The most interesting things currently taking place in my life are things that I either cannot discuss, or choose not to. For instance, I took part in a film shoot that remains confidential for the time being, and I must adhere to the rules we were given. It was a light-hearted, fun day. I appreciate that there is a still thing we call ‘the arts’ where we let people be people. We let them create and loosen up and be honest, and we have innumerable moments where we laugh. And like most film shoots, the interesting parts were taking place off-camera. If you are like me, you engage with the people you’re working with, and you watch. And you listen. You watch people’s intentions and objectives–their real ones, not those of the character they play–, especially when they think no one is watching. Not in judgement, but to learn rather. What to do, what not to do. All the world is a stage. Indeed.
Now unlike film, literature allows us to connect to the deepest human emotions from as far back as man’s history goes, revealing our human patrimony over centuries. Dickens, Yeats, and Hemingway turn me on in ways that a movie can’t. The smell of that paper, and the way my mind is stimulated. We share history, and bridge cultural and ethnic gaps through and by literature. We break barriers through and by literature. We open our minds through and by Jesus. HA! Made you look. I’m kidding– not really– and I meant literature. We bridge gaps in our comprehension of one another by LITERATURE. We are, metaphorically speaking, one big reading rainbow coalition of people by continuing the tradition of story telling through words.
N pays me good money to help her break down essays like the one I summarized those thoughts from, and to write essays on like matter. And I do it well. But what I don’t do, or forget to do at times, is to have the same patience with those closest to me as I do with her. Especially Brandon. We had a minor disagreement, but it destroyed the latter part of my week, carrying over into a full-blown argument this weekend. It ended with me screaming about us not being on the same page in terms of the subject we were arguing over. Over and over again I kept yelling about some book neither of us could see, and tying everything to chapters and page numbers. It made (non)sense at the time.
There is a woman that I know, and she was close to dying. For months I asked her daughter how she was doing, and passed on hello’s and happy holidays’. By way of her daughter, we communicated the little, mundane tidbits of information that people usually don’t care to ask about. Eventually I stopped asking when I would get to see her again, instead focusing on giving her daughter the hugs she must be missing from her own mother. Her daughter is quite shy, and her eyes would dart to all corners of the room when we ran out of things besides her mother to discuss. In the unlikeliest moment, I finally saw this woman and I began to sob. Whether it was from the surprise of seeing her, the overwhelming day I had already had, the fight with Brandon, or the fact that I’ve been feeling like a fat little sausage that caused me to cry, I’m not sure. I was embarrassed that she was comforting me when she was the one who’d survived a disease that almost took her life. She seemed pleased to see me doing well, and I felt an invisible pat on the back as if to say ‘It’s ok to cry. You love hard when you love people, and it’s ok to cry.’
And when I love, it sometimes means that I think I know what’s best. Or, it means that I know I know what’s best, and you better get behind me. But in a relationship between a man and a woman who plan to get married, it’s me who has to learn to get behind someone else, and let someone else lead. Brandon is an individual, and I’ve got to stop being unsatisfied when he doesn’t match my idea of what he should or shouldn’t do. The truth is that he has his own ideas and opinions on what direction we should be going in. And he doesn’t read classic literature. And he isn’t a performer. But when I asked him to be an extra on that secret film shoot, he got up early and he was the best fake parking lot attendant the film world will soon see.
I had just gotten over our fight, and settled into the loving way we normally are when we got on the subway headed for my house. I pulled out my notebook to read personal notes I’ve made, and figured Brandon would pull out his headphones. But instead, he pulled out a book. A James Bond novel written by Ian Fleming to be exact. Turns out, he does read classic literature after all, just a different sort. The sort that is difficult to read, and written not about young women strolling through fields, but leading men dressed to kill. Literally.
There is nothing like the time you have with someone, even a friend, after an argument. We ate and watched television, content to be doing the normal routine and laughing. Exhausted, I finally decided that I would go into my room and retire for the night. It was early, especially for a weekend, but I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer. Walking away, I asked and then softly pleaded with Brandon to read to me. I love being read to. He obliged, and pulled out the James Bond book. ”Goldfinger” it is. But first I needed some questions answered. Why is he 007? (Because the double-0 is a license code from the secret service, and 7 is his service number.) Who is Goldfinger? (A bad guy.) Is Goldfinger his real name? (Yes).
What do you mean that’s his real name? …So then what’s his first name? Is it Donald? …Auric? Auric is his first name? AURIC Goldfinger? …Donald sounds better.
The last thing I remember before my alarm went off was something about Bond and Goldfinger playing a game of golf. Yes, something like that.
I’m growing. I’m getting better every day. I’m just glad none of our stories, not mine or yours, end like they start.
Written to: M83 “Midnight City”, Kazinsky “Nightcall”, and the one and only Frank Sinatra “My Way”
I am obsessed with my current music selection– youtube it when you want to zone out. “Gonna take you where it’s dark, but have no fear..”