Regret

Serein — It’s one of those confusing days, where a light rain is falling from a clear sky. No matter where you look, you can see no clouds, only sunshine-brightened blue. I wonder where the rainbow is, looking up toward the sun. there. A sun surrounded by rainbow brackets. Another oddity. I don’t know what to make of such confusing days.

Misnomer — Soon Sasha joins me in the yard. In Russia Sasha is a man’s name, but for some reason my girlfriend’s parents had decided to name her Sasha. I’m not complaining. It’s a beautiful name, and not many Americans know its masculine origin, anyway. It wouldn’t matter if they did.

Dyad — The two of us walk around the yard, soaking our clothes and skin, absorbing rain and sunshine. Two children in our twenties twisting, twirling, dancing in the rain, laughing, splashing, slipping on slick grass, picking each other up, dancing arm-in-arm, ignoring car stares. There is just the two of us and we don’t care. We’re finally all that matters.

Aequo animo — I find Sasha’s presence a relief to my mind. I didn’t love anyone before Sasha. Life is lovely with her, calming, gentle. I am in love with life, with her, with her love of life, beautiful, smooth, satiny, soft, supple, without sorrow or fear. She has brought my passions under control, emotions stable, saved from sadness. Where would my life be without her? I see, hear, and feel things I couldn’t have felt. She inspires my mind, sending creativity across the neurons. I create as much for her as for myself. I live as much for her as for me. She is why I chose this way of life.

Déclassé — I know life has not been easy for Sasha. Such can be the consequences of dreams. Shared dreams such as ours bring the ring of pain down in tone, nearly unnoticed now. Though we are ding what we want though we are living as we wish, though we are living with each other, I know this life is hard for Sasha, having lived life wealthy — though this poverty, or any life she chooses, becomes her. Perhaps not any life. Here are reasons we have separated ourselves from the rest of the world, not least for the absurd religious feelings making slaves of everyone. We have rejected such morality and have chosen, instead, to live. There was a dullness turned spark when Sasha left that world. But can such a spark lose its luster? Surely not. How can you say “No” to life when you have joyously said “Yes!” In the end, Sasha knows how to live. She knows how to live and bring new life to the world. She helps me bring our gardens to life. Canning and freezing are cheaper than buying from the store, and the taste is incomparable. We still have the money we made from our shows, but we see no point in spending it without wisdom. We have kept from spending this money by selling our strawberries and the other fruits and vegetables we’ve grown to excess. We love our garden. It’s a joy to us both. It is well worth the other costs incurred.

Transposons — Before we finally found this place, we tended to move around. In towns and cities, we searched for a life. We stayed but a few months in any one place before moving on, carrying with us pieces of each place we left, letting go of pieces in the next, allowing other men in greenhouse labs to raise what we had planted until we returned to their towns to show those creations, transferring art from lab to gallery. We were vagrants, bums, society, artists, scientists, gardeners, high and low, accepted, rejected, revered, ignored, then finally abandoned. How long can you be innovative? How long before you move from avant-garde to kitsch to irrelevant? I suppose we could only create our art for so long before people grew tired of it in the same way too many grow tired of life.

Kinematic — There is a certain life in movement. This is what has kept our art alive. It is what keeps us and our love alive. We are in constant movement, settled as we are in this life and house. But the movement we create here is within ourselves, never realized between cities, the source of our success, the source of our failure, the source, we hope, of our resurrection.

Tandem Repeat — We are the world’s first biological artists. We create art from biology. We turn biology into art. We take the genes of different plants and animals, putting them into plants to create art. We wouldn’t be cruel enough to turn animals into art. We are artists, not cruel. Biology is art through us. Biology is art through intelligent design. Plants are art, now different shapes and colors, glowing in the dark, odd-shaped fruits and leaves and flowers. They are pointless otherwise. They are art. Art is science, science is art through our creations. We have found the art in science.

Adytum — The rain stops. We decide to go inside. It’s not much, though it is much more than most would think. How many homes have an artistic lab? Once we finish our current creations, perhaps we will set ourselves onto the road again. Now, we have our solitude, each other, our home. Here we are safe to create greatness. Here we are safe, inside this house, inside each other, inside ourselves. I shut the door as we begin peeling off our clothes. I love to watch her undress, almost more than I like to see her nude. Something sensual. When her clothes are wet, I love to watch her more. Here we are safe to love each other. Here we are safe to work in silence. Here we have our solitude. Here we are accepted.

Horripilation — Sasha stands naked before me, shivering from the dampness and bare skin. Clear water trickles down, appearing from nowhere on hear body, collecting unseen water, growing, dripping off elbows and nipples and hairs. Sasha is too thin, but I don’t care. She has an interesting face, a nose too thin, cheeks too high, chin too sharp, lips too thick, eyes too wide for any face but hers. She is adorably cute, miskempt, wet, sexy. She looks up to something, and probably is. She twists her shirt between her hands and pops my bare leg. We’re down on the couch, laughing, tickling, kissing, getting the couch wet with rainwater and lovemaking, rolling off the couch onto the floor, almost hitting the table. We care for nothing but each other. Our love gives us chills.

Ubermenschen — We go into the lab, still undressed. Looking across the flats of seedlings, we hope a few are the artists’ creations we planned. We cannot tell yet since only a few have their first few leaves. Sasha and I are the perfect synthesis of scientist and artist, reason and emotion, beauty and knowledge become one. We are therefore feared, hated, envied. We have as many astonished, loving everything we do, as we have detractors, willing to destroy whatever is great, wonderful, beautiful. They will not stand for genius. It is a threat. It is a threat to their mediocrity. They are the great haters of life. I am its greatest lover.

Duty — That is why we are here, separate from most of society. Where we cannot be found, we cannot be harassed. We can work in peace, creating works of beauty. We refuse to conform. We refuse to do what others want simply because they want us to do it. It is fortunate we have each other, otherwise loneliness would drive us mad, though we would both choose such madness over the great immoralizer. We will live as we choose, create as we wish, love life because it is worth loving.

Quatrain —
I find my fascination, love of life
Inseparable from my Sasha’s heart
Choosing passion with the strife
Death preferred to life apart.

Mundane — I try to keep my mind on things of earth, physical things we can know about. A head held too lofty is of no use to anyone, unproductive, often harmful. The truth and beauty of this world are in this morning’s rain. We know this, have abandoned the world for this very reason, giving up our families for their silly, life-destroying beliefs. We know this, but I have recently seen Sasha acting this way again. Over the past month, I have seen her spark turn gain into a slow dullness. Perhaps it has been longer, but the change has been slow and unseen. I cannot explain it. She was always strongest in her belief. Existence is beautiful. Why should we need anything else? Yet, I often see her mind drifting off to things we cannot see, cannot understand, cannot know.

Dystopia — The rain has brought us back to life, reminding us why our lives have been happy until recently. I cannot say what is different. It’s nothing in particular — just a general feeling that something has changed. We have always come and gone as we pleased, often without explanation; but in the previous month, maybe two, she has been gone more than usual, with fewer explanations. I feel she has been seduced away from me, is being slowly seduced. I have only recently realized it. I am sure she has found something now working to separate us. She is less interested in our art the past few days and weeks. I have done most of the work for a month. She has also been less passionate, despite this morning’s dance in the rain. Sometimes the sensual takes over no matter what, and you remember why you’re in love. I have needed to feel the still loves me. I have missed her for weeks.

Lentamente — I ask her what is going on, what is weighing on her mind. I sit softly next to her on the bed as she dresses in dry clothes, sensuously slipping each article on, lost in thought at my question. She turns, eyes sad, wondering what she should say. I stop her mouth with a kiss. I tell her how I love her, how whatever is the problem, I will be with her — I will love her, as our pact together with life proclaims. She hangs her head. She says she had surrendered her soul to those she had before thought were the enemies of life. Now she thinks they are right. She thinks they have the answers, that life is pointless without something above, something higher. I wonder how she can say this. How can she possibly believe, have of all things faith, the great destroyer of life and love and living, denier of existence, knowledge, and your senses? She simply stares, silent, then says she is giving up on our projects. She says she feels it could be wrong, somehow. Would God really want us to turn His works of creation into art? She hangs her head in what looks like shame, but who can tell, now? I am shocked to silence. Where is the woman I loved? Where is the woman of life, who brought love and light to mine? Could she have drifted away without my realizing it? I feel my love being lost to the light of those who won’t love life. I feel her slowly drifting by.

Uloid — I wandered through the house this morning. She was gone, leaving everything. She knew I couldn’t love her anymore. I could not love her for her defection. I could not love her for her treason. I could not love the stranger she had become, the stranger I now was to her. She felt she had to leave. You can’t live long in a loveless house. I killed our love when she lost the life I loved in her. I walk to the lab, sit in the corner, and cry, tears washing down my arms, dripping on the hardwood floor, silent tears making silent drops in a silent, empty house. I mourn our love, I mourn our life, I mourn our work and joy and everything we had accomplished together, creating living art for our love of life. Art and life had become one here, and now all life has left it. I cannot stay. It would become unbearable. It already has. I have lost her. I could understand if I had lost her to a man, but not what I had lost her to. I couldn’t lose her to nothing. Suddenly, the wooden work benches in the lab are ugly — unclean glassware, boxy incubators, bright inflorescent lights only shedding too much light. A tiny grape vine, in full fruited bloom, starts back at me from the corner, white fruits with black tips surrounded by blue rings, human eye genes giving blue shimmers in true eyeball patterns to stare at me. Grape clusters of tiny blue eyes. Staring. Staring. Today I think we designed her too well. Staring plants, too-bright lights. Pain. Ugliness. Loss of love. I continue crying. What happened to my dreams?

Centrosome — Sasha had bound herself to one view of life, I to another. I often wonder why she chose to bind herself separate from me, without trying to share what she had found. Thought she found. I guess she knew what I would do. Now we are separated as through mitosis. We don’t again be fused. How can she when we have drifted apart? How can I? I know I can’t. I told her she couldn’t stay while I was here, that I couldn’t love someone who chose to deny life, to deny our life and love together, to throw to disdain everything we had lived for. I don’t know where she went.

Postlude — My life is closed here now — I am again on the move. As we had before, I will find the labs to do my work. There hasn’t been a shortage of offers. I have some new artwork finished, and I have a couple shows. It’s such a joy to find a few galleries who still believe in the joy of life — who will allow me to show my latest works, to give the public a chance to learn to love life through art. Life will be moving for me again. Every show I get, they ask if Sasha will be there, little stabs, hurting as I tell them no, they won’t be seeing her anymore. I hear the expression of understanding across the phone lines. I’m ready to go now. I’m ready again to show the world its greatest lover of life. I have created some of my best artwork. The past cannot compare to the present. I’ve left the house to Sasha, everything but the lab and personals left untouched. I’ve left her now as physically as she has left my spirit. There is joy to be found in every experience. Sasha has always been my strength. Nothing has really changed. She strengthens me still.

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Troy Camplin

Troy Camplin

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I am the author of “Diaphysics” and the novel “Hear the Screams of the Butterfly.” I am a consultant, poet, playwright, novelist, and interdisciplinary scholar.