A fiction as and on disappearance, written by Arturo Lucía, a transvestite alter ego invented by Laura Huertas Millán. Text commissioned by Raimundas Malašauskas, weaved with the monologue An Address Concerning My Supposed Existence, written by John Menick, in 2010, and personal diaries. Published in Permanent Collection Issue II (Aspen Art Press, 2017).
It is all very material, my slow slip into nonexistence. My body goes bit by bit, like one of those collapsing glaciers you see on the Discovery Channel late at night, stoned, wondering what else is on. I can see myself reflecting on the train’s window. The nausea is getting worse, a sense of vertigo as the night landscape unfolds through the glass. I lost my passport at the Swiss border, and had to ask for a certificate from the Lithuanian consulate, which was sent to my hotel in Zurich—I had to postpone my border crossing. After sterile days of anxiety, the paper finally arrived—and the wealthiness of the city, its glittering, clean surfaces looked, every day, more like an abomination. I was so looking forward to leaving, and to never come back. You see, I still have a voice, but not a literal voice, not one that could make the sounds I once could. Now, in the train, I can’t stop thinking about you, about your last telegraph, the one that you sent me to my Zurich hotel, announcing your imminent departure to Portugal, and then the United States. I am so glad that your mother had finally managed to sell the Parisian house, even if you did it at a derisory price—if I was you, I would also fear an imminent expropriation, and upcoming “preventive detentions” as they have done in Germany. You shouldn’t think about the lack of gain of the selling. In two days, you are going to start a new path, one in which you will not fear stigma anymore, across the ocean.
I always considered my body an unwelcome guest in my life. The dizziness is perhaps the product of my impossibility to tell you, and to tell myself, in honest and clear terms, what bothers or even hurts me about you leaving. For a while, I had no words for this brutal evidence. You are telling me, without doing so, that you will no longer be here for me, at the moment of my convenience, in my own terms. It clearly makes me sick. Instead, I prefer to recall to my mind the words of anger and hatred that inhabited my thoughts the past few days: Switzerland and its pretended neutrality—a sentence that I would silently declare to myself while in Zurich, every time I’d cross one of those numerous families that could perfectly fit into the Aryan prototype. I wish my body the fondest of farewells, as the cliché goes. I am traveling with a recommendation letter written by Bruno—do you remember him?—the French Ambassador in Lithuania, preparing the transportation of a series of paintings of our avant-garde crazy friend Gintaras Nyliunas, which will be exposed at Princess Louise de Crouy’s Salon. I am not an art dealer anymore. My activities have extended. I’m starting to organize cultural programs and events between the West and my native country—a mere façade to exchange and diffuse highly classified political information with other cultural agents in France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and Spain. I thought things might improve for me, socially speaking, but they did not. The adrenaline, from keeping secrets, is becoming my new addiction—to carry invisible texts within the frame of the paintings, like bottles of whisky hidden in sculptures in an American dry state during the Prohibition. I love this new job—I’m sure you would like my new political con artist mask. I do not have your integrity, nor your caring and delightful sensibility—I first thought that I was doing this as a way to communicate with you from afar, a way of echoing your virtue, but it turns out that I’m very simple-minded. I’m just looking for unexpected events, danger—a bit of fun, as the world falls apart as it is expected to.
Dear Clarisse, I know that you are in a vulnerable position. And this precarious situation has being going on for years. For a long time, it looked fine to you and for us—another war was still unimaginable. It was 1928. And now, five years later, events across Europe are not only proving the imminence of a bloodshed, but slaughter has already installed itself as a normal estate—the same popular clamors screaming twenty years ago, Never again, La Der des Der, are the same, calling men to fill their chests with patriotism to prepare for the fronts.