Saturday, 12 October 2013

His Face

It's one of the hardest things I find to describe. The rest of the body is pretty easy - a rich mat of hair covering a muscular chest, smooth chiselled pecs crowned with generous sized nipples – that sort of thing, along with other more graphic descriptions. I suppose it’s because so many male body images we see are stereotype perfection along a particular theme, so it’s easy to conjure up the type as everybody knows what you mean. But with a face – that’s different. Each is so different, and each one can take different aspects depending on the light and expression.
I was captivated once by a face. Okay, so several times, but there was one face in particular. It wasn’t this guy, but he’s as near as I can find. I saw him in a club and thought he looked stunning, all the more so because he was so aloof, happy with the boyfriend he had in tow and shunning any attempted advance. He made such an impression that several years later I still remembered his beautiful face and wrote a story – Burning Fire – based on him. Pure fantasy of course – I doubt he was a fireman, and I sure as hell ain’t no ex-soldier who can dispassionately murder. But there was the face – that bit was true. Here’s how I open the story, using sentiment rather than description to capture his face...

It was like in that song by Roberta Flack – The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face – I knew straight away that I would have to have him.
His name was Farrell.
Was? That sounds like he’s no more. Dead, snuffed it, kicked the bucket – gone to a better place.
No. His name was Farrell and it still is. I didn’t kill him. I fucked with his life and I fucked with his head, I fucked with his boyfriend, and I sure as hell fucked him. I did plenty that was wrong, I’ll confess to that. This whole story is a confession of the wrong that I did. But I didn’t kill him. How could I possibly do a thing like that?
Quite easily is the answer, given the training I’ve received. Six years in the British army teaches you a few useful things – like a whole variety of ways to dispassionately murder a man. But I couldn’t put it into practice with Farrell. You see the first time ever I saw his face – how did Roberta put it? My heart trembled like a bird caught in a cage.
No! No! No!
Precision– get things right! If there was one thing that I learned in my former life it was to make sure you got things right and left nothing to chance. The lyrics were, ‘Like the trembling heart of a captive bird.’ And that happened the first time Roberta kissed her man’s mouth, it was some crap about adding stars to the dark and empty skies that his face inspired.
I really should get it straight.
The first time!
God forgive me for what I did... but your face... your beautiful, captivating, life confirming face. Why did you have to act the way you did? But I don’t suppose it would have made any difference. For ours was a tragedy from the moment I saw you – a burning fire that would leave a wound on us all – one of us quite literally, but we’ll come to that in due course.
Your face, your face!
Sing it to me Roberta. Let me hear that sweet tone................... ‘Your face! Your face! Your face!’


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