest. Lovers. I feign a chuckle. –She wasn’t my date. She just offered me some hors d’oeuvres.

–No, Einstein. Her.

He nods to her, the one with the two suits and a blonde, she reminds me of a peacock, I look straight at the peacock and I am sure I say: –I’m not in love with Lua.

At this moment, her laugh rings clear across the room. It leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.

She downs her champagne.

She leaves.

Her silhouette fades as the piano solo begins.

I want to break the piano in two.


I met Lua six years before she met Knox. She was a fiery thing, and I remember thinking, ‘Mon dieu, I want to photograph that little bitch.’ She was fighting with the receptionist at some antique convention in Belgium. I remember the look on her face—her war-paint, we’d call it later on. Once that was done (I think she won by default, though she hardly ever spoke of it again), I grabbed her hand, shook it and said, “Tell me your name.”

The fire was still in her eyes when she said, “Lua.”

“We will have lunch together, unless you have prior plans?”

She smiled, and the room did not light up, but I think the earth sighed. “We will have lunch.”

It was only later that I noticed she did not ask for my name.

She was a travelling artist, gaining speed in Europe, but was nothing in America. She believed in the colorists, adored the dadaists, despised the neo-classics, and fawned over minimalism. “But in the end,” she told me, taking a frighteningly large spoonful of mango sorbet, “It is all art.”

I said nothing, merely watched her with a smile.

We kissed, but did not have sex. The passion was all in our work. She became one of my dearest friends. We lost contact for a while. A few years later, she informed me she was to go to America. I laughed at her.

“The place will kill you, Lua. Let them have their Hollywood and their politics, stay in Europe.”

“Don’t be ridiculous, Marc. Come with me.”

I did.


Knox is classically handsome, calm. I watch him for a little while longer after we say our goodbyes, and I see that when he is not talking to Lua, he is aloof, apart. Both of them possessed that otherworldly quality that made it seem like they were experiencing everything for the first time and disregarding it all without a second thought.

–What do you think of him? I ask.

She laughs lightly. –He is in want of better company.

My smile is wry as I turn to grab my hat and cape. –And I suppose you are the one to give it to him?

Lua pauses before delivering a long, drawn out stare. Her full lips, a smirk. –Sacrebleu, Monsieur Roussin! How long have you known me?

Eyes hard as diamonds, laughter soft as feathers. That is Lua.

–That hurts me, Lua. When have I ever said “sacrebleu”?

A smile.

–Well, don’t break his heart.

–It’s the only way to love, she replies.

–You sound like a bad novel.

–One you cannot put down.


–Touché, Lua.


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Post by juno on 1/9/2011, 13:50

We lie in the cold. It is pitch black, the brightest black I’d ever see. Stars are out, sand is soft, it is powder on my aching bones. Marc exhales, a steady stream of smoke into the abyss.

–You’re screwed, Theo, he says glibly, in that asshole French accent of his.

–What do you care? I smile, he can probably hear it in my voice. –You don’t give a shit about me.

–Sure I do, and I could have believed him. –You and Lua, you are like art. It is fascinating.

–Lua and I are nothing. I plan on ignoring her existence.

–Okay, ça va très bien.

Laughed. –Fuck you, man.

He sits up, staring out into the crashing surf. –I will never understand you Americans.


He takes a drag, chuckles low. –Big, you want everything big. Big farms, big cities, big cars, big meals, big penis, big breasts, big holidays, you want to live a big life.

–What’s wrong with that, Roussin?

–Nothing. But everything is wrong if it comes into your relationship. You will forget the worth of the little thing. Not every relationship is a big one.

I laugh. –Alright, Don Juan, dispense your wisdom.

–I am this way because I cannot be any other way, but I can tell you what I know. Maybe a woman will not love you forever, maybe she will not love you at all. But you cannot forget the little things, and you cannot overlook the little things when they are there. Why can you never be happy? Why can you not be happy with the scent of a woman’s hair, the feeling of her legs on your hands, being able to kiss her belly, the way she stirs in the morning? Even the ones you will never have, can you not be happy with the sun pooling on their dress, or the small of their back as they walk away from you, or the sound of their voice as they order a coffee? You always want big, big, big, you want sex and you want some kind of undying love and you want an affair to last forever, but if it does not happen, then what? You overlook the most beautiful part of your story, the little things.

–Bet they all wanna have sex with you after that little speech.

Now it is his turn to laugh, and the moon hangs quiet, and the ocean whispers on.


–Who the fuck - who the fuck is Rhyd? He is blue-lipped and burning.

–Who the fuck is Rhyd? He is screaming at me. In the hallway, he is as white as the walls. The nurses look afraid and tired.

I grab him by the shoulders. –Knox. Knox. I repeat his name each time stronger than the last, and he finally caves in.

He is a heap on the floor and I am exasperated.

–You had something to do with this.

–Blame, rest your head upon me.

It is the wrong time for a poetic quote.

–Who else? She broke as soon as she saw you.

–So you're a doctor now?

–Don't get fucking smart with me, you -

–Or what? What are you going to do, Knox? You need to chill the fuck out, man.

–You need to stop running your mouth and start telling me the truth, man. Who's Rhyd? Why is she calling for him? Did you know her? He is getting worked up again and I am irritated, annoyed, sleepy.

–Jesus Christ, Knox.

–Just - His voice cracks. –Just tell me the truth. She's my wife, Theo. She's my wife.

For a second, I feel pity. He is a spectacle.

–Do you know her? Fucking hell, Theo. Do you know her?

Palm meets forehead, hair pushed up, forehead pushed up, the tug of skin and eyebrows somewhat soothing the marching band in my temples. Head buried in my hands. Hand.

–Do you know her?

–Of course I know her. Jesus, Knox. Yes of course I know her.

–What was - what was - how well did you know her?

–Well enough.

–Did you -

–Sleep with her? I look him straight in the eye. He stands.

–Yeah. He is faint.


He exhales, and along with it, continents shift. –Then what?


Easily, an arm slipping through a sleeve, the train slid through the morning.

A speeding spectrum of black against a lingering spectrum of white.

The morning had been waiting for it.

She stands on the edge of a cliff, a dress of ivory. Arms outstretched, she could be eating the sun.

The train is getting closer. He sees her.

She screams.

He wakes up, yelling her name.

We are aware of eternity. What you do here will follow you.


–I don’t think I’ll ever understand God’s grace, she said to me three nights ago. She lay curled up in my arms.

It was the first time I had ever believed in eternity.

And as she turned from the cliff’s edge to go back the way she came, the rock crumbled from beneath. My yell collapsed into a sob, and our souls clawed Forgive Us into the air.

Eternity. Eternity, Lua.


He was wrapped about her, a newborn envelope of all the safety they never had. Eyes closed, opened, closed. Inhale. Exhale, shaky. His long, lithe body was curled around, and all she wanted to do was cry.

Eyes closed.

He stirred.

Eyes closed, harder.

He murmured, his lips brushed her hair, he shifted. He pulled his arm from under her head and she moved too, facing him. Tentative, slow.

His eyelids dragged open, a clear brown. He didn’t speak.

–Knox, she whispered.

He didn’t speak.

She tried to close her eyes again.

–Don’t cry anymore, he said.

–Don’t leave anymore, she replied.



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Post by juno on 14/9/2011, 15:28

It was something like the laughing stripes of sun on the tarmac, the air stung fresh, the highway draped with trees like pearls on a woman’s neck. A dash of red polka dot scarves here, gel obnoxiously slapped on there. Some college rock anthem on the radio, we were young, the oldest group of children I knew, grabbing age by the throat and squeezing it for all it had. In simple terms: We grew up far too quickly.

We were a strange collective, the best kind. –The only ones for me are the mad ones.

Well, Kerouac, my man, you wouldn’t have been disappointed.


This is no grand tale. I am simply a man who wanted his brother’s wife.


Writhing in bed while he is asleep thinking Wake up, I want you, Wake up, I want you, wishing with every fibre of my being that somehow, some way, my thoughts would beam themselves, crashing through the fragile ripples of dreamland like those sci-fi films but not saying anything, afraid to touch, just listening to the haunting lullaby of his breath, not waking him because I love him, waking him because I love him.



Perhaps that is the greatest secret I know. If we stopped – just stopped – and tried to comprehend that the planets do not revolve around one individual, perhaps we’d have a much easier time breathing.

Tell me, Sky, you who cradle the world, hast thou ever tired of bloodshed? When you do but release bolts of lightning and diamonds of hail, do you ever turn your face away and shudder?


So much colder at 2 a.m. I feel empty and my body is mourning with me. Too many lines, not enough fingers, not enough keys. So fucking thirsty and the water tastes like plastic. All the things I could say to you, but words don’t mean anything now. Pink nails, pink skirt. What would they wear when you came to see them? You took from me, you took so unbelievably much, now what is mine, what belongs to me, but me, and there is not much. All the girls who hurt the same but hate each other. All the friends we did not have. All the ways we pretend. This, the cleanup after the storm. The collagen you drown your lips in so you can no longer speak. The makeup you wear so you can go blind. The ways you hurt your body when all it wants is the chance to mourn with you.

They laughed at the man who said that the universe was a big cheese, and I? I laughed too. But I understood and truth be told, they who own their imagination, they own the world. It has been said: –Could it be that the only one who is deemed insane is the only one who is not?

Envy the man who dies believing that the sun is a chariot that blazes across the sky. Envy the woman who understands that a crown of flowers is more precious than a crown of gold. Those who are free enough to sing in the street or dance on a hill are free indeed, and my love, my sweetheart, I will tell you a secret: it is they who have found their wings.

You see, none of us were made to stay on earth.
In due course, we are destined to fly.

–Sadly it seems that I have met too many people who, by abusing and disrespecting religions that have existed for millennia before they were even born, fool themselves into thinking that they are great supporters of tolerance, equality, and acceptance. In truth, they are no better than the religious zealots they profess to oppose.

His name was Marc Roussin, and he was on every cultured A-list due to his controversy, gut, and mystery. He was one of the finest (see: fashionable) artists of his generation, and he had never taken a self-portrait. As a result, unless one rubbed noses with the pseudo intellectuals and faux revolutionaries (over something ironic like naked bodies dipped in white paint designed to look like some nondescript celebrity), Marc Roussin’s physical appearance was, at best, left to the imagination.

In reality, he was tall and thin, well-dressed, with perpetually sleepy eyes.

He was also rather shiny.


“When the fuck were you gonna tell me?” His voice was raspy and young, Lua thought, gazing at him, he was so young. His hair was a mess, his eyes were big and clear, dulling with each step towards her. And lest she forget that he was fast growing into a man, the force of his motions accidentally knocked her mother’s vase onto the floor.

Neither acknowledged the fall.

Years later, she would remember the white and blue porcelain and the veins in his arm.

“When were you gonna tell me, or were you just gonna up and leave?”

“I would’ve sent money—”

“What the fuck is that supposed to mean?” She had never seen him this angry before. “What the fuck, Lua?”


“You would’ve sent money? What am I, your fucking sponsor child?”



“Rhyd, I don’t understand, Manhattan is not that far away—”

“Did you forget that he almost raped you two nights ago?”


“You know what he’s going to turn you into, right? You know, right?”

“Look, I know.”

“And you’re still going? Jesus fucking Christ, Lua, I come back and I find this, you’re leaving, with that fucking piece of shit.”

“Well what else?” Her voice finally escalated and she saw red. “What the fuck else, Rhyd? There’s nothing for me here. What else do I have? And you’re one to fucking speak—” She stopped.

“So I hump men and women who don’t love me and I don’t have a future, so what? That makes it okay for me to watch my friend’s life go to shit, what, it’s okay for my friend’s life to go to shit because mine has?”

“I just don’t understand why it’s such a big deal—”

“Because I love you!” he exploded, and with alarm, she found his eyes were shining. “I love you, and I know what he will do to you!”

“Please don’t make this so hard.”

“If you go,” his voice was broken now. “If you go, I’m coming with you.”

Her chest was caught and she started. “No, you can’t,”

“Watch me.”

“I can’t let you.”

“And you think I can let you? No, I’m not leaving you, you fucked up little bitch. I’m not leaving you.”

And finally she held him close, fingers gripping at his beautiful blue veins. Cry, she told her eyes, cry, cry, please cry, but they did not, just laughed at her, comically intimate. We have compassion fatigue, they said. And the longer she held Rhyd and his beautiful blue veins, the more she realized that she did not care.


It was December in my second year of University. This particular evening was a snowy one. At 10 p.m., all the cafés on the street Rhyd took me to were open. They reminded me of rather small trains, huffing in the white night and lit by fires from within. Rhyd walks beside me now, furiously talking about the impossibility of the non-existence of absolute truth and I am listening, always listening. It had been a while. Rhyd had moved back to New York after several years in Toronto, and his presence was a welcome breeze in my otherwise monotonous life. We stop sometimes to let people pass; other times we split only to rejoin once more. Rhyd is good company. He delights in the pure essence of the present, in the simple joy of walking down a snow-streaked lane with someone who is listening. Down the dusk of New York City, he and I spit out phrases too grand for our age, theories too lofty and tinged with the confidence of youth unbroken. For the first time, someone is willing to discuss as passionately as I.

I see him now, descended from Bohemian gypsies or something of the sort. He has no brothers or sisters, nobody to stain the family name and in fact, not much of a family name to stain. He is quite mad… there are times that I fear for my life when around him. He suffers from road rage, which dissipates as soon as he steps out of the car.

I see him now, seized by haphazard impulses in the middle of lunch, sports games (which he duly hates), telephone conversations, walks in the park. When seized, he drops everything in surrender and grabs his sketchpad. He always has a sketchpad and a pencil on him.

I see him now, in a black coat, a black scarf, and a pair of jeans way too tight for me to even consider looking at. I remove my hat before we step into his favourite restaurant, at 10 p.m. on a December night during my sixth year of—Rhyd’s white hair is tousled against the greying snow. It is always tousled. Mine is not.

I see him now, a wild look in his eyes. Sleepless. Never smiling too quickly, but always first to speak. His movements, jerky, awkward, fuelled by coffee.

I see him—

–A disappearing act, the act of becoming invisible, is, in fact, a visible act, and rarely goes unnoticed.

Rhyd and Lua would never fall in love, I knew it then. A question of sexuality? Perhaps. But I believe it was because Lua was already in love with an idea, and this could only result in a rejection of Rhyd.

As for me, well, I am a serial lover.

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