Chapter Twenty Five
Life as a Picture
A photograph captures images, images that portray either the beauty or the ugly, however, an image can be deceiving as well, it can only show part of a truth or the superficial picture that can be easily painted by so covering the more profound and deep rooted aspects of life, not fully exposing reality in clear fashion. I looked at my old photographs and I always looked smiling and happy, one would think I truly was, yet underneath I was a man full of emptiness that had no passion in life. It is that rare people the one who can capture these images and fool everyone, it is a person of tactic, talent, and skill, such a person was Kathleen, who will soon promote her photographs in an art expo portraying the meaning of life. The days with her were effortlessly pleasant considering she we were going all around New York capturing the essence of the city life. Very quickly I became her assistant finding more enjoyment in this job than I had in others, while she was the one who took the shots I was the one who selected the locations and the one who booked the models to tell the story of the seasons, and the life that is led in the capital of the world. Having New York as a landscaping stage for our project was not just brilliant and picturesque, but meaningful and truly educative considering no other city can tell the story of deception better than New York. A city full of power shown through sky scrapers, a city full of elegance as viewed through plazas, and a city full of energy and magnetic vibrations as felt at the stroke at midnight, a city where one would think its inhabitants have it all, but in fact come home to empty apartments only to wake up and continue a routine that seems to be unbreakable. Art has never been an aspiration of mine, but telling the truth has, or at least seeking it, and what better way to tell the truth of this gothic city if not by partnering up with my best friend for a project that would show all the others around the world that power and money come in deed with a high price, which in many cases, like in this one, can be represented by a mediocre leader. As Kathleen’s assistant I must admit had its benefits, not just was I working for an artistic wealthy woman whom I fully respected and loved, but financially I was far more rewarded than any paper I ever worked for.
I had no idea this business paid so well.
And that’s how I got my life back in the city; I became the assistant to a photographer selecting topics for her expositions all over the world. It began in New York and expanded to Europe and South America, yet we have not gotten there yet- but all that traveling I did growing up served me well since I can use the locations I visited as my scenic pieces.
It was time I paid a visit to my old friend Fabio, so much time has gone by I had almost forgotten about him. I was surprised I still remembered where he lived; the door man however did not seem pleased to see me when I asked for Fabio,
“Sir he is not inside, I can not buzz you in”
The old man tells me as if tired of repeating him self
“well do you have any idea when he would come back?”
“Sir, Fabio is hospitalized… I am only telling you because I am aware you are his friend and used to visit him frequently”
“hospitalized why so? What happened to him is he ok?”
“sir that I don’t know, all I can tell you is that he is in the City Manhattan Hospital”
“how long has he been there?”
“a week sir, good day and do send sir Fabio my greetings”.
As I exited I was surprised my dear friend was not in well conditions and only the worst came to mind, what kind of accident would he had been involved in?
Once I got to the hospital I rushed to his rooms in the fifth floor, fortunately I was in time for visiting hours given it was still early. When I finally got to the room he was resting with his eyes closed, I pulled up the chair near to sit by him when he finally opened his eyes he tried to talk but I advised him not to, I was disturbed by the open wounds he had in his face and his arms, as well as the marked spots in his skin
“Angel, is it you?” he asks weakly trying to open his eyes and talk
“Fabio keep on resting, we’ll have time to talk later my friend”
“I missed you, where were you this whole year?”
“we’ll talk about that later, rest now”
He then closed his eyes and continued with his sleep, I watched him sleep wondering what had happened to my friend Fabio. The nurse told me to return on the next day for Fabio was heavily sedated and would not wake up until tomorrow morning, and so I left.
Due to the money I was making working with Kathleen all these months I had enough money to buy an apartment in a condo between Columbus Circle and the upper 70’s. I needed to be near the park, I needed to feel I was in the middle of the liveliest city in the world and so I selected an apartment that very quickly became the view of my dreams. Simple yet practical. My new life forced me to adapt, which means that little by little I meditated less and less, I prayed less and less, but I was happy thanks to my job which was in fact fulfilling. Part of my job was to select models for the photo shoot which made it inevitable for me to meet good looking gay men that were looking for one night stands and even to date, and yet despite how attractive the packages were I had no interest for I was not to be deceived by superficial beauty. One thing I could not forget that was of great value when I was in India, and that is the real definition of beauty, not just is it in the eye of the beholder, but is found in everything and in everyone, and in order for me to fall in love again I would have to see past the outer beauty a picture presents until reaching the core. Through photography I learned that the stimulation of the pupils for something attractive can distract you from truly seeing that which was to begin with was perfect. I learned that the price for such superficial beauty can be in fact the darkest and most impure form and the lack of inner beauty some try to cover up.
Yes, a photograph can show many things, at times it can deceive, at times it can be honest, yet real and true beauty is recognizable by the lens of any camera, by the footage of any film, and by the impact it leaves in the psyche. Real beauty is undeniable and unquestionable, and I figured when I found such a creature I would know, for it can come in many forms, a masculine one, a feminine one, a young one, or an old one, a straight one, or a homosexual one. Defining my taste for beauty defined as well my sexual preferences for the moment, never had I been so open to receive what ever it was that was to come in the department of love. Though it had been only a couple of months, the memory of India was pushed to the back of my thoughts and as I contemplated the pictures of the temple which I had by a statue of a Buddha by my bed I realized that a picture of a temple cant even begin to describe how truly significant my experience there was, for to everyone this was just a photograph of a temple and a vacation, to me however, this was the moment in my life when I finally woke up and saw the light. The moment I awoke from the ashes of life. Yes once again I see how photographs can deceive not fully explaining the value of the content, but then again it only mattered what I thought when I looked at it, not others.
The more time I spent with Kathleen the more I noticed her change, I wondered what was it that truly triggered such a transformation in her, for in order for change to truly take place in a persons life it tends to be as a consequence to an event that requires or demands such a change. All my life she was seen as a sister, as the friend who provided logic and advice and did not tolerate my previous life of perdition, now she was just a part of me in which I just saw my self reflected in, a mirror who reflected back the exact process of transformation I my self had undergone.
Looking at her I generated a new meaning to the word…..
And Angel remembered the fourteenth poem from that mysterious book he found in the beach that one night…..
The kind of beauty that we know is superficial
Mostly apparent and to the view
But real beauty lies in the depths of our soul
Inside of me and inside of you
It doesn’t matter if you’re Islamic of if you’re Hispanic
If you’re Canadian or if you’re Malaysian
If you’re Indian or if you’re Asian
Real beauty is found in the unity of a nation
All of these places have one common ground
In each and every spot beauty can be found
Real beauty is found in the changing colors of the sky
In the birth of a soul, and even when we die
In the magnetic movements of the clouds
And when of ourselves we’re finally proud
Haven’t you noticed that real beauty is given to us for free
All we have to do is let nature be
And soon you will see how beauty breaks at ease
When we search for love, harmony, and peace
If we break free, if we feel joy,
We’ll begin to understand the look on a little boy
For that’s what real beauty is
And if you can see beyond the surface
And penetrate to the core
You won’t need to search no more
Beauty is not found in a body or in a face
In an object or in a place
For real beauty cannot die
And to all those things
We must eventually say….goodbye