In the awful new world after the spectacle, I stop returning Trel’s messages. I really try to find words to tell him why I can’t see him anymore but when I look inside there is nothing. He has just sent me another text when Ishka comes into the room. Things are really awkward. She says she’s sorry but she can’t deal. She is going to stay with her family for a few days. She says she hopes I’m okay.
I need company so I message Bruce and ask if I can come round. I don’t really tell him why.
When I get there we get stuck into a goon bag. I try to act normal even though there are a lot of topics I’m avoiding. Bruce asks if I’m alright but he doesn’t push the issue. He’s a tactful guy.
Maybe he thinks it has something to do with boys so he starts talking about all the dudes he’s been seeing or hooking up with. It doesn’t make me feel better of course but the conversation is worth a few lulz.
Then we get on to talking about art, our current practices and our future plans. It’s hard for me to think about the future right now but I’m getting drunk and I really start to let loose. Among our passionate theories and romantic convictions there’s a certain pessimistic inclination that we seem to share that feels new but maybe not.
Okay, so now I’m really drunk and I’m talking about how I want to create a sculpture so black, lacquered and shiny that viewers can see into their own personal shame. As I’m talking, Bruce puts on this super-sad song and that’s it, I just start crying.
I get really embarassed but Bruce says not to be. He says he has always respected where I’ m coming from and he’s sure whatever I’m feeling must be legit. Then he gets the feathered cat-mask off the wall (it has been at his place since our last shoot) and he says we should play a game. We’ll each put on the mask and then we are free to say the darkest truth we can think of, whatever we worry most is true or try hardest not to believe.
First Bruce puts on the mask. He says maybe the only reason things aren’t totally unbearable now is because we’re young and so the world is soft and we’re relatively unformed and everything is kind of loose. As time goes on everything will harden and we will have to make choices that will make things definite and whatever we choose it will be awful and wrong and our beauty will never survive the disappointment.
Then I put on the mask. I take a deep breath…
Michael Hawkins is a Melbourne-dwelling comic book and visual artist of Tasmanian and U.S. derivation. He believes in mystery.