Everyday Arthur Rimbaud

Reginald Gray's portrait (2011) of Arthur Rimbaud.

"Do you believe in love? That love exists? Between a man and a woman?"

 I was typing away on my keyboard at the next cubicle to hers when I saw her neck craning over the dividing low wall and her bespectacled face looking at me. It was a bolt from the blue. I didn't think she wanted an answer from me, just wanted to say the rest of her piece. So I stopped typing and looked at her.

 A woman in her early forties, she had quite handsome features, and slim and shapely too. Many in the office thought her pedagogic with her hipster glasses but I thought they suited her. And she had impressive bosoms too. A slim woman with generous sized knockers always attracts me but I usually kept that attraction in check.

 "Ever heard of Arthur Rimbaud? The French poet who died in his thirties?"

 "Yes", I replied, wondering why I am at the receiving end of a lecture that was coming my way for sure.

 "He said that life is a farce we are all forced to endure. And you know what else he said. That, love...no such thing. Whatever it is that binds families and married couples together, that's not love. That's stupidity or selfishness or fear. Love doesn't exist. Self-interest exists, attachment based on personal gain exists, complacency exists. But not love. Love has to be reinvented, that's certain."

 "Didn't know that. That Rimbaud said such things. Being a poet and all.", I replied timidly almost.

"He was right you know. People only love one thing. You know what? Money. Money is the only object of our affection. We love money, we crave money, we think of money when we kiss, we think of money walking down the street, we think of money when we see a bum slumped on the pavement, we think of money when we see a sports car, we think of money when we see a man in an expensive suit, we think of money when we see pictures of an exotic place, we think of money all our lives. Will a person love and live with an ordinary looking woman if he had the money to buy the affection of, say, Marilyn Monroe or Scarlett Johansson? No way. Money allows us to fulfill our self-interests and we actually only love ourselves and for that we need money."

 "That's rather cynical. No? That can't always be true. There is something called true love. I love my wife. And love her the way she is."

 "Ha! Don't hoodwink yourself. Doesn't her father own that huge shop on what's that street?"

"You are talking a load of crock. I don't love her father's money, I love her.", I was feeling rather miffed.

 "That's what you would like to believe. But deep inside you think that if you lose this job or if a heart attack renders you unable to work, you would still be on easy street because she has money."

 "Your husband is an alcoholic. He drinks away every penny he earns. Actually without your salary your family of four would be really hard up. So, why do you live with him? Why not leave and look for a wealthy bachelor? If you equate love with money? You obviously don't love your husband."

 "I love him to death", she declared and walked away to have some coffee from the office cafeteria. I no longer had a clue what I had been typing and what about and thought of the only line I remembered from Rimbaud, "I believe I am in Hell, therefore I am". A thousand dreams within me softly burned. Oops! That was Rimbaud too.


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