“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing
there is a field. I’ll meet you there”
Visions of the swollen blue lines have no been the same since that year. They have become collections of cavities breaking in foam like veins with dried angry fluid. Red stubborn soul navigating towards the altar of endless seas. These collections are only from that year, and everything that was cutting saline put youth in risk. Dragging and converting the powders of the Earth into something more simple. But these were dues. To be able to recognize the real transparent matter, that would come after this. The smell of a evening primrose is part of those collections too. And each time the smell strains my being, I go back to the skies of that year.
This year began in the old towns of Cordero during a heated summer. Where a heart without a name hid through the tall acidic bricks of the town. Summer had predictions that winter was going to convert faster than the sound of friction. But they were merely predictions. The days were underlined with the candle of the sky. Becoming ancient. They stretched to long rolls of linen breaths. Time and space wanted every cloud of youth to live. And I was twenty one years old rooted into the sacredness of it all. There were mad noises in my head telling me to evacuate the city lights. Noises of ephemeral fevers that seek afternoon stars. Noises that were meant for me to know where the corners crumbled. And I went to the town of Cordero after a storm of energy had taken all of beliefs of my God away. I dreamed aphoristic dreams that Cordero was going to make me forget the colors of blue. Help me find my God somewhere sitting down, reading a book over the cracks that earth does not know how to cure.
I arrived to Cordero. A train ticket with return , three suitcases that carried clothes, books, cameras, endless things, and the things I could not part with. Inside a black and white apartment I stayed. Empty and alone, the apartment traced forgotten skin from daylight until the pale night rock took the inches of sky. I was only able to watch these traces a few times as I always found somewhere to be at night. I found ways to stretch my existence to become pure memories to the minds of Cordero. Without knowing my ways were becoming wounds, and with time people started to cling away from my body. My first week in Cordero was the most chaotic. The warm chords of that week were thrown against each wall I found myself near. It was building fire. A fire that started from the tips of toes only to reach each strain of my bloody cage. It was as if the universe had knocked on everyone's door to let them know of my arrival, and everyone wanted to catch on fire.
On my first day I unpacked and organized without structure. Piles of heat waited at the doors and windows for me to open, and when I opened them Cordero began to speak to me in unrecognizable voices. Howling. Trembling. Aching exaltation with final and beginning breaths. During these moments my eyes created expectations for the wind to move a stronger hope around. To have that messianic love come to live for the first time. I had mediated in starvation hoping Cordero was going to bring everything I wished for but have never dared call towards me. And soon there was a voice at my door. A twenty something year old boy, holding a small green plant inside a blue pot.
"Hello" I put down my books and began walking towards the door.
"Hi, we wanted to welcome you"
"The plant and I" he extended the plant for me to reach.
I held the pot for awhile, and stared at the layers of ceramic lining. They were dialogues of lines that moved up and down the blue pot. I traced them with my fingers until the boy said something.
"The plant is actually is from all of us in the building. We noticed you bring any and it's important to have at least one. It's good energy. You know?"
"I do and thank you. It's lovely, very lovely gift"
"You're welcome" he continued to stand in the door. His brown tinted eyes started to speak to me the words his mouth could not make.
"Would you like to come in" I walked towards the living room to place the blue pot in the white crooked windowsill.
"That's a good place" he walked in.
"Please sit" he sits on the thin red couch.
"You know we don't get a lot of new people around here"
"Yes, I know"
"Oh, who are you?"
"My name is Elena Izette Carviro. Who are you?"
"Nice to meet you Gabriel Loreso" I say sitting next to him.
"No call me Izette"
"Oh, you go by your middle name?"
"No. Not usually but I think I want to now"
"Oh. Well Izette what brings you to Cordero?"
"That's a hard question"
"Yes. See I don't know what brings me to Cordero, and at the same time I do know what brings me to Cordero. The answer to that questions does exist. Doesn't exist. Both exist and doesn't exist. Very complicated, you see?"
He shakes his head yes, and wraps his fingers around his knees as if I have made him uncomfortable, but this just might have been my own uncomfortableness defining his actions.
"I would offer some tea or fruit, but I haven't gone to the market" I say.
"You know the market is only two blocks away. I wouldn't mind going with you if you need to go"
"Okay. Let me just change into something else and gather my bag"
"Okay" I lifted myself from the couch and headed towards the bedroom. I changed into my loose red polka dot dress. I could feel Gabriel's eyes slowly following me, almost falling through the wall that separated us.
We walked outside the building, and the blue skies yelled. The pearls and stones I carried on my wrist reflected back those yells, and I wanted just to fall. To let the loudness cover me. Gabriel and I walked side to side when he whispered,
"The skies are great here aren't they?"
"It's like they know how to let sun touch them without burning" I said and we walked with eyes above, not looking at the ants on the ground.
"Oh, but they burn. They burn like that fire you said you would never slip your hand into"
He was right, and it was later that day when I found out.
The market colored the walls with every type of fruit and vegetable I have ever wanted in one room. We walked in each aisle talking about the things Gabriel usually uses to cook. He enjoyed cooking. He said it reminded him growing up in his grandmother's home in Tellurina. It was a small town, smaller than this one seven hours from here, and where all his family still lived.
"Do you go often?" I asked
"No, not as much anymore"
"Why not?" I picked up some rice and barley to put in the basket.
"Well, it's sort of long story. I don't even know if it's a story or just a feeling" We turned to the next aisle where we split between baskets of tomatoes and fresh chile.
"Three summers ago I spent in Tellurina. In my grandparents land. I did the same things I do here, read, swim, draw, garden, ride my bike, run, go out and talk to everyone who meets eyes with me. But there is always something different there and only because of my family. How close are you to your family?"
"Close. Close enough to see them three times a year" I gathered heavy tangerines, mandarins, grapefruits and put them all in the basket.
"Good, that's important. I'm close to family, really close and there's a lot of communication. I feel like sometimes some of its non verbal. It's just a look, a state, posture or hand gesture, and I just know what they are saying. So that last Summer I spent a lot time with my grandparents, while my parents were away visit my father's family. My grandparents and I were doing a lot of daily routines. Coffee in morning, reading after breakfast, praying in the afternoon, a small sleep and cooking dinner. Almost every day it was the same thing. I don't mind things like that, but after a while it was tiresome"
We walked towards the entrance and waited in line as Gabriel continued to speak.
"And one afternoon I had asked my grandparents if they wanted to drive to Lake Claret the next morning. My grandmother was hesitant, and had said she hadn't been to Lake Claret since she was a little girl. I couldn't believe her. I mean they live so close and it's a great beautiful lake. But there was this look in her eyes when she told me she wasn't sure she wanted to go. It was a deep incurable stare towards me, and it had made me realize something so simple. I mean like something I should already know the answer to. The life my grandparents both carried before me, all the broken timelines, exhilarating colors and forgotten loves was and are still completely unknown to me"
We paid and headed to the apartment.
"Did you all end up going to the lake" I started peeling a tangerine while the sun moved away from the center of us.
"Yes. We headed out after the first sight of light. I knew there was going to be something unrecognizable about that day. My grandmother almost with a slight of sadness smiled at the touch of the greasy water. My grandfather held her, and it was then that everything began to become unknown. They both started laughing as they began to splash water and chase each other around. It was their youth slipping unaware of its own existence. And that's how we spent the whole day, slipping on our own youth"
When we got back to the apartment I stored the food while Gabriel started going through all the collections I had been able to bring from every past. Books, records, photographs, jewelry boxes filled with things I had forgotten how they were collected. In the kitchen I thought of his story how he hadn't given me a reason why he hadn't gone back since that Summer. But then I remembered, it was whatever Gabriel felt that day the answer, and it was something I would never know.
I followed Gabriel's movements to one of the corners inside the apartment. His hands were holding some photographs of the last trip I took to the Northern Country. They were mostly sceneries of blurry greenery, some photos were waxing hues of the places I slept. Like the motek that had tree branches coming inside the ceiling. I remembered how I would stare up while I laid in bed. Sometimes catching the velvet night sky between the breaches. I had wished that the stars could just collapse and fall like leaves onto my sides. Slowly and without cause to know where exactly they were going to land.
"These are magnificent"
"How long have you been using a camera?"
"For four years"
"What has it taught you?"
I stared at his fingers as he shuffled the prints steadily leaving his own residue in each square.
"Why do you like asking questions like that?"
"I'm interested in a lot of things" he looked at me and smiled.
"It has taught me many things about my eyes, maybe the different ways I see life trying to make sense in a small space. I try to make sense of things when I photograph, and like you I am interested in many things”
"Why do you have to make sense of things?"
"I don't. My definition of sense might be different from yours"
"So, what is your definition?"
"Sense is an awakening. A realization of the synchronization that the Universe inserts into life. Like noticing the patterns of a painting and finding how to replace the common objects for something you can not describe, at least not with words. For me the answers we are seeking are within, and sometimes we can not see what is inside of us without looking outside. To understand myself I like to look at what's around me. I make sense of this 3D world when I take photo because all those disasters my mind thinks of are only simple and wakeful as picture of a tree" I hold a photograph and it is the tree I slept under the last night of that trip.
Gabriel and I walked outside after looking at all those photos of the trip. He had said there was a place he thought of while staring at that picture of the tree, where I would enjoy my first Cordero sunset. While walking to this place I had thought of the hours we had spent together already. How they could only be counted by one hand, yet I felt that they could reach the count of ten hands. Gabriel was like someone I had met in the past insisting to come back, at this precise day. The streets of Cordero were howling only this time they were repeating themselves every minute or so. Lights from the street began to flicker themselves from one long night of sleep. I watched the strangers who would pass by carrying themselves in ways that were unknown. Gabriel smiled once in a while to one of those strangers, and they would say hello to only immediately bewildered their eyes at me. It was a watchful flood, and I was the only one who knew how to swim.
"Loreso" we heard a voice behind us. It was a man and a woman older than us by a couple years calling Gabriel to come closer. We turned around to reach them at their table outside a yellow fading cafe. The woman was beautiful and was filled with caffeinated rays of sun. The man was a mirror of the woman only with thick black hair. When we reached their table Gabriel greeted them.
"Fabrizo. Julia. How are you both?"
"Busy. Exhausted. Close to the night" Julia responded fading her attention to her hands.
"She hasn't had her espresso of the evening. How are you? Who is this lady?" Fabrizo asked taking out a cigarette from the box on the table.
"This is Izette. She's new in town. Here for the summer"
"Hello Izette, very nice to meet you" Julia extended her hand and I reached.
"Izette, what a beautiful name. What brings you to Cordero?" Fabrizo blew smoke towards us.
"The landscape. Izette is a photographer." Gabriel answered. I looked at him with a slight smile, and wondered if my response from earlier had not been taken lightly.
"A photographer we haven't had a photographer in town for a while now, tell me what do take pictures of?" I could see how the midnight sun reflected in Julia's eyes. A global orange fire that the town of Cordero was used to, but I for the first time was coming to know.
"Mostly everything. I like not knowing exactly what I am looking for"
"Oh, so you have one those lucky artist eyes" Fabrizo finished his cigarette and put it in the ashtray.
"I don't believe in luck" the three of them looked at me.
Fabrizo held his hand out and said,
"Welcome to Cordero"