I was born in July and all my life, my birthdays have been in different cities/countries, with different people. The context of my life anyway changes dramatically from one year to the other.
I love it.
This year, my birthday consisted in two sleepless nights. Saturday night was warehouse partying: home made semi-failed mojitos (I am terrible at crushing ice) & home made candy kebabs*. It took me an hour to put all the damn gummy bears on the skewers. My flatmate had a suspicious look at my fabulous creations and said: “Happy 5th birthday!” I liked the joke but felt misunderstood, just like my spiced berry kirs were. It turned all good in the end. We laughed a lot, debated about prostitution and feminism, I won the blind test, and we have candy kebabs for the rest of the month.
I spent the actual day of my birthday in bed to recover from the craziness and from life in general. The following night was what I call impromptu awesomeness.
My cult camera operator friend H was in town from Los Angeles to shoot a film in East Sussex. She was in London for one night only before catching her plane back to America, and out of all the days which Universe could have picked for this magical catch up to happen, it actually chose my birthday. Our friendship is sewn with threads of that Impromptu Awesomeness.
I met her at sunset in the East London hipster hotel where she was staying with the director of the movie she’s working on. He’s a super cool guy from Oklahoma who makes marriage sound fun and who promised to put me in contact with an astrologer/wisdom teacher/feminist writer/lesbian-gone-straight-gone-lesbian-again badass woman in her 60s. I am thirsty for some spiritual witchcraft guidance since my witch grandmother Paulette passed away.
I found myself face to face with H around midnight. I hadn’t seen her since we went down the aisle together as a bridesmaids duo for ε’s wedding last October. She was holding me back because I was walking down the aisle too fast and we were trying hard not to laugh.
We went to the photo booth of the hotel lobby because it is a tradition in our group of friends to immortalise every time that at least two of us are in the same city. We are so geographically scattered that every encounter counts as History.
We went to her room which had a huge sofa, mountains of cushions and diverse props and gadgets. We giggled at the hispter cheesiness of the decor. She had to wake up at 6 to go to the airport so we decided to talk through the night.
She sat on the floor and started packing her luggage. She asked me how I was. But in her own way, really meaning it and expecting a proper answer free from bullshit. She was packing her underwear at the same time. She was rolling them instead of folding them, and I first got intrigued, then hypnotised by the speed of her gestures. I was watching the rolling choreography of her hands as she was unravelling me. As if she sensed that she had to create a diversion for my focus in order to make me shed my resistance.
I am not a girl who verbalises much ; which certainly doesn’t mean that I don’t express myself. I just have the hardest time articulating things in a face to face dialogue, although I paradoxically write letters where I strip naked to the core. I have no scruples either exposing the most intimate details of my life into nebulous virtual networks. (It is actually not paradoxal but coherent).
I am shameless in writing but I need serious trigger into speaking. H led me softly into it. When I answered her first question, everything else followed. I understood at that moment that she really understands and cares for me. She just knows.
Our conversation got so deep and intensely in the moment that I felt in ‘Thelma & Louise’ for a second. I don’t know why. There is a scene where the girls are already on the run from the police, and Louise has a now or never type of conversation with her boyfriend in an anonymous motel room. They are seating face to face. She rethinks her whole life and their relationship because they have only a few hours ahead before dawn is breaking. She senses that she may not see him again. It is an irrelevant comparison at the extent that H & I are not planning to jump into the Grand Canyon, but as we also had a countdown against dawn, we had an emergency to spit out the real stuff about ourselves.
It’s interesting what two girls coming across as strong and dominant but claiming their right to be vulnerable talk about when they are meeting. When I met H, I almost instantly related to her experience of the outside world, of how we are white canvases where most people project their believes of who they think we are ; because we are blonde and smooth at the surface. But we are fucking ambitious and have our very personal vision of the world on the inside. And we are dying to express it.
We fell asleep in the end, for an hour and a half. I helped her carry her sophisticated camera operator gear downstairs and I hugged her in the London rain of July. I said one of the coolest lines ever: “See you in Los Angeles!” I am going for her birthday in the fall. We visit each other in our natural habitats for our big day. How does that rate on the scale of fabulousness?
I fucking love that girl.
The title of this post is an obvious tribute to Björk – Unravel (cover by my dear friends So & Lo)