Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Fertile tundra and great laval plains

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For what must be the hundredth time, I watched the ending of the great film, Casablanca, tonight. I have a cinematic knack for catching it right at the moment Bogart & Bergman arrive at the airport for the heart-wrenching finalé. And I always cry.

There is something in the structure of this simple scene, the drama played against the music, the perfectly edited shot selections of medium and extreme close-ups, the subtext of the character's eyes telling more of the story than the lines themselves. And I find myself far more emotional over this scene since 2003.

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It was in February of that year that I flew to Zurich and traveled the hour or so by train to Luzern to visit the woman who would prove to be the love of my life. Our story, too, has a wonderful heart-wrenching goodbye scene that begins the night before my departure at the home of her mother, Maria, then moves to Nicole's apartment in Kriens where we slept together for the last time beneath the wintry shadow of Pilatus in her lovely drachenbet. It concludes the next morning at the Luzern Bahnhof, where every detail has been replayed in my memory a hundred times.

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I have written about it already a few times, in poems and short notations and narratives. One day I will have to write about it in dramatic detail, if I can. I doubt that I can ever capture the absolute beauty of that morning, but if I wrote it a hundred times I might come close. Maybe. I tried doing so earlier this year in a post called In This Infinite Minute, which can be read by clicking on the link.

When a man has to say goodbye to a woman he doesn't want to say goodbye to, he loses a part of himself. He leaves it there with her like the ghost of a pebble in a shoe. She might feel it for some time, but eventually it rolls out and doesn't hurt so much. He, on the other hand, never regrows that part of himself he left with her. It just becomes a empty plain within him. Nothing much grows there, but it takes up a lot of room, nonetheless.

This plain is given to flash floods like when the finalé of Casablanca runs. There's lots that sets off these thunderstorms that crack and burst in the near distance. Songs, scents, colors, words. Absence is constantly refreshed by the presence of everything. It's a cruel dynamic that plays cat and mouse with the heart that refuses to fit together the way it was. When a heart touches and merges with another, it is forever altered. I've given up trying to figure it out. There's no going back and there seems no going forward. So the days, the months, the years become silent measures of an aria with a distant melody.

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Where it goes, I can't follow. What it laments, I am only a part of. The world doesn't give a hill of beans for the starcrossed story of two lovers bound only by time and space. Once upon a time; in an ever-widening space. When I close my eyes I see hers. When I hear my heartbeat, I feel hers. I speak her name each day at least once to remind the silence she exists. Nici, I say in morning light as birds begin the business of living. Nici, I say in the dark while stars slide mutely overhead and worlds slip by unnoticed.

In this way I fill the fissures between what keeps my heart from flying apart and what keeps it from collapsing. There's an Iceland in the middle of me. A place thrown out in eruptive formations that cool and expand. The Great Laval Plains. This is my home for the years to come. I know that. No matter where I might live out my days, I shall bring fertile tundra with me.

Two people kiss in the rain, give each other the sky as their final gift. One turns to walk the ground where the sky has gathered and fallen, the other soars into a sky where clouds obscure the ground and blue becomes a necessary poultice. Both do the same thing at the same time. This is the terrain of true love.

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Blogger redpig77 parried...


My heart breaks just reading this. :hug:

September 01, 2005 12:40 PM  
Blogger jennnn parried...

Beautiful and painful, Drach. I hope you can find a way to be together someday.

September 04, 2005 5:24 PM  
Blogger Anna parried...

I also wonder why? and hope that you can be together again. I hope that the tundra within you warms with the passage of time, Joseph.

September 06, 2005 4:35 PM  
Anonymous aharamanx parried...

Oh, Joseph...there is no pain like love, no joy like love, no thing like pure love. It is the stuff that makes us great and small, this pain that cuts so deep. Yet which is so exquisite in its remembrance when expressed outside its habitation. Retreating to its resting place in the heart, it is fragile old paper stained with the tears of joy and sorrow in equal measure, which with each unfolding make more and less sense.

September 11, 2005 12:59 AM  

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