From far away the red convertible Porsche is a marble
, flicked against the tightly hugged hills. Then it is a red ball slipped from child-fingers
, now, across the curvaceous liquorice road, dipping and winding over the hills and out through the famous route described in The Professor’s journal once as “an invitation to a waltz with the sea.”
And as the Porsche becomes a car, The Professor recites these words to his lover in the passenger seat.
And as the car swerves from corner to corner, Bonnie, his student, is jolted from door to Professor, nylon sliding across the vinyl seat, her legs tensed and parted by velocity. The journal in the glove compartment thuds and speaks of secrets. And she laughs the whole time with lipstick. And somehow, unexplainably, her voice transcends the roar of engine, wind and ocean.
In a towns-away suburb consisting of green lawns and reliable mailmen, The Professor’s wife slips into her gardening gloves and smiles.
They have been canonised from a past life, as it were, and Bonnie has dyed her hair platinum blonde for the occasion. And The Professor wears his monocle, and she is born again - Bonnie - not Melanie, the student in the back row, or Melanie, the daughter. For on these ritual escapades they live together the myth of lovers; of infinite time and space.
A stout woman with butcher’s arms sighs and opens a till to sell a postcard to a man in a tweed suit with a biblical name. Outside the wind lifts and blows and images of sceneries too expansive for photographs, migrate from the metal postcard-stand, feather in the wind, and fall to the ground.
The Porsche blots the scenery red as The Professor points at objects lost in motion and Bonnie says, “Where where I can’t see!”
“There!” he says.
To the left the sea will carry the eye to the horizon and the flat expanse of infinite blue, then like a pendulum we swing back to the booming slopes, where the wealthy have erected pastel houses as monuments, to witness for them the spectacle of a beautiful view when they are too busy back at home, living their regular lives and working the hours that they do.
The Professor pulls over and scoops Bonnie to his chest. Beneath their shoes and tyres and gravel, a train whistles through a tunnel. Had the wealthy not protested in defense of their beautiful view, the train would be whistling instead across a proud and cascading bridge, stretched far across the ocean and to somewhere.
Bonnie takes The Professor’s palm and folds it toward her belly. “Can you feel it?” she says.
As a faint rumble passes below he says, “I can.”
The man from Ukraine hugs his briefcase in the carriage and sways with each bump. Inside the case there is a roadmap, a wallet, leather gloves, a passport, an empty notepad and a videocassette. The graffiti on the carriage walls speak of eternal love, and a poster advertises expensive properties with immaculate views. A young boy holds the hem of his mother’s skirt in his fist and says he wants to ride the cable car now
The train arrives at a station tucked away in a spread of thick green. The travelers walk stiff and archaic as they depart and disperse into the distance. The man from Ukraine is stooped and slow, and as his briefcase falls dead into his hand, he sees a flash on the platform’s periphery, and the man from Ukraine halts.
Shielded behind a train window and an ancient camera, there is a man sitting hunched and photographing the man from Ukraine. He’s alone in the carriage, yet maintains his discretion with a large black coat and hat. His subject appears strong and unflinching, gazing toward the persistent flashes until the train starts up and chugs off into the vanishing point.
Two vagabond lovers rise from the underground station into the city streets. Their pace gradually slows from a casual glide to a complete stop as a bus blurs by. Vonda draws in the smoke of her cigarette and exhales into the skyline. Amanda’s finger hovers before a telephone pole and two stark eyes stare into hers through the black and white pixels, as she reads aloud the poster’s scripture: MISSING.
“I’ve seen him around.” Says Vonda, with smoke escaping her lips, as rain begins to fall. The two lovers face each other and cross the street.
They stroll into a secondhand store and pull at the sleeves of hanging garments. A red bicycle for sale leans against a hat stand with coloured ribbons drooped delicately from the handlebars to accentuate the flow of movement. The old woman behind the till says to no one that it came from China; pedaled across borders and the sea. Amanda shrugs her body into a tweed suit and Vonda inspects the lining of a pocket. She had once found a note buried in the sole of a secondhand shoe that spoke of smudged blue ink and a foreign language.
They buy the bicycle and from the top of the street you can see, if you're looking, the two lovers riding it together. Amanda pedals with long, confident strides, and Vonda roosts on the handlebars, smoking a cigarette with her head in the wind.
And in a suburb, towns away, where the sky is just white and black tree skeletons line the street, where the roads are empty and the houses are cold, a ten-year-old boy rides his bicycle from Sunday school, pedaling with body and abandon, with an ace of spades in his spokes. And the tyres growl beneath him like a racecar, a thoroughbred. Going and going and galloping, those great beast legs to some place else