Spleen

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You danced in an odd way, or so ‘they’ said, but what the fuck did ‘they’ know?  I’ve never touched LSD, but when I watched you dance I saw the bars of the music rolling through you like shaken paper.  You convulsed and spasmed and it took careful observation before I realised there was nothing random about you – every contortion and every flinch was to a beat.  You didn’t just connect with the bass drum, you connected with everything.  An arm for the lead guitar, another for the rhythm, and by the time of the solo you had turned into oil.  When you shot out an elbow and knocked that girl’s teeth out, I was so proud.  Outside the club, breathing so heavily I could barely see your face for the cold steam puffing out of your mouth, I felt sure you wanted to have any man, woman or thing that you first set your dilated pupils on.  So I grabbed your jaw with my hands and focused your eyes on mine until I felt your breath forming crystals on my eyebrows.  You calmed down, took a step back, and wiped the blood from your cut elbow across your forehead.  Smiling, deranged, in total control.  In the background the siren’s sounded and the unfortunate girl stumbled into the cold, blood staining her cheap white dress.

*

You were such a careful driver I used to make jokes at your expense.  I didn’t have much to go on so I took any opportunity I could to give some back.  You pushed the seat so far forwards your tits got in the way of the steering wheel when you were parallel parking.  Peering over the wheel, creeping along whilst a smoking line of angry traffic followed you at twenty or thirty below the speed limit, I admired your lack of blinkers.  Drivers overtook you waving their fists, waving middle fingers, and you waved back polite and smiling.  Always the same comment towards those waving their fingers around – tiny… wouldn’t even touch the sides – and I knew what you meant because I looked at my own fingers with doubt.

*

I remember once asking you what your favourite movie was and you said, oddly, movies are for wussies.  I didn’t understand it then and I still don’t now.  You had a similar attitude to art.  Who needs paintings when every house has a fucking window?  I realised in that moment I was the art major who had pulled every book on every major artist off the library shelf only to discover they were all written in Russian or Arabic or some other language I didn’t understand and couldn’t transmit to you.  All this information was useless.  Nothing I could’ve said in that moment would’ve helped.  None of my prior knowledge could’ve changed your mind.  Oh sure, I could’ve banged on and on about feelings, capturing the light, Van Gogh eating his own paints but you would’ve shrugged and said so what?  So I took the bait and asked you what you saw out of the window that was better than art?  I expected you to say some shit like ‘life’ or ‘real things’…

‘I see a cute guy with his shirt off and sweat collecting in the cavities of his shoulder blades.’
“Shut the blinds”
‘I see a dragon with a massive erection fucking the arrow slits of the castle he is attacking and destroying the archers inside.’
I sighed. You were looking up at the clouds.
‘I see a car with two engines and the hood moulded especially to look like a pair of tits with the nipples being the air intakes.’
“Shut the blinds.”
‘I see everything…’ and you winked.
“Shut the fucking blinds.”

*

‘I wish I was born Roman’

You jabbed me with a stick as I reclined half-snoozing in the crook of a small tree; stabbing my trainer a few times and pulling some moves I’m sure you’d seen in a film.
‘They just drank wine and fucked.  And you know why?  Because that’s all their Gods did.  Drank wine, and fucked.  That’s aspirational.’

I opened an eye and swatted some midgets that had begun to feast on my face.  Only one insect was allowed to devour me, and it was waving a sharp branch around and begging to build a time machine.

“You want to be a centurion?”

‘Did they have female soldiers in the Roman army?’ you asked, hopefully.

I closed my eye again.  “I’m sure for you they’d make an exception…”