MMS Friends

Monday, January 30, 2006

conversation in the bar last night

Carlos (munching on coca leaves): They are really good for your health. It's nothing to do with drugs. We've been chewing coca leaves for years you know.
(Note: I've never seen Carlos chew coca leaves before in my life, and I've known him for three years. I suspect it's part of the Morales-isation of my middle class Argentinian friends)
Carlos (still munching and waxing lyrical on coca leaves): Ah, yes, coca leaves. You know the tea from coca leaves is delicious too. Muy rico.
Reb (in mild agreement): Si, si, muy rico.
Me (from behind a plant): Coca tea? It's awful stuff! What are you talking about?
(Note: I'm all for the cocaleros, and I'd buy and wear the Evo jumper with pride, if it didn't cost 70 dollars to pick up a replica, but I draw the line at pretending to like that rancid coca tea stuff)
Reb (sheepishly): It's good for altitude sickness, though.
Carlos: That plant is bothering me.
Reb: Why don't you eat it then?

three things

I like the way he swallows unexpected parts of his words, rendering him periodically incomprehensible, sonically distinct.
I like the sepia colour around his eyes, shades of bronze and dust.
I like the ways his arms bend dancing and his legs bend when climbing over the arm of a chair.

Monday, January 23, 2006

burning and drowning

It's difficult for him to live in this world. He keeps wanting to go diving. He loves it down there, living deep with his diving buddies. I understand why, I understand about the worlds that open, way down there. But I have to keep coming up to the surface. I can't live down there. I think it's my job to go between the worlds, bringing the treasures up to the surface so other people can see them too. But there are some things you can't bring up with you. And all this to-ing and fro-ing, this constant coming up means I'll never get down as deep as he does. These days, he is my only diving buddy. Although I am sometimes afraid he will dive too far below, alone, and drown. He's afraid of that too, I think. "Whether you go up or down, you burn or drown," he said, and I could see him wistful of Icarus. If there is a direction in me, it's down into the deep. I would choose to go by drowning. But I'll never go too far either way, and sometimes that's what makes me sad. The worst that will ever happen me is the bends from time to time, as I bob along the surface for a while, a little out of breath. I hope he can still come up from time to time, or that the next time I dive, he won't have gone down so far that I can't reach him.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The impossibility of letting go

Leave it behind, they say.

Leave behind his face, features unclear but topped by yellow hair, and a white t-shirt and arms swinging towards me.

Leave behind the fumbled running through the rain and a moment on a doorstep far away when lips met lips met lips met lips.

Leave behind the bus station, where his eyes met yours, reached out and touched yours, moist and holding, and all the world around you held its breath.

Get on the bus and leave it behind.

Leave behind the moments, the looks crossed now stuffed in weighty pockets, the smells that hang around your neck, the holding seconds, the green fields by the road to Waterford and him large and joyous beside you, the white round porcelain of bath time singing and sliding sheets that wrapped you both, the tube to a London suburb and him waiting on the platform, the first phone call where thousands upon thousands of tribal drums struck up a rhythm in your chest.

Leave them behind, they say, your frame is small, you cannot carry it all.

I take them all out, one by one, from all their hidden places, behind a certain song, or at the mention of midsummer, or inside the smell of an after shave you once spilled in your bag.
I take one last look and place them softly, gently, I leave them down and turn my face away.

I fly away.

And here I am, years later, a rainy day in Buenos Aires and I pass a shop you've never seen, and a song comes out. And the string pulls, connecting me to you and me and time long gone but here in a cramped car going south, your hand on my leg, our future before us all along a road that is shorter than we think.

And here, in a foreign bar, somebody speaks with your voice, the slow, wrangled drawl of you, and I am in the London rain with you again and we are still getting wet.