The cars are coming. So shoot me.
I love automotive art, but I’ve tended to shy away from it because it feels like no one else does. The florals always seem to get a positive response whether I succeed or not; another reason I’ve concluded that florals are cheating. The architectural work and cityscapes, the abstracts, the still lives, the noirs – all of them have their adherents. But the automotive art, even the works I’ve been particularly fond of, seem to just sit there. That said, and as I think these blogs have established, I’ve fairly stopped caring what anybody thinks. Not for nothing are we DamnPhotoArtist.
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BTW: The photo art and prose included in any given post are separate creations having nothing to do with each other. Duality and such …
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The Subject Of Discussion
She knew what he was going to say before the thought traveled the entire distance from his brain to his mouth. She knew it was coming, really, even before she finished the sentence that precipitated it, which she was already kicking herself for saying. “What the hell do you mean, ‘phantom limb’?,” he demanded, “What the hell is that?!”
‘Crap’, she thought, looked with tired eyes through the side window at the golden landscape quickly sliding by in the late afternoon, late summer sun. “It doesn’t really mean anything,” she tried to say, knowing full well that wasn’t going to cut it.
“The hell it doesn’t!” he barked, not taking his eyes off the windshield in front of him. “What did you mean?!”
She squeezed her eyes closed as she looked out the window, worked hard not to shake her head. God, she was so tired after three straight nights that were less college reunion than an exhumation of dead emotions, right in the middle of which the subject of their discussion had walked in, big fraking smile on his face.
“I don’t have any feelings for him anymore, OK?”
“Then why didn’t you just say that? Why mess with this ‘phantom limb’ garbage.”
She was so angry with herself for opening her mouth; so annoyed with her husband for lacking the emotional sophistication to analyze the analogy. “Look, I can’t change the fact that we dated once,” she said.
“Dated, hell, you did a lot more than that!”
That’s four ‘hells’ in five sentences she thought, which returned her again to her husband’s simpleness; his inability to deal with complex situations. It crossed her mind how attractive that had once been.
“Do you still have feelings for him, or not?” her husband demanded.
“I dumped him for you, didn’t I? How can you even ask me that?”
“I can ask that because you never really let go of him, even after you moved in with me, and he always seemed to be around.”
“Well, we have a lot of the same friends.”
“Why couldn’t you have told him to ‘piss off’?”
“He never bothered me, after a certain point, he just left me to you. He couldn’t just vanish into thin air; we all ran in the same circles.”
“Tell me what you meant when you said, ‘he’s like a phantom limb to me now’!”
She sighed; watched the landscape receding in their wake not nearly fast enough to get her out of this conversation. “You know. When a person has a limb amputated, there are still synopses for it in their brain. They still have a memory of it after it’s gone.” But even that undersold it. She’d been so licentious of her husband’s physicality when he entered her orbit that she’d dropped everything, started sleeping with him even while still involved. He was like candy to her – strong and tough, straight talking, hard and primal sex again and again and again like nothing else mattered. Nearly ten years into it now and his world was still straight forward and primal, black and white, lacking subtlety or elegance of any kind.
He asked, sounding small, “He was like cutting a limb off? You’re not whole without him?”
Oh, good god damn, she thought, but she reached across and touched him, softened her voice, “I left him for you. I love you, and always will. I barely remember him at all. If he hadn’t shown up this weekend I never would have thought about him.” And that seemed to settle her husband, who was just as tired as she was, down a bit.
But even as she said it she pictured her old lover across the wide reception room, nursing an 18-year-old scotch, neat. Successfully happy and conversing easily with the rest of her old friends, his wife, elegant and modern, next to him. She knew they were discussing the latest independent films and books and discoveries and ideas. They traveled for museums and culture. They were writers and artists and scientists and explorers, and they would spend days subtly, delicately, incrementally progressing into ecstasy. All of that was closed to her. She had walked away from it in a messy, emotional break that had lingered before melting. Now, she would spend another couple hours riding in near silence because they had nothing much to talk about, have a couple beers at home in front of TV sports, then spend, at best, ten minutes slamming out an orgasm that may or may not facilitate sleep. She looked in the side mirror at the road behind and a far horizon where the sun hovered, brilliant and hot, as they drove into night.
All my life I have had to learn to do things differently. To see the world differently.