E ti fa ridere cosi tanto
Qualche volta ti fa impazzire
ma non si vergogna a piangere e ti abbracci forte forte.
Practice. Practice. Practice.
L’amore è un sentimento migliore che ti da palpi del cuore
E ti fa ridere cosi tanto
Qualche volta ti fa impazzire
ma non si vergogna a piangere e ti abbracci forte forte.
The older man sitting across from her repeats "bus, bus, bus," like a mantra. Maybe he’s just trying to remember something, the fact that he is on a bus or what a bus even is. He has on an orange jacket and black gym shoes lined with red trim. His hair is white, and his face is weathered. His aura is confused. Everything about him seems sad, at least she thinks so.
The bus slowly moves along. It passes her former work place, and even a former lover who walks down the street almost carelessly. It looks like he’s looking for something or someone. Her?
“Hey!” he shouted from across the street and called her to attention, wagging his index finger to beckon her. The image makes the hair on her arms stand on end, like little soldiers with perfect posture. The memory of his voice and touch cause her to vomit in her mouth, but she chokes it back down without a second thought. She wished she had broken his finger in that moment.
It’s been a few years since, but they had encountered each other many times along that same path, but she purposely avoids it now. He’s wearing a brown leather jacket and black jeans. His face is just as stupid as she remembers. She turns her head to watch his exiguous frame disappearing behind the bus. He is nothing but a stranger now, and she can't decide if she still hates him. Hate is a strong feeling, and any feeling would mean that she still cared, so she decides she doesn't hate him any longer. What would be the point? Hate would be such a wasted emotion on a stranger, better not to care at all.
The bus continues, stopping at one point to make a driver exchange. One shift ends and another begins. This reminds her that she's cutting it close, and she hopes she'll make it to work on time. The bus turns on to Western. She checks a bus tracking app to make sure the second bus she needs to take is on time. One minute away it says, she'll get to work on time, no doubt about it. She gets off the bus at Western and Lawrence, then hops on the next bus soon after.
She sees a man sitting across from her, with sun soaked skin, fake diamond earrings and a close to the scalp haircut. She watches him crumple a few dollars and shove them in his pocket with his left hand. He keeps it there, clutching the money as if his life depends on it, at least she thinks so. With his right hand he wipes his eyes, and when his hand goes back to resting on his lap, it glistens as if wet. He's crying? She wonders if she should ask what's wrong, but doesn't. She watches him with growing interest. He's wearing black Nike shoes, the type meant for skateboarding, with untied laces that drag along the floor, and the white trim that's caked in dirt, blue jeans and a long sleeved shirt from Hollister. He's older, probably half way to death's door, and he's got dried blood caked behind his left ear.
The bus slowly creeps up a bridge, and stops constantly due to construction. She only has thirty minutes left before she'll be late to work. The weather is mild, no chilling wind that slices the skin or baking sun that ages it, only a cool breeze and streaked clouds that blend in with the light blue sky. The man twitches. He opens a bottle and downs something. It's alcohol. He's drunk. The bottle is almost empty and he spills most of the remaining contents on himself. He yawns, unconcerned with the mess he's made. Drunk before three in the afternoon. She tries not to judge him. She wonders why he's doing this, and if he does it often. Twenty minutes till work. He sits with his hands on his lap, fingers interlocked.
The bus passes her friend's house on Belden, and she wonders what she could be doing at this very moment. Probably sleeping. Her friend has an awful sleep schedule. More people board the bus. The drunk man stands up, prepared to get off. The back of his shirt is wet, how did he do that? He gets off by the Western blue line. She wonders if he's got more bottles in his black backpack and if he'll continue drinking on the train. She checks the time. Seventeen minutes until she's late.
A woman stands nearby, talking to herself. She recounts a story about a past job. "They turned against me because of one lie," the woman says, but it's out of context and she's not sure what she is going on about. She pulls the cord to indicate her stop is coming up. "All you want to do is hurt me," the woman goes on. Who is she talking to? She gets louder. "Sweetheart, I'm gonna have to ask you to sit down," calls the bus driver from the front. He's got brown skin, a kind face and a massive frame. She gets even louder, ignoring or maybe not even realizing that she was being instructed to quiet down. Then the woman says, "I felt cold. There was no love in his heart." She wonders what this woman has been through, and thinks about asking, but doesn't. The bus stops across from her workplace. She hops off after thanking the driver, and leaves the woman and the live drama of public transportation for a few hours.
It all begins with Theseus, the Athenian hero volunteered to sail to Crete as one of the young boys and seven maidens who were to be sacrificed to the monster Minotaur, the son of the Cretan king Minos. During this time, he meets princess Ariadne. Theseus falls in love with Ariadne, the daughter of king Minos. Ariadne gives him a ball of thread to help him to find his way back from the labyrinth where Minotaur resides. He ties one end of the thread to the door of the labyrinth and unfurls it as he progresses inside. He then finds the Minotaur and slays him in the ensuing fight. After escaping from the labyrinth using Ariadne’s thread, he sets sail to return to Athens taking Ariadne with him. The ship stops on the island of Naxos where Ariadne falls asleep, and Theseus, after having stolen Minos’s daughter, cruelly abandons Ariadne on the island.
There she wandered on the shore, forsaken, and alone. Unloved by Theseus, her gown loose, her bosom naked, and her feet bare. She cried as she stood by the shore, watching Theseus’s ship sailing away in the distance. “Her briny tears augment the briny flood; she shriek’d and wept, and both became her face, no posture could that heav’nly form disgrace. She beat her breast: - “The traitor’s gone,” said she; “What shall become of poor forsaken me?’” After she had spoken those words, the sounds of cymbals rattled on the shore. She swooned for fear, and falls to the ground, no vital heat was in her body found. Before her was a chariot pulled by two cheetahs, and scudding satyrs ran before their god. He was followed by drunken nymphs and a man wrapped in snakes, a sort of parade of drunken dames pursuing their drunken god. Ariadne and Bacchus meet, and eventually, very quickly I might add, they marry. He brought her comfort. She was a woman deserted, weeping because she was alone, abandoned, betrayed by someone who helped and who promised to love her and give her a crown of stars.
Aria continues to wander by the shoreline. Her briny tears have run dry. It’s been almost forty-eight hours since she was abandoned on the island. Half nude and scared, she thinks of all the reasons why this could have happened. What had she done wrong? She thought that Theo had truly loved her; he had seemed so grateful to her. Without her help he would have never found his way out of the labyrinth, he would have never defeated the Minotaur, and yet here she stands on the wet sand. The ship had disappeared in the distance the day before and was nowhere to be seen. If the world were really flat, perhaps it had fallen off the edge, or she hoped as much. Perhaps falling off the edge of the earth was too harsh a punishment for a man she loved, or thought she loved.
“Come away with me, Aria. We can see the world. I’ve got a fast ship and the Minotaur’s head in barrel. Can you image the fame?”
“Theo, I can’t just leave. My father-”
“Screw your father!” He interrupts Aria. “He can’t keep us apart. They’ll sing songs about my bravery, they’ll sing songs about our love! Come away with me, forget the king. Forget this life.”
“I can’t just leave my kingdom-”
“Of course you can! You helped me, and I promised to marry you didn’t I? I’m a man of my word.”
“It doesn’t feel right to run off like this. Can’t we wait till morning to discuss this?” She doesn’t understand the rush.
“Morning?” He pauses. The way he’s glaring at her makes her skin crawl, but then his face softens.
“Fine, in the morning then. Goodnight.”
The last thing she remembers is her head on a pillow and gazing up at the ceiling. She woke up in a heap of loose clothing and sand, the ship of her former companion disappearing before her eyes.
She wails and whines, bare feet kicking up the beach all around her, and yelling obscenities into the open expanse of sea and sand, for about a day. Why should she blame herself? The folly and dishonor of man had lead her here, not her own doing. After tiring herself, she sits and thinks for a while.
“There must be a way off this island,” she says to herself.
“There is,” says a voice, located somewhere behind her. She stands up with a jolt, shocked and
frightened. Wasn’t she alone? She hears a rusting in the trees.
“Who are you!” she calls out. The trees rustle as if in response, and then she hears the sounds of
cymbals rattling on the shore. She turns her head quickly, her body following its lead, and comes face to face with a handsome man who appeared no older than a quarter of a century. She falls to the ground in a bundle of sand chocked strips of cloth, her bosom bare, but she makes no effort to conceal herself. She has lost the ability to think of words in order to form sentences in which to demand what in hell was happening before her. The young stranger was not alone.
Behind him was a chariot, pulled, not by horses, but leopards. Beside the chariot stood people, two the size of children, but with horns protruding from their skulls, and goat’s legs where their own chubby ones should have been. There were four women, all wrapped in silk and gold, who laughed and danced, their eyelids heavy as if fighting the will of the sandman. There was a large man, muscular and barbaric, wrapped in live snakes as if they were clothing. It was as if a parade of oddities had found its way to the island. Aria could not believe any of it. She continued to silently stare. The young man waves his hands, but she does not react. She is aware of him, but lost in thought.
“Hello in there,” sings the man, his voice as pure as a soft melody.
“Hello,” Aria hears herself say back.
“I heard your cries, I felt your kicks, the sand has whispered a sad song in my ears. I’d like to help you.”
“Yes! Of course. I can’t just leave a beauty such as you to die alone.” Aria stares at him. He’s youthful and rouged, rough and soft, with a silver chalice in his left hand.
He notices her glance, “Wine?” he asks.
“Water,” she says, and with his right arm stretched toward the sky, another silver chalice appears in his hand.
“Water,” he repeats, and hands her the glass that has appeared out of thin air.
To be continued...
The hardest part of winter: the darkness.
The sun is down by four pm and the day dies.
This death causes anguish and pain.
The darkness makes for sleepy minds and desperate hearts.
It's hard to fight the urge to weep and whine in the cover of early night,
for nights bring thoughts of the day, and we mourn its early death.
There she was, the mysterious brunette in over-sized snow boots whom I had seen on multiple occasions in the very same spot. She awaited her bus under the cover of the train station, which provided no heat, but kept the bitter Chicago wind at bay. Her weight was balanced on one leg, the right one, and her left was a few inches behind, knee bent, the toe of her boot grinding lightly into the ground. She seemed to stare blankly through the iced glass doors that led right out to the bus stop, but her mouth was turned up slightly to form a gentle smile. It couldn't have been a blank stare, she must have been deep in thought, but what did I really know? I knew nothing about her except the color of her hair and impeccable balance. All I knew is that I had to have her. She would be mine to ruin.
Without realizing it, in a span of four months, I've written to you twice. The first was about rain, and the second was about snow. From September to December, I wrote of wanting to watch different types of weather phenomena with you. I find it strange to want something so mundane. A few drops of rain, a flurry of snowflakes, and the desire to share them with you is unequivocally strong. Some days I'm not even sure what we're doing, why I'm with you, but then I think of the rain, I think of the snow, and then I understand. Water in any form is still water. Even as the seasons change, or my feelings waver, there will always be a cloud.
I want to watch the snow fall
I want the seasons to change
I want you to stay even when I question us
Hold my hand as I figure out who I am
Let me go when I need time
I want you to understand me
I want you to stay even when I want to go
Let me be reckless
Wait for me
Each day like a snowflake
Hopefully leading me back to you
I want to watch the snow fall
Will you be there too?
I want to watch the rain with you
Drip drip drip
The drops hit the ground
The birds bathe in temporary puddles
My heart beats in tempo with their wings
I don't know what your heart is doing
I'm not sure I want to know either
I don't want to break the illusion
I just want to watch the rain with you
For as long as I can
Front seat to avoid puking.
Three cars with ribbons indicating unity and togetherness. A small part of a larger procession that will soon be forgotten.
The French countryside is a muck with twisting and turning roads that require constant gear shifting. 4th to 3rd to 2nd and back again.
I swear we passed at least a million trees. Maybe more.
Eyes tired. Restless. Sleepless. 4am return. 11am check out. Two croissants consumed.
Irony: declaring that you don't want nor ever will get married and then catching a bride's bouquet a few hour later. (And then insisting that you only caught it because you calculated the trajectory, all very mathematic and scientific, a simple accident of athleticism, a fluke.)
Ribbons don't flow in the wind, they cut and rage,it's a concentrated madness.
Concentrated madness: a small, often uncontainable or uncontrollable, burst of "crazy" or "insane" (1) behavior, (2) movement, or (3) speech pattern. Ex: "marriage is a good idea" is an example of concentrated madness (3).
Applause. The show begins.
We lost our procession for two minutes due to the toll.
The Alps are in our sights. We're going around them to get back home.
The French-Italian Alps.
The mountains are truly wonderful, their beauty incomparable.
Ripped the heads off shrimp. Broke a glass. Consumed a large pile of fries.
My head is spinning. My stomach is similar.
A natural fountain with ice cold water from the Alps. Crisp. Refreshing. Possibly contained electrolytes. Research later.
The mountains seem endless. The road is infinite and there are no destinations. The trees are ancient and intimidating. One wrong turn and the road could end for you.
Through one tunnel, out of France and back in Italy. It's that simple. A twenty second drive through a tunnel built into the mountains. Crazy.
The autostrada is the fastest way to get back.
(1) Is love necessary?
(2) So I need to do Laundry?
(3) I swear pairs of my underwear were stolen at that hotel in France, but I might just be forgetful about my packing and paranoid.
It's dark, but I can see the outline of cypress trees in the early morning mist. It's 5:30am, and we're on the road: twisting and turning our way through Italy. It's been hours since we last stopped to rest, and I'm feeling restless. The thoughts of a gruesome death in a vehicular accident won't leave my mind. Being crushed, enveloped in a burst of flames, and slowly bleeding out play like a film in my mind every time we take a sharp turn. Morbid, I know, but I think if you're not worrying about such things that you aren't really living. Stress and worry are a part of human nature, the need to flight or flight to survive, as well as questioning if you're really on this road, and are you sure it's not all a dream, or if this reality is real or not.
Note to self: don't watch videos about philosophical topics while on the road, too much time to contemplate like Descartes and question Socrates' cave theory. Just enjoy the sunrise.
Enjoy the cypress trees common to Tuscany, enjoy the hues of blue and orange and yellow and try not to overthink. No thoughts of gruesome deaths, or philosophy, or how your eyebrows were ruined yesterday and how you want to choke the waxer to death. Listen to popular music that you can't help but enjoy even if it is mainstream, it's a science after all, they know how to get you with their catchy beats and repetitive chorus. Scam artists.
Enjoy the detour through Florence, the sights, the rising sun. The clouds are voluminous and awash with pinks and yellows. It's lovely in the early hours of the day, a sign of good things to come.
Self awareness is the worst part of being an artist.