Progress on Sandy Cape: evolution

This life. I never asked for it.

Don’t get me wrong, it has a certain charm, a certain appeal. I don’t think I would give it up, even if given that chance. But fuck, it’s absolutely terrible sometimes.

After awaking on the church steps, covered in snow, the world didn’t change. It just continued on. This has been happening more and more frequently, but it’s ever so tedious. Patience, though.

Spent a few weeks under an overpass, living with the people I found there. It wasn’t a bad life, but it wasn’t good. I wanted to help them, and did what I could, but there’s only so much one person can do. All I achieved was making their lives a little more comfortable for a little while. I try.

I thought what I’d do, to get more people to help, would be to make a documentary. I didn’t know anything about documentary making, but how hard can it be? Not very when someone else decides at the same time to make the same documentary. The day I had the idea, some guy showed up and started asking around if anyone would want to take part. So that was handy.

I introduced myself (after a fashion, it’s not like he was going to check my work card and credit history), and told him of my idea and asked if we could work together. He asked if I could work a camera. I said I could. How hard can it be, right?

Pretty hard, to be honest, but I also just sort of… knew what I was doing? Perhaps in the before time in another universe, I was a cameraman. At any rate, it all worked out. We worked together, we followed a few of the residents of this underpass around for a few months. The narrative we were hoping to convey was one of people just like anyone, who don’t ask for much, but who want to be safe, healthy and happy. Some choose life on the streets at first, but can’t get out when they want, others are there against their will. None of them want a hand out, but they’d all appreciate a little something to make their current existence a little brighter. Even a small thing like changing the attitudes of people so that there’s less sneering and gawping would be enough for many. And so, we made the documentary.

And it wasn’t very good, and all the money the director fellow who’d come to the underpass to make the film had invested was wasted. And since I had had a part in convincing him that his tentative idea was worthy of pursuit, I felt kind of responsible. Attached to him. I stayed on as his cameraman as he took part time gigs here and there. He’d direct, he’d light, he’d shoot, he’d do whatever was necessary. He always came with me as an attached cameraman. Two workers for the price of one made a very attractive package.

I don’t recall how long this went on. At least a year, it was quite a long period. During this time, the director rebuilt his reputation, people rewatched the doc and thought, you know what, the doc is good, it’s just that we as a society were prejudiced against the message of the doc to such a degree that we sought to destroy it and those involved. And suddenly the director was rehabilitated.

As the hot, new talent (he wasn’t new, but such is the business, you’re new when they say you are), offers of projects started to flood in. As we still worked together as a package, he knowing I was a competent cameraman with a good eye and I understanding how he worked, we’d choose work together. Some pop star who’d gotten big in the past couple years wanted a new direction for her music videos, and so was trying new directors out, and her people had approached us.

The director had no interest in music videos, but I had a feeling. I urged him to do this. He argued that music videos were trash and he was an artist. I reminded him that what is art and what is trash is a very fluid thing, as we’d seen with his documentary on the underpass people. He relented and we started prep.

After several creative meetings with the pop artist’s people, everyone was satisfied with how the video would play out. Everyone but me. It was boring, it wasn’t interesting. There was no narrative. I kept quiet though.

The day of the shoot arrived. We all got to the soundstage we’d be shooting in early to set up, get ready. The set was prepared, the band got their kit arranged, I worked with the lighting guy to make sure everything was right. The director walked me through some of the shots, and I suggested a few alternatives we could try. By now it was late afternoon. We could shoot tomorrow if we needed to, but everyone wanted the shoot to finish tonight and takedown to fill tomorrow. Anymore than two days and it would be troublesome for everyone.

At the appointed time, the great sliding doors at the end of the soundstage opened and in drove a stretch limousine. We all waited as it pulled to a stop and the driver got out, walking to the back. He opened the rear passenger door. Out stepped the star of our video, the pop star.

She.

I had had a feeling it would be She and this is why I pushed so hard for the director to take the job. I couldn’t have gotten into this place at this time any other way. Patience, you see.

She doesn’t notice me, or at least makes no indication that She does. Her people take her to the sitting area we’ve prepared in the corner of the stage and brief her on what we’re doing. I make a show of making sure the camera is set properly, but my eyes never leave her. The director calls myself and the rest of the crew over, and we introduce ourselves. She makes little notice of most of the crew, but when I introduce myself, She makes eye contact. There’s a split-second microtwitch of her eyebrow. There. We know each other. The scene is set, let us begin.

She walks to the set and takes her place, her band in position. A crop top, denim skirt and the tail of some woodland creature make her look quite good. Looking through the lens of my camera, I notice her nose is different. It’s smaller, daintier. It suits her, but this is the second time She has changed her appearance since we landed in this universe. I wish she’d stop.

On the cue from the director, the music starts, the camera rolls, and She begins.

Yes, that’s right, She sings, we’re confronting a new age here, miraculously. Never again will we taste the days of old, and so let us remember them one last time. For someone who wanted to destroy the burden formed by the past, She sure does insist on us remembering it a lot.

On the day I was born on this planet, She sings, I was surely kind of happy! Surely, it was kind of heartbreaking. We cried that day, didn’t we? She sings. The day I exited that cave and met the ibis that gave me the part of She that was missing. I cried. I’m almost certain I did.

Reality is judged by the things of betrayal, She sings, and in this way we are led astray. To see the value of that experience, we must gaze probingly without fail. Our own things are particularly noticeable as things of betrayal, when scrutinized in this way.

I was born into this age, She sings, but somehow it was by my own choice. So one way or another, I’m going to make my stand here. We are The Dispatchers of the Now. On the day you were born on this planet, you were surely kind of happy and yet surely you were heartbroken. Let’s sing in loud voices as we cry together.

I watch all this through the lens of my camera, doing my job but also hanging on every word. But then I start to notice that I can’t see her as well as I could once. Worried there was a problem with the camera, I took my eye away, but no, She was fading out, flickering. She who had been flesh and blood but moments before was now a hologram. What manner of trickery is this?

Even though I was born into this age, She sings, somehow I met you. Because I was born on this planet, She sings, I met you.

We are the Dispatchers of the Now.

One last flicker, and she’s gone. Chaos erupts. The director runs to the stage looking for her. Her staff screams at the crew. Someone is calling the police. Her band, however, remains calm, serene. Knowing. I am calm too as I begin to flicker myself. But as I am just a lowly cameraman, no one notices when at last I flicker out of existence.

Progress on Sandy Cape: ℳ

I awake with a start and a huge gasp for air. I sit up and try to catch my breath, oblivious to my surroundings. Once my breathing has returned to normal, I try to remember what happened.

Ah, yes. Suicided backwards off a cliff to avoid the claws of Jaguar-She. And yet I live. I ache as though I’ve died though. And this place…

The golden light. The candles. The rows of benches. The beautiful windows. The high ceilings. I’m in a church. In fact, as I gather my wits more completely, I’ve been laying on the altar for however long. Slightly embarrassed, I stand and retreat to the benches. Though I’ve not had religion ever, at least not since I was a child, and I couldn’t give a fuck about rules anymore, I still feel I oughtn’t have been where I was. A little ashamed. Stupid.

As churches go, this is a pretty one. It’s not so old, maybe only a hundred years, but it’s been taken care of. The carpets are new and clean, the inside isn’t the dark frightening place I remember from my childhood. It’s a lovely place. Warm. Warm light. I feel safe here.

Though churches like this don’t usually practice meditation in the form I do, it still seems appropriate. I arrange myself comfortably on the floor of the central passageway and I let my eyelids grow heavy and I sit and I wait and I clear my mind. It was difficult to do that, clear my mind. The mind kept trying to deal with its recent death, but I acknowledged the things it presented and then we moved on. Soon, the only image that kept recurring was that of She on the beach watching the freighter, the image in my mind just before I dashed myself on the rocks.

But now I’m here. What am I meant to do now?

Slowly, gradually, almost imperceptibly, the nave became brighter and brighter. Opening my eyes fully, it was like noon in a sunny, open field, not the inside of a church. The light didn’t seem to be coming from outside, nor any internal light source. It just… was. Movement caught my eye and I pivoted towards the narthex. There, flooding slowly in from the closed door was a cloud of sparks, of shines, of light. It moved up the central passageway, unhurried, stately, and as it passed me, it tickled.

I followed it with my eyes as it approached the transept. There, in the center of this cruciform building, the shines, the sparks, they coalesced to form a figure, a figure of light, and then the light was made flesh.

It was the Blessed Mother of God. Here. In this church. With me.

Of course, it was also She. She was the Blessed Mother of God, at least, today She was.

She gazed at me with nothing but the love of a mother to a child, her smile saintly. I wasn’t sure what to do. I couldn’t decide if this was She or if this was an avatar, a shadow of She, like the Jaguar-She had been. Then the music started outside. Asking permission with my eyes, and it being granted, I turned my back on the BMoG and headed to the narthex.

I opened the door. There, outside, on the steps, were She and a band, the same band she’d been with that night after the incident at the Statue on the Island. I spun. She on one side, the BMoG-She on the other. She sang; BMoG-She listened and watched.

If there’s someone you love, She sang, you’ll bear any wound, any trouble for their sake, for the sake of everyone.

Looking out across all I survey, She sang, I see nothing but busy people hurrying hither and thither. I’ve noticed this year, too, that the signs of winter are closer and closer to me.

Even today, She sang, somewhere in this town, two peoples’ eyes met for the first time, and they knew, they must be with each other, and it was the violent opening of the first act of their story.

And yet, She sang, for all things, one of these days, the end will come along. Today, somewhere else in this town, two people will choose the road of separation, and thus does the curtain quietly close on their love.

When there is someone that you love, She sang, you’ll feel a strong sense of isolation. Nevertheless, you’ll be everything and anything to that person, satisfying them completely. When there is someone that you love, She sang, you’ll bear profoundly deep wounds for them. Nevertheless, you’ll cure everything and anything for that person, healing them completely.

She address the Blessed Mother of God inside the church.

Maria, She sang, everyone is crying. Nevertheless, we want to believe in you, and so we pray. We pray that this will be our final and lasting love.

Without meaning, the beginning came, She sang. When the end comes, I hope it will have a meaning.

She stopped.

The Blessed Mother of God-She walked slowly towards us. She had tears in her eyes. As she passed me, she took my hand, held it tight, and looked into my soul. I felt such warmth and love in her tear-soaked eyes, such that I’ve never felt before.

The Blessed Mother of God-She continued out of the narthex and onto the step, where she embraced She. It was so bright, it hurt to look at, but a moment later, the BMoG-She scattered into the sparks and shines she had come as, floating up into the sky. A light snow began. I fell to my knees and I wept, there, on that step, in the snow, until night came, by which time I was alone and cold. The church had been closed, locked at some point, I know not when.

She was gone. But not far. She’s still nearby. I’ll find her.

Progress on Sandy Cape: SURREAL

It is, I think, early morning. Not knowing this place, I know not which direction is which. Add to that the thin clouds which nevertheless disguise the position of the sun, and I cannot tell. It is evening. It is morning. I don’t know. Let us say it is morning.

I approach the gazebo, and therein She lies peacefully on a bed with a gauzy sheet and a thin pillow. She is asleep. In the greenery of the garden and that which has grown up and around the gazebo, there are butterflies and bees. I gently, quietly, open the door the slip inside. She stirs not. I cannot remember the last time I slept and so I, too, lie down on the bed. She shifts slightly in her sleep, but does not wake. I maintain a prudent distance from her, and I relax and I sleep.

And now I am awake, but… This is very peculiar. I am standing at bedside in the gazebo. Upon the bed lie two figures. She. And Me. I am dreaming? I have split? I do not understand but that is how it is. As I watch, rising out of the slumbering She grows a form that coalesces to stand on the opposite side of the bed. It is She. Dream-She? At any rate, we have both escaped our drowsy bodies and are free. She holds out a hand, and I take it, and we walk out the gazebo doors.

As soon as we do so, the world changes again. No longer are we on a cliff overlooking the sea, but we are on another rocky shoreline as the tide comes in. Looking out to sea, not far off the coast there sits a derelict and rusting, grounded freighter. Gulls fly around it. It is getting on noon. Despite the harsh sun, it is chilly here near the sea.

After a moment of looking about, she sets off along the rocks in her bare feet. I follow.

The going is rough. The rocks are loose in some places, large and difficult in others. As we follow the coast, we slowly climb higher and higher above the sea. After an hour or two, we have a birds-eye view of the place we arrived. Looking back the way we came, there is only sea to our right, and only rocks as far as the eye can see ahead and to the left.

But turning once again to our travel, we are nearly at the edge of a jungle or forest. Inside it looks even colder than it is out here, and dark.

Here, on a rock high above the sea, between barren stony desert and dark forbidding jungle, She sings.

To choose only the things you like, She sings, does not mean you are irresponsible. To search out only the things you want does not mean you must accept the burden of responsibility. It merely means that you hold potential.

To feel a sympathy for unnecessary things is, She sings, not very useful, is it? As for important things, they are often accompanied by pain, aren’t they? To feel isolated when alone is bad enough, but to feel isolated when with people, that’s hard to bear.

When you are visited by isolation, She sings, and when you receive pain, don’t just shut out the feelings. Even if you should lose your words, and you are called inconsequential, if you stumble on the path, catch yourself with both hands. Be a thing like that.

Ah, the day we pinky-swore, She sings, that we’d protect each other. Ah, the dreams had after talking all night. No one can speak of these things, but surely someone wants to speak of them, and that person is Special.

Here, in nowhere, She sings, I will depart on my own terms. But you, you stay there, as you are. I want you to remain you. I want you to be you forever.

She stops. I watch as She alights from the rock upon which She has been during her song. She offers her hand, and I take it, and we walk into the jungle.

I’m not sure how long we walk, but as we do the canopy grows thicker and the jungle gets darker. Now and then, I feel that we are being watched, but She gives no indication of that, and so I say nothing.

We walk for the remainder of the day, and shortly before darkness envelops us entirely, a light appears in the distance. We head for it, and as we grow closer, it’s clear that this, here, far from the sea, and deep in a jungle, is a gazebo nearly identical to that which we had left our sleeping selves in. Without hesitation, She goes to the gazebo window and peers in. Satisfied, she opens the door and beckons that I should follow. Inside the gazebo, though in poor repair, and in need of a good cleaning, it appears to be exactly the same as the one we left. The bed is clean, and she sits on the edge. I sit, too, tired from a long day of trekking.

She takes my hand again, and looks into my eyes. I am surprised as She moves in and takes a kiss from me. As She pulls back, I smile and She does too. But then a shadow passes over her expression. I hear a noise outside. The feeling of being watched that has stalked me all day returns.

The doors burst open and there, a jaguar waits, ready to pounce. But it’s not a jaguar, not really, it’s yet another She, in a black wig, cat ears, red eyes, long claws and a cat suit. I look to Jaguar-She and then back to She. The look of terror on the face of She as she scrambles away from the door is something I’ll never forget. I’ll also never forget how Jaguar-She lunged into the room, grabbed She by the shoulders and with a mocking glance my way, absconded with She into the night. The trail of blood leading out the door was bright red.

And as suddenly as that had happened, I wake up, in the bed in the gazebo. I can hear the sea, and sitting up, I realize that I’m back in the gazebo I’d fallen asleep in. Perhaps it was all a dream after all. There’s no carnage here. She remains sleeping peacefully beside me. I try to get out of bed so as not to wake her, but she soon stirs. I look to her peaceful face as she awakens. Her eyes open. They are red. The hungry glare that comes back at me makes my blood run cold and I flee from the gazebo to the edge of the garden on the cliff.

I turn, and She is stalking after me. There is no escape except…

I fall backwards off the edge of the cliff. I close my eyes, so that I do not see the red eyes leering as I descend. In my mind, I can see She, the real She (whatever that means) back on the stony beach looking at the rusty freighter in the sea.

All is aquamarine.