Big Sur

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic


Time went by ... left the sad perfection of unfulfilled commitment.

Submitted: September 13, 2017

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Submitted: September 13, 2017

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BIG SUR

 

After all those years, all those flights there is still the fear of following the wrong path to the check-in board, the worry a flaw in my passeport might unexpectedly be discovered… The uneasyness at the airport begins with my uncertainty about deciphering properly contradictory signs. And even after landing I am still anxious my suitcase might not be delivered. A compulsive need to ask the obvious meets unformulated answers in the eyes of overbusy attendants -it is written right here above your head, you moron- and my consequently blushing. A tough life in the small things leading to an almost breaking point with the question : am I that much unfit ?

Pack my things, then retrospectively think of what have probably been forgotten, check again my flight number, find the right seat without tumbling on a fellow passenger… I then deserve my first moment of quietness at the taking off. I hastily drink a flute of champagne fearing a sudden air pocket would split it on my shirt. While eating, elbows tucked in, I try to keep my whole meal inside the tiny plate, knowing the treacherous plastic knife is trying everything to send a piece of chicken on the prominent bosom of my silent neighbor. Stear my way easily through daily life was not really meant for me. My long rebel teen years had maybe not so much to do with beeing an outsider. They might have been a way to delude myself on a deep unhability to follow the rules without messing.

 

Luggage claim Paris Charles de Gaulle, the flight number is right. I soon reach my suitcase avoiding me to fancy it might have landed in Honolulu, Anchorage or Kuala-Lumpur, needing delays and the painfull filling of new forms. And I am not lost, I am walking steadily towards the taxi… A huge talkative and, as he should be, totally tattooed Polynesian is my driver. Where you heading too ? Beverly Hills. Woh… among the famous and wealthy. Not at all but let’s give you the exact address… it is written there, look. French ? Yes, how do you know ? Oh, easy, your accent… et je suis Français, moi aussi… from the Marquises. The Marquises already heard… ? Sure, Gauguin, Jacques Brel… and you came here to drive a cab ? Not exactly, the movies, you know. Till now only films about the islands. And you, a movie pro ? No, no, on a private visit… a long time friend. A woman friend, I guess. Romance… like in a movie. And she lives in Beverly Hills, a star… and rich to live there ? Not exactly as I told you, her father was a producer. She got the house but not that much money. She did some acting but she is now a script writer, traducer, adapter. French ? yes, and American. French on her mother’s side only. Let’s drive through Hollywood to show you around. If it is not too long, she is waiting. Oh, we ll only cruise through Hollywood Boulevard, the Walk of Fame, the old theatres…

And now ? Just give my name, Jos, through the video intercom. The wide red gate opens silently. A paved lane lined with tall palm trees leads to a large parking area circled with dense vegetation where a brand new Range Rover is parked. Oh, thank you for the generous tip. De rien… and good luck with the movies. Small parts only for now… I will be a Maori in my next shooting tomorrow.

 

Behind small trees and camellias appears a wooden veranda painted in clear blue. The mansion, vaguely hacienda style, is totally white but for wooden window shutters of the same blue.

Her figure remains the same. She is still slender, looking even thinner in the long dress, fragile somehow. Stillness. Her capacity for immobility even amidst frenetic agitation is what I first remember, what had caught my attention then… then… a long time ago. That and her paleness and her long, extremely fair hair. Elfin… it had come to me like a whisper at the time we first met. I had repeated it to her. She had smiled… lightly. She favours me now with the same discreet smile, a bit sad, poignant, getting straight to my heart. Coming closer I see the compliance behind that smile. Her face, revealed in the late afternoon dim light, did not suffer the outrage of years. The kissing begins shy, awkward, before our bodies fully embrace.

The clumsiness might only vanish with some wine. Let’s remain outside. Champagne ? If you insist… personally I would prefer something Californian. A fine red wine ? Then, all of a sudden, youth is here again, with us at this very table, in the fading daylight. No, don’t… no lights on now. The laughing, the humour, the crazy projects, the complicity, the fusion of two minds, our lives before, prior to our entrance in the one-dimensional world. Time, for a while, became a movie on rewind.

Big Sur… does it mean anything to you ? Sure, the kind of place where I might want to live if I could afford it. Well, I inherited a cabin there and I arranged a trip. I never have time but I decided for a couple of days, from tomorrow. For you, as a novelist… the perfect place. Everything on the table comes from Big Sur, even the Pinot Noir. And the magic of the Big Sur wine led our flesh and souls towards revived young years.

Timeless bubbles make life bearable. They briefly abolish the tyranny, the daily cowardice, the degrading routine. Ours burst at breakfast bringing back Los Angeles and the present days. A tear is slowly descending her cheek. You know, Big Sur, I will not be able to make it. An urgent call from the studio. I am so truly sorry. You could get there by yourself. No, in that case I will change my flight… a stopover in New-York. Is that why you are crying ? Not exactly… it is more…us. We do get along so well just because we share the non-fulfilled promises, the suspended dreams. This face to face with the unachievable, the unattainable, the impossible, as well in the past as in the present and future… it is frightening… a bit like an everlasting drowning.

 

Never will I settle in a cabin in the mist on top of a steep cliff but Big Sur will always live within me in stolen moments. Uneven forest lanes will take me to the verge of an infinite Pacific Ocean open to Romanesque creativity. The spirits of Henry Miller and Jack Kerouac will always attend me. So will now Sylvia. What would life mean without familiar ghosts ?

 

 

 


© Copyright 2020 j-f le cornec. All rights reserved.

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