40.1.0: Pavel’s report
The sun was setting. It was still hot. ‘Why are we here?’, I asked myself – feeling out of place. The party was of the garden variety. Chaotic, it left us swimming, but not as fish. This was not our biotope; not hers, not mine, not anymore. Nothing here was organic – everyone was forced in their place.
Agnes and I were still a ‘we’ then. She was the answer to my question.
Here I was, sitting under a tree, a beautiful red beech, for the happiness of Agnes. Its deep red foliage protected me from the sun. I felt organically connected to it – like the ferns growing green in its shade. This fixation shielded me from the attention of others. Eagerly they went hither and thither. They were even more foreign to Agnes than they were to me. The odor of their sweat was all around as they were trying to connect to the hive. They belonged to another order, looking for themselves in the reflection of the others. It was a garden party – with emphasis on neither garden nor party – where the guests crawled around in Brownian motion; convinced of being part of a master plan. In my idealistic world, I remained slowly yellow, without the urge to leave the beech.
“We’re not going to stay put here. Are we?”, said Agnes, impatiently. “Go ahead!”, I said dryly, swallowing all the sweet words. She was pretty. Normally her imperfections fit together to perfection but her impotence in getting us to join this movement disfigured her face. Well, I did throw figurative acid in it. We weren’t here to stick to my order. We were here to get her a new one. Whatever. I looked away as if there was nothing to add. I got her here. If she wanted to meet new people, meet she had. I was doing just fine in the shade. I had met people like this before. They were full of themselves. I – I guess – was phony full of it. She went, I stayed. My ‘as if’ got lost in interpretation. I looked her in the eye, visually confirming my exclamation mark. “Then I’m off!”, she said, stressing the ‘then’ as if she felt betrayed. We let her ‘as if’ get lost as well and so come between us. Her exclamation mark was formed by a short nod and a sudden pirouette. And so she went. We knew we knew my betrayal was as unstable as her resolve but we felt that knowledge to be uncertain.
Feeling wronged, I clung more tightly to my beech. Half an hour – she always said I did things by halves – passed, my head getting hot in the shade by mulling over my self-pity. I wanted to stay put. A brisk wind made spores fly freely all around. I went nuts with repeating like a mantra the question of why we got here. I descended into the depths of depths of not questioning myself, rooting myself deeply in my own perspective where all guilt lay with the other. I stopped thinking. It’s a side effect of mantra’s. Agnes was the one who wanted more, even if she had everything she reasonably could have hoped for. Reasonable was my word. She was all about reason and consequently hated being reasonable. This moment was her moment. Just a moment?
“Hey, I’m Fritz”, it sounded like a sneeze. I should have known. Nothing is as attractive as staying put. I was his magnet in the same way this red beech was mine. He was as painfully unlike a free electron as I was unlike a radical. He said: “Nice garden, eh.”, and he tried, awkwardly unsuccessfully, to shake my hand. Unshaken he continued: “What a collection of empty-headed people!”, pausing irritatingly halfway the word empty. The unavoidable irony of his comment would escape him for a long time. I tried to ignore him. In vain, I wasn’t cut out for ignorance. Anyway, he already sat down next to me. Humpty Dumpty came to mind. A lady came to us and he introduced her inattentively as: “My life partner: Sandra.”, pulling up a chair for her next to him, facing me. My curiosity got the better of my ignoring and I said to her: “Je m’appelle Pavel.” I confess to using rhyme to avoid mispronunciations of my name. This time I took the lady’s hand – a girl’s hand more like, I thought – and with one hand pushed myself slightly up from my chair, to kiss it furtively in a very pronouncedly affected way – to which she responded with an appropriately shy delight.
I felt free again. The guilt was also – but not only – mine again. I thought of Agnes. There was too little time to enjoy the surprising room for silence the two of them left, for the Brownian movement was abruptly pulled into patterns by a stronger magnet. Roll of drums: here is the man of fame. Quite a few guests were at pains not to look up. There was Guido Nius!, a primal power merits the exclamation mark. Guido, 15 years older then than when we met last, glowed with more youth than he did then. Those days, there still was doubt nagging deep inside him about the success he meanwhile achieved as thé Guido Nius. Speaking of magnetism: the feeling I got was that he directly channeled the camera flashes around him into energy captivating all around, me included even if (or precisely because) it was against my will. Resistance was futile. Wriggling backs formed a guard of honor around him, making his entry a Joyous one. I know I added to his energy by resisting it. I felt instantly saturated. I wanted to flee – but not without her. My heart sank. I felt heavy, full of him. Twilight was upon us.
It was Guido who got us here. After not seeing each other all those years, one mail sufficed: my 3 lines to ask, his 2 to agree. “But of course!” and “How are things?”. A few days later the invite came. A party was thrown to celebrate him – ’15 years G. Nius’ – and his wish was the organizer’s command. We accepted what was offered because she had a purpose. And here we were: beggars – not choosers.
(to be continued, who knows?)
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.