7 Feb 2012

Dead Roses

I should never have called Sania. If you're going to consult your girlfriend's best friend, do it before you do anything

“You did what?”
“I put a bunch of rose petals all over the bed. I’ve wanted to do that ever since Bon Jovi sang Bed of roses. Or since American Beauty. Or since Shahrukh Khan shot that ad in that bath-tub full of petals. I don’t know, it’s all very confusing.” Everything’s a copy of a copy of a copy.
 She laughed. “And what’d she say?”
“Nothing, she’s still asleep.”
“Well, I’ll tell you what she’ll say. She hates flowers! Especially roses. She says she hates them on Principle.”

I disconnected the call and set the tripod up by the window and clicked away. Paloma always looked most beautiful when she was asleep. So I decided to put to good use the camera Sabuchayan gifted me before I moved to Chennai. I stared mesmerized at one particular photograph, now safely etched in Betsy’s memory. I tried adding a touch of red to the lighting but it just ended up looking ghastly. On second look though, it had a kind of gothic appeal to it. Her hair covered most of her face; her left eye was the one discernible feature on it.  There were rose petals on her breasts, her stomach, her thighs. I tried to un-do the red, and gave up. I just couldn't get my head around iPhoto.

“What’re you looking at Charliebum?” I hadn’t heard her wake up. “You look unbelievable,” I said, overcome by how the photograph had suddenly taken on a life of it’s own by her presence. I wrapped a hand around her waist and nestled my head into the side of her stomach and she moved away. “What’s wrong?” I asked. She lit a cigarette and perched herself atop the computer table. “I like it,” she said, “it’s just that I look so…so dead. I’d make a beautiful corpse that’s all.” I looked up not really impressed by the incongruity of the statement. She said things like that all the time. “It’s a picture,” I said, “you can’t jump and shout in a picture. Every photograph’s dead in that sense. It’s like a leaf in a book. It’s dead, but it looks great, right?” “Touché,” she murmured and looked out the window.

I was incensed. I hadn’t expected her to agree. “What do you mean you look dead?” I asked. She turned around. “It’s all those fucking petals,” she said vaguely, as though that explained everything. I hated her then, right then and there. “What’s wrong with them?” I asked, “what’s so deathly about roses? Most people seem to think they're kinda romantic.” “Flowers, man,” she shook her head, “flowers in general just freak me out. Most unseemly witnesses to love-making, ever. Flowers and marital consummation, in every South Indian movie ever made! A boquet or a wreath on a coffin. Flowers for your mom on her birthday. What’s the fucking difference? They’re all flowers right? And they’re dead, right? Formerly beautiful living things, breathing things, cut up into disgusting little petals and spread all over a bed, so we can lie on it and fuck ourselves to glory in some kind of Garden-of-Eden, pseudo-naturalist fantasy. Fucking on a deathbed, more like.” And she climbed off the table, chucked her cigarette out the window and left. But we're still doing  flowers on Valentine's Day, right? 

           Fightclub: "Everything's a copy of a copy of a copy."

*Excerpt from Cough Syrup Surrealism 


Colette Ngo Ndjom said...

I don't know why men assume that just because we are women, we automatically are mad about flowers. I mean, yes, I like flowers. I like them in the garden, alive. I even like to receive them for special occasions, but I would be upset if my boyfriend went and covered the bed with rose petals. I mean, what for? For the sake of being romantic. Uh no. Not every woman dreams of the romantic cliche moments borrowed from a movie. What makes a moment romantic, is doing something that you know your partner will like, and yet would never expect you to do it.

Anyway, it's was a nice gesture but you should always consult the best friend if you are in doubt. It's your best bet than just doing things because supposedly "all women like that".

icyhighs said...

Its just a story Colette but I'm going to come out and say: "You know what, I have ZERO imagination. I'm one of those people who'd rather live out movie moments all their life. I think I might even have a list I'd like to tick off before I die. And I think its weird if you don't have one. What are we if we don't have shadows? Nothing you or I have ever thought of is original anyway. Why can't we all just live up to the cliches and get the fuck along?"

red dirt girl said...

This piece is my favorite one to date!! All of it ~ the wish to surprise, the rose petals, the sarcasm and edge - oh yes, this has lots of edge. And the twisted sentence at the end: But we're still doing flowers on Valentine's Day, right?

Wish I could write more, but I'm headed out to work.

I want to read more of this!


red dirt girl said...

You know - re-reading Colette's comment, I have to say that when you get older (as in 20 years older) you - 1. won't feel the need to politicize your womanhood 2. you will have learned, hopefully, that life isn't black or white, but are interminable shades of gray and 3. learn to accept that your man isn't a fucking mind reader nor should he have to call up your best friend for advice!

Give the guy some credit - he tried. Reward the effort and forget the rest.

Geesh .... is romance really dead with you twenty-somethings?

ps Icy - love the American Beauty reference. Perfect for this piece.


red dirt girl said...

What happened to the poem ???? I came back specifically to comment on it. I wanted to say that 'you ought to know' that I LOVE Alanis Morrisette. And it was a credible effort. There is a sub-genre of poetry called prose poetry and your style of writing is a good match for it. My only constructive remark is you don't necessarily have to rhyme, but rhythm is more important in poetry (in my opinion) than it is in writing prose; in that you have a shorter number of sentences to get the rhythm up and running - so look at the basics - the number of syllables for each line and play around with that until you feel it.

i hope you bring it back ....


icyhighs said...

Hiyya Red, I'm glad you think its got 'edge'. I was worried it'd come across as plain sappy, so its a relief to know I managed to pull it off. This is from 'Cough Syrup Surrealism'. I'm really beginning to think I should just pay some kid to format it into an e-book for me and just put it up on Amazon. Nothing ventured, nothing gained etc.

And no, romance isn't dead with us 20-somethings. HELLO, have you met me?

Yup yup, Alanis is a legend. Jagged Little Pill is definitely in my desert island 5. And I see what you mean about rhythm and rhyme. I deleted it coz it seemed a little silly when I read it sober. Need a lot more practice before I'll feel brave enough to put my poorly poetry out there!

goatman said...

I once knew a girl who was so gentle I am not sure her feet touched the ground.
She would have glued the petals back onto the rose hips and made love to you in the woods.

icyhighs said...

That's good Goatman,come into my house and show me up for the wooden wordsmith I am! Just kidding, that was beautiful man. You should write something long and put-together. I'd buy it for that one line alone.

goatman said...

My thoughts are free my friend.