There for you - martin Garrix/ Troye sivan Oh Dystopia - Leo Islo Roses - The Chainsmokers, Rozes UGH! -The 1975 Wild - young bombs remix Cathedrals - birthday End of Desire - MUNA Stop the world I wanna get off with you - Arctic Monkeys Youth - Troye Sivan Your bones - Leo Islo Love me - The 1975 Us - Anna of the north Lost boy - Troye Sivan Parade - Birthday
The dip of the bed rouses you. There’s a moment, sweetly fleeting, where you lie between sleep and wakefulness, still cocooned by the dark of your eyelids. You crack a bleary eye open and roll towards the divot created by Holtzmann’s knee. The bed vibrates, just a bit, as she bounces softly in place. “Come here often?” you whisper to her, voice soft and sluggish with sleep. You peer up at her and feel your lips curl up in a soft smile.
She’s backlit by the hallway light. Her hair has struggled out of several of the pins (likely courtesy of her nap against the refrigerator that she’d startled out of when you came home earlier) and the strands creep down her neck and shoulders like ivy growing wild against an old cathedral wall. Her face is in shadow, but you can still make out the grin growing on her lips. She looks like a dream, fuzzy around the edges and just out of your reach. “You always have me coming,” she cracks.
“Jesus, J,” you sigh, but when she bends to kiss you, one hand braced against the mattress, you lean up to meet her. The spectrometer dangling around her neck smacks into your chest with a small thud. She breathes a laugh into your mouth before pulling away, fingers tapping against the nape of your neck. Even with the warmth of sleep still curling into your muscles, it sends soft sparks flickering down your spine.
You recline on the bed again and close your eyes, knowing that she’ll join you if the mood’s struck her. Her sporadic sleeping schedule doesn’t mesh with your “give-me-eight-hours-or-give-me-death” take on sleep; sometimes she’ll lie in bed with you and doze, but mostly she lies next to you and fidgets. Or she finds something small to take apart (and not put back together again). You’ve woken up with a gear imprint on your cheek several times.
Holtz slithers into bed, the mattress bouncing with her movement. You curl onto your side so you can slide an arm over her waist. She’s still wearing her coveralls. The material’s rough against your hands, but you snuggle closer. One of her hands weaves into your hair. She tugs lightly. You bury your face in her neck with a sigh. She smells faintly of chemicals, of the heavy tang of metal, and even more faintly—you furrow your brow.
“J,” you say into her neck, wrinkling your nose as some of her hair ends up in your mouth. “Have you been using my shampoo?”
“Turns out it’s a good conductor for electricity,” she says cheerfully, shifting so you’re more fully pressed against her side. “Not exactly sure why. Useful, though.”
You sigh. The gust of air makes Jillian’s hair flutter; you end up inhaling even more than your original mouthful. You sputter for a second before pulling your head back. “Your hair tastes like wonton soup,” you say with a frown.
Holtz lifts a shoulder in a half-hearted shrug. “Abby,” she says, like that’s an explanation that makes sense. “She’s got a soup situation. Wants us to discuss it tomorrow.”
“Well, I’m not choking to death on your soup hair,” you grumble. “Up.”
She snaps the band of the built-in bra of your sleep tank in silent complaint, but rolls over so her back is to you and props her head up with one hand. You press closer and arrange yourself so that you can hold yourself up and still reach her hair; there are still a few bobby pins left to pull out from the wild mass. You toss them onto the floor, even though you know you’ll be the one who ends up stepping on them.
Her hair spills around your fingers. Despite the apparent wonton soup mishap, it’s soft. You would have thought that broth might have added some crunch. You spend a few minutes carding your fingers through her hair. Holtzmann practically melts. Her fingers are still twitching here and there, a sure sign of her pent-up energy, but she hums quietly to herself and makes no move to hurry you along. You move lethargically, sleep still threatening to pull you back under. It takes you a few tries to corral some of the more stubborn curls into the loose beginnings of a French braid. After that, your fingers move with a mind of their own, tucking fluffy strands into the braid. Holtz lies quietly (though not still—she kicks you in the shin accidentally before settling a bit) as your fingers flash in and out of her hair like needlepoint.
It feels more intimate than usual—Holtz likes to fiddle with her hair and is better at braiding than you are, but, in one of her more cat-like maneuvers, insists that you do it, acting like she’s doing you a favor—and you can’t decide if it’s your own sleepiness or the quiet quality that the early morning hours always have, like they’re flirting with the edge of a liminal space. The apartment isn’t quiet (Holtz has a few items that generate an electric hum deep into the night) but the bedroom seems to have settled into a lull, just your breath and hers filling the air. It’s oddly satisfying.
You weave more of her hair into the braid; Holtz twitches as your fingertips brush against the delicate curve of her ear. She’s shifted to lay her head down on her arm. Hopefully she won’t try and run another experiment of soldering while shaking off the pins-and-needles feeling. It takes you a moment more to tame her hair into the braid. You sigh to yourself as you realize that neither of you has a hair tie and just drape the end of the braid over one of her shoulders. The hair is already starting to come loose at the very end, but you’re reasonably certain it will hold for a while.
It takes you a few seconds to realize that Holtz’s breathing has evened out. When you prop yourself up, her face is soft with sleep. It’s always a bit strange to see her face without the usual animation of her expressions. You lie back down with a small smile and drape an arm around her waist. She’ll likely wake in the next thirty minutes (you’re not sure if she’s capable of anything aside from catnaps—if she is, you’re always asleep when she falls that deeply) and continue with the project currently laid out on the kitchen table.
But for now, she’s here with you, and so you curl up against her, close your eyes, and let yourself drift back to sleep
Ik Kil is one of the many cenotes located in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Cenotes are natural swimming holes formed by the collapse of porous limestone bedrock, which has revealed a secret subterranean world of groundwater pools. Most cave cenotes have fresh water - meticulously filtered by the earth, making them so clear and pure that you can see straight through to small fish frolicking in the plant life below.
The Mayans revered cenotes because they were a water source in dry times; the name cenote means ‘sacred well’. Mayans settled villages around these spiritual wells with the belief that they were a portal to speak with the gods. Today, you can still see why cenotes held the Mayans in awe. Swimming in the pristine waters feels like stepping into prehistory, where giant tropical trees and vines form wild cathedral walls leading up to shafts of sunlight.
Worth the Pain - a playlist for Jean Valjean. listen here
Eleanor Rigby - The Beatles (performed by Paul McCartney) All the lonely people, where do they all come from?|| I Fought the Law - The Clash (Bobby Fuller Four cover) I needed money cause I had none./I fought the law and the law won. || Roll Away Your Stone - Mumford and Sons Darkness is a harsh term, don’t you think?/And yet it dominates the things I seek. || Only Remembered - Coope Boys and Simpson Thus would we pass from the earth and its toiling/ Only remembered by what we have done. || Long Way to Get - Bob Schneider There’s a man I’ve never met before who looks a lot like me / There’s a little place called heaven that I’ll probably never see || Leading Me Now - The Tallest Man on Earth To the site where I flew from you when your pace just scared my blind/ We will come back and joke of days when I sold you to the unkind. || My Girl - Otis Redding I got sunshine on a cloudy day. ||Demons - Imagine DragonsI wanna hide the truth/ I wanna shelter you. ||Ain’t Gonna Lose You - Brett Dennen I can’t stand the thought of another man. || Lay Down Your Weary Tune - Billy Bragg (Bob Dylan cover) Struck by the sounds before the sun/ I knew the night had gone. ||Chimes of Freedom - Bob Dylan In the wild cathedral evening, the rain unraveled tales/ For the disrobed faceless forms of no position.
This past weekend was an overwhelming experience to say the least. We had a marathon shoot for the Wild Cathedral music video that has now resulted in some of the most exciting, intriguing and out-there footage I’ve ever concocted or directed. A huge part of that is due to the gangbuster crew I had assembled, who were willing to provide and encourage a multitude of weird and wonderful ideas to feed into the project.
Even more thanks are in order to all the band members, extras and dancers who donated their time to be in front of the camera. They were energetic and willing to try anything. I was totally astounded by all their hard work.
Above you’ll see some photos from Saturday, taken by AC Jacob Gulliver, that give a little glimpse into what exactly we were up to.