Perfection, what is perfection anyway? Who is to say what is perfect is perfect and not ugly or incomplete and so on and so forth. Maybe ugly is perfect and perfect is ugly. Ugly seems to have more character at least. To hell with all these people and there notions of how one should be. They all chase success and when they finally find it they chase something else. There is always something else for these people to attain. Only when they lay on their deathbed, their once beautiful face, crinkled and lined, do they wonder what it was all about. They curse that they should lose, now in death, all they have gained in life.
These were the thoughts that went through my head as I drove along the coast away from the quaint seaside town where I had lived, alone, for the last five years. It is one of those towns where people have nothing better to do than gossip about others. I found the majority of these people so plainly boring that every now and then, I would drive to somewhere with a bit more rough diversity. Usually I would take the ferry across to France and drive up to Paris. I loved Paris, the little cafes, the artists; the nightlife and the Parisian people all made the general conservative English dandyism seem totally cheap and tiresome which of course it is and was.
Earlier that morning when I was sitting in the café at the end of the street where I lived, having my morning cup of coffee, I had heard two women talking about a girl who was an artist in the town. The two women were sitting opposite each other at a table close to mine. They looked middle aged. The one closest to me was a touch on the rotund side, the other looked rather pretty until you studied her facial expression which tended to turn from a sickly smile to a scowl every so often. The rotund one took a sip of tea and said “But Dorothy she’s living with a woman. Don’t you think it’s a little strange?”
A scowl flickered across the other woman’s face “Oh of course I think its strange. Have you seen how short her girlfriend’s hair is? I think it’s repulsive. It makes her look like a boy. I knew that girl wasn’t normal ever since she moved here, with her new age art or whatever she calls it. Why didn’t she stay with that fellow? You know, the one with red hair, muscular fellow”.
“I don’t know”. Answered her companion “Perhaps he treated her badly.
“Yes, what is becoming of the modern world?”
I could not stand it much longer. I was starting to feel quite perturbed. So what if these women wanted to be together I thought what business is it of theirs.The scowling woman said “But she is a pretty girl. I expect if she wanted to she could do quite well for herself. But I do wonder how that preposterous art of hers even sells”.
“Yes, it is in such bad taste. It’s so lewd and dreadful. Sometimes I think if the government shouldn’t lock these people up and throw away the key”.
“But Margaret they are my thoughts exactly”.
I accidentally knocked my coffee mug off the table. It shattered loudly. I felt like putting my fist through a door and perhaps if I were a braver man I might have stood up for the female artist of their depraved conversation. She was actually a friend of mine. It was one of those incidents that one looks back on and replays differently in ones head. Her name was Sally Garcia. She was always friendly and kind to me. We would sometimes go to the beach together and drink wine and talk about art and philosophy among many other things.
She was always seeing people and she did have a wild love life. There is no doubt about that. At that point I had no idea that I loved her. It was something I realised in time. She was living with a woman and they were good together. She seemed much happier than when she had been with the ‘muscular redhead’ called John Macreaty. She would tell me how he would sometimes hit her when he was drunk. He was a crafty b-. He would always hit her where the bruises wouldn’t show. I remember the funny feeling when I told him to leave her alone and that I would tell the police if he did not. He did leave her alone in the end after blackening one of my eyes. Looking back on it now I think she wanted me to be with her then, but I just assumed she wanted my friendship and funny as it sounds, protection.
I needed a break from the small town feeling. It strikes me as funny how often enough one can feel more hemmed in and claustrophobic in the small town than in the big city. I think all in all I am more of a country fellow though. I belong right out in the country. By the rivers, meadows and woodlands. Ah that’s scenery. What is a concrete jungle? Compared to an authentic forest? with its wildlife and peacefulness. A deer does not gossip or assault people. No animal does in England.
So I was driving along the beautiful coast towards the ferry. The sun sparkled off the ocean. I put my sunglasses on and looked out at the distant horizon where an oil liner lingered malevolently.