She loved the lens and when his pupils dilated. Time asked much of nothing since movies had swept Blake into his fantasy realm, and his desire to be there forced floods of ideas upon ideas until they became one voice. Something had possessed him, finally. Family felt it had taken hold of him; he would point it out awkwardly on family nights and laugh. His uncle, with jealous guilt, bought him the lens for the camera his grandfather had given him a year before.
Blake explored Angelica’s coolness under her pigtails, striped stockings and steampunk boots, his lens picking up her loose threads. She was demanding; his feel should linger on her, undressing the damsel, the embodiment of the ideal of perfection, while a comic book distracted her wandering thoughts, obviously to desire, made her more than a muse and something abstracted from the Madonna.
Outside the world felt sick, but inside shadows hid from the light of his lens, her eyes said so. He had genius or else she had never seen herself before, her smile said so. Her tight-lipped, egotistical face sent him wild with a lifeforce that would be bursting out onto his movie screen before too long. The world would bear witness to how he made something unsound appear found and glow with the wonder of what was waiting to blossom underneath.
Cereal at night was jealousy of his tendency to stay too long in the zone. His way to detune from a world of limitations. She saw too much; glimpsed the parody and the existentialism of her chic, it scared her that her shadow would inhabit him, his genius would find a rut rather then a groove, him being naive of the world beyond beauty and imagining realities.
Although, he always had a timed response, lazily acquired upon the feeling of slipping away. And he would talk words in paint; putting a picture in her head so vivid that reality seemed more alive, and faith that never before would seem bleaker. That was it. Close to nothing and then something.
Nothing would ever come close to that.
Romeo and Juliet.
They would have to die if they parted.
On a hill, overlooking a bay, shaped like the mouth of a Blue Whale, he stood, a moment from a young person of male persuasion finding distraction. Existence hence slipped away without witnessing the majesty upon his shimmering face. Blake’s memories never stood as soundly as his imagination of himself, and lifeless detachment was slow in coming from what mattered. He lit the joint and drifted to escape, finding the gaps, the spots between the leaves of trees, the unbroken grain, searching for his branch. Close to the edge and indifferent to the madness of it, he stepped back and sat, the embers extinguished and he lit it.
The sky was ominous; golden and black. A crack and a thrill in him, pulling up his hood, cupping the escape. Observed by the eyes that said so much about him, said nothing much at all about his wonder and awe at the weather. Wasted on a cliff, safe from the edge, those eyes saw…what?…twice. Half baked and in love. A loser or just human. So confusing. In a twirl and just a striped-stocking girl under a tree in the rain.
She looked gently at his wandering gaze and imagined him as a Father, romantically outdoing herself in her ideal, and lay upon her face the wings of a rare butterfly every time their eyes met. He gazed at her with a smile that said one day a man would burst out of him, even if only in times of need. Deep from his gut would come a motion to swing a lifeless little soul a jolt. A seed in her man commanding duty to fulfil that of mankind’s possession and grow life’s fruit in the garden. It was there, while he was elsewhere, she was sure of it in her unsure state.
Lying on his side he lorded under the surface, stewing something. Buds never got so far as to flower hence became ash. But once he found it he would be. Blake would make a movie so detailed, so slowly observed and served with rapid éclat life would change and magic would be limned in the world’s waltz. Perfidiously, a shadow in her watched him dream, her eyes fighting the desire to spill all she had into him, flicking a page on the comic book and sighing. “Sometimes you really annoy me, Blake?”
“You look sexy when you’re annoyed.”
“You don’t notice me.”
“I want you to think for yourself, to challenge me.”
Spoken with a knowing of himself and her, somewhere far ahead, maybe waiting. She was a drag but could not leave. A day or a month could pass before she had an answer for herself and a challenge for him. But he’d have paved over her struggle with, “You need to toughen up,” and incarnations of such. At least he had his camera back in his hands and it was pointing at her again.
She flicked a page and played with one of her pigtails, musings bubbling up through the cracks in her quiet, spilling out of her. He tuned to her rapid-fire musings as being her transient nature and what he loved most about her and ran his toe along her thigh and slipped it under her skirt and then into her panties. She slid open her legs without much resistance; pleasure was Blake’s discerning speciality when he held the camera in one hand and not two.
Did it for him.
For her future self.
A moments encapsulation easily disrupted now by vanity of morality. Her shades of Madonna dressed in the habit. Humility pulling together her loosened threads, and she made him wait for a sliver of something.
The commerce of love came in situ of play and apropos of nothing. How do I know you so well and not well enough? Met one’s shadow, yet, unwritten. It was written in the stars. Glimpsed the future but somebody else’s.
The noise of an amusement arcade. Her flash of a smile, teasing. Barely able, if truth be told. A flutter of the eyes and not much else to walk him. Dazzling colours and lights, the world was full of such sights and they would see it all together.
Once they were together.
You know what would be nice for us two mice? Tiny feet and a gurgle for when a smile is too much.
His eyes were droopy and wide, shoulder rounder, lens zooming catching something about her he’d never seen. In love with her mystery. Nearly one million followers of those oblique shots: an eye and wide aperture, blurred Space Invaders, the reflection of her derriere in glass, her stockings, a peek at her smooth skin.
Maybe next year.
He was actually…
She was in fact…
They were somebodies now.
How did that happen?
Of course it did, hashtag. It was written in the stars. Starcrossed, unpretentious lovers. And artist and his muse, who wouldn’t love that in their life every day.
“You just turn the camera and say things, you’re cute and I’m…I’m me.”
“Blake and Angelica’s channel?”
“Well, I think I’m the artist. You’ll probably have kids and then…”
“We’ll have kids?”
“Yeah, I mean.”
“We can show the pregnancy.”
“But is that art?”
“You could make it art.”
Wide-eyed. “Yes, I could. I can make anything into art even something so boring as a birth.”
Dark and ominous once told itself enough times. Yet, finding slowly the thing that served the most purpose was Angelica’s way of being, piecing together strange nuggets falling like golden rain into a pond of black catfish, and her reflection back a shimmering face of beauty.
She was the star, came alive on camera, so accustomed to one as she was. The artistry was in making mundane seem intoxicating. Blake had been to Disneyland when he was angst-riddled, yet he skipped when nobody was watching. Nobody was watching them, they were watching us.
Yet, in the background a riddle dance, an ambitious jester climbed the steps of their magical castle. Alone at last. Put that camera down for a second. Words were unnecessary. Bleached and died pink not pigtails. Converse not docks. L-shaped couch overlooking the ocean, not her bedroom.
Same confusing scenario.
“Hey, tell me you see me,” she said.
“What do you mean?” he ran his big toe along her thigh, wide aperture, her in their immaculate home by the ocean again, something new in the background.
“I mean, you know like there are things I say and things I refrain from saying.”
Trainers scraped his nose, thank God it wasn’t his lens, and she rolled onto her back, eyes cresting nothing worth mentioning—maybe plastic surgery in the spring.
“What, Ange? I was thinking of something else.”
Shade on his face, a look like chance, seeing his retrospective having no insight, at last seeing him behind her pretence.
“You’re a dick,” she said, swinging her legs casually off the bed.
She sat with her back to him in a movie-role style looking at her shoulder, eyes fluttering, still intoxicated by his desire for the shot.
His shutter was mute.
“Hang on, let me get my camera on a tripod, I wanna shoot you.” With a heavy sigh.
“You want to shoot me, do you?”
“You look fucking hot.”
“I look like shit,” she said, turning her face flush to his. “I look like death warmed up now. Why can’t you see that?”
He tutted and turned. “What’s up with you?”
“We’re in love.”
The door slammed and she was gone.
Darran Brennan ©