art & artifice
We share more than etymology.

Things Change

August 08, 2005
"What is it that you want from me?"
"I want truth."

My truth is full of colors and textures, full of sounds and scents and tastes. My truth is fantastic, it grants me wings so I can fly across the burgundy night. My truth is not what you want. You want the jagged edges where the silk wings get caught under a foggy sky empty of stars.

Truth is essence, it reflects our insides. Your cities of the interior are built of mirrors that reflect the horror of the things around you. Crumbling twin towers, flaming birds of steel, blood, war, disease, hunger and death.

This is not who you are. What is your essence? Not a line dividing good and evil, black and white, terrorist and freedom fighter. Your truth is that you are a man without sanctuary. That is why you love me, I am a country you knew once, perhaps in childhood, full of wonders and sunsets and stories told around a campfire.

A city full of wondrous stories, of madmen who thought themselves conquistadors and who told you stories in exchange for your allowance. It is ice cream on the boardwalk, jellyfish washed up on the shore, stolen kisses of pretty little girls under bridges on balmy nights in a land of innocence. What happened to it?

You went back with the hardened eyes of adulthood, with the walled heart of experience. You went back after planning for months, full of excitement despite yourself, to see once more those towering rocks, the deep green sea, the sea birds and crabs scattering at sunset.

You were disappointed. You were disappointed by the expansion of the coastal town, the unfamiliar faces on the beach, the warning signs dotting the shore lines.

No lifeguard.

There never was a lifeguard but there weren't always signs. Now the town is commercial, braced for lawsuits on all sides.

You swam anyway, swam so you didn't have to cry, but it wasn't the same, there was a loneliness in it that spit you out of the vast Pacific and left you on the cooling gray sand.

You left heavy and angry, drove yourself straight home where you berated yourself over one too many bourbons with only your laptop for company.

You'd planned to begin the article here, on the house you'd rented just a block from your parents' old beach house. That house had been lost, it was now boarded up, a giant hacienda of ghosts. They'd given it to your uncle when he promised to get his act together, they'd given it to him for collateral as a sign of loyalty so he could begin again and he had squandered every memory in a seedy casino up north.

Things change.

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