Signs of Life: dominoes

When Harold returned from the doctor his wife Janice asked ”How did it go?”

Harold was both taken aback by the abrupt question and in a quandary about a the answer. He had not expected that question so soon, but he knew she would ask it eventually. He knew he had to say something as that was the proper thing to do. Janice was his wife, with whom else should he be honest, but with her?  But he also felt that if he answered truthfully things would fall apart and then other things would topple over: dragging the next one down in turn. Events would be out of control, like a series of falling dominoes.

“Well, okay.”  Harold said and he quickly added. “We had a good chat.”

Perhaps he should not have added that last line. For with the first line he signalled to Janice that he did not want to talk about it (yet), but by adding the second he poked up the fire of her curiosity.

“A good chat? What then did you chat about?” Janice said.

Harold felt he was in a trolley put on a single track that just went into one direction: down a black hole.

“About me mostly.” Harold mumbled. Think she would let him off the hook if it was about himself. As if he was saying: this is private.

“Oh. Good! It was time you had one.” Janice exclaimed. The ‘me’ in Harolds sentence  meant ‘us’  to Janice.  Us  because it did concern her too.

“But what did you talk about exactly?”

“About my feelings…. toward others. You know..Those feelings.” He waved his hand as if to dismiss the matter.

Janice nodded. She knew: it was about sex.

“You know we haven’t had much intimacy of late.”

“Yes.” She nodded firmly. Of course she knew. She knew all too well.

“ I asked the doctor for a reference to a psychologist,,, because… you see.. I think I might be gay.” He blurted out that last line. He felt the first domino fall.



“Oh.. but that explains it.” Janice smiled.


“The not-having-sex. I thought you found me ugly or fat.”

“Oh.. I.. well.”

“But you are just gay.” She smiled and walked over and hugged him quickly before he could say or do anything else.

“So tell me when did you start to have these feelings?” She laid a kindly hand on his arm.

“I.. I have them for some time now.. feelings.. vague feelings…”  Harold said. He felt her hand warm and clammy  on his skin.

“All these nights that you pushed me away. It all makes sense now.” Janice remarked. She smiled happily and wanted to hug him again.

He took a step backwards, out of her reach.

“Janice? I just told you I have gay feelings and you start to hug me.” Harold said.

“Because I am happy you found out. It must be such a relief for you. But also for us. It explains so much.”

“But Janice.. it means you and me…. us..  there is no….”

“I still love you, Harold.I always loved you even when you pushed me away.” She stepped forward as if to hug him.

“Janice…Don’t you understand.. If I am gay that won’t change. I don’t feel like being intimate with you.” He stepped out of her reach again.

“Oh, of course..” She said. Her eyes showed hurt. She was still moving towards him, but slower now.

“When I am gay  I love men, not women.. Janice. You are a woman.“ He said

“Oh.” Janice’s eyes filled with sudden tears. She stopped right there..

“I am sorry.” Harold imagined the second domino toppling.

“But what about us? I can’t live with someone who doesn’t want to be close with me, Harold. We share a bed..A double sleeper. We share a house. We have kids. A life.A married life.”

“I know..We might have to sleep in separate beds..” Another domino fell over.. the next one would follow suit.

“For how long? And what are we going to tell our family? Our friends?” She started to cry,

“I don’t know, really. I had hoped it would go much slower than this.”

“I can’t live like this, Harold. I can’t live with a man who doesn’t want to be with me. Who doesn’t love me.”

“I know.”

“You know? It sounds like you planned it all. Like it was all part of a scheme you set in motion. The ruin of our life.My life.” She started to cry more and become angry.

“I did not plan this.. although.. I felt one thing would lead to another.” Harold said.

“You ruined my life.  You ruined the  lives of our kids, Harold.  What are you going to tell them?  Daddy loves men, not mam?” she laughed sarcastically, “You ruined everything..  Years ago. You could have told me earlier. Why now? Why so late? ” She ran out of the room sobbing. He could hear her footsteps on the stairs fading away.

Harold walked over to the window and went over the what had happened in his head. He looked into the dark garden of their suburban house with three storeys, two children, three cats and one dog.  Their car was parked in front and his motorcycle parked in the alley at the back. He had only considered being gay: he felt a vague attraction to men, but he actually couldn’t say if that was the truth of it.

Whenever he looked at other people. men or women, he felt nothing. A dead feeling possessed him.  It was what he meant to find out to therapy. When Janice had cried he had just felt distant and cold, like when someone in the papers or on television was crying. He sympathised, but he no longer felt that pain in his heart, like a hand squeezing it hard,  when Janice was sad. He felt sorry for her, but no longer sorry enough to stay with her. He felt like a different person had taken possession of him, but he knew it was just himself, but differently: colder.

He wondered what would happen if he found out he wasn’t gay at all, but just repressing his feelings because that was the only way he could deal with her. He knew he was sure he would not want to go back into a relationship with her. Any relationship for that matter.

He knew that was probably going to change at some later date for he had two friends who had been divorced and had felt exactly the same. Perhaps that is how you dealt with a divorce, only he needed another excuse, a bad excuse.  He could also have said he did not love her and wanted a divorce.

Perhaps that was all that had been needed.

A life in addictions: alcohol

Initially it was my intention to start my series of articles about addictions with the addiction to alcohol because it is such important one in my family and such a persistent and insidious habit overall.

Unlike smoking, the consumption of alcohol is still widely accepted and even seen as a welcome act. There are many advertisements that show a happy person, a joyous couple or a merry group of friends drinking or about to drink. Or not even drinking, but being associated with a drink. I recall an advertisement of whiskey that shows an attractive couple in a woolen shirts, all done in a warm brownish color scheme,  laughing.  Then a brand of whiskey is shown whose colors scheme matches that of the clothing and surroundings of the couple.Drinking beer is associated with friends and couples(lovers) having fun in pubs, bar or at concerts and the like. Fun is no fun unless you drink alcohol. That is the message.

Why do people actually drink alcohol?

The simple explanation is: because everyone else does and because alcohol is a relaxant. It helps in socializing. Like many addictions alcohol is one that you pick up from your friends and family.  You drink, because they drink. And if you refuse to drink you are frowned upon or even made fun off. Alcohol is almost an unique addiction because other people, not companies, actively promote the use of alcohol.

“A round of beer for all!”

“Yeah!” the group of friends roar.

“Not me.. I want a spa.” A lone figure raises a finger..

Ho-hum. Everyone thinks.

Eventually you don’t need your friends to drink : you learn to drink alone. I got a friend like that. He is also an alcohol addict. He has been off the bottle for years now, but it never let’s you go I understand. He has been off the bottle several times.  I asked him why he drank and he said that he gets lonely and then drinking makes you forget that. At least for a short while. Then you drink some more and eventually you try to be continuously intoxicated: just to forget your misery. It mirrors his inability to properly connect to people. That is because people suck. Most people have such high demands of others or better: the perceived demands of others, that you can never live up to.

My father was also an alcoholicus. Even more than I thought he was. He would start drinking in the afternoon and by seven in the evening he was so drunk he fell asleep on the couch. I think he would have had something like two or three liters beer. Perhaps even more.Years later I heard from my mother that he would rise late in the evening and then go to the local dinner and buy himself some more beer. This whole procedure would then be repeated the next day. And the next. And the next. On and on.

My mother drank wine. She didn’t drink like my father did and certainly not every day. She somehow never got into the habit or if she did I didn’t notice it. My brother never drank.

A few years ago I started to become annoyed with drinking. It is fun to drink at times, but I was starting to make a habit of it. I would drink a set amount at a set day. Mostly to keep it in check, but even then I noticed I needed more to get the sense of ‘happiness’.  So overtime I started to drink more and more.  I started to busy myself with combinations of beer. Like drinking beer in order of alcohol percentage. I also started to experiment with more stronger beverages, like vodka. Vodka can be mixed with something else to make it more interesting. Coca-cola for instance.

A year ago I decided to stop drinking unless there was something special like a party or a dinner. The reason was that it got in the way of my art and writing aspirations. I would drink and feel drowsy unable to do much more than play games.  The next day I would feel groggy. It prevented me from doing what I wanted to do.

So I stopped basically because I wanted to write about it. Seems this is good from something. At least for me.

I still do not like the way people consistently downplay the use of alcohol. Especially their own. I have worked for companies that arranged parties near highways because that made it easier for the employees to come. Many would drink one beer or one glass of wine, because they knew what they were doing, according to themselves. Over time one becomes two or three.

“But I know when to stop.” they will say, “I am in control.”

Thing is.. if you are really in control you would not need to stop: you would not have started at all.

And stating that you are in control when drinking while you know you are going to drive home later in the evening is an statement of the reverse. You are not in control: the alcohol is.

As I said before: it is an insidious habit helped along by people telling you it is cool, while they are making excuses and glossing over that they are consistently and persistently drinking, even at times that they don’t need to.

What is more is that alcohol is also almost unique as an addiction as  it can kill other people. It probably causes more deaths than any other addiction. Deaths of others I mean.

You might wonder yourself how addicted you actually are. Try and stop for a while or try and refuse a drink offered by another or try and have a dinner with someone else and not drink(or smoke). You might be surprised how often you drink and how it is slowly taking over your life.

Bottoms up!

Imagine Nations 2: Sil Brandi

Imagine Nations: entrance to the gallery.

I thought I add a small picture of the entrance to the gallery. Actually there are two, but this one is pretty, don’t you think?

The next three images are made by Sil Brandi. If I am not mistaken these are Second Life avatars, but the imagery has been changed so it has gotten a quality of it’s own. Each of the pictures have a kind of color scheme that sets the tone. It shows how colors can create a certain mood.

The violinist-by-sil-brandi-
The violinist by Sil Brandi

The violinist is a beautiful work done with red colors.  I like this picture as it has something mysterious about it. Like those pictures with elves sitting at a pond. The red colors are a bit risky. Red is not a natural friendly color, especially not in its stronger variants, like blood red or clear red. However it seems to work.  Somehow the picture also gives a sense of movement.

The tunnel-sil-brandi
The tunnel by Sil Brandi.

The tunnel is another nice mysterious piece. Normally tunnels are not a way out, but rather a way towards darkness that might have a spot of light at the end.  This pictures turns is around. The woman is almost out of the darkness and about to enter the light. The interesting thing is that I do not find the tunnel feels that scary.  A brown and lavender color scheme creates a warmer sense that black and grey would, which is probably why this picture is lighter than I expected.

The last goodbye-Sil Brandi
The last goodbye by Sil Brandi

It was this picture that attracted my attention.  She almost looks like she is leaving not so much with anger but with a kind of grim determination. The yellow coloring make for a certain unease.  I wonder where she is going to, because she seems to be heading towards a dead end.


Imagine Nations Estates:

Henry and Kristl have a brush with The last stand (2013)

“That was an explosive movie.” Henry gave Kristl a broad smile knowing full well from her face where this review was heading, “Never mind about the plot holes and the lack of anything that resembles a coherent plausible story, but that is the beauty of the thing. Bang away!”
“Is it me or has scrip writing of late become a redundant profession? Like: who needs a script anyway when a movie is nothing more than a series of scenes strung along? Nonsensical scenes actually.” Kristl said.
“It isn’t that bad.” Henry said.
“Not bad in comparison to all the other nonsensical action movies?”
“That is what I mean.”
“It’s actually truly bad.”
“Oh come one.”
“It is an utterly shameful white male supremacist movie.” Kristl said annoyed.
“Huh? You might have to explain that.”
“Well. Note this. The bad guy is latino. The federal agent that is corrupt is latino. The federal agent that is fooled is black. When Arnold and his crew decided to make a last stand at the town the only two who protest are the mexican and the girl. All the white guys are of one mind : they will stop the bad drugs lord even if it means that the whole town is burned down.”
“ The bad guys are mostly white.”
“True, but look at the women in the movie. The only woman cop can not shoot straight and she has to be saved all the time by the men and I can’t recall her ever killing anyone. Why she is handling a sniper rifle in the end battle is beyond me as she never ever hits anything with it but one sniper guy and then she only hits him in his arm. And the only other woman of note is a corrupt cop. Oh and there is this girl who runs across the street just when the last battle commences just to show how perfectly dumb women are.”
“You know, you are just overreacting. I am sure it has not be done on purpose.”
“Either whomever calls the shots in this movie has done this deliberately and then it is utter shameful to portray women and non-whites this way or it has not be done on purpose, which is as much shameful as apparently when people are not thinking they start discriminating people.”
….I still like the mindless actions scenes..Like that scene at the end where a guy is sneaking up the stairs to shoot the women cop and he gets cornered between her and one of the male cops.”
“And who shoots him?”
“Uhmm well.”
“A guy. See!”
“The only thing that really bothered me was Arnold. He is just getting too old to make a believable action hero. And he simply can’t act and should just face the fact that he is getting grey.” Henry said.
“Funny thing is that he reminds me of Clint Eastwood.”
“They both are more less started out as a kind of action figure and became known by that. Arnie with Conan and Terminator. Eastwood as that no name cowboy and dirty harry.”
“That is a rather strange comparison.”
“Yeah, but the big difference is the Clint Eastwood outgrew those shabby roots and became a great director and finally even played characters that were the opposite of those earlier ones.”
“While Arnie…”
“Is still a shabby actor that never will get any better.” Kristl said.
“No redemption for his poor soul?”
“He is old enough to know better.”
“He is too old to change.”
“Eastwood changed.” Kristl said
“Yeah, he did, but Arnie will not change because he lacks the talent.”
“Right. You know what I liked about this movie the best?”
“The end titling. Where they show the images from the movie in a kind of arty way.”
“Well. At least you should be happy to have seen that.” Henry grinned.

Imagine Nations 1: Thea Maiman

I once visited a gallery named Bohemia Eclectic Gallery and  I made a few post about works that were exhibited there that I liked.  One of the artist, Meryll Panthar gave me a  link to another gallery called Imagine Nations Photo Gallery and Studios . Imagine Nations is really a big place. It not only consist of two galleries presented as one, but also has a neat ground level where people can socialize or just spent some time in a nice environment.  The gallery is full with the works of various artists and it was so much that  I started to skip over those I don’t really find interesting.  I do not pretend to have an profound understanding of art. I generally choose the  pictures that seem to have a kind of story or story element in them.  I am not really fascinated by nudes and BDSM pictures because there are so many of them.

However I did like a few that I like to present here as one. I especially like them when they are made with the aid of Second Life.

But first a picture of what is on ground level.

Imagine Nations-1
This is a mesh statue in the water. Mesh makes things a lot prettier.

Here is the first artist that caught the eye: Thea Maiman.

blind things by thea maiman
Blind things by Thea Maiman was the name for a series of pictures made by Thea Mainman and of this picture.
glass of bubbles by thea maiman
Glass Bubbles by Thea Maiman

I liked this picture called Glass Bubbles. It is in intriguing picture. There is a kind of story there.

the chair by thea maiman
The chair by Thea Maiman

I have hesitated to show some of these pictures as it shows nudes. I am not exactly against them, but I often wonder what is actually meant to attract the attention. The nude of the painting? In this case I found the pictures showed more than just nudes.  Is it art? Or an illustrated story? Is that actually not art?

More of Imagine Nations will follow.

Imagine Nations Estates:

Henry and Kristl are awed by The Great Dictator.

“Chaplin’s masterpiece?” Henry asked.

“Uh. Modern Times is a good movie too. There are also others. Like The tramp and I belief…eh”

“City Lights?”

“That one.”

“The Kid?”

“Oh.. I guess.”

“Figured an commie like you would name Modern Times.” Henry smiled.


“You mentioned Modern Times. A commie would like it. The movie is just an attack on capitalism.”

“Uhm. Commie? Well.. let’s talk about that in due time.”

“On with Hitler.. eh The Great Dictator.” Henry said.

“I bet he couldn’t laugh about it, but I wonder.. would Mussolini have laughed about it?”

“I bet not. I bet that people who are dictators can’t laugh about themselves, if they could they wouldn’t be dictators.” Henry said.

“Wow.. that is an observation of life.”

“ I can observe life as well as anyone else can.”

“I bet.”

“So a masterpiece?”

“Yes and no.”

“Yes and no?”

“Well it’s a masterpiece in the way it is made and what it is about and the statement Chaplin makes. That makes it an unique movie.”

“But it is also a long slapstick movie, which has it’s moments at times, like when Hinkel and Napaloni meet, but still feels like a bit old fashioned even in the 1940. Like those chase scenes when the Schulz troopers are after him.”

“Schulz.” Kristl laughed.


“It is a funny name as it means guilt. It is an apt name because Schulz saves the jewish barber because he owes him for saving his life, but later on he feel guilt because he has supported Hynkel. I wonder if Chaplin was deliberate in that.”

“Might be.” Henry said, “I found most of the story somewhat dull and sometimes strange. Like when nobody sees the similarity between Hynkel and the jewish barber. Also it has a nice feel about it. Like those Nazi were not nice people, but the it is probably meant as a slapstick. So it had to be nice.”

Kristl nodded, “The story has it’s odd twist and turns. Like that Hynkel and the jewish barber switch roles. It is as if he mixed two kind of movies. A serious movie and a slapstick movie.”

“It might be.. I found it a bit long in the tooth.” Henry yawned.

“Still it remains a masterpiece.”


“It is a tribute to the belief that we are all humans, each and everyone of us, and that we could live in peace. The end speech is often felt as an awkward long statement.. but it is here that you feel Chaplin shoving aside the movie and directly addresses the viewer. It was of course not done and it must have felt embarrassing by many to be directly talked to. As a method of movie making it was seldom seen in a normal movie. It clearly brought out the idea that you can invoke a strong emotion by directly talking into the camera and the audience.”

“And that makes it a masterpiece?”

“That and his direct appeal to humanity.”

Losing feathers

Losing Feathers
Losing Feathers

I imagined a tree.

When it was young it grew rapidly into a tall tree with a wide trunk, thick bark and so many luscious dark-green leaves that our whole family could sit in its shade when the sun was at it’s most merciless during the heat of the summers day.

I imagined the tree.

When it started to loose the first leaf nobody noticed, because there were so many green ones and that one red-yellow leaf that floated to the ground at dusk, went unseen and was perhaps trod upon by one of our daughters during a game of tag or when flying a kite.

I imagined the tree.

When I was  in my long dark green gown with my red-brown hair being tugged by the wind, during the first storm of our fall and a cloud of red and yellow leaves – all so sudden dead –  was released and carried away just before the rain arrived.

I imagined that tree..

When it was old and gnarled and the limbs were like fingers on a hand grasping upwards as the frozen image of  the hand of a drowning swimmer reaching out in desperation or a skeletal hand pushing through the soil of a graveyard. The last of the leaves had long gone.

I imagine our tree.

When, the next year, after the snow has melted, trees would blossom again and cloak themselves in their emerald versatility, but ours will be like a bird that lost it’s feathers and shows only the withered frame of a creature that would never fly again. With each incident and each conflict another feather would be plucked from it’s body until that moment came that we both did not care about that stab in the heart when yet another moment in life  made us drift apart further.

That was our tree:the only tree we had together.

Henry and Kristl trembled before Stalin (1992)

“This Stalin was not a very nice dude.”  Henry remarked. He was having a bud, because he always had budweiser in his fridge, which was  a huge red contraption from the firm Northstar that was a remake of those older refrigerators from the fifties.

Kristl might have also had a bud, but then she felt that the west was already over Americanized, so instead she drunk triple X.

“Why on earth would you drink an Australian beer as a German?” Henry had remarked, when Kristl ordered the six pack via the internet.

“Austrian.” Kristl corrected.

“Eh.. Triple X is Australian. Oh wait. Sorry. You meant you are Austrian.” he grinned, “Don’t they have Ger.. eh. Austrian beers?”

“Yes, but I like Triple X.” Kristl had said.

“No, he wasn’t even though the movie is more focused on his private life than I would have expected. It seems to sort of make him look more favorable than I imagine him to be, but even then he remains a scary individual. The way he can be very jolly with you and then suddenly have you ordered to death. Like that moment when one of his old friends is about to be arrested by secret police and Stalin ‘happens’ to call at that very moment and orders them to leave.The sadist laughs at it. It just pictures him as madman.”

“Yeah. I think everyone he knew ended up dead eventually. And when he tosses his burning cigar down his wives shirt: what a nasty thing to do. ”

“There a lot of things that they had to skip it seems. Like there is a part missing at the beginning of World War II where the Sovjet-Union invade Finland, had a kind of shadow war with the Japanese and signed a pact with Hitler that gave him control over the baltic nations and the eastern part of Poland. Also skipped is the part where a thousands of polish officers were massacred on his order. The list could be extended. Like the way the west tried to dispose of the communist regime at the end of the first world war. Like in the twenties there was a kind of alliance with Germany. Or the Ukrainian uprising at the end of the Second World War. All things that must have influenced this man and his decisions. “


“The pity with this movie is that you somehow does not get to grips with the person of Stalin.. Even though Stalin is the subject of the movie, it feels like you are watching him from the outside, but never get in his inside.Never find his motivation or his side of the story.  In that I find the move somewhat sterile. You never get to know what moved this man and what possessed him. Why he did those things?“

“I think that might be because of the makeup. It looks like Duvalls is wearing a mask. His facial expression is almost non-existent.”

“I like Robert Duvall, he is a good actor, but they hamstrung him with that mask and thus the movie suffers. You are watching a statue.Still even then Duvall is marvelous because he tries to invoke emotions with that part of his face that is not cloaked with wax.”

“Yeah, I am left with the feeling that Stalin was a homicidal nutcase surrounded by nutcases, most of whom were as Homicidal as he was..” Henry said.

“And it leaves me with questions. Like how can a nutcase rule a big country like that for decades on end. It seems to beyond belief. Too simple an explanation to assume he is just a nutcase.”

“Also the movie suffers a bit because his wife  kills herself halfway. Basically the story is told by following her and then she dies  and that leaves the story suddenly without a focus and it never gets a focus again even though the story is told by his daughter..”

Kristl nodded.

“So leaves you a bit unfulfilled?”


“That is why we have beer.” Henry grinned and he opened another bud.

“Oh, to get fulfilled?” Kristl said.

“Yes and to forget we are not.” Henry burped.

“And forget about him.”

“That too.”

Lovely Details: Twink Nation

Sometimes you visit a place in Second Life that is nice or pretty or has good atmosphere.

Like my interest in many things I am also interested in beautiful designed places. Places which keep on getting more beautiful because the availability of mesh and other features that are added to improve the eye candy.

One such place I visited recently and I made a few pictures that only captures a small part of the sim. It is called Twink Nation. It is a gathering place for Twinks: you gay males.

I especially liked the record store that was near the landing spot.

This is the landing spot.

Twink Nation 6

Twink Nation 5

Twinknation 3
I liked the inside and contrasted it with the light that you can set in second life. One turns the sun into a red/yellow ball. The light contrasted with the green of the pictures of the women against the back wall.
Twinknation 4
These are old vinyl records. There are still some stores who sell them. One I know looks a bit like this one.
twinknation 2
The crossroads is near the record shop and shows the strong red and yellow sun. The letters on the sign were mirrored, so it is not my mistake 😛
The power of mesh can be seen here. Mesh is a technique that allows for better looking objects. Wind the right light it can have a strong moody effect.

Twink Nation is an adult sim and advertised as male only(Quote:Men, boys (18+) no females av or rl  please.). Notice that this does not reflect my opinion. I have no problem with whatever gender and I fail to see why women can’t be allowed on a gay sim, certainly not rl women who have male avatars.

Signs of life: the last voyage

The last voyage
The last voyage

She caught my attention because she was so there: standing tall with her arms folded in front of her chest and her defiant gaze that seemed to say to everyone around her: ‘I dare you, I dare you  to say something about it, I  dare you to assume; dare to conclude, to judge’.

He was wearing shades, a black jacket on blue jeans and a big brown leather bag that made him lean sideways.  He was next to her, but also behind her at the same time. Like he neither wanted to be next to her nor following her, while she didn’t want him to be either and certainly not in front of her. So she paced with long steps to keep ahead of him and he had to keep up dragging his heavy load. A reluctant chase.

Suddenly she halted a few meters further on the platform, making him stop as well after a minimum exchange of words. The bag thudded on the concrete. I  imagined it  to be bursting with voluminous books containing hundreds of pages made out of frail paper filled with miniscule lines. Like a pocket bible. Books filled with all the words they would ever need, but would never say to each other if they could help it. Words that would no longer see the light of day.

He turned towards a bicycle shop that was at one side of the raised platform and a few meters lower. He lifted the shades to put them on the top of his head and then put his hands in his pockets to stare at the rows upon rows of cycles inside the shop.

She looked the other way, with her back to the shop and staring at nothing in particular because she was mostly focused on looking away from him. Her arms were still folded in front of her chest.

When the train stopped she moved towards the doors  without giving him one look. He put on his shades, lifted the bag and followed her. When the doors opened they both stepped inside at the same time. Just before she was inside she stopped for a brief moment and gave me this intense gaze. There was a bit of defiance in it, but also – deeper – a sense of resignation. A resignation about  having to put up with someone you want to be miles away from, but you had to be with for this one trip. Just for this one last trip.