There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.Last night, Ben again went for the big coat, but I was ready for him this time, dressed differently, prepared to plead for warmth in leaving everything on this time, dreading the cold but certainly not the thrill.
Only once again, he chose surprise.
When we got down to the beach Ben encouraged me to sit against the logs and then he walked to the water's edge, turning to face me, his back to the sea. He pulled out a book and began to read from it, watching me somewhat nervously. I knew the style before I knew the name of the book.
To Have and Have Not.
Across the River and into the Trees and The Snows of Kilimanjaro were the two other tattered, dog-eared books found among Jacob's belongings in the hotel room that were returned to me in a Fedex global shipping box. The remainder of our Hemingway collection is on the bookshelf in my bedroom. It's been a really long time since I looked at any of it. Years, which in Ben-terms is a very long time indeed.
I suppose there are people who have never seen the archives here. I took them away. Jacob used to read to me. Out loud, every night on the porch after the children were asleep. I loved it so, and now Ben is doing it.
Ben who has positively zero desire to walk in anyone else's footsteps because he is busy walking through broken glass and lightning strikes for fun. Ben does not require conventionalities, he defies logic. He throws up his middle fingers and flips off rationality and he rips the head off predictable romance and flushes it. He'll do things his way, he tells me and I believe him. He's weird and wonderful like that.
He's going to take up this torch because he knows I won't scream in agony, twisting out of his arms when the words sink in but the voice is different. He knows I will sit and strain to hear over the roar of the midnight surf while the wind follows the labyrinth of ruin into my ears until it can cool my brain into a satisfied stasis, until I have absorbed enough of the story for one night, told in such a way that eclipses a night spent rocking on a porch swing with a hot of cup of tea listening to the crickets in the tall Prairie grass in spades. Ben lives viscerally and everything will be loud and dark and violent and felt until you just can't feel it anymore and then, and only then are you living, thank you very fucking much.
Only Ben could make a Hemingway novel into a full-on metal experience, with the waves crashing and the moon blazing on through the night. Only Ben would dare to bring this particular pastime back to life. Had anyone else done it I would still be screaming. Instead I feel like I have a little more of myself back.
Jacob can listen in, probably reciting the passages word for word. Probably impressed with the delivery and maybe even our progress too.