Red smoke. Blue smoke. Green smoke.
A single bulky transporter pulls a trail of dust trough a pretty boring desert landscape, grey, peek-less mountains, not close, nor far away. Inside that vehicle the pale sun cuts slots of light into the murky and narrow darkness around you. Tiny lookout slots, bulletproof glass, dirty with dust and smear, additionally protected with grids of metal. There you are, rumbling down your road in a car of massive steal built for just what it is you’ve chosen to do. Foreign, alien stones, gravel and dust underneath you, a thirsty terrain. If you want to go faster go try tell it to the driver, if you want some goat milk, go shoot some shepherds.
Somebody sighs, but then stops in the middle of it. Your fellows’ faces are exhausted from sign language, fingers aching from pointing at doors, options, enemies, equipment. You stare, you doze off. Like all other vehicles this one stops too and you are startled with sudden fear once it ceases cradling you. Your poor heart calms down enough for you to fake a yawn. Time to step out of your tank, flowerchild.
Your reptile sunglasses block the sun with two oily puddles for eyes, mirroring distorted silhouettes of your buddies gearing up at the end of the rainbow. Your head is wrapped with your first bandana since 1996. You could fry an egg on your helmet and you once knew people who would have tried, but these are anecdotes from another saga. How to cook an ostrich egg in a monkey skull.
Scan your horizon. A whole moon for yourself. Out there you are, in plain view, you and all your camouflage. Still you can be seen from anywhere on earth and please remember that down here we do think of you, we do miss you and we are waiting for you. Red smoke. Blue smoke. Green smoke. Your call, King Kong: Your love has died.
This time I came back a little chubby, not really fat, but noticeably heavier. I thought it was the beard so I shaved it off and my jaws were very pale and white for almost two weeks. After shaving I watched the stubbles just below the freshly shaven skin, each one surrounded with a tiny halo of blue and black that soon afterwards turned red. I then started to shave every day and tried a lot of aftershaves to fight back razor burns. I ended up using pure alcohol I bought at the pharmacy, it works best. At least it works best with my skin. Ok, I had to relief-cut my old pants in the back for comfort. But after all I did not look too bad by my means, friendly and sober, willing and smiling. And even if I have gained some kilos, please note that for me it is not only a bad thing to watch my body change. It is a little bit difficult for me to explain, but let’s say there is a plan to build something, a knee or a hand for example. It takes about eighteen (?) years to grow it, eighteen years from this small cookie sized soft paw into a grown man’s claw. At some point everything comes together, and then there is the maximum of strings, bones, blood bla bla bla involved to make it work, open and close and so on. It might take different time spans for different persons and bodies, but at some point not only your hand, everything is ready, fully there. It is the same for animals too, I think. But Ok, you are complete then and from this point on there are two options and both depend on how you get along with time. First option: time is my friend. Then everything is cool, because me and my time party those knees down, like high-five and we are then only doing things I really like to do (??). The second option is that my time and I do not get along at all and this is then very negative, in fact it is bad. It means I have to watch time doing the demolition on its own and I don’t have anything to do but to stick around and do nothing.
This is difficult, but what really scares me about this is the aspect of STOP growing. Of course, there can never be a FULL STOP, because all things have to transform themselves on and on, like love does or friendship or earth. But when everything is involved in this or that process, I really don’t understand why I should not have hands as big as a car when I am sixty-five. So some things stop and the road goes on for others, and this is the process of life, sure but I just don’t know what goes on and what doesn’t. And all this growing business is positive and it means being alive among others who are alive too and there is no such thing as a fixed relationship. Let’s say I really agree, but somewhere in this system of development and change, somewhere in there, deeply hidden in this friendly spectrum of options, there is a lie, I feel it, there is a mean, dirty and stinking lie and I feel it like I feel my own toes cuddling with one another like unborn rabbits. But to come back to my first point: if I grow fatter it means I am still on the way and I feel more comfortable. That’s all, it’s banal. And these are just thoughts I have when I observe my knees turning into water melons or when I cannot sleep. Sometimes I also think that if it could, my ass would certainly laugh at me every time I sit down. So you see I am not a scientist and for sure you will deal with your body in a totally different way. For now let’s just agree on the fact that I have body issues, very common body issues, I feel too big, or too small, things like that.
So my life has changed and I had to find another way of dealing with my body and to understand myself in a better way. I then started to join a lot of the sports courses on offer, because it seemed appropriate and I thought some work-outs could not do any harm and my wife would be more attracted to me again. (Yes, I am in a relationship / married.) For the sports I started with the most brutal version of Thai-Boxing I could find and signed up for a course with a pack of raging un-employed that screamed at everything with their shaven heads red of anger and wrath. I tried to join their chorus but it was very difficult, socially or I mean class wise, because I still want to think of myself as somebody with an occupation, a job, even now. The Thai-Boxing trainer was older than all of us and I think he had a problem too as he was often close to tears while working the heaviest sandbag with his somehow small fists and for this he wore ridiculous martial-arts shorts, saying GARBAGE in big, stretched salad-green letters. I think it is because he made me so sad that I could not go there any longer but also because at this time I was a little too dreamy to respond to those fast kicks against the side of my head. Anyways it was too technical for me and not good for my wound at all.
Then there were Badminton / Gardening / BBQ projects with young people from my neighborhood and I would speak with them and tell them how it was. But I could not speak to the young girls, because it is really not for me to talk to teenage girls. I tried to focus on the things I wanted to tell them, but my thoughts softened, they softened way too fast, they were melting away and I became very, very emotional. I wanted to touch their faces as they looked so nice and fresh and their hair of gold was full of sunlight and park, and they smelled good. But I did not say any of this of course but after the meetings I thought about them. I do think it is only because I never had children of my own. I always wanted some, it would have been nice and I would have then a better position to talk to the young or to smaller people. So those teenage boys and girls dragged me down, I am sure they did not mean it and it is just my vanity. But I also stopped because obviously Badminton is not really a sport for the more heavy ones, and every time when I came close to the net, I felt that the kids on the other side of it were backing away, trying to find a polite way to hide their panic.
Then I did pottery. Also to make use of my hands as I did not need them any longer at all, they were down at the side seems of my pants, mainly. I really enjoyed it very much to smear about with clay and make little objects and animals. I made a big cup for my old father’s birthday and he really likes it and still he uses it for the giant instant-café-au-laits he prepares himself in the afternoon, although by now this ritual almost takes up an entire afternoon. I designed the cup as a big tree cut down in the middle and the only branch there is, forms the handle. So that branch sticks to the trunk to form a loop where you can stick in your fingers and lift the cup. I don’t know if you can imagine it, there are many mugs like that, or similar ones, anyways I liked pottery. But once that witchy red haired teacher told me that I was very good at it and this somehow scared the shit out of me and I never went again to the witch house. I still have a dog I made out of clay on my desktop, it is glazed in the colour of an eggplant and it looks funny and I carved “Wau! Wau!” into the clay of his neck as I did not know any other place to put it. This was the last thing I did with my hands that you could touch with yours, in theory.
Then I turned to Kite surfing with two former friends, which was fun but it involved too much gear for me, because I don’t have a car, which you need to transport the boards and the parachute. I liked that you need a lot of strength and I like water and wind. But I don’t like to borrow a friend’s car for free time activities like this, I am not good at asking people for favours. And when I went with the two of them I always wished I would have been alone and I did not know what to talk about with them. So I dropped it. Ok, let’s skip the few volleyball sessions there were. This was all fine, I just tried out different sports, looking for things I really like to do and that’s still ok. I tried out a few other things too, but the most important ones I already told you about.
My wife, as most people of our age, does a job during daytime. Back then, while she was away I cleaned the house or did walks or try to write friends or thought about important things. On some days I thought about very, very urgent things a long, long time and it was difficult for me to tell my wife about my feelings. It was also difficult to answer her questions about my day, normally I would then go to the kitchen to make me an apple tea, which smells nice and when I came back to the living room I spoke about something else. And if she then would ask again, I would go back to the kitchen and make her a cup too. Anyways after a year or so I did not want my wife to come home and find me on the couch DOING NOTHING, so I went to the cinema just before she would get back from work and when I finally came home she was already asleep or too exhausted from work to even speak. I would then lay down on the couch and fall asleep in my clothes. The next morning I would wake her with a cup of coffee and give her a kiss on the forehead. I hated myself for this kiss, every single time, but in this shoulder-shaking, tongue-twisting kind of hate. Looking back it feels strange, after all she was the person who could have helped me, historically.
But in this way I saw a lot of movies, which is good. Everybody likes movies and people watch them so much, alone, at home on their computers, for free. I know that and in my opinion everybody can decide on this topic for him- or herself. Me, for example I prefer to go to the cinema. But I cannot talk about movies because I see any movie as a straight up documentary of events and scenes POSSIBLE on this earth. Which should be the idea, or at least that is the way I see movies. And in the way I see it films are made for me, because I could not attend the real events for one reason or another, let’s say financially or socially maybe, or simply because I could not make it on this or that date. So movies make me witness what was going on in the world while I was staring at the ceiling or watching time destroy my body and I already told you that this is what I do, sometimes. Boing. (What really makes me puke is films with actors playing actors, that is the most ridiculous thing on earth. I then feel really trapped inside the cinema, like spiraling downwards inside a bad thought about a bad thought. The only thing I can do then is to get up from my cinema seat to laugh it all away, as loud as I can, to free myself and because laughing is very good for your body.) Of course I am not trying to tell you that I don’t know that films are “put in scene,” I know that there are a lot of production teams involved and thousand of people are working for film productions, for example they have to find good spots to shoot what they want to shoot and this is already a job in itself and it is called location manager and bla bla bla. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. You don’t understand.
Ok, let’s just say I am a very visual person that is all. I am a visual person with a lot of glass around my head. And I know now that I should think of it as a helmet made out of glass and that it would come with gloves of glass too. Divers and astronauts wear them all the time, for protection. Then I was told that all I can do is to polish the glass of the bubble, of my helmet, so I can see things more clearly and this is important to understand myself and the actions of other people. You can laugh about this image and say that it is not cool, but I was happy when I was told about the helmet of glass, because I must find simple images for the feelings I have. But there is one thing, which makes things difficult, though just for me I think: long ago I read an article about Arnold Schwarzenegger and that journalist spread the rumour that “polishing the helmet” was Arnie’s favourite expression for having extensive oral sex, back in the early days when he was pumping himself up to the star he should then become later on. I read it in a TV guide. I might not be a body builder, but I am growing fat and I have to polish my helmet myself to see the things clearly and understand people. But then with the TV guide it is very difficult to tell things apart and this is also what I have to do now and all of the time: to tell things apart. OK, please, let’s just say I am a visual person and that is not forbidden. A very visual person with body issues is not forbidden either, nor is a very visual person with body issues in the cinema and in love with Cate Blanchett instead in bed with his wife something against the law. I am not a criminal. I don’t care if you understand this or not, leave me be, fuck you.
But for my relationship I think it was a very bad combination of all these courses, activities, movies and my wife’s un-involved position (sorry again!) that brought me here. Here in the sense of FULL STOP. And all of this began because of a very simple idea about how to spend the summer together. So I do remember when I was looking up these prison cell work-outs and you were vacuum cleaning the ants out of our last holiday apartment in Corsica (?) and—BOING—the two of us had the same idea, in a way: “On our next holidays we should go sailing instead.”
Next day I read it engraved in the narrow ancient crooked heat-charged-sidewalks of Ajaccio: “On our next holiday we should go sailing instead,” when we were back I heard it down on the subway, blubbering out of the headphones of another fat dude: “On our next holiday we should go sailing instead” and I saw that word spinning and turning across the screens while I waited for you at the airport, hoping that you would come out of the customs as a completely different person than you are: “Sailing.” It was around this time I started daydreaming about it too and I already saw my hands closing firmly around white robes and I saw myself smiling, first a little cramped but then more and more relaxed. In those daydreams I did not wear the usual sailor stuff, but simple bleached out jeans and canvas sneakers. Dressed as if I would not take the whole nautical business too serious, I would be good at everything. In fact I imagined that I would be very, very good at it and that it would give me back some confidence. Definitely I would be infinitely better than the “real” sailors, those bronzed, rich motherfuckers in blue and white stripes, the international colour code for “Fake French retard on board.” To hell with them. Even if I might be a little heavier than them, I would give them a lesson in true, natural style. I would do the job right and if they don’t like me crossing their snobby seas, I’ll explain them the real meaning of the expression “to hack a big hole in a sailing ship with the sledge hammer I store down in the galley just for that.” Boooom. Because the sea belongs to everybody. It’s true, if you think about it.
I should not lose myself in violent daydreams and I had to re-start this daydream with my hands around the white robes and me walking the white deck waving at fellow sailors in the distance and they would wave back at me and we would share a whisky over the railing sometimes and there is a flare gun on board, to signal other ships, but strictly for the case of an emergency and not to shoot anybody straight into his bronzed face. I also planned to wear a very cool cap that I would dip into the saltwater to bleach it out even more AND nobody would ever notice the efforts behind my casual looks and all the “put in scene“, Harharhrhrhar, (gold teeth / eye patch). But for a change I will make good use of my hands, Baby (my wife) you will see, Harharhrhrhar (parrot on the shoulder / filthy mustache). You, my time and me, we will rock that boat! Few moments of Hahaha, three to five chuckles, smiley. Total collapse. Breakdown. Silence. Breathing. Slow, deep breathing. Black. Smoke. Breathing. Bad Metal. Bad. I am cold. Dear God.
Dear God, I prayed to you out of the trenches I dug with bare hands into your sacred soil, I prayed to you wounded and white with sheer fear and shock, I prayed to you while brushing my teeth with barbed wire, I prayed to you not to leave me behind. Then I prayed for strength and for nothing more than that. And when I grew strong, I obeyed your order in that night, when I climbed that mountain to its top, where the thunder rolled and the lightning flashed like crazy and it was there I broke those two ancient stone tablets over my giant, over-sized knee, the two of them at once, like they were nothing but gravestone-thick slices of burnt toast. I tossed the trash down into the abyss and I spat out into the darkness and into the storm, but no lightning struck me and no eagle came to eat my liver, so I walked down that mountain and my heart fell dry.
But NOW I kind of feel like praying again, Hallelujah, so open up your old bogey ears and listen to your most humble child:
I hate everybody and I hate myself the most for what I have done and for what I will do. And you go fuck yourself in fucking heaven with Jesus watching you and he, Jesus I mean, will stop for a moment scribbling down the unbearable fates of mankind and the actions and the killings you two shitters have foreseen for the hands you make grow on all those arms like pimpled pickles and fuck you for the dreams that you smeared around my helpless brain, like the brown gel that greets you first when you open a tin of dog food and fuck you also for any small squirrel that gets killed by some falcon and if I should see that kind of shit happen again I will come up and I will find you and I will make you pay for it by piercing all your eyes, one after another, piercing all those eyes that tearlessly stare down at us from all the heads on all those necks that stick out of your snakish body. Boooom. Amen.
I think both of us were really looking forward to go sailing and to try to do something together and find a new way of relating to each other. The problem was the ship, at least for me that was a problem, because it belonged to your father and I did not want to ask him for it, somehow. But we went anyways to borrow the ship called Hopy Bopy and I almost ruined our whole trip with a very bad (sorry again!) Kamasutra (why?) remark on the ship’s name and your father did not laugh at all and told me that Hopy Bopy was your nickname when you were eight years old. I am really sorry and I just did not know this, but also I already had to pay for this bad joke as I was blushing the rest of the weekend whenever I had to say something about our life together. Like a tomato, like a fat tomato asking for forgiveness, I even told them that I don’t even know what Kamasutra really is and that I haven’t slept with their daughter for more than a year. I think my father-in-law was about to put his free hand on the grill for pain relieve, while he was gulping down the tin of beer, he held in the other one. But again: I said SORRY and I thought everything was all ok again and we ate together and I told them that it was good food. But then your father explained the ship to the two of us making way too many references to body weight and showed me the areas where heavy people should not walk on deck. It made me feel horrible and there was no reason for this. I also think he noticed that I cut my pants in the back when I kneeled down on the deck to solve a knotting test situation he prepared already days before. Let’s put it this way: I failed. Because it is difficult to do these things for me, at the moment. Obviously I know even more knots than this old-timer had propping up inside his lymph system altogether and even more obviously I am trained in all of this. I know knots to tie your lungs back to your backbone and one to pick a Mi-24 out of the desert sky in full flight and smash it to the ground without even damaging the rope. So please don’t tell me about your “When it comes to anchoring you might find this knot very useful” bullshit or I’ll lynch you with your shoelaces to your wife’s favourite cherry tree, do you read me, Cap? But did I say something like this, anything at all? Did I show off? No. And you know why? Because I am tri-tra-traumatized, that’s why. It even says in my ID, I get a lot of reductions at some places, like for entrance fees and I can park everywhere I want. But it is not just me, everybody is traumatized, ask around if you don’t believe me.
After a little while your father bent down and did the knots all over himself, nervously tearing apart my anchor bend attempt, redoing it the way it should be, in total silence. He did not want to give me his car and I could literally watch him making up an excuse in his worried mind, that he had to go to town by car the next day to sign some papers or something ridiculous like that. But I could not care about his concerns and I rented the biggest jeep they had at SIXT, which wasn’t very big and a Nissan. But it managed to pull that proud ship named Hopy Bopy from that fucking-terracotta flower-pots-red-driveway-property where wives like mine are bred and I was cursing the whole fucking clan, inside of me. BUT you sat next to me and all of a sudden we were filled with sheer and endless joy, yes, both of us. God, I was glad to have you with me, close to me. You said it was a magic moment, I did not know what you meant, but I smiled, I smiled at you and my anger was gone. We were very so happy about having this huge boat hooked to our rental car, we were full of joy about driving off (Honk / honk) and that life gave us a tiny glimpse on its brighter side again, far away from intergenerational contracts and advice for fat tomatoes. We were laughing, yes, both of us, and we felt better than in all the years before and we were in anticipation of some sweet time to share, a ship to sail away, a sea to carry us and some plain and honest sex to bring us closer again. And yes, we looked good and you put your sunglasses in your hair and we felt even a little bit free when we drove down the highway as fast as possible and in my mind I deeply thanked your father for lending Hopy Bopy to us, really, and I started to like him again and it is just his fucking function I cannot understand. I was happy and this time it was you, who polished my helmet and afterwards softly knocked on the glass and gave me a thumbs-up, as if you were working at a gas station in the 50ies and were a good co-worker of Heinz Rühmann, which made me smile but then I had to think about Gerd Fröbe too and how he killed all these children by baiting them with small hedgehogs out of chocolate and those made me think of my pottery dog on my desk and I suddenly had to cry and scream very loud and you also screamed and my old pants got very warm and wet and the glass got all foggy and we were way too fast with that huge boat hooked to our rental car and I did not know how to stop even though I can park anywhere I want, because I am just a very good driver.
Next time I will tell you about our first two weeks of sailings out on the Mediterranean Sea, about the Grandhotel Girandoire in beautiful Cannes, very good pasta with salami under a perfect night sky and about the very old man who never had a chance. Thanks!