Animi Motus

I dwell in the night, chasing the shadow of the beast within me. The dark is my world. Truth is and has always been pain, darkness; the disgruntled beast simply laying dormant and snarling at every ounce of sycophantic prick bound on sanctimonious altruism, until I realized, darkness was where I thrived. At least up until the unfortunate moment I first laid eyes on her. Men do stupid things for beautiful women. Another truth; like a mad bomber, I was dropping truthbombs everywhere. I'd give everything to feel nothing again. Life is, after all, a veil of troubles. 

The sun cautiously dipped behind the purple horizon as if she were blinking away the quivering truth that I was darkness and she was the light. 

“You hungry?” she stared into the frozen lake cracking with flaws like a bad diamond. 

“Thirsty,” I don't know why but it was only a remote portion of my mind that heard and answered her. Somewhere I knew the rest of me was superficially absorbing her beauty with the passionate thirst of a man yearning for something past mere physicality. She had, after all, all the better features of Dutch dames, but subtly filed down and chiselled to delicate proportions. Her hair was neither the corn blonde I was accustomed to nor the crimson red I ached to see; it was a perfect mix of both, where the fire of the latter caught the glowing warmth of the former. She always guarded her soft skin against the sun and the wind; the ivory in her chin crept subtly into the flush of her cheekbones with all the artistry of a Da Vinci portrait. Her deep blue eyes danced the joy of life.

“Beautiful isn't it?” the drizzle cooled the air, and a couple of raindrops landed on her index finger when she pointed to the lake. 

“Very,” I wish I knew why I couldn't take my eyes off her. 

The thin layer of ice slowly cracked as soon as the sun crept out from behind the misty clouds, “I wish she were still here,” she whimpered, her breath steaming the chilly air, “Why did she have to die? Why?” she turned to me. 

“I don't know mijn beaut, the world is cruel and indifferent.”

“What about God? Wouldn't he know she didn't deserve it?” and she was on the verge of understandable tears and her pain awoke something in me, the thing idling in the ends of my bitter soul. 

Ignorance is pleasure, but a pleasure I never knew, and then, in the cutting cold near this lake I realized something I'd known for quite some time. God was childish evasion, desperate lies whispered by frightened, lonely mortals out in the freezing, dark, eternal night. A mini glacier cracked and broke off and glided away from the center of the lake. There is no God. It was too simple. There is no God. There was only chaos, miserable, suffering, cruel, tortuous, blind, stupid, endless chaos. 

The sun had started to welcome the inevitable darkness, but just before truth overwhelmed me, it lit up the delicate border of the clouds with a kind of supple shell pink. 

“Bruce?”

“Yes mio amore?” I'd forgotten where I was or what I was doing. 

“What are you thinking about?” 

“I'm thinking, do our inward thoughts ever show outwardly? Can there be a great inferno blazing in our soul even if not a single being comes to warm itself by it? Passer-bys see only a bit of smoke coming through the chimney and continue on their way. And if not, what do we do even if we feel this way? Shouldn't we tend the fire and believe? Wait for the moment when somebody will come and sit near it?” Even if the only thing we believe in is chaos?

She swept the snow off a log and sat down. It was still wet and the cold ran down my thigh and up my soul. 

“What I mean is, you warm my soul,” I hated lying to her; what a kafkaesque scene it was, with the setting sun behind the foggy clouds and the iced lake cracking little pieces of us through the steaming cold. Besides, she needed the words. The stupid, meaningless, sentimental words. 

“Pffft,” she scoffed audibly, “You're not even listening!” she looked up at the sneaking blue hole that’d appeared between the clouds to show, for a brief moment, that the sky was a color other than prosaic gray in the Holland air. 

“I am. Mihi crede.

“And for those of us who haven't studied renaissance philosophy?”

Me vertrouwen,” and I gazed at this weirdly shaped branch hanging hopelessly off an even weirder tree across the lake. 

“Bullshit. I just know you're going to write about this,” she flipped her hair to face me, “The darkening sun lit up the sky one last time and the blue crept through the clouds to light up a peculiar looking branch across the lake. Too bad it did nothing to warm or lighten my icy heart, and the air-headed European blonde I was with was no much for my wit, doing nothing to help this aching… hmmmm… headach… no, migraine… I was having, but it was okay, because I only had to put up with her crap for a couple more minutes before the sweet pleasure of physical lust elevated me to the realm of passion with her, even if I felt nothing for her, even if… I felt nothing at all.”

The escaping sun lit up her hair in awe as if the second had been planned millennia in advance… her deep blue eyes glazed with a sort of dark brooding I’d only heard about from other lovers lost in the wind who’d swear was branded eternally on my own eyes. I was, for lack of an eloquent word, speechless. 

Conversation. Quiet. Serenity. Love. Affect. Belief. Non-belief. Stoicism. Passion. Cohesion. 

That is, until, all the words at once rushed me and left without a single comprehensible sentence for me to utter to this… this being of atemporal magnitude. 

She filled the silence through what I presumed was my stare of awe into her sky-like irises perceived as my usual cold, indifferent stare into nothing more than the presence of the physical realm’s impossibilities. 

“No! No! No! Rip IT UP!” she motioned with her hands, “That isn't right,” her accent was majestic. I wanted to kiss her every time her lips pouted and met, whenever she screamed a word that began with a P or an M. “You've never been about sentimental melancholy; an overindulgence of excess and luxury through which fake despair crawls out of the most trivial of problems. No. You seem to care about serious sorrow. About the development and acquisition of a soul through suffering and pain.”

Skepticism. Bond. Singularity. Elation. Life. Future. 

Death. Logic. Loneliness…. Despair. Truth. Darkness. Emptiness.

I reached in my pocket for a magical Cohíba since I knew I didn't bring any. In fact, the only thing I had brought was an unwillingness, a perpetual nagging voice that kept telling me to expect things to go wrong. But all that voice ever did was limit me, lag me, and delay the actualization of my full potential. 

My voice wasn't indifferent, my stare, not cold; I was, for the first time in this dreadful life, feeling what I thought was genuine affection, “You're not an airhead neshama, and you're certainly not blonde.” 

“Credat Judaeus Apella, non ego,” her pronunciation was good enough to merit my attention. 

“Sum tuus usque dum moriturus,” I brushed her hair to the side so I could see her smooth, silky neck.

“I actually have no idea what you just said,” she giggled, “My line’s from Tombstone, you know… the movie… I’m sure you've seen it.”

“I know… and I have.” In vino vertias. I was again trapped in the endless circle of winning an ephemeral and bewildering muse I couldn't have. It was the curse I’d long lived with. The truth that nothing is free on this world, not even pain.

Darkness prevailed again, and I heard the branch give in and break off the tree, echoing across the lake to the sound of her humming the theme song to A Fistful of Dollars.


John William Waterhouse;  The Beautiful Lady without Pity;  1893

John William Waterhouse; The Beautiful Lady without Pity; 1893