A chance encounterA Story by Allan Eddings
An afternoon recently
I met today a former companion of mine, he was as beautiful as ever, and auburn locks curled deliciously about his head; limpid brown pools of eyes regarded me with an intensity I had never seen in them before; manicured hands grabbed mine and pulled me down into the chair next to him. As he ordered us some wine, I leant back in my chair slightly, crossing my right leg over I observed him keenly. Every action of his now, from the way his lips formed a smile to the manner in which he coolly - almost predatorily - watched the men and women around us, was so different from the way I had left him.
I had been his first; I had found his naivety intoxicating, his nervous smiles and coy touches, all so afraid of being truly alive that it made me exalt my own existence. I remember teaching him to move, letting him explore physically what his mind had only dreamt, I lead him down the path towards physical existence. An existence where philosophy, poetry and art are physically manifested true existence! For your life must be an enactment of your philosophy and it must be a poetic masterpiece; less you risk the disconnection and diminution of life.
But once I had felt our passion wane…no I believe most would call it settle, or maybe achieve equilibrium, whatever the term I had ended it then. I remember his pleading look, his words imploring a love which would last for our lives, but I had merely smiled and shook my head. I could not even recall what I had said to him. Regardless I had left him there in his room, shaken to the core. Confessing this now does this make me seem despicable? I may very well be.
He turned his brown eyes upon me once more and a smile which hid nothing formed upon his lips. Swilling the wine in his glass he began to speak slowly now, in the lyrical voice that he had always had.
“I wanted to thank you…”
“Thank me? I would hardly think you would have wanted to talk to me after I ended our tryst.”
“Oh I didn’t at first but then…I began to remember everything you had said when we were together and that day we ended. Every word…it just suddenly became clear.”
I raised an eyebrow and taking a sip of wine encouraged him to go on, the notion that this boy could have understood what I had said puzzled me. So few understand me, not that I mind, it is simply an observation.
“All those things about the meaninglessness of life, of how nothing matters but the experience of beauty and that everything is permitted. That morality and ‘rightness’ are invented by people afraid of existence, of the terrible tyranny of beauty. How you said, ‘There is no noble love, except that which acknowledges it is exceptional and short-lived.’ All these things, I finally saw what you meant!”
His eyes were aflame with a perceived truth, as if he had grasped and secured that which life had always sent flying.
“You meant that we must live without rules, without limits, that we must experience everything, that all that matters is beauty!”
He smiled and looked at me for the approving nod, for a smile, for some sign that I had found this former lover of mine worthy of my philosophy. I stared at him for a moment and then put down my glass.
“You make me sound like Lord Henry…”
“You are! That is exactly right!”
I shook my head and with an audible sigh drew in my breath and studied his features with a look of pity upon my face.
“You didn’t listen to me, really, did you? Do you think I am happy and joyous that life has no meaning? Do you suppose that I am truly content that everything we are comes down to experience exclusively? When I said ‘everything is permitted’ it was not a mirthful exclamation of freedom, it was the sad and mournful realisation that nothing matters! What is the point of all this useless freedom we have?! It torments us only! My philosophy is not one of wondrous realisation, I am no libertine; my philosophy is a sad eulogy, it is an epitaph, don’t you see? What is liberty without righteousness? What is beauty without integrity? What is life but a ceaseless march towards death? Every experience brings us closer to the end of experience! My philosophy does not promote what you have become, or what I did, it mournfully recognises the fact that no matter what it is all meaningless and that everything is sending us towards the void. You think there is joy in my philosophy?!”
I watched his eyes desperately search mine, his hands reached out to grab the truth he had only found a few moments earlier. I stood slowly and finishing my glass placed it down, smiled and nodded, before walking away slowly. Once again my departure had left him broken, I could not but pity him a little.
© 2012 Allan Eddings
Fremantle, Western Australia, Australia
AboutA noble man compares and estimates himself by an idea which is higher than himself; and a mean man, by one lower than himself. The one produces aspiration; the other ambition, which is the way in whic.. more..