member of:Observers of the Interdependence of Domestic Objects and Their Influence on Everyday Life


This group has been active for a long time and has already made some remarkable assertions which render life simpler from the practical point of view. For example, I move a pot of green color five centimeters to the right, I push in the thumbtack beside the comb and if Mr. A (another adherent like me) at this moment puts his volume about bee-keeping beside a pattern for cutting out vests, I am sure to meet on the sidewalk of the avenida Madero a woman who intrigues me and whose origin and address I never could have known...
--Remedios Varo


(Artwork by Remedios Varo)
By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.
--Franz Kafka

Monday, October 11, 2010

Ruzi

Theater of Memory, by Steve Cieslawski

(This is one of a series of stories I am working on that center around a certain, as-yet-unnamed luxury hotel and its inhabitants, both living and haunting. The first segment is here.)
All artwork in this post by painter Steve Cieslawski.)


Ruzi


Like Derrick’s small family unit, others also lived in various suites in his mother’s grand hotel. Ruzi, the surgeon, lived just below them and took dinner every evening at the same time in the restaurant at ground level.

No bones about it, little Derrick liked to stare. When he was curious, he found a way to climb onto or get around or dig into whatever it was he was curious about, and in this case, he stood not politely close to the table of the surgeon and stared unabashedly until the man decided to pull out a chair for him.

It was the carp-shaped, gloriously orange silk tie that grasped the boy and refused to let go. And it was Ruzi who took the boy with him into the world of tie-and-hat boutiques to start his own collection. Ruzi did not, however, wear such ties when he met with patients. And these are patients and meetings we might look to for more information about the man, as he was the only surgeon I have heard of that could take dinner at the same time every night.



Ruzi’s story began, as most stories do, with a monster.

Ruzi was an exceptionally talented surgeon, able to keep a primary presence in general surgeries and also dabble in a specialization of neurological procedures. The monster was not so talented. But it was large, and hairy, and sort of specially ugly, if that counts. It lived under Ruzi’s bed, and, as a result, Ruzi liked to avoid the bed as much as possible. So he stayed in his office, meeting with patients, reading the latest literature on the latest procedures, and communicating with other doctors.
When he had to sleep, the monster would be there to interfere all night, whispering in his ear the nasty stories of his childhood, roaring fire against his tightly closed eyelids, jumping over him and onto him and twisting up all the sheets. And Ruzi would give up early and go into the office.

And so he was, in terms of his livelihood, very successful.

And then came the suicide.

It was a woman that had come to him, because of his reputation, to have her stomach stapled. She had tried many things, in her quest to lose weight, many diets and many pills, including a short and quite illegal dance with amphetamines, tendered by a neighborhood teenager whom she had caught trying to steal pieces from her Tiffany Glass collection. When she came upon Ruzi, he had been unable to focus on her, and she had not succeeded in deciding whether it was his own personal demons or hers that kept his eyes averted.

The surgery was not a strange one, he had performed it many times, and being overweight was almost a cliché in this country which he had adopted as his own. He only half-attentively reassured her as he organized his schedule to fit her in and pulled together recommendations for post-surgery exercise coaches and nutrition counselors. He showed her lots of charts and many before and after pictures, and in general droned.

Patients still considered themselves lucky, because he spent all that time in the room with them. But not this one. Not Lola. Because Lola was used to the people who were forced into communications with her talking at her like this, all trying to avoid something (her grotesque fatness) by running their mouths on and on about something else, sort of distractedly. This type of communication was, in her mind, intimately tied to her shame. It was, in this case, an unrelated issue-- Ruzi was distracted by his own monsters-- but no matter.

So she decided that she could not put her unconscious, humiliated, humiliating body into his care. And she quit. Her violently bleeding body was admitted at the correct hour of the correct day to an unexpected and unexpectant floor of the hospital. And it died.


Myths and Examples, by Steve Cieslawski

Ruzi had sat in the scheduled recovery room with the door shut and locked, staring at the walls. The clean, tightly tucked white sheets, the stainless steel rack for clipboards, the stainless steel counter, the bright white shades over the afternoon glare of the window, the white polished concrete floor. Sometimes he clutched his head between his hands and squeezed. And he wept, some. But mostly, he just sat, staring at the glaring lie of this clean, bright, well-organized room.
He thought about the blood, the ugly scene he had witnessed downstairs, the ugly thing that had happened inside of her, the ugly thing he had been about to do to her. The ugly thing that digging into a person’s flesh and organs, sawing and squeezing and scraping, actually was.

Ruzi stayed in the room long enough to be charged for it. He refused counsel, he refused company, he refused food. He stayed there, with the lights on, through the night, until his mind was completely empty. Into that empty mind, a single sentence fell. It was a sentence remembered from a neurobiology class from his student days. A professor there had told him: “One thought can change the way every cell in your body behaves.” He sat with that thought into the early hours of the morning, an idea formulating in the cells of his body.
And then he returned to his office.


Unknowingly, he had begun training in an ancient Japanese art called Shinyo. This was the art of empty listening. Of mirroring. Of action through non-action. He learned, in his meetings with patients, to listen as a nonentity, to forget everything he knew and know only what he was being told. More than that, he learned to become the person facing him, to master his or her vocal and gestural inflections, and mirror them. In this way his patients became supremely comfortable with him. It was like talking to themselves, it was as if there were now some chance of being understood by a person outside of their own mind.

And once they were totally at ease, once they were perfectly matched, he reversed affairs. The mirror became the guide. He changed their mannerisms, slowly but surely, changed their thinking, their unconscious patterns, their chemistry’s habits, until the problem they had come to him as a result of disappeared.

He greatly reduced his number of patients, but his reputation soared. Strangely, it struck no one as important that he no longer performed surgeries at all. He never even went to the hospital.



Portrait of the Day Before, by Steve Cieslawski


By the time that Ruzi met Derrick, he preferred to think of himself as a beautician. Every day, he met with ugly, unhealthy people and their monsters, and he sat quietly and stared attentively; he mirrored everything that he saw until he recognized the thing that would, if shifted slightly, make the whole beautiful again. And when he came home to the hotel that he had begun to come to on that ugly, bloody day when he had simply not been able to face his own home, he would change his socks and his tie from silent work colors to outrageous, suggestive, vivid show colors, and he would ride the elevator down to dinner.

***

3 comments:

  1. Mmm in this part I see a change. It looks easier to read to understand :). I like it. Ruzi is an interesting caracther of the hotel. You are great at creating good caracthers.

    I still recognize your style :), your wonderful humour "Ruzi stayed in the room long enough to be charged for it".


    Zoe, good job.
    I love it "If it counts" :).

    ReplyDelete
  2. thank you, migue, that makes me soooo happy :DD

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