The Spirit Lovers – Chapter Eight: Martin’s return

The Spirit Lovers – Chapter Eight: Martin’s return

29 November 2017

Christian Schloe
Courtesy Christian Schloe

 

Martin wakes up in his hotel room with a strange feeling of not knowing where he is and of having been separated from something he cared about dearly without knowing what it was. His head feels heavy and his eyes feel sore. He gingerly puts a foot down to step off the bed and his head reels. It takes him a few minutes to adjust and be able to put the other foot down and stand up without feeling queasy. He takes in his surroundings as calmly as he can but cannot remember how he had come here. He slowly figures out it is a hotel room and as he goes to the phone to start dialing he remembers that he had left his wife at home after their quarrel and headed towards this hotel.

He dials the number of his wife, not realising that he has forgotten all about his true love.

  • Helga, good morning. I wanted to say I was sorry. I don’t know what came over me
  • What do you mean it took me six months to come to that conclusion? I have only been away for a couple of months.
  • I am not sure what you mean by that but I don’t remember what happened in those other four months. Can I come home?

Rita thinks back to how you had described the scene to her and how you had realised from the smile of relief on Martin’s face that his wife seems to have forgiven him. She remembers you describing how you watched him starting to pack his suitcase before you orbed back to where I was standing with her trying to console her as she wept Martin’s disappearance. She wonders why the couple of nights that they had passed together in that alternate reality appeared as a distorsion of several months in this reality. She feels a surge in her heart like every time she thinks about Martin but tries to overcome it. Tears well in her eyes and she bites her lip trying to contain them before they spill over her cheeks profusely.

Martin winces while carrying the suitcase down. It seems like something is wrong within his ribcage and he feels like a strain in his heart. He continues carrying the suitcase down and asks the receptionist for help with the other larger suitcases left upstairs. He also enquires if there is a doctor as he is not feeling well. The receptionist enquires and soon a doctor is made available to Martin who by now is convinced that he might be suffering a heart attack as the pain grows in his chest. The doctor who examines him tells him that he finds nothing wrong with his heartbeats nor anything else but that to be on the safer side he should go to the hospital.

Martin rings his wife again to inform her of the news and sets out to the nearest hospital in the hotel’s chauffeured car. When he reaches the hospital, they too find nothing wrong with him but decide to keep him under observation for the day. Martin looks at his wife who has come and realises that he is relieved she is with him but he feels nothing towards her now that she is here. He tries to reproduce the longing he had experienced that morning but it is not there. He wonders what made that change and why it is that he is not longing for her anymore. Is it because she gave in and came so easily to his side, he wonders.

Helga puts her lips softly against Martin’s a few tears falling from her eyes as she does so. Her lips freeze as she realises that he is not reciprocating. She pulls back noticing that he does not seem moved by her kiss and realises that he seems to be in the same frame of mind as when he left several months ago. He had mentioned an excursion he wanted to make to take time off from being with each other and to think about the future. Martin looks into Helga’s eyes and all he can feel is friendliness and gratitude that she came to be by his side.

  • You are a great woman, Helga, he says
  • I am your wife Martin
  • I know. I wish I could change things but somehow the magic is gone
  • Just this morning you were telling me you wanted to come home, you seemed to have rekindled that love you had for me
  • I’m sorry Helga. I felt like that this morning when I woke up but I don’t anymore

Martin does not tell Helga that he still feels that impression but simply not directed towards her. He prefers not telling her as he does not wish to hurt her but also because he would be at a loss trying to explain towards whom he has these feelings. He stands up and decides to discharge himself from the hospital as they can find nothing wrong

Rita wipes away the tears from her face and decides to start her mission at the House of Love. She opens the doors to the visitors and graciously answers all their questions about the great love between Nina and Harold the rock star. As honeymooners and couples pass by admiring the various emblems of love she feels her heart warm up to them as she can feel the love surging from them and towards her, pacifying her.

Martin accompanies Helga home and goes through his things. He realises he cannot stay with Helga and feels sorry for having given her false hopes again. He wants to understand more about himself and why he is feeling so forlorn for a love he cannot identify. He knows that his therapist is not going to help him much because he only asks questions and Martin knows that he does not have the answers to any of the questions that the therapist would probably ask. While he is going through his things, he sees a brochure for a place called House of Love and notices that he had circled the address and scribbled down a series of dates and a phone number. He calls the phone number and a person responds that it is an agency that organises honeymoon vacations as well as retreats for couples in a place called the House of Love.

Martin parks his car outside the place called the House of Love and realises it seems as familiar as the agency had seemed. He rings the bell and is welcomed by a butler who takes his coat and tells him that he is a bit early but the House of Love never rejects visitors so he would be welcome to stay in the library while the lady of the house gets ready for visitors. After a short while, Rita goes into the library to welcome the first visitors and comes face to face with Martin.

  • Martin! She exclaims
  • I know you, he answers
  • How did you get here
  • I know you. Who are you?

Rita throws her arms around him and in that instant all the other essences of Martin gather again within him and he knows. He turns her face slowly towards him and kisses her with all of his longing realising this was the woman he had been longing for when he woke up in that hotel room.

  • I know you from before Time, he says
  • I love you from beyond Time, beyond doubt…

He kisses her and the visitors who start pouring into the House of Love start clapping. Some japanese visitors among them take photographs or videos thinking that this is a performance which is part of the exhibition. You and I look at each other with delight though we know that this will definitely be sending some more ripples across time.

Le Flex – Kiss Me

Tales of the Wretched: Fantine – Chapter 3 : A way out

Tales of the Wretched – Fantine Chapter 3 : A way out

28 November 2017

Christian Schloe--surreal-art-digital-art
Courtesy Christian Schloe

 

Michel enters his car, puts on the radio and clasps his hands together to stop them from trembling. The countenance he had kept earlier when meeting Fantine and Patrick falls apart as he is flooded by memories and deeply hidden desires. After all those years of searching for her, he has finally found her and perhaps, just perhaps, he can make things happen between them. He remembers that she used to feel some sort of pity for him and would always protect him but back then already he had fallen in love with her. She was his hero and the love of his life. He remembers the day she had put on her jasmine perfume for the first time and how he had loved its smell. He had loved it to the extent that he got into a broil with the Ugly trio just so that she would come rescue him and he could smell that scent again while she interposed herself between him and the Ugly trio.

Slowly Michel extracts a photograph from a brown bag he retrieved from the glove box. It is a class photograph and in it Fantine and he are sitting side by side among several other classmates. He looks at the photograph lovingly caressing the contours of Fantine’s face. What would she think of him if she knew how madly he was in love with her and how desperately he had wanted her to be his. All those years looking for her had not reduced on bit of his longing for her. She pervaded his every sense and was the motivating factor of all those days at the gym when he sought to get a body that she would admire. He wanted her to be proud of him, to love him, to find him worthy of her and to finally become his.

Michel puts the photograph back in the glove box and eases himself out of the car again. He walks rapidly towards the shawarma place where Fantine is still finishing her shawarma plate. If she is surprised when she sees him come back she does not let it show on her face as she welcomes him back.

  • Hello Michel. Did you forget something
  • You. I mean, no, I could never forget you. What I mean is I have come back for you
  • What do you mean?
  • I want to make you a proposal. I want you to be mine
  • I don’t do the paid mistress part. It is not my cup of tea as I earn more doing what I do.
  • I don’t mean that. I mean a real proposal. I want you to be my wife

Fantine draws a sharp breath in but says nothing. In the earlier years she used to fantasize that some man would come rescue her; someone who would make her such a proposal and she would be able to live in a small house with children and a man to make a home for but it had never happened. As the years had gone by, she had got used to doing what she did and ultimately come to terms with it.

  • I don’t think that I can accept that Michel, she says softly
  • Why not?
  • I used to have that dream once but now I am used to what I do. Besides, who would pay me and arrange for the money to be sent back home if I stop working
  • I would. I will give you all the money to match your earnings and even try to surpass it. I am well paid you know, as a commissioner
  • You have no idea how much I make. How could you match it
  • I am not only offering you money. I am offering you a way out. Don’t you feel tired sometimes and wish you could do something else?

Fantine bites her lip. Yes, she does feel sometimes terribly tired and wishes that she were doing something else but that thought is soon forgotten as she focuses on the outcome for her mother.

  • You are right but I know I can count on myself while I don’t know if I can count on you
  • I will not betray you. I will never leave you
  • If you knew how many men come here that are married, you would understand why I find it difficult to believe you. I am sure they too told their wives at some point that they would never leave them.
  • I have some savings. If you don’t believe me I can give you all my savings in advance so you are assured that you would never lack money

Fantine bites her lip again. In all the years she had dreamed of someone coming and rescuing her she had imagined a grandiose declaration and firework everywhere. This seems so calm and measured that it somehow feels unreal. Yet she can feel her heart warm up to the idea and Michel is a handsome man though graying. She holds her hand out to him and whispers that she might just take his way out even though she does not know where it will lead the both of them. Michel cries tears of joy and holds her against his heart. He does not care what the men working under him will think or say. All that matters is that Fantine will be his at last.

Phaedrus – Jade

Glance

Glance

27 November 2017

Christian schloe pinterest com 15
Courtesy Christian Schloe on pinterest.com

 

She walked into the hotel lobby where he was sitting reading his newspaper and sipping his coffee. She could not help a second look at him taking in the well-groomed mustache and beard as well as the impeccable suit that seemed to be tailor-made. She could imagine the lean and firm muscles beneath. Just yesterday night they had been making love but today they were supposed to act as strangers. She had been upset when he had told her that she must leave his hotel room and come back the next day. What had upset her more was that he had then mentioned that his wife was about to come and they should therefore act as strangers if they were to meet in the lobby.

She realised now why he had made her come to his room on her own after their dinner in a restaurant which was not the hotel restaurant. She had thought at the time that it was to protect her reputation and was so happy he was considerate. She realised now that it was actually to protect his own reputation and make sure his wife did not realise he had cheated on her during her absence. She gritted her teeth while she seated herself at one of the lobby chairs trying not to take a third glance at him as she knew that she might then falter and go talk to him.

From the corner of her eye she could see that someone had walked up to him. It was a woman and from his response she gathered it was his wife. She gritted her teeth again trying not to feel that sinking feeling that she usually felt when someone she cared for betrayed her. They had been dating for only two weeks so she wondered why she had fallen so deeply for him. Not once in those two weeks had he ever mentioned being married and they had visited several places in the gulf together.

Thinking back to those excursions she realised that he had always made sure they had two separate rooms even though they ultimately slept in the same room. He had mentioned it was to be on the safe side as they were unmarried and in the gulf which was after all a Muslim region but she realised now that it was so that there would be no trace of him ever having stayed at a hotel with a woman in his room.

She rose from where she was seated and clicked her heels together to gather some courage. She strode right up to him and offered her hand to shake.

  • Hello William, she said
  • Hello Astrid, he responded
  • How are you today and who is this lovely lady
  • It is my wife, Rosaline
  • Hello Rosaline
  • Hello Astrid

The wife had a fake smile plastered on her lips as she saluted Astrid and this latter realised that the wife knew. William was probably good at this sort of thing because this was something he did repeatedly. Astrid looked at him again and in that glance passed all her yearning and all her disappointment. He glanced back and she could recognise a sort of repentance and what seemed to be a shadow of yearning too. She shook hands with the two of them again, bade them goodbye and left them with a last glance towards William. Years later William wrote to her saying that glance had haunted him for a long time like he had said so months after their encounter over the phone. She had hung up then before he could draw her back to him. She never responded to his letter.

Tristeria – Sisyphus

Speak to me once

Speak to me once

26 November 2017

old woman leh-ladakh-india-portrait-old-woman-nikon-d7000-nikkor-18-105mm-deb-lahiri

 

Her hands were filthy. It seemed like the grime of a lifetime had been packed upon them. Her nails were broken and uneven and seemingly chewed upon repeatedly. Her hair was as filthy as her nails and hands and her face wore patches of filth and smears where she had attempted to cleanse it. Her outstretched hands begged for a living that was scarce to come. Sometimes she wondered whether people would give her more money if she were to be cleaner but then thought the better of it. If she were to clean herself, which would take a lot of trouble to accomplish given the lack of a stable abode, then they might simply think that she did not need the money.

She sat with her hand outstretched in front of the church every day and ostensibly holding her hand out and shaking the jug she usually left at her feet every Sunday. She had noticed that at least on Sundays she got more coins and sometimes even notes. It was as if the Sunday sermons finally reminded people of judgement day and of the need to be kind to the downtrodden whereas the rest of the days their work and other preoccupations mattered more. Sometimes on Sundays she would shuffle in after everyone had gone in for mass and sit at the back of the church listening to the sermon. While some sermons would bring tears to the eyes of the assembly, she would sit there dry-eyed, watching carefully those who let tears flow so as to insist more with them and get some coins when they were on their way out.

She did not care how she looked nor did she care what people thought of her. There was one thing that bothered her though and it was that nobody would address a word to her. It was as if by being forced to beg and looking haggard and unclean she had ceased to become a human being entitled to be part of the living, conversing human beings. She had tried once to talk to a man walking by and he had barely moved as if her voice was totally absent although he had stooped down to put a few coins in the jug in front of her. Another attempt to speak to a young woman had also gone unheard.

One Sunday on her way back to the shelter she realised that more than her lack of means and comfort, it was that human voice addressed to her that she missed the most. She felt like a ghost living in the midst of a flurry of people who hardly had the time to stop by her jug and fill it. She could hear them talk to each other but none graced her with a sentence towards her. That feeling of being a part of something bigger than just herself was what she lacked. That identification with a larger part of the population and validation as a fellow human being was what she craved for now that nobody would look upon her as equal. Her eyes brimmed with tears that blinded her. She stepped down the sidewalk.

The driver rushed out of his car to see whom he had hit. He recoiled at the sight of her bloodied dirty body sprawled at an ungainly angle on the road. Realising she was not dead he kneeled on the ground to see if he could do something. Blood was slowly leaking from her mouth and dripping to the side of her cheek. She seemed to be mumbling something so he put his ear close to her mouth. “Speak to me once”, she said. “Just talk to me like my life matters and you’re sorry”. “I am sorry”, he said. He held her hand. She smiled and closed her eyes. He felt her hand go lifeless as she slowly breathed out her last. He slowly let go of her hand as the ambulance came by to pick up her body. He wondered whether there would be someone attending her funeral and made a mental note to attend. She looked at him from behind. It felt normal now not to be looked at nor talked to.

 

Sahalé – Djiin (Original Mix)

A wealth of memories

A wealth of memories

24 November 2017

bird shutterstock com
Courtesy shutterstock.com

 

She shuffled to the park bench where she usually sat, her back still upright although the rest of her frame showed more of the frailty of old age. Two joggers looked at her vividly coloured clothes astonished at the marked difference between the peaceful serenity of her face and the gaudy colours of her salwar kameez. She merely smiled at them and waved as if she were waving to some long lost friends. They waved back after a few seconds of hesitation. It was always like that she thought in this foreign country where westerners did not expect strangers to wave or even smile at them.

As she watched them jog down the path she had just come from, she slowly opened the bag that she had extracted from her large handbag. It was a plastic bag filled with breadcrumbs and chunks of potato from yesterday’s servings that she had saved. She started throwing some to the birds that had gathered around her in the daily tradition and they readily started gobbling the morsels. All the while throwing the bread crumbs, she told them stories of the past, her present woes and her wishes for the future. The birds hovered or walked around her alternatively cooing or eating while she continued her monologue in hushed tones adding now and then a mark of appreciation for their listening.

  • Nobody listens anymore to my stories. I got so many to tell from my younger days but none of the young boys bother to hear them. They want stories of Superman and Batman but I can only tell stories of an old woman who was once young and lived an extraordinary life travelling.
  • Coo… coo.. coo
  • I did not travel like Superman of course as I did not have fast cars but I did travel once on the Orient Express
  • Coo… cooo… coo
  • I know dear. The Orient Express is not that exciting for youngsters today but I also traveled on the Palace on wheels which many youngsters still like today albeit when they are a bit older than James and Morris
  • Coo…cooo…coo
  • Who are James and Morris ? Well they are my grandchildren dearies. Did I not speak to you of my grandchildren ? Oh, they are a beautiful pair. A bit naughty but a beautiful pair of young children all the same. They call me grammy and want me to tell stories of Batman and Superman but I only had my own stories to tell
  • Coo… cooo…coo
  • Susan bought me a few books. She says I can read those books to them as they have stories of Superman and Batman. I do that now but then who will listen to my stories ?
  • Coo… cooo…coo
  • I know you will dearies. You are so kind. My late Robert used to say one day we will both be old and maybe not remember each other anymore but I am sure we will remember enough to tell each other stories. He is now long gone my Robert and my stories still hang around my head whispering to me so that I may tell them to someone. I wish my Robert were here to listen to my stories. I would look at him and say listen old man (chuckling) – he was an old fool, Robert – I have a wealth of memories to share with you. He was an old fool indeed. Always used to say that I looked just like the young girl he had always known.

She kept chuckling and sharing both pieces of the food in the bag and stories of the past as well as hopes for the future. The birds gathered around her in more tight ranks as the murmur of her voice subsided. As the sun went down, the joggers who were passing by on their way back saw her extended frame on the bench where she had stretched out to peacefully pass away, her wealth of memories tucked away into her folds forever.

 

Stive Morgan ~ New Asia – Zov Predkov (Stive Morgan Remix)

Moon Petals

Moon Petals

15 November 2017

Christian schloe tumblr com 2
Courtesy Christian Schloe on tumblr.com

 

Grey dawns pearl

Pushing back the night

It subsides

In circles

The Sun picking up the strides

Invades horizons

 

New day born

From womb that was torn

Miracles

Pulsating

Within mind’s webs creating

Remnants of her Art

 

The Mother

She anointed me

Moon Petals

Whispering

The moment when prayers ring

To temples in heart

 

Reading of the poem: 

Shoot the Moon – Norah Jones

Nightingale – Norah Jones

LoneStar – Norah Jones

Winter Time she rides

Winter Time she rides

13 November 2017

christian schlo cerf cernunnos
Courtesy Christian Schloe

 

Twine me us

Cutting through puzzles

The Mother

Calf nuzzles

Enchant me the rivers flow

Sands row after row

 

Swear to me

Oath of icicles

When we sound

Miracles

Bursting from rooftops aglow

Lightning for the show

 

Rain on me

The Canticles of lore

The bracelets

That she wore

Bound us to the gleaming tides

Winter Time she rides

 

Reading of the poem: 

christian schloe cerf et fille pinterest com digital-art-digital-collage
Courtesy Christian Schloe

Ketil Bjornstad – Intimacy

Ketil Bjørnstad & David Darling The River II

John Donne – Lovers Infiniteness / Music: Ketil Bjornstadt