El Escogido

She held a visionary’s stance, like a child who spies a comet for the first time; head thrown back and legs apart, long auburn hair trailing in the wind. She caught a glimpse of it once, but it melted away and was gone. That’s nearly always the way it is. She called it the white rush, like God’s supernova snowball. She saw it by the Thayer on the bedroom wall. I used to find her searching under floorboards, brambles, park benches, and old copies of the Radio Times; anywhere she might care to find it. She would beam and wander round the flat in her underwear for days on end. She was never happier than when she was searching indoors, and neither was I. She never seemed to lose hope in finding it. Never at this time did I consider searching for it myself. I had experienced variants of such things before and all had left their respective marks, and if both of us were to be off wandering the scape then we would, in all likelihood, both starve to death. This was hers. Besides, there were those times when we had moulded one to the other with every intention of becoming a single entity, and at these times I came to see and feel through her soul. She often peeled back the roof to reveal the distant suns above, or she would blank out objects and parts of the room, one at a time, replacing each with ever changing fractal patterns until the whole room but she and I were a mathematical mescaline odyssey. This would make me laugh, like she was walking around in my big old boots with her feet all flopping about. I never felt that there was ever the likelihood of her leaving me for someone else. I was the only person she ever acknowledged; as if the rest of humanity had never existed. But the possibility of losing her to the sought was ever loitering. One day I looked for her, but she was gone. She must have found it and followed, leaving behind only the scent of her body in the randomly strewn clothes, and these fragment trails of ink. She said that one day I would write her into eternity; and so it is.

© Chris Bond — 4 December 2003

Partly based in real events. El Escogido means "the chosen one." Although it may seem obvious that the title refers to the girl, who is, after all, seemingly chosen by God, it actually refers to me, as the girl chose me and, for her, nobody else existed. Several girlfriends have, in the past, walked around my/our/her flat in my jack boots. The memory of these things is always vivid and fresh; like a painting that has permanently hung on my wall. While I was an archivist in Cornwall I catalogued some of the letters written by the American artist Abbott Handerson Thayer, referred to in the poem, who was asking of the Lord of the Manor of St Ives and Treloyhan if he might be allowed to collect specimens of seabirds from the cliffs around St Ives. No doubt he used to use them as studies for the wings of the countless angels that he painted. The blanking out of objects within a room, one by one, until none are visible is something that I myself used to do. I would blank out objects one at a time, replacing each with a bright lemon yellow colour until the whole room was just one big blank yellow canvas.