05 March 2012
fabiola, la flaca
i am not going to dwell here. i have only shit images from 2006 and i just spent a few hours digging through unnamed negs for said shit images. this has nothing to do with the images. as always. as ever. today we acknowledge beauty and death. we acknowledge it, we don't understand it. barthes said it succinctly: "As if the horror of Death were not precisely its platitude." i think of this often, mostly when i am slapped dumb struck, as if i didn't know myself, how much time we waste, not living, not loving, not exploring, not moving, etc. i see how much we distract ourselves, and i see the appeal of it, i do. i have been told mine is the face of anger and unhappiness, but i just see it as one which shows utter discomfort at the world around, a deep-seeded fear that everything is bigger, more knowledgeable, more experienced than me, fear in no control, fear that most of what we do is trite, meaningless, and that on either coast, up or down, we find ourselves in the same ash tray as everyone before. i don't know. just that with a view-finder, when the image is in focus the squares line up. that's all i got in me tonight.
something was not right in the atmosphere this week. i cried too much, i dreamed twice that my step-father was dying. he was about to die in one and then in another he was dead. the first featured a black benz that weighed as much as my hasselblad. meaning i felt the weight of the car in my hands as i do, now, the heavy, black hassie. in it he was youthful; around 50. he was a silver fox, in shades, listening to baseball chewing trident with the sunroof open... i also dreamed of airports twice, always rushing, always failing to beat the clock. in the rush i'm always semi-uncomfortable, and i'm always late because of someone else; i am never held accountable. i thought to write my aunt in colombia on sunday but hesitated b/c of my weak spanish, a lifelong excuse. i think of pablo every time i see a kid with any degree of spunk, personality, star-quality on the subway, getting out of juilliard, on youtube. i thought of him in cuba and her in colombia and i thought that i should write her because dreams are never accurate per sé but they are accurate in the bigger picture; they must be. instead i received the message first, in which she is telling me la flaca had passed away. se murió, my aunt wrote. today they release her ashes over playa taganga. ceremonies never do the thing justice. again, they are releasing her ashes over playa taganga. the ashes of her body and what of her soul. instinctively we know where her soul goes, don't we. she was 29.
i am not sure how to process. i have plans to return to the south, to see la flaca, holing up in the northern part of the country. she is in cotton shorts and her hair is long and brown. she is the town darling. she is gentle and everyone knows it, from butcher to barber. she has been running a b&b in santa marta for years now; in 2008 i did some english language editing for her website. her story should not be here, it's not fair to her and i won't tell it. even anecdotes, those should not be here; i am sorry. the internet sucks and disseminates information poignant and retardedly offensive all in the same breath like a fucking two-faced dragon, halitosis. i am sorry, flaca, for all of this bad breath...
when i met la fabi in 2006 she was staying with pablo and sabina, rosita, and abuelita in san antonio, in the little apartment on the hill by the park. she was born in cali, but raised in europe by a loving swiss couple. she had returned to study politics and that she did. when i got sick that fall and she had recovered they said "hey look, la gorda is getting skinnier and la flaca is getting fatter!" so we passed some sort of equilibrium in their eyes. we did not click until the last two months of my stay. she was wary of photography (it was manipulative, at best) and i did not party enough to keep up with most of the crew, but eventually we did come to walk together, talk about mateo and ovet together, talk about her home, my home, relate. relate. jesus, relate as some sort of cousins from a native country - - where have all the men gone? it's just women in that country now. she had returned, i had returned. and what of returning to that place? no one returns there. why do we want to retrace anything? at all? i see danger in the doodling, in circling and circling and circling around pen strokes of the same shape in the same way; you rip the paper with the ball point and the ink bleeds black, nothing new comes of it save some thumbprints imprinted messily on the cleaner parts of the page. everyone loved la fabi because she was easy going. quiet, and not. she was in her own world, always. it was safe there and she was content to be among us and perhaps that was it. on the periphery. her laughter did not threaten the ego of any man.
it was here i learned that i was high maintenance in that i require a certain amount of solitude to function socially. she had her ways of coping with all of that but in the end i think she was just more communicative and secure than i was.
i met her biological mother with the beautiful name one day. we got on the big bright bus with pablito and a small band and a few dozen kids and went to the river. she loved pablito. he loved her. they both called me the same name. i rode on the top of the bus with tree branches slapping across my face and getting caught in my curls. we swam in our clothes and ate soup made right by the river. i watched her talk to her biological mother with the beautiful name on the way back. la fabi was wearing a huge leather hat. they were riding on the front of the bus. the mother had a new family by then and to me it looked like she and fabi were speaking as old college roommates might. just two women, you know? i have no idea what that meeting meant to her. what she thought of her biological mother and so on. one could assume, though one should not.
another day we set out to find her biological father. i don't know why i do not remember more from this prolonged search?! have i blocked it out along with mine? we sat in the neighborhoods of our fathers' pasts, searching for ghosts, drinking and walking amongst them, looking for signals, familiar faces, pieces of ourselves in every man and friends of friends, of friends...the difference being that i knew where my father was, and hers was maybe alive, somewhere, on the outskirts of cali, or maybe in the industrial zone as i recall it now, a bunch of garages filled with shattered windshields piled high in the backs of 2-door toyota trucks---i have no idea. we took buses, taxis, and walked in the heat. she was wearing sunglasses and her outside clothes. we knocked on many doors. we came up empty handed. she expressed her gratitude to me for accompanying her, as if she had put me out. i could not relate to the magnitude of her search and i still can't. i do not think she attempted to find him again.
in my memories of la fabi, she is la flaca from the jarabe de palo song that was so huge when we were there. when i see her face i see her wine-stained mouth and skinny brown limbs. her shape was that of a teenage cat and by that i mean youthful, not curvy, useful, slinky, slim, lanky. i remember her voice, and i can see her at the edge of the table, handling the rolling papers until it was time to go home. one night we stayed up until the dawn; that was the one and only time she and i shared a dawn. are these things not profound? it means everything, would mean everything, to catch a glimpse of us at 25 and 24 in alejandro's hammock on that night. what was i saying? what did she say? what advice did she give me? did i take it? what kind of consejera am i in spanish? what was funny?! who joked?! two native daughters speaking in their native tongues, me uncomfortably, she comfortably. my kingdom for a fucking rewind fucking button. she was kind. she was really, really, good. she was beautiful people. she was / era / continuous past.
i am ashamed to admit that sometimes i have pretended people were dead because i wanted to forget them, because they were useless in my life, because they might as well have been, hadn't they, because that just makes the whole situation 'easier,' doesn't it, when a person doesn't exist? in this light, you have 0 expectations and can be disappointed exactly 0 more times - dead people don't fucking disappoint, do they. this infantile strategy of course does not work, because la fabi is dead, now. but she is not. she can't be that, for every reason i have just described. and those i pretend don't exist of course exist, probably thriving and breathing deeply, inhaling whatever morning light their particular window sills afford and exhaling whatever evening fog their town has made over night, eating and laughing, changing, shitting, dreaming, or not, loving, or not, denying, embracing, ignoring, facing, retreating, shuffling, sleeping, racing, stalling, on and on and on and...i can't see them and this hurts me, simply. so i pretend they don't exist and i will them out, off, into the void. i am infantile at my extremes, but it never works, thank god, because when i close my eyes i can still see la flaca, as i can all of your faces, just the goddamn same. when i close my eyes i can still see la flaca. when i close my eyes i can still see la flaca, crystal clear, in voice and visage.