Heaven or Las Vegas

Cocteau Twins’ “Heaven or Las Vegas” (the album, not the titular track) will forever be associated for me with one image and one distinct stretch of my time. First, the image: it was 2005, I think, and I was listening to the album on my iPod (yes, those used to be all the rage), missing someone deeply. It might have been 2005, as I’d then be 20 and a junior, but the colors are wrong — were it autumn 2005, I’d be in Berlin, and that triggers its own set of formative elegiac memories. It must have been 2006 then; as the image of me gazing out the broad window always involves snow-crusted but not yet dead shrubs and small trees.

Ah yes, the image — take those flora and add to the picture a young man, wrapped in a black pea coat, a scarf twirling black, dark pine and deep crimson wrapped around his thin neck, unshaven for a day, perhaps two, blonde hair cut severely short — and recently, you surmise. Hand, nails uneven and picked at, drawn up to a thin mouth, beneath an unremarkable nose and cheeks bearing marks of battles against acne past. Drawing up to a set of wire frames, lenses powerful enough to blind most, though you know he’s worn such since before kindergarten, slate-blue eyes one minute lost in the music’s trance, the other trying to see what might just lie beyond the endless there.

Frozen in time, as it were, that’s how I recall my experience of the stretch of time —

I write “stretch,” because it seemed and seems thus — a period in my life without direction or worth. As with many times in my frail and oscillating existence, I felt three-dimensional in a Calabi-Yau manifold. All I know is that the music and the isolation took me to a place I frequent more often than I should — a space where J. and B. and E. and more rightfully accuse me of the same offense — “you were never there.”


~ by Benji on December 1, 2017.

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