Saturday, November 15, 2014

Episode 29 | The Sunrise Son

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A few days went by and didn't lay eyes on Davez, although I had resumed painting the house, giving the finishing touches. Barbara was always at the pool, but I never approached her, and she didn't walk up to me either. Maybe she could feel the tension and extension of my desire for her, but it seemed she didn't nourish any sexual fantasies with a wall painter, no matter how hung, and thus she avoided me.

Just once she told me, showing a bit of happiness and enthusiasm, that Davez had again locked himself in the studio, since that last night he had talked to me. Composing. He would leave the studio for his basic needs only -- and by her languid sigh I imagined that she herself would have been one of his most basic needs.

Years later, I would discover that Davez had come to the island in a renewed attempt to get away from drugs and the depression that made him incapable of composing -- such a long creative hiatus that the music industry had practically forgotten him, if not his glorious past stardom. He himself had become invisible -- a ghost of his former self. Just like me.

"I'm a ghost now" he had told Barbara in one of his worst moods. "Aren't you afraid of ghosts, Schatz? Perhaps you should be afraid of me..." But that had been before, in London. Once in Punaouilo, having met and spoken to me, ghosts had taken on a different aspect and perspective to him.

Barbara, who had never even smoked, and drank only pineapple juice, was his great support at that time. She truly loved and admired him, both as a man and as a musician, and she was happy with his new creative phase, that she perceived as having sprung from me -- and thus she had begun to sympathize with me. But she never failed in treating me like a mere employee, though I wasn't on their payroll, asking me to clean the pool and water the garden. For all matters, they had never even hired me, but I was happy to serve them.

During Davez' period of isolation, I was summoned to the art gallery by Danny Douxis. He treated me more politely than he ever had. I had been recommended to him through the friend of Catherine's mother, who owned the mansion we lived at as a favor. But I felt Douxis was working with me much more because he was interested in the people who had recommended me, and not exactly for the quality of my paintings.

Douxis wanted to know more about my relationship with the rock star, since he was convinced of selling at least one of my paintings to Davez.

"He has some exotic taste! Oh, exotic like the man himself..." Danny moaned and rolled his little eyes, two little green dots on a perfectly round, plum face, thus demonstrating his pleasure. "Remember how I said that your paintings were exotic, Carlino darling? Wasn't I right?" he had clapped his fat hands. "Now, someone who has an exotic taste wants to buy them! See the connection? I had envisioned it, hoho!" And next, for the first time since we had started making business, he asked me to bring more paintings to his gallery. 

But because I had been painting more walls than canvases, I had nothing new to offer him.

However, Davez' interest in my paintings finally did touch me, and I resumed painting with enthusiasm, even though they were all blue, following Danny's trends.

At that time, I had been trying to paint the water as a theme. Especially its reflections, and I used both the swimming pool of our colonial mansion, near to which I kept my easel, as much as the Pacific Ocean just across the street. The glimmer, the shimmer, twinkles and sparkles, the interactions between light and water had become my obsession.

A long time went by without news from Davez and Barbara. Having earned some money, our needs reduced once Catherine and her demands were gone, I could spend several days in a row, dedicated to painting and playing games with you, Laurent.

And just because local society was so reduced outside the high season, and there was always a lot of gossip free flowing, did I learn that the stellar couple remained housed on the island. Apparently, the rock star had swum naked one night -- in fact, he had already left his mansion naked, had crossed the street, swam in the ocean and then came back home. 

Two, three weeks had already passed since I had finished painting their rented mansion, and I thought they had forgotten me.

Then, one afternoon, Barbara called and left a message with Joanna. Davez wanted to see me and my paintings, and they would stop by to visit me that evening.

I had little time to prepare myself, choosing the paintings I liked best and stacking them in the garden -- and to hide you, Laurent, for by no means I wanted the rock star to meet the boy from the song he had composed. I could not imagine what his reactions would be at your intriguing temperament, quiet and centered at six years old, with the presence of an ancient sage and the appearance of an old man, with your white hair. He had flipped at less than that, and I guess I feared he could kidnap you. His attitudes were often beyond comprehension, and I felt I could not trust him.

I did not want to share my son with Davez Drew -- not more than I already had, anyway.

An unforgettable night it was, and in many ways, it would change my life.

I hadn't known yet, but Davez and Barbara had already decided to leave the island, without having remained the three months for which they had rented the house. Nothing against Punaouilo -- the rock star wanted to return to London as soon as possible to start recording with a band the songs he had been composing on the island.

And I had misjudged him. Davez was a very generous man, as I was to discover shortly. 

I now think he came to our house that night with a clear intention, yet unknown to me. I had imagined he also wanted to visit the colonial mansion, one of the oldest buildings on the island, but he squinted and said "Creepy", going straight to the backyard garden where my 'studio' was set.

"Tonight, it's your turn to show me your songs and poetry." he told me upon arrival, unexpectedly hugging me.

That evening, Barbara was looking more beautiful than ever, and she gave me a charming smile, like never before. She looked relaxed and happy -- and she had reasons indeed to feel like it, seeing Davez healthy and active again, all dedicated to his music. And she could be considered successful, too, since all other Davez female companions had only managed to drag him deeper into the hole, and away from his inspiration. 

Barbara would be forever remembered as his savior, the companion of his revival, and in one of the tracks from his legendary album'All things transient', Davez would ask her to record the reading of a long poem about transcendental love, dedicated to herself.

Under the light of the stars, and by a single gas lamp that I had borrowed, emanating a not very poetical but cold, hard light, Davez contemplated at length each of the paintings I showed him. He listened carefully to what I had to say about them, although it may have been not more than its title, if they had had one, and the places where they had been painted. I wasn't very eloquent, I surely didn't feel like I was selling him anything. It was more like as if I was telling him a secret, still reluctantly, for I had come to like him, but not completely trust the rock star. 

That evening, I found out about Davez almost psychic sensitivity, as I proceeded with that little retrospective of my paintings. About one of them, that I had painted in the old abandoned factory, when I was sick and starving, he said "It hurts, man." On the first canvas I had painted in Punaouilo, after having left the Île du Blanchomme with Catherine, he said "It hurts even more." I don't think I have ever found anyone again to feel pain from looking at a painting -- I've seen people cry, I've seen people disgusted, shocked or be touched, but nothing like Davez' feelings.

But it was my most recent water series that made the strongest impression on him. He stared at the first blue canvas before him, and confessed it was giving him goose bumps.

"Ghostly..." was the first word he used. And coming from him, I could understand it was a compliment. "It is a light hole... I'm falling into your painting, man... Hold me..." I had to actually grab him, but his momentary dizziness might have been caused by drinking a bit too much at dinner, for I could smell the whiskey, or perhaps by the uncertain gas lamp light that kept flickering in the garden. I never thought my paintings would affect a person like they hit on the rock star.

"How did you do it, man?" He was breathless. "You have erased the canvases with your painting... Do you know what I mean? Your canvases... They are invisible... transparent... nonexistent..." He was ecstatic. "You've turned the canvas itself into water... No, into light!" He groaned. "Man, how could you do that?! You have transmigrated these canvases! Man! You are a fucking painting god..."

He was elated, and I was astonished. Even more when, after having seen all my paintings, he finally announced that he wanted to buy them. Not from Danny Douxis -- he wanted to acquire them directly from me.

Three from the older ones, and all three from the most recent series, although they were still unfinished. I was surprised, and did not know what price to give him, but figured they should cost less than in Douxis gallery, when Davez could already have inquired for their prices. Thus I gave the rock star a massive discount, based on the percentage the dealer would have taken from me.

And I finally understood his intent for that visit. Even if I had shown him a collection of scribbled napkins, he would have known how to praise them, and would have chosen a few to buy from me. He wanted to reciprocate.

That night, Davez gave me more money than I had ever seen in my entire life. And valuable advice.

"Too cheap, man. Never sell yourself cheap." He had refused my prices, paying many times more than I had asked. "Your art is grand. Never give up." He shook me by the shoulders, as if trying to turn on a machine that had stopped. "You have a great talent. I love it. Really do." He took my head in his hands, and pushed me towards his face. I thought we were going to kiss, but we just stood there, our foreheads touching, as he praised me. "And I can give you twenty times this amount, yet it would never have been enough to thank you. Thank you. But I think I can help you. More. Later. Forever." It was a promise, that I hadn't yet understood. And Davez would honor it, as long as he still lived.

They then told me they had come to say goodbye, and Barbara even kissed my cheek. "Thank you for all." she said, tenderly. 

We would never again be reunited, not the three of us.

Surely enough, Danny Douxis learned about my deal with the rock star. Perhaps he had even seen the paintings being carried away from the mansion where we lived, to be packed and shipped to England. After Davez and Barbara's visit, I still had had a few days to retouch the paintings, but not enough to be satisfied with them. Davez, however, did not consider them unfinished -- he had called them 'brut'.

'"Natural like a rock, man. You're a rock." Again without knowing it, it was as if he was connecting to my mountainous roots. "Like your poetic lines. Simple. Direct." the musician had told me, as if reading my soul, "Do not try to be like the diamond. It would be artificial. It's not you." he had advised me.

Danny was furious with me about the deal that had excluded him, and kicked me out of his gallery, accusing me of being unethical. I tried to explain to him that Davez had chosen some old paintings, which he himself had already seen and despised, and others that were still unfinished.

"Liar! They were blue!" he screamed, "And blue was my idea! You cheater!"

Unfortunately, a year later he had humbly to apologize, trying to have my work placed and selling at his gallery again.

 Because we were to find out, when Davez' album was released, that the musician had chosen one of my blue paintings for the cover. His agent had sent me the copyrights contracts, and I just signed them without reading, thinking I was again helping my famous friend, instead of the opposite. Even nowadays, 'All things transient' is among the best LP covers of the century. I keep getting compliments for that painting from almost thirty years ago. People still send me poems and songs inspired by that painting. As you might have heard, Laurent, it was exactly the painting to be sold for a million bucks, after Davez death.

But what happened at that time, the beginning of the 1980s, was that my work suddenly became known and desirable. Davez, besides mentioning my name in some interviews, always referring to me as a "fucking painting god", had recommended me to a major art dealer in London, Martius Dall. Who, even before the album had been released, and prior to all the visibility that the cover was to give me, had sent a carrier to acquire all my blue series paintings. And so I began being represented in London, and soon after, a gallery in California followed... Since I had no paintings in stock, I was especially commissioned by them, and even received cash in advance... Davez' appreciation of my work changed my life! After his studio in Punaouilo, I never had to paint walls again... Pretty symbolic, don't you think?  But it was your apparition, Laurent, to change his life and my life as well... Do you realize it now? And how the 'Sunrise Son' became a mythical song, even to me?

I was feeling overwhelmed. After my father's story, I promised myself to listen one more time to the song, and even to that album. In the rarities market, I owned the most expensive of all copies, dedicated 'to the Sunrise Son' by Davez Drew himself. Usually, when listening to it I was troubled from the very beginning, with bells ringing at the song's opening, and would even get a headache with the guitar becoming louder and more pungent as the sun was rising... The poem however, was beautiful.

The sweetest seed
to a love so luminous,
The sunrise son.
The resounding silence
of a blessed birth,
The sunrise son

 And like Carlo had given Davez the hint, the poetry had been recorded spoken, and not sung. The words had not been added to the songs as lyrics, which made the album so unique and special.

"Thank you for telling me this story, Carlo..." I was sincerely grateful, and moved. "And I apologize for having lost patience, and being rude at you. But..." An important detail, maybe a fundamental thing, drew my attention during the story. "At some point you said... you left the Île du Blanchomme along with Catherine... Didn't you say that?"

"That's right ..." Carlo replied quietly, averting his gaze to watch the immense moon slowly rising over Vice City.

"But how could she be there with you?" I gulped, swallowing painfully. "Haven't you met in Punaouilo, where I was born?" I asked, puzzled. 

That had been the story I had heard from them all my life.

"No." Carlo replied simply, turning a sad gaze back on me. He seemed embarrassed. "I mean... yes, you were born in Punaouilo. But it wasn't there that Catherine and I met..." Carlo sighed heavily. Having been caught, he no longer wanted to deny anything. "We finally come to the hardest part of this story, Laurent." He made another pause, and I realized fear growing in me. "The part that no one ever told you. The part in which Catherine made ​​me an accomplice, forcing me to lie to you, along with her."

Davez Drew 1981 album

cover painting by Carlo D'Allegro

Author's note: having been imported from a former version of the story, some of the comments below are dated previous to this post. Once the plot has not been altered, just the pagination, I am keeping them since they are very dear and precious to me.


  1. That was a really pivotal point in the story and now finally it seems Laurent is about to hear the truth behind his father's disappearance and from what it sounds the truth about how his parents really met.

    Davez seemed like a really great guy and I love that he was able to show his appreciation to Carlo in such a way. They helped each other and that is a remarkable thing!

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting, Daijahv!

      So this is how Carlo resumed his career as an artist, with the aid of another artist he aided -- this was a souls' connection. I think it's no coincidence that this has happened while Catherine was away, giving Carlo the space to be what he really wants to be, plus come close to his son.

  2. Wow! Davez is a great guy! Even though he was drunk all the time, and had done drugs before, he's truly a good person at heart, he was so nice to give Carlo so many recommendations, as well as the money for his paintings! *gasp* I'm curious now as to why Catherine made Carlo lie about where she met him.

    1. Davez is a great guy indeed! Unfortunately, like too many artists, and especially musicians, Davez needs drugs and alcohol to cope with his ups and downs and sedate his tortured soul.

      Carlo is not less sensitive than Davez, though perhaps less given to extremes, and his practice of meditation helps him to find a balance that has captiveted the musician beyond words.

      They shared a beautiful connection, and we will see more of Davez during Book One, still. He is thus responsible for the initial kick in Carlo's international artistic career and his wealth. Davez's death was a great loss for Carlo, but they'll be able to reunite before that.

      Thank you for reading and commenting, LKSimmer!!!


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