Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Chapter 12 : Two more years


I admit it, I was nervous.
We hadn't seen each other for a few years now.
I guess it's just like everything else in life, and relationships too, I suppose, whether they are between lovers or between friends, they too, have and end.

It's funny, I look all around me and I see how much everything has changed, has evolved, altered.
But I also know that none of that matters, not anymore.
Everything is different, but sometimes the more things change, the more they remain the same.

Case in point, it's still too cold here. Cold like hell, if hell were to freeze over.
In one of my legendary decisions, I opted to go out wearing only a t-shirt, and a leather jacket.
Brilliant, I know.

I was last here over six years ago... and almost as long as that since we last met. I was nervous.
I was also looking at the bitter English sea when I hear a familiar voice, "Nice place you picked for us to meet."
"I know", I replied. "How are you?"
"I'm doing good, not so bad. You?"
"I don't know. Pretty much the same."
"Huh. You wanna go somewhere else? I don't know, call me crazy, but maybe somewhere warmer and sheltered?"
"Yeah," I said, "let's go to a pub, or something."
"But please, no alcohol for me, ok?"
"Why'", he asked, "You've been drinking already", he said, as a matter of fact, rubbing one hand against the other in a vain attempt to warm his freezing hands.
"Don't tell me you're drunk..."
"Argh, no, but these days it doesn't take much to leave me a bit... happy."
"It takes a whisky drink, it takes a vodka drink, it takes a cider drink, it takes a lager drink", I said, half-expecting to see if he understood my line.
A few seconds later, and after some quick brainstorming, he answered, "Right, And I bet you get knocked down, but you get up again, ain't nobody ever gonna keep you down?"
"Touché. You know me too well."

With this we entered a pub, sat, and just stared at each other for long minutes.
A huge guy came up to us and asked us what we wanted to drink.
"I'll have a pint of Guiness. You?"
"I'll, ah, I'll have a tea, please.", I said.
"Tea?", the giant questioned, "What do you think this is? Bloody Starbuck's we are not."
Seconds later, and because I failed to provide him with an answer, he grudgingly said "I'll see what I can do... faggot."
I didn't even let it bother me. I know what is coming.
Oh how sweet shall my revenge be.

Minutes later he came back with a pint and something that I would dearly like to call "tea".
Jesus. I drink it anyway, because by then nothing else mattered.
"I am going to make you a question", I said, "and it's likely that I may have asked it before, but you know how it is, my memory's not too good these days, and all those scientific miracles and breakthroughs promised by comics and science-fiction are just that -- fiction."
"Consider this, "I said, drinking a bit more from that vile greased tea.
"If you knew, today, if you knew at this very moment, right here and right now, that in two years time, you'd meet the one that you've always dream about, the one you always wanted, and she would be yours, just yours, forever, and you would know happiness the likes of which you have never imagined."
"But there's a catch", I said.
"In these two years that separate you from supreme happiness, you'd have to live a life of integrity, of honesty, of virtue. You'd have to prove that you were worthy of her."
"To make things even more interesting, whatever the choice you take... you could always end up with her"
"So... what would you do? What is right? Or what is easy?"

He studied my face for a great while, drank a bit more from his beer, looked in various directions, looked again at me, and answered.

"You had already asked that same question years ago, yes. And now, as then I will not give you an answer."
He continued, "Because it's irrelevant, isn't it? It doesn't fucking matter. It never did. It's just a variation on the theme of the riddle not being the sphinx, but the sphinx being the true riddle."
"Because we've already had those two years, you and I, two years, and many more besides them. And, in a way, we were happy, I suppose, each of us in his own way. We lived our lives the way we had to live them, and things mostly happened because they had to happen."
"Two years? No one would wait two years, just as every one of us would gladly suffer an eternity of waiting for such happiness. But what really matters, deep down, is the moment."
"And what we have, and where we're going.

"It's up to us to make our own destiny, pre-ordained though it may seem. Just like the path that leads us to paradise, or the road to hell, we travel them because of our won choices. And that is what they are : ours, and no-one else's."
"But all our choices have consequences and repercussions... and those consequences bind us; they are the ties that bind, whether they are moral, ethical or personal."
"Two years? You ask me if I would wait two years to be happy? You may as well ask me if my enemy's enemy is my friend, or my enemy too."
"It doesn't fucking matter", he concluded.

I smiled, for the first time in over a decade, a very special smile that I reserve only for the choicest occasions.
Anyone who's seen it, and it can't have been that many people, likens this manic grin to that of the cat that appears in Lewis Carroll's book "Alice in Wonderland".
Admittedly, I wear it only when I'm really pissed off, but there have been occasions - a few- , when I'm overflowing with such joy, that Cheshire becomes me.

"Damn", I said, "it is good to see you again, and even better talking to you. I missed you, and I missed your words. I missed you more than I would care to admit."
"So did I, my friend, so did I."
You said, "I won't give you any more shit because of what happened. I will not condone it, but I figure you already went through quite a bit. But, man, you could have trusted me, and you could have trusted what friends you had around you."
"People who were there for you. You know that, don't you?"

I know.
"I know. Not then, of course, but I knew later. But there was nobody then who could have helped me. Or so I thought..."
"It could've been so very different, you know? We haven't seen each other since... since the day..."
After all these years the pain is still ever present.
I wanted to speak the words, but they would not come.
It was as if invisible hands choked me, and prevented me from speaking.

"Since the day she died," he added.
"You were gone, and nobody saw you again. Sure, from time to time someone claimed to have seen you. You joined that stellar pantheon where Elvis and Kurt Cobain dwell."
"And it was only a couple of years ago that I knew something concrete about you", he continued, finishing his Guiness, a beer that I could only ever drink with a shot of J.D. in it.

"I read your book", he said.
"I liked it. Some parts more than others, sure, but I liked it. I confess I enjoyed the way in which you wrote me, though I think that you didn't write me or describe me exactly as I am. And I liked what you did to yourself in the book. At least there things worked out for you. You were happy."

"Yes", I said, finishing my tea.
A few more hours. It won't be long now.
"Do you know that i got the idea from reading an interview with Grant Morrisson on his book 'The Invisibles'?"
"I reasoned, if my avatar is happy then I too would be."
"And for a while, that was actually my life, you know? All thanks to the Great Guru Morrisson... he was right all along."
"Did you read some of his later work? The last thing I read was his 'Uncle Scrooge' run before he transcends this plane..."

"O.d.'d, you mean. The last thing he wrote was a sort of sequel to 'The Invisibles', super crazy, that took place during, before and after the original series, and all at the same time. Sometimes it came out bi-weekly, sometimes months would pass without a new issue... and the numbering was chaotic as hell, too."

"By the way", I asked, "Do you know what else he got right? He and the Mayas?"
"Two thousand and twelve? Yes, I know. Not much time left, is there? Have you decided where you're going to be?"
"Yep, I fly back home tomorrow.", I answered.
"Stands to reason I should speak with her one final time. Deep in my heart I know she'll be waiting for me."

"Let's go", I said, almost as an order.
"I got to wake up early tomorrow... You staying or going?"
"No, I'm going too. Too bad we can't get the same flight back. But send her my regards... tell her that we'll all see each other again soon."
"Osiris is ready to make his final flight..."

Night had fallen, and the cold increased severely.
With night came a slight mist fall, and the sounds of this city sounded sweet and innocent in my ears.
One day, and because time is a circle that repeats upon itself eternally, all this will be here again, and so shall we.

But now none of this matters, not really.

"This is the coastal town
that they forgot to close down - Armageddon!
Come, Armageddon!, Come, Armageddon, come!"

Morrissey, Everyday is like Sunday

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