Thursday, October 30, 2008

Where We Begin

(I Can't Escape This, Reminiscene, 2008, 30x40 inch c-print)

Can we end it right now? Just moments ago you said you were alone. And just after you said that I said you weren’t. We were together on this. Right now, and right here, it was all happening, just before our eyes. The cliff was scary, but it was the only place in the world you can see a sunset like this. We promised each other we’ll never leave and if we had to do, we’d return in exactly one year from this day. It has been three years since and I haven’t seen you since. I wasted $785 dollars on a flight to the Dublin, then the car rental, another $34, and the bed & breakfast, $28, to come here and to wait for entire day, when camping out, waiting for you. You never returned, and your promise to me was lost, it probably fell off the cliff like the rocks I threw over after the first two hours of waiting. Damn it, I thought, it made me feel so empty, but more importantly, it made me feel like a fool. By the time the sun had passed overhead I was feeling better. In a place like this, you can’t help but feel lost, lost in all the good ways of being lost. I don’t think lost is the right word, how about the feeling of having escaped. When we first came here, we really did escape, we were on the run, and this place was the perfect hideout. Of course it has been three years, and the people who were looking for us had probably forgotten of us, or still have pictures of us in the pubs they frequent, and have become so familiar with the wanted posters of us that they no longer see us, just another ad that shouldn’t be up on the walls of their favorite pubs.
The first time I came here for our one year anniversary I wore a disguise; a real thick moustache and thick rimmed glasses. I even had a fake gut over my smaller gut to throw off any resemblance of my bandit self. I even packed my fly-eye plastic aviators and bandana with me, the same aviators and bandanas we used for our Dublin heist. After I was pissed off about you not being there at the cliff, I wondered if you still had the bandana and metal aviators I gave you. I wondered if you had been caught by the Mooney Brothers, and if I was wrong for cursing your absence. Maybe you were even cursing me for not coming to your rescue. I have always thought of you as the person I originally met on the train leaving Paris; a mystery. I never received any means to contact you; you would just be there when you said you would. I liked that, and I think that is why I asked you if you wanted to be my partner in the first place, you were reliable. But then we have this situation with you not being here, right now, I needed you here, so I knew you were safe, that we both were safe, one year, two, and three years after our first job together. I was left with questions, I wanted answers, and I wanted you here.
We planned our first and only heist in a coffee shop, and we were so set and so turned on by the fact we were two normal people turned bank robbers that we couldn’t wait the next few days to rob someone or something, we just had to try out our newly purposed lives out, right then and there. But a coffee shop wasn’t a great place to rob, and we had already been seen without our disguises on, so we decided on the bank across the street. I was a little nervous but not as nervous as excited. And I kind of fell in love with you right then and there because you were down for robbing people. I had never known anyone that would do that with me, or at least, I had never asked. I wanted to believe that there is only one person you are meant to rob people with, and the reason you get caught with any other partner is because they weren’t your soul partner. We were invincible I thought as we were changing into our disguises in the alleyway. We had guns, which were bought two days earlier as souvenirs for your uncle, who asked for nothing else but guns from France. We both were also buzzing from the coffee since we aren’t regulars of the caffeine fixture, which made us even more impatient and excited; impatiently excited. We decided to tie each other’s shoes, pressing down on the strings to make sure they were snug, asking each other if it was too tight or loose, we had it just right like the soul bank robbers we were. I double knotted yours because I doubted myself in my knot tying but I trusted yours. We placed our guns under our sweaters, and I gave you your bandana and wrapped inside was some aviators, and we both tied the bandanas and put the glasses on and with closed fist, we said three, two, one then you kept your hand as fist and I made scissors. I wasn’t sure what that meant but I took the first couple of steps to our future as we walked smoothly out of the alleyway across the street without anyone really seeing us. It was time.
I didn’t feel there, like I was living a life through someone else’s eyes, maybe they were your eyes. Did you have that feeling, it was sort of unreal. That feeling, I’m robbing a bank, like in the movies, but my hand is gripping a piece of steel that could kill someone, I didn’t even know if it was loaded and I checked the safety, guns had those things right? I thought it would be hard to point an potentially loaded gun at someone but when the guard came close to unclipping his hostler I didn’t hesitate, his face was point blank. I yelled beneath my bandana in a Mexican accent, and you looked over, having your gun pointed at a teller, and beneath those huge black eyes I could see your real ones, you were happy we had this going good. Our first should be a good and uncomplicated thing.
We made our demands clear, getting all the larger bills, in two big, but manageable, sacks. You went back with the bank manager and made sure things went well back there. I stayed up front, panning my gun as if I conducted the scene of the crime, one wrong move and I’ll cap you, not in the face, but maybe in the leg if I could aim, or even just close by to scare the crap out of you. I felt dangerous, I was dangerous. And for the first time in my life I was doing something really bad, and it felt great. I thought of all those old people going skydiving, or on an African safari, and I thought how much they are missing out right now, having guns and robbing people, it felt bad and good all at the same time. And I had to just check myself for a second, that I was actually doing this, and how bad this is, but you made me feel like it was the most passionate thing I had ever done in my life. We were forcing ourselves to have to run away from all of this. That we didn’t have a choice, we were on the run, leaving everything behind.
You came back with our sacks of money, you threw mine at me, and I caught it like a baby, being absolutely gentle, all without losing my gun’s position as we made out getaway. Of course, this being an impulsive thing we didn’t think of a getaway vehicle, so we smashed and grabbed the prettiest car outside the bank, a newly restored 1966 MG in a dark green finish and license plate that says Mooney.
We set out on our new lives, as the wind blew through our hair and the air around us was telling us, this was all right. I thought of all the days I spent on the planet living so far from all of this, and how one little change can make everything fit so nicely in place. But the truth is, it wasn’t a small change, it was you, right now, driving at 120 km/h and constantly checking the rear view. You smile at me when you start feeling safe; I wondered if you felt safe with me. I felt safe with you. And the car continued, going passed all the direction signs, leaving civilization, and rolling into endless fields of green hills. I wanted to say, “We are home.” But instead I said, “So this is where we begin.” You look at me, at first contemplative on what I said, then you look serious for a moment, crack a smile, and let out a loud and energetic laugh; half delusion and absolutely wonderful. You were right; there are no words for this feeling right now. Drive.

[End of Part One]

No comments: