Last night was one of those mysterious nights when the air is white and liquid, a kaleidoscope of images whirling around. A dark moon smirked and sneered: a moon without comfort or beauty, a loveless moon, a jealous moon; a white night thick with doubts and elusive half dreams which leave my insides hollow and my brain fuzzy and sticky. Do you know about such nights? Yes, of course you do.
It was you who told me about face lifts: blue, green, yellow. Cutting the flesh as though being slaughtered. No fear, no pain, because tomorrow I'll be beautiful again.
Death. There must be no fear in death. Life is only a metaphor, you said, or did I say that? No matter. But if that is so why cut the face? Why change what is preordained? Why tamper with nature? There is no nature, only a face. A face swollen like a full moon, a painted moon. Or maybe a dream. It might all be a dream: the knife, blood, pain; all a dream. You wake up one morning, look in the mirror and gasp: Me? Is this me? Yes, it's me inside, outside a stranger glares into my eyes; wrong reflection, distorted image. When did the years pass? So cut, stretch, and you change. An exquisite agony. Anticipation. Madness. New you? New me? Youth captured once more? Eternity! Well, that's a question. (The Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert say there is a dream always dreaming us.)
You, my dearest friend, went to Germany for a face operation. What a trip you must have had: a train ride through German landscape. Were you thinking of Nazis? Gas chambers? Being Jewish is forever. No. It is not right even if you think of it from your other side. Even if you peel away the pretense that you are right. Even if you say: I don't know, I don't understand, I know I am only alive and anyway it all belongs to the distant past. Even then it isn't right for you or for me, or for any one of our kind, to go on a train in a German land. Were you someone else? Didn't you belong? You belong to all and everywhere. But no one wants to remember because if one remembers one has to care. So we cut even deeper and the blue turns purple, the green yellow, they all merge and become one. One ancient tree. A tree of Eden? Old, gnarled, wrinkled, cracked, twisted. But on its top a few green leaves still flutter in the wind as if to say: We are still here. Look! Life. Love. Space. Or maybe it's only a place?
St. John said that in the beginning was the WORD. Do you know? One word. But did anyone ever find the right word? Maybe you will and maybe you won't. I might, but I know that I can't. "What's in a name?" crazed Juliet asked of love-stricken Romeo. Everything? Nothing? Only a word? But oh! only if I could find the right word, then the white night will be the right night after all.
A habit. A strange habit. Or a thirst for knowledge? I wake up about two o'clock in the morning and I feel a craving. A sort of restlessness descends upon me. A hunger, a craving, my body tingles with longing. Reflecting on the feeling I discover that I crave for an apple. All I want is an apple. I want to smile at my foolishness, but my mouth seems frozen. So I get out of bed and tiptoe to the kitchen. The floor creaks. But there is no fear that the man of the house will wake up, because Teddy my love has become deaf and blind through modern devices--eye shades and ear plugs. Why hear dogs bark in the night? A smart man my Teddy is; it is he I tenderly love. Anyway I take the apple to bed with me, I lie on my back and squeeze the apple between my hands: sweet fragrance drifts across my face, soothes my screaming nerves. I eat the apple as though it is the last one I will ever have. Delicious. Then the night is not white any longer. I have a friend inside me: an apple.
The words come out. My fingers spell what my mouth dares not say. Am I mad? Is Zeus my God? Did I build a golden calf? Will I gouge out horses' eyes? Truth is missing from our sight. We are afraid to delve inside. Introspection is amiss: "Do I dare to eat a peach?" Indeed! Indeed! Poor T. S. Eliot. He should have had a face lift. But, would have that been it? "That is not it at all," said Mr. Eliot. But if that is not it, then what?
This isn't funny at all.
Strange. I feel so strange.
Today after school I felt dizzy with frustration and frenzy, so I went to the executioner called "Beauty Designer" and had my hair cut almost to my scalp. I returned home feeling even more weird and more crazy. I looked in the mirror: my ears stuck out of my head like those of a creature from a loony movie. My face looked white and naked; my nerves were spattered in patterns over the diaphanous screen of the indifferent glass and my wrinkles danced in a frenzied celebration. (Oh, if mirrors only had a heart.) Suddenly an image of Van Gogh's mutilated face zapped my mind. I took a needle and pierced one earlobe, then the other. They didn't bleed, they didn't hurt; I didn't feel any better. Maybe a bath? What a clever thought! The water in the tub was scalding hot. No relief there either. I don't think that I'll have a face lift after all. Get old gracefully? Hurray! What a luxurious stupidity. I'll only get old---grace belongs to elephants and children.
A hot flush, a wet fever. Absurd! Absurd! Of course, it's only menopause. I really feel terrific.
Then why the pain?
I hear God's answer: "I don't know."