M sat at a bar, drinking wine. A cigarette was evaporating into vapours of smoke, forgotten. He was reading Nabokov again.
The sun was beginning to set in one part of the world, and rise in another. While trying to make a way for himself, living in the shadow of his family, M was always writing in his mind. His first books would be harsh and crass and raw and beautiful. His final books would be bitter, melancholy, with no real end. The star was not shattering into a million pieces. The star was burning out.
He was the protagonist of all his books. Goodness was too easy to write, too easy to see through. Too invisible. He would put no effort into questions, into press conferences, book signings, only his art. M has said this all before, the voices would ring. M is nothing like his father. M is everything like his father. M cannot escape the image of his father that they have created. An all-seeing eye. A blind all-seeing eye. In order to feed its audience it makes up images.
C arrives at the bar, looking disgruntled. What M lacks in speech, C makes up for in spades. He is possibly the greatest debater since some of the ancient Greeks. Rebuttal is pointless. He angers not. Case, end, set, point, match, check-mate. Opponent is silent, audience is baffled, C is no better than where he set off. C’s favourite person to argue with was C. He was his own perfect opponent, and his own perfect critic. His ability to analyse, to break down the world, become his greatest strength and his greatest weakness. He only enjoys wine and whiskey. Those things one cannot argue against.
M and C talk at the meeting place, the mid-point, the waterhole. More wine and whiskey. The sun’s light is still reflected in the sky. They cannot escape the gaze of the blind, all-seeing eye. M flees to another country, where no one knows his name. C flees only to find he is pursued by a gang of preachers and priests who have eternal flames burning for God. Those who believe in him, who agree with C idolise him like a God. But C’s life was not pointless. C was more than great, he was magnanimous.
M finds he cannot illustrate his father to the all-seeing eye. From his safe little perch, he writes about Nabokov instead. He knows his talent will die soon. Writers get put out to pasture. His genius turns around and begins to eat himself. One subject upon he would never change, was C. And one subject upon which C would never change was A. They anchored each other to the sea floor, while their bodies floated to the surface to be picked apart by birds. They were soul-safe.