Sunday, April 26, 2009

Orange was the night.

Do you remember that night when the city was orange and wet but dark? We were in Paris draped in oversized scarves and ratty t-shirts and that obnoxious orangey-red trench coat. Kitty slept through it, but both of us, restless, grabbed a one euro bottle of Bordeaux lying in a pile of cheese wrapper and apple core ruins on the high shelf. We grabbed it and slipped on shoes soundlessly and left the room and hopped the metro even though we were out of money. And we rode. And we rode. And we rode. I don't remember what we talked about on the ride from one side of Paris to the other, but I do remember walking up to street level, those slicked stairs, your dark eyes as big as pies, with a funny decisiveness. We both were pretending to be local, and yet we both knew our way around quite well considering how new we were to it all. And remember those wet patches on the marble? You reached down, down into your carryall as big as the universe itself (your whole life was in there) and you pulled out your hand victoriously bearing the wine opener. I ohhed and awed as you opened the wine with a certain flair that only comes from years working as a veteran server. Back and forth, back and forth with the Bordeaux, between our gloved hands. My hair was in a braid around my head, my favorite style, and your mittens were green wool. We finished that bottle over looking that giant piece of scrap metal which would light up now and then in true showman form. We finished and set down the empty bottle against the marble quay and turned arm in arm, to the direction we first arrived. I think we sat under a red awning, enjoying a single glass and a cigarette even though they make me sick, and we told each other that life would never get better.


That was a very important night of my life, then. Last night also marked the close of another Part, another page, another act. This evening, Creme and I wove through the city in search of the dark. Dark was the night. We never found it. But before all of that searching, we sat on his bed and I shot a roll with the heaviest camera I have ever held. This summer will be the rebirth of photography. Just while I thought Creme had dropped off the face of the earth, he runs headlong back into my life with an armload of Russian camera equipment. I shot a bunch of portraits of him and his Puch (over 70cc) in a disgusting garage that has the words MASTURBATION STATION spray painted over the entire back wall in a gawdy yellow. Creme makes growing into adulthood look good. When I got to his gross house holding a bag of styrofoam and shanghai noodles, Cat Power was blasting and he was perched on the coffee table playing Super Mario with a look of reverence on his face. A half empty bag of sunflower seeds on the floor and cats everywhere. Gross, but appropriate. Reviewing the room, I was grateful for the White and Wood philosophy that I have found in someone else. Still, Creme is very individulal and like no one else. We shot some film in the bathroom, and wound the Super 8 up just to feel that beautiful camera hum in our hands. We looked at each other, while looking at that camera and both of us weighed the potential summer at hand with twin hopefulness. This is the summer of film.

We got bored of the cameras and the garage, and agreed that an evening drive was in order. I kept thinking of Yosh. Where is he? The closest we came to finding complete dark was driving down Jubilee, which was cast unusually in complete darkness. All of the street lights were turned off. It was very surreal. We passed by one hundred different types of City machinery, getting ready for the Spring clean up. I mused what that must be like working in those cabs, dressed in heavy overalls, chain smoking something and blasting music through headphones while working through the night, alone. I thought of Scott, pushing an industrial rake on our neighborhood boulevards and listening to something beautiful and intelligent on his iPod while the rest of the city sleeps. Hi Scott, I hope you like your Spring crew this year. Do you have a friend named Jim-Jim or Spits? Where do those people come from?

Thinking of all of this, Creme wove back around, my body fighting the end of the drive because I hadn't been driving in so long and I missed it. I missed Nathan too, we used to drive and drive and drive until we found the dark. And in the dark, the stars. I remember being twenty and standing on the hood of his station wagon as blue as Lake Michigan and craning my neck in wonder. He would climb up and sit down, and weave together everything he knew about his favorite musicians until they were stories. Pink Floyd in the background even though I didn't like it, I knew it was important to respect. And I do. Spring is a very good season. I forgot how lovely it is.

I am going to go tree planting in a month and learn to be quiet again, to learn to breathe in and out, in and out and to sleep and eat in a way I never knew my body was capable of sleeping and eating. I will carry someone in thought while I do these basic things and then I will come home again. I read somewhere today, home is anywhere you hang your head and it struck me in such a surprising way. Especially this week, as I am grappling with the idea of home. What/where is home when the home is taken away? Home is simply something we carry inside of us from place to place, head hung or not.

You look good in blue, and I am very tired after searching for the dark with Creme.
Good night, now.

1 comment:

  1. there is no way that night could ever be erased from my memory, even if i attempted every day for a thousand years. which i wouldn't, under any circumstances, because it is lovely beyond reason. here's to orange skies and chasing after the Parisian darkness. ox.