A year ago I had this idea of writing stories I think of when I am editing my photographs. So far, only incomplete and random thoughts have been written in my small black notepad, untidily, passionately spread among its pages, until recently when I joined a small group of people who wish to become writers. I certainly don’t wont to put a label on my desire to “describe” the imaginary world I am letting my mind travel to, writing is one of the little exit doors I find in my dailiness enabling me to become invisible and powerful, like a childhood super hero. Same as through photography, when I write, I manipulate and lead you to my inner world.
Thought One. Saudade.
“He softly closed his sad blue eyes, diving himself into deliberating silence. Everywhere around him a violent chaos, yet inside him a calm endless blue ocean of mindfulness. He closed his eyes for only with eyes closed he could see clearly. Nothing of what had happened before seemed to exist anymore. His head turned blank. No past followed him anymore. Only white, warm, widely open future was expanding in front of him.
It was Saturday noon I remember, when he announced he had decided to leave London forever. We sat at a small cafe nearby Battersea Park. He was wearing his green corduroy jacket, gift of his father for his 30th birthday, looking so alike the man I had met back then but at the same time so different, so distant from what had been defining him up to now. His face was so peaceful and calm as if he had just woken up from deep sleep. He was holding his coffee mug with his two hands and staring at the old wooden table when he finally whispered “I am leaving in a week”. This life was not for him, was not his to live.
He was 40, recently divorced, always sad, never himself.
He stood up, zipped his green jacket up and smiled. A smile I knew it was like a promise, a promise that we shall meet again. I watched him walking away in confident pace, his head almost facing the grey sky, detaching off his tired body to fly high for tracing the sun. His new life sun was rising somewhere out there and he could feel it happening. He was the one to decide, he was the one to wake up in the dawn to see that sun. He walked for a while with that smile still on his face, when he suddenly stopped to take a deep breath. He could hear the air travelling into his body. Winter cold air filling him with nothing but hope and dreams. Dreams without scenario, without plan or expectations. Only blank pages to be written over again by him. He stood on a bench and let his sight wandering over Thames. He could see the strong waving, the birds flying above him, people walking and passing behind him but no sound was reaching his mind. He sat down. He softly closed his sad blue eyes diving himself into deliberating silence.
He held his breath for a few seconds as if the world stopped spinning for him to take that breath. As a matter of fact, his decision to abandon London and whatever the city was symbolising for him, was a fair reason for his world to stop, even for a few seconds. As he breathed out, relief ran through his veins. He felt a new sort of energy exploding in his body, making his heart turn deep red again, giving his mind the chance to travel in a world unknown yet so desired. He kept his eyes closed. The sun was caressing his skin, his forehead felt tight and his cheeks so alive, red and trembling. He felt the breeze on his collar and the back of his neck as it found its way in his shirt, awakening his body. Intense sounds surrounded him. Leaves sounded like smashing on each other so powerfully and uncannily, reminding him of how rapidly one word would be an instant sparkle for a huge fight to start. A fight between lovers who discovered they were also humans. It is lovers’ immortality what’s fighting against them, not the one against the other. He smelled the salty breeze of the river, the wet grass and human existence. The same way he would smell her sweat on the pillows just as he was taking his first breath when waking up every morning. The same way, he would taste the salty tears on her lips, when kissing her to make memories fade away. Memories of a life unshared in the same house. Strange how two persons can live in the same space and time, yet never have actually met or known each other. Strangers in their own dailyness.
A year ago, Paul was standing at the very same spot with Patricia. He jumped out of their uncommonly common life, while plain emotionless words flowed out his mouth like a man who was to be reborn without pain but only truth. The touch of truth on her heart caused unbearable pain but his giving birth to his truth was an instant insight and relief. He hold her in his arms, his hands still on her weak shoulders of her never before so fragile figure, reassuring her that the silent emptiness she felt when she heard he no longer wanted to be her husband, was in fact the reason they should not go on their little infinity.
A week after he was sitting at seat 7a. Flight 316 to Paris would be his escape exit but also a door opening to his new beginning. He was actually returning to what he left back when was 24 and restless. He was in love with Alice but she was too young to surrender, too young not to run after her dreams, and Paul was not part of them. Heartbroken but strong and ambitious, Paul had then left to London, having accepted a job offering from a great International Company. His only baggage was his struggle to find himself in new places, chaotic streets and endless indulgent. London was his safety net, an impersonal shelter to embrace who he was without fears and doubts. He had become successful and popular, yet he was alone. Alone in his head, his large luxurious apartment nearby Chelsea Bridge, his minimal office at Old street. He met Patricia, a young Italian girl who had recently moved to London to explore life far away from the old fashioned village of north Italy. She was studying literature and was volunteering at art galleries to satisfy her love for the unseen, the less obvious hidden on canvas and photographs. Patricia became his partner, his lover but she never got access to his dark and distant mind. She never realised so or she embraced her blissful ignorance of what was not conquered inside Paul’s world.
Alice got married to a promising and self-destructive artist. A painter of the new era. They lived in a flat at Rue de Beaujolais with their only child, Irène. He had tried to reach for her at times of self despair, knowing that the past never released him to endure London and his lovers, not even Patricia. Alice was never there. He could not find her address nor her number, her sign of living, a sign that she once existed and stole his deep red heart of youth and passion. All their friends had moved out Paris, others had relocated abroad and his efforts to learn about her had proven vain, almost painful, until one day, she was there in front of him. It was one of those relaxed Sunday sunny mornings of April, when the impulse to feel alive and loved again can grow so intense, as if spring gets memories of warm intimacy before us. She was walking with her husband along Commercial Road heading to Whitechapel Gallery. Paul stood still, unable to take his eyes off her feminine body, her long black hair covering her back and shoulders. She was wearing a long white coat of soft wool and as the wind was playing with her delicate clothes, her silk navy dress was revealing her small breasts and well shaped thighs. Her smile melt him down once she turned her head and their eyes met. Eyes that once were meeting each other in unforgettable moments of lust, passion and raw love. He lost himself for a second, until Patricia got off the furniture store and touched his had telling him how ridiculously expensive that blue velvet chair was. Alice turned ahead and kept walking as if no contact had been made. She must had seen him though. He could not believe she had not recognised him. It was beyond impossible that they just randomly looked at each other without recognition of their existence. He had to find a way to follow her.
A year after having moved to Paris, Paul is single and no longer looks for Alice. He let his obsession go one night at Montmartre, when he came face to face with his demons. Alice ran into him earlier that Saturday afternoon after her ballet classes. Their bodies instantly froze and their eyes crashed in a chaos of memories and regrets. A few seconds passed before he could talk, before she effortlessly smiled, the same way she always smiled at him. “When least expected…”he said, his voice covering her soft whispering “I saw you that day in London…”. Lovers are dancers of their own rhythm, no matter how many minutes or hours, or months or even years have passed, this tune is electrifying their bodies, is exhaled in their breath and they dance again. They salute each other with a silent bow and hands are magnetised to bring their skins together in an intense emotional warmth."
It shall be continued…