I found the pictures that we couldn’t find from our trip to Mexico today. There’s a series of the most amazing shots of that day we went to watch the cliff divers. Remember how hot it was that day? It was always an exercise in – what is that word that Freud uses to describe everything we do that isn’t sex? – whenever I see you near naked in the sun, proud body enduring a merciless heat, perfect brown skin, eyes unflinching towards heaven, an angelic smile on your face. God, you know, I smell you in my dreams. I remember walking behind you that day because you were so excited to get there. You were half running, half walking, gliding over the sand in your bare feet like some beautiful ascetic treading gracefully over hot coals, testing the boundaries of physical limitations. The desire in you was so strong that day. I couldn’t have kept up if I’d want to but I have to say that trailing along behind you, watching you skim along the earth in search of a new thrill, was as exciting for me as it must have been for you.
As we came around that last corner you turned and shouted, “There it is,” pointing it out to me as though I would miss the massive cliffs that stood before us, dripping dangerously from clear blue sky to angry ocean below. Just looking at these pictures I can feel what I felt just then; the mixture of awe and fear, basking in the terrible beauty of knife edge rocks that pointed up menacingly, reaching lustily for the bodies of the beautiful Mexican boys who raced past them and plunged headlong into the the slight cushion of water below, that then carried them out into the sea, as though they had offered themselves up to some dreamily terrible water god whose acts of vengeance against the earth could only be abated by these significantly faithful sacrifices. Only the destruction of beauty can quench such a terrifying thirst, and as the water enveloped these brilliantly beautiful boys, they would use the force of the ocean against them to float easily to shore, once again using the very violence that would destroy them to escape safely, only to tempt the renewed anger of the Ocean God.
I watched you take this in, your attention given full and completely to this process of ridiculously playful temptation. “Take my picture,” you said as you moved away from me towards the edge of that cliff, your face changing from delight to determination, your muscles visibly tightening, your hands raised as though surrendered, and before I could even guess at your intent you dove into the whirling morass of destruction, out of my sight and hearing. I heard the shouts from the people gathered round the edge of the cliff and moved gingerly towards the edge to try and spot you as another Mexican boy ran past me, leaping into the surf after you. God dammit, baby, I have never felt so fucking helpless in my entire life, waiting for you to emerge, waiting, waiting, it seemed like an eternity before someone shouted, “There she is.”
Finally, I saw your smiling face break through and you laid your cheek to rest on the surface of the water, like a child resting against its mothers breast, your eyes closed and your breathing easy, not at all resistant to the water that would pollute your lungs, but embracing the awesome force of an energy you were powerless to control.
I watched as the boy who had jumped to your rescue swam towards you. I could see the look of concern on his face and he must’ve been asking you if you were okay and then you did the most wonderful thing. You simply smiled at him, reached out your hand, placed it gently on the back of his neck and pulling him towards you, you kissed him – tenderly, softly – and then, smiling, you put your other hand on top of his head and dunked him playfully under the water. This unanimous cheer of relief rose up from those collected there on the side of the cliff and I do not believe I have ever been more upset. I’d never felt such a mixture of anger and embarrassment; betrayal.
Not because of what you’d done, but because I’d had no idea that you were so capable of such a reckless and irrational act. I was angry because I’d never loved you more than I did at that moment. Ironic, isn’t it?
Anyway. These pictures are here now. You’d like them.