(Awareness, Assumptions and Projections)
Chapter 1: Breathe
I can see so much, and yet so little from my position on the open air terrace. I gaze into the perpetuation of the same view stretching ahead and behind me, in what I can only describe in the moment as ‘the optical equivalent of an echo chamber’.
It all gives me a strong sense of déjà vu, and a connection to a reoccurring dream I’ve been having. It’s refreshingly surreal and disorientating, a brief correspondence between my conscious and subconscious self.
The displacement doesn’t end there. I’m struck by the strange sense of being enclosed outside, away in a world detached from my own. A world of cavernous green and grey walls, streaked with white highlights, dotted with florescent yellows and oranges disappearing only at the limit of my perception.
Above, a crisp pale blue lid perfectly offsets the tertiary structures flanking me. It brings the detail out in the way high contrast brings out the beauty in a black-and-white photograph. It’s stark, and causes me to re-examine how I use the phrase ‘breath-taking’ in the future.
Then theres the sunlight is glaring, and it’s almost as if there are two. One beaming from the cloudless sky, and another springing up from the verge of the vessel. Two incredible sources of light and neither lending any warmth to the narrative.
The significance of my surroundings is so immense that I’m silenced by its beauty. Not only am I lost for words, but so lost in the scenery, and so present in my imbibing of it all, that thoughts and worries have been stilled and only our silent acknowledgement of each other is real.
There’s a boisterousness about the breeze, it’s no more than 12 degrees and feels cooler. It grips me coarsely and I submit to its whims as it interacts with me in a deeply sensual way; tracing my contours and caressing my curves. Todays a no underwear day and it takes very little effort to focus sensitivity on the channelling of the air between my thighs. I inhale slowly, filling my lungs, indulging my senses, savouring the taste and smell of the air, more releasing it slowly.
Caught betwixt the discourse between the sea and the sky I become attuned to the commingled roar effervescing in the realm of sound. It’s not just the wind blowing and whipping between these young Fjords of ancient rock, or the sound of the waves heaving together upstream as a team, but the transcendent buzz the two creates.
Before the cruise, I read about how the Fjords were created. Travelling down this ‘Sogn’ stretch, the longest and deepest on the continent, the description of a glacier as natures bulldozer felt understated. I can’t help but create a psychological analogy of the phenomena.
Over time, a glacier pressures and compacts itself on a landscape. Like a bad parent, toxic partner or traumatic memory. The glacier/stressor chips, carves and erodes parts of what it is impressed upon. What’s incredible is that it can leave behind disjointed messes, scarred surfaces and solitary cirques.
On the over hand it can leave behind valleys of great depths and interconnected beauty and when the right element is added to this, i.e., an oceanic invasion, or a soulmate, you can be greeted with a natural wonder and a reformed character; landscape.
I won’t say it made me emotional, but I had a moment akin to what I image it would be like to be in a ‘Zen’ state.
As we close in to the Bergen docking point I head to my cabin to change into evening attire, something sexy but comfortable. I’m strongly considering my high waisted frilly lace mauve shorts, which give the impression I’m wearing a serious mini skirt but without the vulnerability of it actually being one. I’d accompany that with a white blouse with with ¾ length frilly sleeves. Regardless, it’ll be something covering all bases, and prepared for all scenarios.
I feel compelled to jot in my note book about my ‘moment’ earlier, and I decide I need to get comfy before committing the memories to writing. I set my luggage bag on the floor, open the side compartment, slip out my gold cross classic ballpoint pen, and my journal aptly named ‘the red book’.
“If only there were a way to capture feelings in the same way that we can capture a moment in a photograph, or a mood in words. A faithful method so one could return to the psychological and physiological nuance of an experience”.
“The Fjords are not merely a geological wonder; they’re an experience that has been crafted over centuries by a “Tilting Element” (Time Indifferent Long Term Impact causiNG element). Ravaged by what I will now describe as “Tidetere” which should only be used in terms of an initial detriment, outcome irrelevant. (Tide – time/ Detere – rub off; cause trauma to) just like each and everyone…”
I rip the page out before I finish the sentence.
As much as it is what I felt and was thinking there’s a place between our feelings and our persona where expression can me mismanaged, and in this instance it just didn’t feel like, me.
It’s not that I take issue with what others label ‘pretension’, but it was a little disconnected from the immediacy and impact, and too wordy for me. I smile to myself, something akin to what Klay would write.
I stop to imagine what it’d be like if he were here. How much he’d appreciate the remote and natural beauty of it all. His name resonates aloud in my head a few times, and then I remember I’m going out this evening. I throw a packet of cigarettes on the bed so I don’t forget them (anxiety and hunger suppressants) and get a quick shower before changing. I think about polishing my pearl in the shower to ensure clearer judgement if the wind blows my way, but I’ve spent enough time in my head this evening already.
“The Bergen Fjords blew me away, I was drawn to coming as soon as I saw the images, but I had no idea they’d make such an impression on arrival”.
I tuck my note pad and pen under my pillow, and disembark.
Chapter 2: Conversation lubrication
The contrast is incredible; it’s ever so dainty and quaint. In comparison to the size and imposing weight of the landscape, the town feels suitably small. A snapshot of how fragile man is, in comparison to the magnificence of ‘Mother Nature’.
I take it all in with a spot of shopping until I bump into one of the crew members. We’ve exchanged glances, fuck me eyes, greeted by I have the goods stances. Small talk sends me reaching for a cigarette, the distraction and control lent by the familiarity of holding a burning stick is incredibly reassuring.
“You remind me of someone”, he says casually.
“Not just your demeanour and the air of authority and elegance you effuse, but you look so much like her it’s uncanny”.
I’m not sure how to respond, I’m half expecting a punchline and semi intrigued as to who he could be alluding to. It’s anticlimactic in the end, he can’t remember, “I’ll let you know before we get back to England” he promises.
I wasn’t expecting anything as charming as a comparison with a ‘Botticelli painting’, chances are it’s a z list reality TV personality or a news presenter. All the same the rush of anticipation that has dropped needs attention, and I ask him if he’s going to get me a drink somewhere.
We finding a place to drink, and the conversation steadily picks up momentum.
Bergen seems so, ‘uniform’, and the bar is very traditional; from the architecture to the furnishings, and as I was later told, the “regional music”. I start with a ‘Corona and lime thanks’. I get comfortable at a table by a window. The neon lights in the town and starting to come on, and familiar hum of vibrant nightlife is beginning to rise.
Across from where I’m sitting, a girl places a sash around her neck. It drapes to just above her knee. I can’t help but think it’s far too long, and it’s only going to be an impediment on a good night.
I point it out to Pete as he returns with our drinks. He’s brought me back two bottles, which is a plus point in his column.
He laughs, “it’s a hen night, I’m sure she won’t be wearing much soon”.
I almost spill my drink laughing mid sip, “Your probably right” I say recalling less reasons for celebration than a wedding were I’ve wound up semi clothed, but I don’t say as much and the smile cautiously melts from my lips.
He stares at me, the silence has gone on a little longer than he likes and so he starts.
“So, what do you think of the town”? “Would you visit again”?
I’m halfway between listening to what he has to say and wondering how far I’m going to let this go. The evening’s interaction that is. He’s got a brawn about him that I like, and I appreciate the stagnant early throes of small talk. He’s older than I am, which is also always a turn on, but for the strangest reason his ears seems particularly small to me, and so I keep focusing on them.
“Another Corona, or something a little bit stronger”, he asks as I start absently picking at the label on what was the second bottle. I reach for the drinks list, “G&T sounds good”, I say, “and a few shots”? He suggests with a shrug.
I know I’m the stop after tipsy when I look up and glimpse myself in a reflection on the mirror and think for a moment that it’s my dad. I look just like him, I realise I’ve whispered to myself. I adjust my stool, and then tell Pete I’m going for a cigarette.
I lose track of both the time and how many cigarettes I’ve had, the gins gone to my head so I switch to vodka. The logic lets me down…
Chapter 3: Consolidation
Arundel is the final stop of the cruise before we head back to Newcastle. I flick through my diary, May promises to be busy month. I’ve daisy chained one event after another to maintain the buzz this break has given me. There’s something dreamy about the Norwegian landscape and it’s given me a different perspective on everything. The depth of beauty apparent in simplicity, as you glide past one remote spot to another you notice something unique about each.
The removed quality of a lake surrounded by evergreens, overlooked by stark grey peaks. So different from the residential suburb I call home. I’ve breathed the bliss in and I have no desire to let it go. I had my reservations about this trip, the destination and going having gone with a relative. But I’ve learnt something about myself, and restablished an understanding of my threshold.
Just like this trip, I have something coming up in mid-May, something I haven’t completely committed to, but that this trip has garnered strength to want to give it a go. My finger pressed on the date in my diary as I drift off into a fantasy, I fast forward through a worst case scenario, before taking my time through the best case.
“Hi there”, I’m shaken from my daydreaming by a familiar voice, a crew member that’s provided my journey the warm blooded attention that dissolves negative musing. Reassurance can be such a gift, especially when you believe the giver.
“I remember who you remind me of”, the voice says between puffs, passes the cigarette to me. I take a puff, the break has relaxed me, and my resolve, i.e. relapse. Exhales and continues breathily into “Rita Hayworth”.
I know the name, I can’t picture the face, but her reputation precedes her and so I smile. I’ll google her later, I think to myself, but decide not to say as much. Prime facie it’s a complement, and I leave it at that.
I flash back to the fantasy, to the upcoming event during a quiet period as we head toward to bar. I’m fall behind ever so slightly, which sparks an ignition of conversation.
“Heading to Sicily in 2 weeks, working from Southampton which means closer to home and sunnier climes”. He reaches behind the bar, looks back at me and stares intently and with purpose. Any eye contact held for longer than 6 seconds is said to be systematic of 2 things, homicide or lascivity and context discounts the former. Again, I don’t say this to him, and he saves me from my inner monologue when he suggests casually with a cheeky smile “G&T fan right”?
It’s the last night and I’m in a strange place between wishing it wasn’t and looking forward to home comforts. When I consciously decide I don’t want to think about it anymore, I silence my inner mediator.
“Another gin, then surprise me with the follow up” I say returning the smile.
I know it’s going to be a messy night, but experiences are what life’s made of, right.
Chapter 4: The home and the head
Ideally, a home is a place that both reflects your mind, and relaxes your mind. It should represent you, one room for the chaotic side, another for the creative, and another for the serene. All the while there will be places you can change and colour depending on your mood, for example a shelf you can place your favourite tea cup, or place the novel your currently reading resides to remind yourself to go back to it. Or simply because the front cover warms you.
At first I wasn’t aware of why I was drawing a correlation between what a home is and how much it should or could coincide with someone’s mind. But one of my May plans is a visit, a film night, at the home of a friend whose home I’d never seen before. Now it sounds melodramatic to the uninitiated, but he tells stories with everything he does. His dress senses for example, his ensembles giving a glimpse into his mood on a daily basis, even within the confines of work acceptable attire. What possesses someone to commit to any combination of items?
Then there’s his work space, an organised mess of pens, and tea bags, pictures and trinkets. Densely arranged around a metre cubed space, and even within those confines, he tells an eerie story, and without him the space is a silent portrait.
So, his home, I can only imagine what it’s like, and the thought of going alone… its ‘anxciting’ as my girlfriend would say.
The phone goes, its Pete, I smell his smell and feel his beard.
“Not the same working without you on board”. I smile, Ill fuck him if he doesn’t pursue such a sentimental course of comm’s. Naturally I don’t say as much though.
Chapter 5: The Dream
I feel myself drifting and so I start speed reading to a good place in the erotic thriller I’m reading to stop off. It’s readable but not one of the best I’ve indulged. Its 2:13 AM, I place my book mark, and then my finger in between the pages I left off at. With the pages closed against my finger I preface the last paragraph to myself before leaning over to switch off the light on my bed side table. I feel my body shrink under the blanket as I tuck myself up to my neck. It starts with a tingle in my toes, I find it so comforting and it’s usually a precursor to a great night. I recede into the comfy state of being a head on a fluffy pillow. It’s as if my body has disappeared in to the dimension of dreams before my head. But then I close my eyes and…
…The front door closes behind me, I’m in an entrance heavily draped with crimson netting. I’m in a black evening dress, and elbow length gloves. Klays voice speaks to me but I can’t see him. He invites me in and so I step forward and find myself in the gallery. I look around nervously and so my bestie steps in behind me to hold my hand. We giggle to each other, and quietly look around.
The gallery is space of magnificent depth unfolding ahead of us. The flooring is marble, pristine white and pale blue. I feel uneasy as I step onto it. It’s a disorientating ocean of cracks and details which disrupts my vestibular sense.
The walls stretch up into high ceilings covered in pictures. Ornate frames housing every type of image you could imagine. Portraits, landscapes, surreal, photorealism, erotic, religious; I could go on.
“We have Bakewell tarts, Japanese tuna steak, and wild salmon”, he announces, before whispering into the tannoy, “come find me”.
I turn to my bestie, she looks back at me. She’s unusually quiet but I can hear her saying “we should go home” to herself.
As we tentatively make our way down the endless gallery I squeeze her hand in a silent gesture that says thanks for being here. All the same she responds verbally, “Well I don’t this place is very us and I don’t feel like having fish”.
Music seems to be coming from a particular direction and so I head toward it. On our left hand side is an arch, and on passing through it the sounds I can’t decipher or label with a genre become louder and slightly clearer.
The hall leads to a stairway which is candle lit. Vanilla scented incense add an ethereal feeling to it, I feel immediately at home with myself as my sense of dread defuses in the mist effervescing from the sticks.
We continue down the stairway for an inordinate amount of time. The lower and deeper into the mansion we descend the thicker the smoke from the incense becomes. I beginning to fight my way through it and in the effort lose my bestie.
Eventually I find myself at the top of a stairwell, opposite where we had begun.
“Where are you”? he asks, “Just follow the ‘Dark Melody’”.
I’d explored the majority of the mansion by this point, but again I head toward the left hand stairwell through the smoke. This time a door transpires. I try to open it but it’s locked. A key pad appears and asks for a password. The answer comes to me immediately; a name only he calls me. I type it in, the door opens and the sound that drew me toward the door became a song that I know well. Klay greets me with an embrace, licks my earlobe and whispers “a kiss is the beginning of cannibalism”. He steps back and hands me a champagne flute and says “virgins”, and I…
Chapter 6: Analysis
…Wake giggling to myself.
Butterflies, swimming against the currents which were awash in my subconscious. In dreams the pre conscious appreciation of your mental projection of the present is taken as fact. So basically fish can fly and up can be down. Awake, the queer elements of the dream now reveal themselves as queer and I establish them as being ‘Klay’ in abstract form. Whilst the covert and literal elements where clearly suggestive of ‘something else’.
There are so many beliefs about dreams, and a general belief that a universal reason can be given for an aspect of a dream. Like money coming to you if your teeth fall out in a dream, or a snake being something to do with an enemy in your path.
Like all things, it far more nuanced and subjective and so I take to deducing what the main elements of the dream mean to me. That is the mystery. I grab my red book, sit cross legged on my bed, and write the 5 most vivid symbols out:
The fish, the smoke, music, the mansion, and the feeling of being lost.
Aloud, I then undertake a two tiered free association task. Again jotting down the first things that come to mind in an unadulterated manner.
Fish: plenty, freedom.
Smoke: Obscure, mystery.
Music: being caught up in the moment, hedonism.
Being Lost: Out of comfort zone, confusion.
Mansion: Grandiosity, Class.
It paints a vague picture, and I jot it down.
06:00 am, had the mansion dream again, decided to unpick it.
The lure of class brought me to a mysterious place, where freedom was being offered, but I was uncertain how I felt about it. Maybe in this dream music was the third free associated word, rhythm, I had to find my rhythm on my own and go with the flow.
Sometimes it makes sense to me; sometimes it makes it harder to understand. The meaning didn’t really matter though, it was all secondary to what I was feeling; anticipation.
I lay back down and scheduled a moment for myself.
Chapter 7: Practical Sublimation/Self Efficacy
The party’s tomorrow, I send a suggestive message to Pete. He responds with a smiley and a question mark.
This will go where I want it to, guys are easy like that. Stroke ego, suggest a vulnerability I need him to doctor I’ll be in line to get my cake and eat it.
Movie night starts at 18:00; I arrange to meet him at 11:00. I tell him I have somewhere to be in the evening, a finite time helps direct the time. My target is to fuck by 3, if I tell him I’m leaving at 3;30, I’m sure he’ll have a similar target.
Why, well Klay and I are friends, friends and colleagues. There’s a mutual interest, a chemistry, tension and dare I say cerebral similarity. Don’t ask me why but untemper it could lead to trouble.
Anyway, taking into consideration the theme of tonight’s fair, I know I need to ensure I’m thinking clearly before I go to his house. Plus, I know what I don’t want to be hankering for before I leave his place and see the night sky and imagine what could be instore if I stayed.
Self-awareness and how to stay in control of variables you can’t control. Another facet women evolved that men haven’t. Know yourself, know your triggers, succumb to someone you more or less know, and won’t have to see every day at work… most of the time anyway.
Chapter 8:“The Evening”
Ok, its 18:10, I’m a little nervous but I’m feeling good. Everything else has gone as planned today down to the t and I’m certain it’ll be a great anecdote later.
I ring the bell, and take a short sharp breathe.
I whisper to myself, “Experience lies on the other side of the bubble”.
Klay answers, greets me with a kiss on each cheek (I knew he would) and comments on how fabulous I look in me jeans.
Make yourself at home, he says with an air of authority. Hi register deeper than he commits to at work. He introduces me to one of his guests, and offers me a “drink”? Pointing to an array of bottles.
He smiles; I’ve seen that inclination in a gesture before.
I smile back, “Oh go on then…”
I’ll leave you to imagine what I imagined he was imagining.