20 de gener 2010

Jay Bee

Jay Bee has been on my mind lately, time to let go.

I have been looking for him in close references, far friendships.
He disappeared, he is gone like his memory that suddenly returned in the departure lobby on the way to Phu Quoc, accompanied by the metallic, monotonous rythm of the escalator leading to the door.

Why his memory caught me that moment? And why when I thought of him I thought of a faded-green frog carefully kept in alluminium foil? Me attending mass with a huge toad on my lap, our crazy ideas that only made sense for us?

We were mates. We spent days on trees and chasing bugs.
He stole things and told me on lunchtime, when everybody was silent and the theft was uncovered, when no silence broke, his eyes searched mine to confess by making funny faces.

He had hair of hay. And a pointy nose. And always smelled like soil and rocks. Others feared him, not me. We'd meet anywhere unannounced, just casually, climbing on trees, or chasing reptiles.

Summer ended and back home I dedicated the end of it to swimming morning to evening in my parents' swimming pool, on the good side of the barrio, until my skin turned soft and wrinkly and I had to dry for supper time.
I didn't know he was on the other side of the fence, observing me.
Do you know when you do something and imagine how you'd look if somebody was watching you? Someone watched my very moves. There, protective. My loyal friend. The same one who was there by my side when I stood up for my sister when the priest went way too far.
After the spying, paper notes rained wrapped in a rock to the bottom of the blue tiles of the swimming pool. The paper would come out in bits, so I read them inside the water, head down with goggles on.

Jay Bee and I were... like Bonny and Clyde. Accomplices. For a while I thought that with his strange silence and his elaborated trouble making he was getting the darker side of me. But in fact, those holidays I got the light in him. I helped him stay out of trouble by building tree houses, chasing dragon flies and observing frogs develop from toad to young froggy in their habitat.
After the notes, the phone calls from a booth in the outskirts of the city arrived, from the bad side of town, with a background sound of street fights and drug dealers shouting around. Peep... peep... Silly conversations that surrounded him of a halo, hard to define, that kept me wondering of this kid's life and the reasons to be eligible to become a delinquent one day.

During summer camp he gave me the most beautiful present a girl could ever have.
A plastic cup, with a frog in it.

"I caught it and named it after you" he said.

I carefully covered the cup with aluminium foil and made some holes. I slept next to it, hid it in the dorm and checked on it every time I could.
Selva-the-frog aftermath was a decoloured agonizing froggy. I didn't dare tell him.
I woke up in the middle of the night, grabbed a torch, sneaked out of the dorm, went to the pond, unnoticed I climbed the fence of the pond and let the froggy free in the shallow end. I don't think it moved anymore.

Many years after the froggy episode it hit me, overlooking the China sea:
Jay Bee and I were in love, it took me a decade to process.

Whatever he might be doing now I thought of him on a lonely island. I got to hum a song thinking of the times that made us so unpopular amidst other kids.

I didn't kiss a frog. It got it already packed up in a plastic cup.
Thank you for the best present a girl could ever have.
He vanished from my life.
Anyone knows what has become of him?
Why can't i find him?Is that so hard?


I keep looking at the clock. Nothing. minutes, hours passing by.


Did you ever encounter that the very root of your problem is not to have any problem at all?

That there is a very big hole somewhere and you can only fill it virtually, staying away from it?

That you are solid matter and then a few drops fall and turn you into a grainy, porous, cementy paste?

That this is just another life played by location, like those games in screens.
Waiting for a new screen to come.

That there is not always enough available fruit of excitement to squeeze a glass.
That you cannot digest known flavours...

Just wondering

06 de gener 2010

warming up

I met a guy in Vietnam, who used to take me out to this exclusive places for dinner, as we found an affinity in liking company on the table and for good food and wine.

He was coordinator for a reputable newspaper, a correspondent abroad, an interpreter and now and then a touristic guide.
I saw passion in what he did and I shared passion on what he thought and knew.

Among the people I have been crossing paths with, he, not knowing me, gave me a few tips to go on in this new stage in life. I looked up to him, I always admire people who reach their goals professionally in a field that is also their passion.

So among the advices of that Vietnamese stranger, there is one I remember and cherish, and wonder if I should work on or just admit my lyricism. While I was interested in writing my traveling experiences from the point of view of sensations, he believed I should work on my journalistic writing. Leave the sensations, the smells and the thoughts and focus in the facts that reveal stages in history, tell people how different places and cultures are, what are the differences or how parallelisms acquire different shapes in different parts of earth.
I do capture it, and that's why I like to trot around the globe, but I often think that pointing at differences with journalistic scrutiny is like stressing in them. I personally usually celebrate those differences and retain how they made me feel, forgetting the details of that process, in which people are usually so interested in.

Or I think of my friend Jahel, who gave me an insight on writing scripts, that so fascinated me because there is a lot of visualizing involved, detail, you predict who is going to appear, what is going to happen next, how, where... What is going to be said, how is it going to end.

Such different styles, such different views on writing. Does it reflect our personality?
Am I too lyric because I can't see further from my heart? I can write about the past but not the future, I can't picture it. Excited to see what happens next, totally unprepared: Is it good or bad?
... I know is a rhetorical question as these writings don't serve as start of a thread,but sometimes I would love to read opinions.

As I arrived back in The Netherlands I noticed cloggie things, things that make me find the answer to "how are Dutch like?"
I know I shall work on hanging pictures, to gain attention (the purpose of writing needs also feed, and readers), I just got up, had some coffee and I am still setting myself up in an empty apartment that strangely feels like home. And trying to define my line of work with routines. Like writing a lot more, developing old ideas and writing a few songs.

So here a preface to write a few more journalistic things in coming days and move on to develop a script, on a heavy heavy matter, but let's see...

All good.
Today's feelings:

Just laziness, every other thing is peace.