Got Pictures

AnnaMaryse and I met at the Sha-Lin Noodle House on Broadway and ate noodles in soup. After dinner we picked up the red VW beetle parked at City Hall and drove to Richmond.

There is something quite wonderful about being enclosed in a metal and glass and plastic capsule with a long time friend, driving – sometimes too fast, playing good music – sometimes too loud, and having fun – sometimes too much. There is pleasure and joy in having such freedom.

We drove to an art show that David Walker and his studio mates were having at  their studio in Steveston, the old part of Richmond. Steveston is very cute and charming. Neither AnnaMaryse nor I had ever really been there before. I think I’ll go back some day. Maybe I’ll take the momster there for fish and chips.

At the show AnnaMaryse was talking with David and I was looking at some paintings on the wall. They were interesting and I looked at the name of the artist: Rafael L-R, from Cuba. This name was familiar to me but I couldn’t quite place it. I thought and thought and dug, and then I found it: Rafael is the husband of Natasha P-B, who is the daughter of R & Z.

R & Z were friends of Claude who lived in the building  where I had lived with Rob/Bob (my ex). Claude loves to travel and he meets people wherever he goes. He is very outgoing. He has friends all over the world.

When I went to Cuba in summer 2000, I stayed in the Havana apartment of R & Z with them. They were very kind and took good care of me, and R, particularly adopted me as his surrogate daughter (I was there on Father’s Day). They had the enviable truth of having been together for forty years and still being fond of one another (as far as I could tell).

One day Z and I were talking about my (then) recently having left Rob/Bob (my ex), and, of course, I cried. She comforted me with this: "Algun dia vas a encontrar la otra mitad de la naranja", which translates to "Some day you’ll find the other half of the orange", which roughly means "Someday you’ll meet your match." R & Z  had found the other halves of their respective oranges.

The night of our orange conversation I had a dream of desire and attraction to an anonymous friend: He met me at the airport and pulled me onto his lap. I was straddling him and he was kissing my right breast, and I was getting aroused and he pushed me off his lap. I rolled onto the floor and sat up stunned, covering my breasts with my arms and hands. The anonymous friend then said to me, "If we’d continued, we would have had to become lovers."

On my way home I had a stopover in Toronto, and my friend Dave and I had planned a visit. For this reason I wondered if the anonymous friend might be Dave, but it was not, for which I am grateful. His (then) belief in his homosexuality and mine (I had a shaved head about which he commented – Are you going to be a ball player now? – by which he meant Are you a dyke?), not to mention his siding with Rob/Bob (my ex) in the disposition of our shared property, meant that no contact of that kind was likely.

The anonymous friend was quite likely C, the true Cameron, who I had met just prior to leaving for Cuba: he was a photographer who wanted me to take some things to people in Cuba for him. We had met just twice. Our first ENCOUNTER happened a few months after I arrived home from Cuba: it started with his pulling me onto his lap and my sitting astride him and his kissing my right breast. Just like in the dream. He did not push me off his lap – I got up and walked away voluntarily, though confused and conflicted and afraid. But not so afraid that I did not invite him over for dinner the next night.

Our involvement consisted of a four-plus year on-again off-again intimate encounter, an NSA arrangement that kept wandering into relationship territory. Even though we both were single, we tried to be circumspect and discreet; neither he nor I were in any way prepared to enter into a long-term commitment and/or arrangement with one another. For me, and I imagine for him as well, our connection was a great source (or catalyst) of delight and an equally great source (or catalyst) of anguish. I think it is safe to say that it was a difficult situation for each of us. There was attraction and there was desire, waxing and waning. Turbulent desire with a dangerous undercurrent. Desire and danger in equal parts.

I don’t feel it anymore, but for the entire four-plus years there was a mix of emotions every time any of the phones rang: hope and fear that it would be him; disappointment and relief if it was not him; thrill and annoyance if it was him. How to reconcile such conflicted emotions? Well, to be truthful I wasn’t ever able to find a way…

Except for walking past him once and not registering him until I was already past, I haven’t seen him since Oct 2004, and haven’t heard from him since May 2005. The hope and disappointment have ebbed away and there is only relief that he has stopped calling, stopped coming here bearing gifts. No mixture of emotions, just relief that it is over. He and I weren’t so much the other halves of the oranges for one another so much as the other halves of the each others’ lemons. Lemons from which, both of us having vaguely pessimistic tendencies, we were incapable of making lemon-ade worth drinking.

R & Z kept a small-ish turtle, maybe 4 or so inches across, in a plastic dishpan in their washroom. When I could catch the cockroaches that I found on the walls and in the medicine cabinet, I fed them to it. There were many of these little roaches, pesticide filled and pesticide resistant, I’m sure. I think I might have been poisoning the poor turtle with these pesticide-filled roaches, but he seemed to want to eat them anyway. For turtles and for humans, giving them what they desire can be toxic for them.

On the wall at the studio, Natasha’s paintings were hanging right next to Rafael’s, which I did not notice until David pointed them out to me. How odd…Here I was in the studio of someone I work with, looking at the work of someone I knew, and was fairly closely connected to, someone I hadn’t really seen or heard from since the day in 2001 when I was shopping (uncharacteristically) in the IGA where I ran into Natasha and Rafael and, looking past them, saw Z. She was visiting them and I didn’t know; no-one had told me.

Varaderov_1Z and I managed one or two visits, then one afternoon she called to tell me she was going back to Havana that evening. I have not heard from her since. I have heard some gossip about family problems and feuds, but nothing of substance. Now, all of the Cuban connections are pretty much severed, and that’s a bit sad, but also okay. I’ve got pictures.

~ by thiscassandra on Sunday 19 March 2006.

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