The truth is I only did what I wanted in life. I was an open eccentric and everything I let show from me was related to a true culture for excess, and everything I did as a normal man I kept a secret. I was even embarrassed that in some respects, I was simply an ordinary guy. The last thing I would have wanted was for someone to find out. The house specialty was the extreme sports that I practiced in all senses, from illegal car races to rope climbing, to cursed and impossible romances, to relations with people that society generally keeps hidden in closed spaces, under strict supervision, or treats as freaks of nature, when they should just extend their ideas about normality and nature… I liked to live “on the edge”, as they say, my temperament was never a domestic one.
I was a kid from the working class… born at the end of the ‘50s, more precisely in ’59. One of the most unpleasant things in this world is that poor people have children. They can’t help it. It’s incredible how fragile the sheet of reason that we pack our intentions in is, it’s just as fragile as the instinct opposing it is robust. Human logic is, in relation to instinct, what eating with a spoon and fork is, in relation to hunger. Of course it’s a foolishness to want to have babies if you don’t have the money to raise them, but logic has no power over the rough force that lies inside you and pushes you to act or has the same power as the fork and knife over hunger.
I’ve always been hungry. I’ve always lived like a hungry man. I was constantly hungry for something and I never liked the food I managed to get my hands on, it always tasted like English porridge and smelled like chalk, sawdust or mould. I guess it’s not by chance that I’m so skinny. I can’t nourish myself properly. I get satiated much too quickly, without appeasing my hunger.
No matter how blonde or attractive my muses are, after a month of relishes, I begin to feel like a prisoner, I realize that I’m suffocating, that I have to take off. While I’m running, I feel balanced. The state of escape is the only happiness I’ve ever known. I resemble Clare in this respect too. She doesn’t like anyone and anything on a long term either, and she probably sniffed out a peer in me. It’s just that she fatally feels attracted to me and sometimes, I almost come to believe that she won’t get bored of me, or that, in any case, there is no escape from the relationship with me, as she used to say.
The relation with me is a seashell thrown in an ocean of melancholy… it’s the center of the world, the only point in the universe where there is no noise, no pain or yearning. That’s what she says. Clare loves me in a way which my love could never compete or complete with, because hers for me is based on a belief, on a myth. She sees in me more than a man, she sees a way, a reason for living… a formula of beauty that quenches her thirst for life. She can see me in a way in which I’ve long since quit seeing myself, namely as a well-rounded being. This is the faith. The one that makes any deep human connection possible. It’s about the myth of the soul. She stubbornly believes that I’m the same as the kid who fought for Norman in secondary school and the same as the fellow who, 30 years later, told Norman to get the hell out of his life once and for all; Clare believes that these two guys who existed in me, consecutively, are one and the same and that’s why she suffers so much, because she imagines that there’s a little boy inside me who regrets the deeds of the adult. When, in fact, I don’t suffer at all and when I do, I console myself quickly, either with a woman or with a bottle of wine.
When I was younger, I had higher standards… I don’t believe in existential consistency. Coherence and consistency are characteristics of thinking: they don’t apply to the way in which we live each moment. In real life, important and decisive matters are related to certain moments of intensity and inspiration, which can very well contradict each other… The only form of coherence of real existence is survival, and memory is nothing else than an impalpable proof of survival, it’s a black box that records inside our heads the things that happen, in a stronger tonality. Not even a shadow has remained from that past “you”. Only a few fetish objects have survived him. A few pictures have remained. Plus what the black box records. “Only the present really exists…
That little boy is no more than a dream, mine or yours, Clare, of the people who met me and loved me or hated me. We are and aren’t at the same time, if you manage to understand this in due time, I believe you might live in the present in a fairly reasonable manner. Not that I managed to.” I too believe there are certain inborn traits. In my case, running. But that doesn’t mean that we can revive in the present what we felt and were in a previous stage of our becoming, as Clare would want. She would like to make me young again, maybe even physically, and she obviously doesn’t manage to and therefore suffers. And I indulge in this suffering of hers and I leave her like that, I can’t make her happy or disappoint her, so that I might set her free once and for all. There are basically two types of people: those like me, who don’t even believe what they touch, see, understand, and the others, who are made for a belief. My skepticism always finds a gate to squeeze through and infiltrate the guts of any good faith. For example, I don’t doubt Clare’s feelings, that would be too much… but I do doubt that we will manage to remain in this state of emotional soberness or effervescence, or whatever you want to call it. We fall in love because we’re mortals, but when we shake that love off, it’s also because we’re mortals. One type of anxiety turns against the other, or one type of humor violently flares up against another. One humor kills the other. That’s how a purebred skeptic thinks. He sees the absurd in the guts of any situation, not the meaning. Whereas the man of will always sees something that counteracts the absurd, because he’s not necessarily a moron.
Clare believed in me and loved me without me even knowing that she existed, she didn’t care about what I could offer her, I could very well have despised her. I might not have given a damn about her. Or I could have looked at her like a madwoman. The truth is I do believe she is a madwoman, but I don’t despise her, on the contrary… I wish I had her faith. She communicates in a strange manner with all the men who have lived through me and she somehow manages to gather all of them in one, in her mind. Sometimes, she looks at me like I’m a little boy, like I’m a snotty, scared teenager, or a reckless, hyper-sensitive young man. Like a haunted artist. In a way, this madness of hers almost contaminated me, I almost started to consider myself an artist again.