bianca by hector magaña
 

what events are we blessed with that we may call them spectacles?
do they continue to be spectacles despite the years notched onto our bones?
two years, two notches, to twelve years, twelve notches, who knows if there’s any room
left on this bone


a spectacle does not have to be wondrous


the built-in dictionary on this macbook defines the word as an event or scene regarded
in terms of its visual impact, for example, “the spectacle of a city’s mass grief”
more definitions would do us no good, no, we are all too aware of the possibilities of
circumstance and there is no need to be any more worried, we have all read enough to
comprehend


bianca and i fumble cigarettes between finger, knuckle, bone
and say nothing for a while
i don’t believe there is a need for people to talk all the time
there’s plenty said in silence if you listen carefully
i glance up in her direction and miss her gaze by a long shot, her eyes fixed on the
ground just behind the table
she opens her mouth in preparation of an attempt to remember what it is that she had
been telling herself to forget for the longest time but stops every time just shy of a sound



so, there’s this girl, — right?


there’s this girl, and she has this idea that she will cross the entirety of the trestle bridge,
the one that crosses that pissed-off river of rocks that hollers in one direction, 

at night
she told me that she we will cross the entirety of the trestle bridge at night because she
wants to know where the tracks go when they pass the corner — bianca really doesn't
know
but she wishes to
and it wouldn’t matter if the cops came and saw us, who the fuck cares we’ll go really
fast and i mean really fucking fast
and we’ll be fine



i think about

why she’s here why she’s in this town alone on some side street with nothing but
alchemists, cigarettes, and an old, anxious rat for company
i wonder how she feels, y’know, waking up everyday knowing that this isn’t her real
home, this isn’t where she wants to be, this isn’t where she should be

she tells stories like pulling photographs from albums not seen in years
no tears just blank stares out the window on that lavender colored bench she perches
on whenever i visit, looking out towards the empty lot riddled with crap her downstairs
neighbor never bothered to haul away to their final resting places


i look at the ingredients laid out on her face and cannot reach a sensible conclusion
about her or why i find this encounter utterly disorienting and indefinable, one that will
finally justify just why the hell i would cross the trestle over the river with her just to see
where the hell it would end up


i mean, she’s here


she’s arrived and asked me all the questions i could not answer
questions that suggest to me that i am no longer a functioning machine of thought and
emotion in constant search for mediocre fulfillment through alcohol and multiple packs
of cigarettes emptied out at four in the morning when i can’t fall asleep
she scares me in ways i have dreamt of and woken up from in a tremble


there are stitches and scars on bones i’ve marked and she’s noticed them and asked
questions i thought i had answered several years ago sitting atop dull beige colored
couches unable to cry at the answers i provided the face i had forgotten
there’s no need for these kinds of questions anymore
at least i think so


now i am sitting on her lavender colored bench with one of her cigarettes in my hand
and my pen in the other looking out towards the same pile of refuse she was looking at
earlier, waiting for her to gut the house and gather all of the unwanted shit she and her
angel brought with them from miami and stuff it in my roommate’s car and take it to the
secondhand store down the road

she will be gone in two weeks on her birthday and i will not see her again
for a long, long time



we counted one dead accountant as a possible catalyst for a lot of what has happened
to bianca in the last few years
the “pick up and go” settled in her blood and over scars not healed — the ones that get
to be buried in the backyard
but what backyard will you remember digging in eleven years from now?
you sometimes forget what you wanted to get rid of in the first place


i never meant to pry my way into her life like that, you know, coming in hot —
an anxious little kid with his first board no knee pads no hands look at me look out —
just fucking flying past a hundred frames in an instant

like you wouldn’t believe the short film playing in your head in some fantastic technicolor
scheme you wish you can remember in full detail so you can go home to your mattress
and write about it pretending you have nothing to do but count the days on your calendar

and prune your plant that dangles in stillness across the mirror on the closet
door


i am infatuated with this wall on which hang six or seven mirrors at different heights
and they all catch the room and twist the light in different manners and directions
six or seven faces in each one if you stand at just the right angle if you tilt your head a
little to the left and
oh, there you are


a few freckles mark her face
her dark hair pulled back in a bun, several strands of it out of place outlining the
contours of her face
eyes that fall at the corners, only ever so slightly so as to make her appear as if she
were always off someplace else, somewhere she’s never been before but is not
frightened by the unfamiliarity



i’ve spent most of my time in miami... i guess... well, kinda



from across the entirety of the familiar house we had sat down across from each other
having barely introduced myself to her that night after a having slowly sipped a familiar
beer or two and navigated my way around the familiar dining table to talk to an
unfamiliar person
we don’t usually get new faces around these parts, no, not really, it’s mostly us and,
well, can i talk to you about your life or rather can you tell me your story?
i think i want to write about it
if that’s okay with you



what do you want to hear, hector?
she raises a good question yet i am getting too drunk to think
too hard about it.
bob dylan dismisses the scene from his framed reflection from across the room while an
outdated map of new york city surveys the landscape before it. cream colored curtains
glow behind her head as a result from the single lamp meticulously placed in the left
corner adjacent to them. she lights another cigarette and hands me my beer before she
gets up from her red chair and sets off into the next room over to enjoy it in peace
i will bother her in seventeen minutes

 

i remembered
i sent a poem to this website a few years ago
and it was about a ghost that i used to see


you used to see ghosts?


yeah but, it was like—


if you can see ghosts, i’d love to talk about that, too


i don’t anymore though!
that’s the thing
once i wrote that poem i never
saw that specific ghost again or—
are you into the paranormal?
i don’t know about that
but i
i definitely am slightly schizophrenic
sometimes
but mostly because i’m by myself a lot
eighty percent of the time
i’m by myself
so i see things
when i’m by myself
it’s natural i guess


when did this all start for you?


well, i mean
i was still obviously living with my parents in 4th grade
i would see this kid, stand
like this little boy
i don’t know
just kind of like
really
plain
like
dark haired kid
but he would always appear in a doorway
or something

and so i wrote this poem:
“as he he stands in my doorway
waiting to come in
he stops in the stairs
and when my parents come to me
he vanishes
vanishes like dust
and i watch him cry
as he leaves
as he falls through the leaves...”
i wrote something like that
and that was published in some random fucking book
and they wanted me to pay 500 dollars for it to go and be part of a competition
or something
and i never did that
but they did send me a copy of the whole book
and mine was the first in the book
i don’t have it anymore
it was pretty cool
once i wrote that


i never saw that boy again



i love stories man, what is yours?
umm... we can save that for another time
haha, okay



nearing four in the afternoon, having smoked three cigarettes each
redefined as six butts added up in an ashtray caught by cold sun glazing the kitchen
countertops with a crisp air we decide to go outside

 

behind her house is a dirty pond 

i stand next to her as she tosses rocks into it and say nothing

after her last rock she turns to me and asks me what i want to know


she takes photographs up close and walks me through the motions of her hands and
eyes and legs and how she makes them work together and help her decide what parts
of the world need to be framed and composed


she mostly just ignores my advice and takes photographs of feathers resting on muddy
leaves and moss growing on rocks

it seems as though the world has all of a sudden become too large and frustrating for
those who keep to themselves

 


tues april 5 12:15pm


i missed both of bianca’s multiple-lined text messages last week


hey I can’t really take
the time away from hw to go out
today but you can kick it over here
to jam chat and pick up your
jacket if you want! just lmk I feel
bad that i’ve had it for a week lol

R U DED? just wanted you to
know for your paper that i just did
the math and i’ve picked up and
moved 23 times in my life



whatever it was bianca told me an hour ago i have already forgotten thanks to these
carefully packaged casings of beer that come in three pairs of two
and this humiliating, tiny bag of weed i’ve been carrying around for two weeks in hopes
of finding the right time to sit alone and get high for an hour
which i had figured to be every other hour i’m not working


the recorder has acted in place of my ears so as to relieve the arduous task of having to
remember
every
word
she speaks
but hey don’t mind my tired eyes sly smirks and interruptions
i am still listening


i tell her everything without a second to spare - an eye for an eye, an ear for an ear, a
confession for a confession, over glasses of natural fruit juice spiked with careless
pours from the bottle of gin i bought for us a few weeks back


her floor is littered with photographs taken in the past year, shot in color at the hands of
both her and her angel. she does not know what to do with them, so i offer to take them


i walked to her house with the pretext that this will be the last time that i will ever see her
or the black streaks of hair that fall to the sides of her temples or the snarl of humorous
contempt she shoots me whenever i ask a stupid question, which is often


and so i struggle to remember these things, these details that comprise her temporary
presence in such a static town full of both static and transient people
where did she ever fit in to begin with?
she’s tucked away in a house on a street that borders a large river in maine,
overshadowed by the colossal combination of institution and and isolation, which, then
begs me to ask, where did i fit to begin with?


what say we trade secrets for a few months and hold a flame to both our hands -
what have you seen that i’ve seen far too many times or never at all?
can i tell you why i’m so upset?

i’ll tell you the truth, all of it



i’m gonna go get some tea and let you simmer in your stupidity


she snatches her mug off the table and cruises off to the silver canisters of hot tea down
the aisle as if she’d known this dining hall all along and returns to where we are
stationed
and with a heavy hand slams her mug down on the table just to get a rise out of me
but i  ignore her and continue to type away anyway

 

i don’t really think you’re stupid, y’know... are you ranting about how mean i am?



she arrived silently and expectedly, ascending the stairs one step at a time out of fear
that she may be stepping over boundaries not explicitly stated
one leg at a time, a snake outlined in ink and plastered on skin appeared at the bottom
of her right leg, coiling itself around her
but not hurting her
she shows me where the head of the snake dwells,
beneath a gray polo shirt and black overalls, mouth wide open ready to strike me in the
eyes if i were to stare too long at it

she thrives in smirks with a cigarette
snugged into the slim corner of her mouth and revels in the absurdity of the length of the
ash left on her cigarette
the precarious peach-colored bench she sits on trembles at the unexpected release of
her laughter and settles shortly then
her right leg brought up to the peach-colored bench allows her to rest her head atop her
knee, segmenting her long figure into obscure shapes and shades of skin and overalls.



i’m grateful for the experience of having fallen in love with a rat
 

riverside sitting
talking about real world anomalies
like
where we are where we’re headed those questions, y’know?
and right now she’s walking off in a direction i am not going in
i look to my right and there she is looking through that camera
she’s looking at moss-covered rocks


wow, i say
neat-o rocks with that neat-o camera you got there
she looks up and away from her camera and gives me the finger
i shake my head and return to my notebook
and give her the finger back



she gently strokes dead lavender plants
removing dead bristles with each touch


i watch in awe as six stems hold themselves up with what little dignity they had left
after the alchemist had forgotten to water them and take them with him
she takes them out of their misery and leaves them naked in dead soil


bianca’s home in this town is now empty and divorced from any furniture
you would have never guessed she was here if you were to come over for a cup of a tea
and a mug full of ice cubes and sat down atop a lavender bench and you would have
never noticed the absence of a kitchen table or a bed frame or a desk or that skeleton
hanging outside her doorway keeping company the number twenty-six


her only possessions are the yoga mat and blanket on which she sleeps, a suitcase full

of clothes, a tiny red backpack, a canon film camera, a mandolin, and a near-
empty pack of blue american spirits

the manner in which she lingers in the kitchen standing and swaying humming
a made up tune that probably doesn’t mean anything suggests an absence of the
present on both our parts


we understand the tiredness of existence and marvel in melancholy at the thought of
having to get dressed every morning and experience each day just a little differently and
yet
the loneliness remains the same

she was already a ghost of this town though a ghost not known



the trestle bridge still stands there over the roaring pissed off river
decaying in its green metallic rust and holy hell
does it look even more beautiful when you're standing on the tracks y’know oh man
don’t look down don’t look down there’s a river of hell that won’t stop for anyone like us
so let’s cross this river really fucking fast
like she said we would


and i continue to worry if she’s behind me or not no it’s too dark to look back and
are those her footsteps are those mine and where are we going i don’t know where you are
i can’t tell anymore


i can’t move


but she flies past me 
she won’t stop but that’s okay
she doesn’t know where the bend in the tracks lead and she really doesn’t care
i mean once you’ve picked up and gone twenty-three times before turning twenty-one
there really isn’t time for second guessing
is there?


i take a quick glance over the barrier to make sure there aren’t cops hanging around,
waiting for us to give up, turn around and head back the way we came so they can hold
us down and tell us we were going way too fucking fast
but when i peek my head over the barrier and look back, the cops, with their cop cars,
are nowhere to be found

and bianca is nowhere to be seen

 

she crossed it all alone

and i'm still stuck on the trestle over the roaring pissed-off river