Beauchamp the Beauty

A flash of red flame appeared in the beautiful field and with a flourish of its tail darted for cover.

What is your name?

Shhh! Quiet! You will frighten it away!

Well, that is certainly an unorthodox response. Do you wish to remain anonymous? Or perhaps you’re referring to yourself in the third person for some esoteric reason?

Hush! No silliness just now. It is right here in front of my nose, I saw it just a moment ago. Hold very still. It will appear again when the light strikes it just so, and then I shall catch it. Yes, this time I shall catch it! My name is Beauchamp! Shh!

Okay then, Beauchamp, so how am I to interview you if you keep shushing me? And what is it? No silliness on my part…just trying to make headway on getting to know your most unconventional personage.

And I want you to know me, love, I do. But we must speak softly. Our whispers must nestle like two nude hatchlings in a feather nest. Now that’s a delicate image, don’t you think?

It—it has no name, my dear. That is a great part of its charm. Call it a glint, a particle of dazzle or resplendence or . . . call it je ne sais quoi if you must be French about it. It is made of flash and laughter and for as long as I can remember it lived in my right eye. And then something happened, something unspeakable, love, and it left me. I have been chasing it ever since and now it has brought me to this place, this . . . archive is it? I don’t know why it should be drawn here, but perhaps when I snatch it out of the air—any second now, my pet!—we shall find out! Shhhh!

Beauchamp, I must say we’ve certainly had a number of strange individuals appear around here, but you…you are splashing around quite a bit over the existing high water mark for weirdness in our humble archive. So, just to reiterate—you’ve alluded to something having happened that cost you the ‘it’ that lived in your right eye. Are you able to discuss what happened, if it’s not too traumatic for you? Please consider this a safe space in which to unburden yourself.

Oh it is a very sad tale. How to relate it without spooking my quarry? And should it flee I could only go chasing after it and be away before any of our whispers have nuzzled to our satisfaction.

But . . . perhaps there is a way. You, dear, seem the bookish type. An allusion or two would probably not slip by you too easily.

What if I were to tell you that, once, in a beautiful field there lived a vixen, and the beautiful field so loved its vixen that it grew lush and tall with foxgloves? What might you make of that, love?

I might make that you are straying off topic, Beauchamp. You appear to be one of those interviewees who is unable to be straight with answers. But that’s okay; we’ve run across those types before. Foxgloves, huh? I know fairies like ‘em. Beyond that…maybe I am dense but I’m not able to follow you into that field at the moment, B. Perhaps you could lay down a few more breadcrumbs…

I do not mean to be coy, my pet. Understand, I have for years sought the glint that escaped my girlish eye. It is so close now, right here in front of my face somewhere. To speak of the events that made it flee in the first place is a grave risk to my ever recovering it. Yet here I am, telling all. You see what tricky stones pave the path before us?

So let me try again, love. Nothing could be more on topic than this beautiful field. You might say, in French if you must, that the beautiful field is the subject itself! Shhh.

And this beautiful field discovered within itself a vixen, which is to say, a female fox, wild and full of dash and flair, and so the beautiful field grew tall with foxglove, yes, you understand me now, a glove in which to conceal a fox. And to keep this vixen, this part of itself hidden was wisdom itself, as you shall see.

So resplendent had the field made itself that a manor house grew up beside it, so as to always admire it. From the manor house there issued, what else? Sons. Because what else is a manor house for but the production of sons?

These sons—boys of an awkward age—would sometimes draw near the beautiful field. Yes, they seemed quite innocent and sad and looking for something. The beautiful field, not knowing what sons are capable of, saw no harm in giving them the smallest glimpse of what was possible in life. A flash of red flame appeared in the beautiful field and with a flourish of its tail darted for cover. The sons had seen it. Their eyes shone bright.

After this the manor house seemed never to sleep. Fires roared inside all night. Desire flickered in all its windows.

Ah, Beauchamp, now I’ve gone and fallen into your bewitching prose and lost myself…where was I again? Oh right, attempting and largely failing to interview you. Perhaps I’ve been going about this the wrong way, though. It’s clear you have a story to tell, so please do go on…

No, no, you’re doing a marvelous job, sweet. Just marvelous. It makes me all the more sad to grieve you with the turn this tale must now take.

When at last the manor house doors opened again, out came the sons, grown tall and brash. There was nothing of that sad inquisitiveness the beautiful field first liked about them. They arrayed themselves in red, in the likeness of a fox, only in a more bloody-minded hue. And they hopped onto the backs of steeds, to gallop in the manner of a fox, and alongside them romped a pack of dogs, much like a fox only clumsier and more eager to please. Raising a cry, the sons proceeded to hunt the vixen. One could say they tried to be the vixen, to beat her at her own game. And did they ever find her? No, they did not. But did this stop them from completely trampling the beautiful field in the process? No, it did not. They chewed it to pieces. I tell you, there was nothing left. And by the time they finished, the vixen had gone.

And now perhaps I’ve made myself clear? And if I have, have we frightened it away, love? It. That glint of flash and laughter that once made a home of my right eye? Perhaps we haven’t been talking as softly as we might have. Here, join me a moment. Hands up now. On the ready to snatch it. And stare without blinking right here, somewhere between our two faces.

Shhhh. Tell me what you see.

Oh Beauchamp, you’re making me get all teary-eyed now. Perhaps your glint has blown into my own eye and caused it to water. What a sad story. Like you, I also fear it has been frightened away. By us, all of us, embodied in those blood-suited sons and their mindless violence. All I can see is that lovely field—now stripped of its former glory and laid to waste. I’m aching all through my insides…

You do seem very sad and innocent and looking for something. You begin to remind me of—wait! Shh! Hold very still and tilt your head just so . . . yes, like that, and now open your right eye, dear, very wide and look at the sky. . . . There. You have it! Sweet Hera, you’ve gone and caught it! Though . . . it appears somewhat different in your eye than it did in mine. Hm.

Now close your left eye and look around. At your archive. At me. What has changed? Anything?

I’m not sure if anything has actually changed or if it’s just the way I’m looking at things that has changed. Like you, for instance. You look different than when I first saw you, before I had ever heard you talk or asked you any questions. You look less sad and frightening, and maybe…maybe more friendly.

Yes, love, and you are also more familiar. You remind me of someone. Someone I used to be, long ago. And you won’t mind, will you? if I sit quietly here and look you in the eyes for a while. And now our getting to know each other has really begun . . .

SS, NG

Author: gpa

We create and disseminate interstitial texts and imagery, both online and in print, for the Anthropocene.

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