Tag Archives: choices

The Precipice by Matt Carlson

Elledge stood there : once again. On the precipice. The precipice of making a decision. The precipice of what was important in his life. He had looked up, he had looked down; he had looked all around. Had he missed something? Because to make the best possible decision, one had to have the key elements in hand. He knew that. But if part of the equation were the people he cared about – where were they? And if he knew where they were, why were they acting the way that they did? Maybe his ‘carrier-pigeon mentality’ hadn’t been the best method, you know: the returning to the places of life before… To see ‘it’ again and look it straight in the eye  – to talk to it even, just to make sure that they recognized each other. The problem was that no one spoke, or was even available to have an eventual conversation. It was: “I’m so busy. I’ll call you.” The phone calls never came.

Then he remembered an old concept that he had held close to his heart (and head) in his dating days : when you start playing the guessing game in your head about what’s in someone else’s head, that usually means the person is not direct, is complicated,  not a good communicator, or absent because they want to be and or DO NOT WANT TO SHARE in the way that you need them to share. So ‘bye bye baby, bye-bye’ (Madonna song refrain…)

The little brother incident had been an emotional blow. While there, he had known being in their home was a potential ‘bomb’ of sorts,  he hadn’t known what the missing pieces were. Now in retrospect, he understood them. His psychiatrist had pointed out the abandoned Father issues that dominated in that household – that Elledge couldn’t have done anything about it even if he had wanted to. That all potential Father symbols had to be destroyed ! Elledge hadn’t  thought of any of those things – though he had considered the father role he had played – still a child himself- with his little brother many years ago: a poor substitute perhaps, but it had been a loving one.

Arriving in California, he was on a life trip while there – still was in fact though now back in Paris – and the people facing him had been on a completely different roller coaster ride. There was finally no ‘meeting of the minds’ so to speak. For that, there had to be openings in peoples heads, the desire to be open to something new, to have conversations together. Instead, there had been ‘people too busy,’ defensiveness, parody, moodiness and recriminations – games within games. Even lying. There were false smiles and “Awesome!” this and “Awesome !” that; followed up with “Your the boss!” But when a miscommunication happened it was, ” You’re a mother-fucking-liar” and “I’ll never trust you again!” with “Why did you do that?” Elledge was still waiting for an answer from an email in May, a sent birthday card and postcards sent over the summer. But no, he had been killed off. His Father symbol was now dead to them. Back then he’s been told by his little brother, “People in the states don’t answer emails!”

The other brothers and their absences too were confounding to him. But maybe that shouldn’t have been so surprising concerning the past.  Elledge had some gaps in his memory and distance did play a role too – still he was very disappointed. He’d truly wanted to connect with his brothers again and on a close level.  but he supposed, that in order for them to understand the efforts taken to return, one had to have ‘sat upon the subject’ a bit, to mull it over and consider those steps necessary for a trip like that; to care enough about someone else –  your brother – and what that meant to you. And if it meant something then you would do something about it, right? Like jump on a plane and go and see him, or if you were in the same city, run over and see him, right?  If not, you wouldn’t have done any considering at all just, “Oh, he’s coming back?…Why? I hope it works out for him..”(end of story ).

The good side to his visit upon returning to his ‘roots’ had been connecting with his nephews and niece, three of his cousins …and some nice virtual messaging with at least one of his second cousins. And he had made a friend or two, gotten to see his best friend in Washington and her family. There were connections with her family too – that was all very nice….

But still, what to do? Which city would he return to? Or maybe it would  be a new place? New faces? And more importantly the ‘what to do’ with ones life was actually secondary to the ‘why’ we do something…Hmm, maybe it was time to develop that ‘why’ question….




‘Paris Times Short Stories: ‘Repunzal and A Heat Wave in Paris by matt carlson

20150702_082137As he sat on the john, the artwork of the disembodied head hovered before Gelledge on the back of the bathroom door where it was pinned. It was from Patches who still went to art class on tuesdays. The image seemed to be alive somehow and Gelledge having had a past of mystic sensibilities tried to will the picture to communicate with him.

“Yea, I know what that picture means,” he thought aloud  and then considered Patches &  the feelings of dismembered from her own body that she certainly had, while Muscular Sclerosis took choices and abilities away; little by little each day. But he was not Patches: he could walk and run, still do everything he wanted. And yet, he wasn’t. Something was gnawing on his inner soul. Some of the eternal questions of life and what that all meant.

Having just returned from a long over due visit to see his family in the states, he was so very happy to have reunited with so many.  The coming back to Paris, though pleasing, left him with unsure footing. Once again. Twenty six years had passed since coming to Europe with Sergio, his lover at that time. They had lived in Paris and had finaly returned to live near Aix, buying a house there in the country. When Gelledge had learned about being HIV positive, the fairy tale (no pun intended ;)) collapsed.

Now years later, a similar tale, with yet another house in the same village (a strange coincidence) with O. and his madman antics, demanding to keep all they had shared for ten years. Gelledge now found himself on the parisien island known as Isle de France – and there wasn’t even an ocean anywhere nearby, only rivers threading here and there.

His small room on the top floor of the castle was pleasant enough, plus there was a landing leading to a large alcove. Lots of light and for parisiens anyway, a goldmine in housing. That is to say, it could have been if it hadn’t been for Patches’ health worries and the need to have everything ‘medicalized’. It was at times like a hospital – constant comings and goings during the day with life assistants (Patches was in a wheelchair), physical therapists, the traiteur for her meals, the maid, the administrative people; one fired after the next as no one could deal with Patches for long.

Yesterday as the unusual heat wave bared down upon the city, birds sat down on the sidewalks, a few not withstanding the high temperatures. The heat burned in Patches’ head along with the frequent glitches in her brain circuitry. She screamed at François, a tall balding 30ish man with a beard.

“Shit, shit, shit!” and then “Fuck, fuck, fuck!” She didn’t like this frenchman speaking down at her. She couldn’t get the words out quick enough and he strangled her with his. Choke, choke, choke, she felt light headed one moment and then the burning came. It felt like light bulbs spitting out sparks, then lay there dying at her dead feet. She could barely move any part of her body. Her body was forming into the capital letter of “C” so twisted was she. “Give me a “C!” Gelledge would shout out like a cheerleader. There was nothing else to do sometimes – just laugh. What else could one do? This wasn’t going anywhere else but down, right? Patches would always laugh. It was easy to make her do so.

Only Patches’ right hand saved her. She could still use it to straighten her glasses, even put them on and off, though not gracefully. And she could still feed herself too with a big soup spoon, play with her IPhone, watch tv on it, play card games….Little things that kept the monster of reality at bay while she slowly disapated into a non-moving C shaped shell.

Gelledge couldn’t get it. Patches had very little possibilies, but he had many. Why was he so stuck in his own life? What was keeping him from moving on? He thought of his little brother and his family. Being with them was like being home again. He loved his little brother deeply and now that he had met them, well it wasn’t easy leaving them. He wanted to part of their lives, but how could he do that? Return to Fresno? He had always pretty much hated that town and what it represented: blinded conservative & homophobic religious attitudes, rascism, the car culture in all its of its glory. He had seen how people lived in suburbia: arriving home in their big cars, their windows shut with air conditioning blasting, taking out their remote controls to open garage doors automatically… Then they would drive in, park and the doors would close. After that you saw no one. No one walked on the streets in Fresno. It had only been Gelledge, a few homeless, once a guy with his dog and he had seen two teenage girls actually cross the street to visit one of their friends houses….

People did congregate of course, but at the shopping malls, their work places, restaurants, sporting events and of course, at the churches. Gelledge pondered all of this. Here he was living in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. How was he going to work things out?

He thought of that disembodied head again. Well, he certainly didn’t want that head of his coming off, he wanted to live his life, be with people that he loved, follow those inner intentions, create, share with others….be…..He took a deep breath, he had to go the toilet. He would use the upstairs one this time, then make some more coffee.

This day wasn’t over yet.

Paris Times (N° 9) Crazy “O” in Provence by Matthew Carlson (fiction)

Sometimes against our better judgement, we get involved with people that are sick, perverted and have no idea of what happiness is. Neither do they want it. then there are people like myself, who do know, and who appreciates beauty and happy moments, can spread the joy to others.

Here is part of a fictional short story (with some fun added in) about a gay couple in Provence!

Enjoy 😉


À propos

À propos. An american in Paris, I know, NOT very original, huh? Born and raised in California, I’ve been living over here for 26 years – half a lifetime. Mental health, language, tennis and music have been constant themes in my life, also writing, photography and animals of all kinds.

Now I’m living as a vegetarian in a castle with a handicapped woman and another musician.

I need to reinvent my life. If you have anything to say about that, hit me up. I enjoy conversation! ;))