it is three am and I am staring at the smears of crimson red on my hands as the smell of oil paint, thinner and linseed oil mix in my mind to a blend which gives a sense for the past hours. parts of my jeans are colored with white, rose, emerald and ochre. in the upcoming weeks I will be doing this, staring at my hands, after several sets of hours spent on the floor, painting. time is futile.
the canvas in front of me is filled with unsolved problems, issues with materials and colors I have to sort out. I love it. it has all the potential to be perfect, an it is up to me and my skills to make it realized. the challenge ahead makes my heart beat in a way that has my tired body heave in its slow rhythm.
my thoughts are trapped somewhere far from here, and I cannot grasp them conceptually but only feel a sense they give, a sense of being taken back to the city. it was nine months ago when I left, hastily, to live in this old summer house five hundred kilometers from helsinki. the winter took everything I had to give when demanding so much of my time and energy into warming the house and dealing with the snow and walking ridiculous distances over a frozen lake to the nearest shop and post office.
I understand myself to be staring at my hands because they are a living proof of me creating, first time since I left the city. tricked, my mind perceives an incoming call on my cell to be part of this creation, and so without reasonable thought process I answer it. a voice from the city says softly,
“I knew you would be awake.”
“there is something going on and I can feel it in my back. it feels as if I was being pulled from my seat against another back. yours maybe.”
“are we turning our backs on each others?”
“I thought we had done that already? I haven't seen you in months. I've looked for you, from parties, from bars, from the city. I've looked for you even though I know my heart would explode if I saw you.”
“I am too tired to laugh out loud but haha I must say. knowing your sense of humor I can see you assume something about my feelings when making such a joke out of yourself.”
“yeah I do. for a quite some time now I have assumed that you are hiding something else than just yourself. but, it was only tonight that I got this feeling, this feeling as if I was connected to something. it is usually only me who does the p2p shit so the feeling was strange.”
I breath in deep and my mind takes a quick race to assess itself. I have not talked to her in almost a year and then today of all days she decides to call me and sound as if she already knows everything I am about to say. I breath out,
“ok, you know me. I started painting today for the first time in years. I took out the canvas and after having done the sketching I started to paint the base colors. hours flew by in an amazing speed and I was in love. I was deep inside the essence of what love is to me while in the process of creating with such delicate substances. there is so much to it that I cannot put it into words even for myself, and maybe because of that I remembered an embodiment of what love is to me that can verbalize its essence. you. so I thought of you, and the feeling of being in love with what I was doing was in complete balance with that thought of you.”
“so what do you want me to tell you about myself?”
“I want to know why you cannot be controlled, understood or maintained. if I knew that then maybe I'd know why I cannot make my life be about me doing what I love doing. I cannot control, understand and especially not maintain my creativity if I can call it that. the inspiration comes and stays with me now and then but then I loose it and it never comes back the same.”
“I cannot be controlled, understood nor maintained because those are areas only accessible to me. only I can control myself, understand myself and in the end maintain myself, survive. inspiration works with the same logic. the trick is to learn how to inspire yourself, which means at its best finding the source of the inspiration from within yourself. then it can never be lost.”
“that same trick doesn't work with you though does it?”
“no, and that is why I am unreachable, out of the game, gone. once in a while I recognize a piece of myself in strangers like you, but it is never total, never complete. it's bits and pieces, stones and tails. you were the last one I tried to understand and feel understood by. it would be so beautiful if it were true that one could understand the soul of another.”
my forehead feels hot and I have to lean onto my bedpost as her vivid and soft voice echoes beyond space. I can no longer distinguish any trail of conscious thought behind my own words,
“I understand yours.”
“no you don't. if you understood you would not have answered my call. you would have called me months ago yourself. ”
“you are not as perfect as you give yourself out to be. remember, you're on the run. what was it again that you are running from?”
“want to make fun of me? fine. I am on the run from hypocrisy, lies and leeches. I am on the run from people like you - people who take the assumptions they have of themselves so seriously they never get anything done except endless repetition of what has been done before, by themselves or by others. the infinite loop of dishonesty rising from the unconscious panic of not being able to control, understand and truly maintain oneself shows in distrust for everything. you cannot even trust your own feelings because you don't understand them. you ask me to define your sense of love because you don't understand it. and you say you understand me? how could you understand anything external at the same level of complication as the internal you cannot comprehend?”
“what a treat it really is to hear from you. ever thought of changing your name to satan?”
“it has crossed my mind.”
“at least the size of your balls would match what with you two claiming to be able to control, understand and maintain chaos.”
“I would love to think of this all being nothing but chaos. I would just love it. it would explain the infinite possibilities in a way that would make sense in making no sense. but I am guided by reason and you know it. there is a distinct logic behind everything and that logic is the key to the three words we've been throwing at each others.”
“have you thought that maybe you don't see just the bits and pieces of yourself in strange eyes but also a potential for something that you yourself, too, possess the potential for? it's the will.”
“the will of the heart or the will of the mind?”
silence at her end of the line leaves me to wonder where do these words come from. I don't remember consciously thinking in the past months some of the things I've just said, but yet still I believe every single word I utter. maybe in the midst of all the repetitious physical activities I did throughout the winter my mind did some processing of its own, as if behind closed doors - as if in dreams.
she makes a long humming noise signifying a reached conclusion of experience evaluation, which she condenses to sentences,
“when I see eyes reflecting shallow and obvious goals in the immediate surroundings I know I see the will of the mind. when I see a gaze that is open for all possibilities, potentials, in a given situation I know it is the will of the heart that I see. damn, you are right.”
“when I saw you for the first time I thought you were out of place, like you would have come out of nowhere and didn't fit. and then somehow you made everything fit more perfect than ever in the instant I looked into your eyes, and I knew I was open for everything you could bring about. it was trust, pure trust, which came from a brief and intuitive sense of you being on the same level with me, one with me. I trusted myself and I trusted you. nothing could have gone wrong. if only I would have hold on to that trust I bet nothing would have.”
“if we were ideal people then nothing would ever go wrong. maybe that is why I don't have the feeling that something would have gone wrong. I still trust and respect you as much as I did then. and you know what I respect? your choice.”
“do you trust it?”
“I don't know, do you?”
“today was the first day I missed the city, or to be more accurate, I felt as if I was in the city, closed inside some random four walls just staring at my hands but still, in the city. I loved that feeling. but I chose isolation because I can't be on the run among them who I am running from like you do. I am learning the rhythm of life demanded by isolation, and I know soon enough I will be able to maintain myself and my creativity simultaneously. but do I trust my choice? how could I? I cannot know what is going to happen and I can never have certainty that this is the best thing I could be doing in this time and in this space. I just have the feeling I have to follow through with this.”
she hangs up. the potential I have within myself is the same as hers, the potential to create not only by combining what already exists but reach new perspectives through the cultivation of ideas that are our own. as I look at the canvas leaning on the radiator I see my own potential in making it into what it can be at its best, and I see the same when I look into myself. for a brief moment I understand enough to share her pain about my immaturity.