Who can be now? I wasn’t waiting for anybody and I was freshly out from my little siesta, which means:
BUT, when I first looked through the peephole I couldn’t believe what I saw. I opened the door, violently:
- Aren’t you happy to see me???
- You are not happy to see me…
It was my elder brother: Mr. Clayton.
Mr. Clayton (as he prefers to be named) is my elder twin brother. He was born twenty minutes before me. We are physically almost identical (except on one birthmark on his right calf, with the shape of Mr. Jones).
We grew in a happy environment and we shared everything like good fellas. Our common passion lead us to study Art, in Valencia.
People always confused us and also compared us, which wasn’t pleasurable both for him and me, as we were so different...
He was a rebel, always arguing with people and looking for troubles. For many times I had to pull his bacon out of the fire.
On the other side, I used to be an obedient easygoing guy, which always made him upset.
Our different personalities were also translated to our work. I used to be more academic and realistic while he was always passionate with caricatures and cartoons.
One day, after a tough arguing with a professor, he said to me:
- You know something? University is for losers. I quit. I’m moving.
- W-w-whaaaat??? Where are you going to???
- I’m moving to United States. Maybe they appreciate my talent there, better than here. Are you coming with me???
- No way! You are crazy, man! Don't do that, please!!!
- You loser!
And he took all the money that my parents gave us and went away, crossing the Pond. He never wrote us a single line, but Christmas postcards to let us know he was not dead and asking us to live him alone. My parents were shattered about him:
- Why did he do such horrible thing? Where can he be? Is he fine or not? Is he eating healthy???
One day, I came across him and his work, in the internet. He was not only alive, but became a successful cartoonist under Mr. Clayton’s nickname. He was publishing on many important magazines and newspapers, there. And his work was finally appreciated in galleries and exhibitions.
He made it, I guess.
But he was still reticent to contact us… Till now.
I prepared a huge coffee maker and we sat down in my small living room.
- Hey, you have a nice cat, bro! What's his name?
- Her name. It's Alicia. Be care with her. She is and old cat and now she is a little delicate.
She smelt him, as usual, and then she decided to sit down beside my brother, being part of this historical meeting...
- I guess you are expecting a long queue of explanations, aren't you?
- It was you the one who said that, not me...
- Well, here you have me. I'm ready, bro. Shoot!
- Well, only three questions: Why now? Why here? Why ME?
I wasn't so curious about the reasons that pushed him away. I was curious about the reasons that pushed him back.
- I feel tired, my brother. I need a change in my life. I could bury myself and the whole family with dollars. I'm pretty famous, as long as an artist can be, but I'm not happy. So now what??? I feel empty, and I miss my old teenage freedom; so I'm thinking now about doing nothing, which can be good for me. At least for a while...
About the second question; I guess I was missing my roots. So, why not to come back to Spain? It's been so long... I've almost forgot my native language.
(Actually, Mr. Clayton was talking with a weird and funny American accent. He looked like a Mexican guy ;)
And I needed to talk to you. The way I took the money and left was so unfair. I was angry with the world and with myself, I guess. And I paid it with my brother. I simply could not accept the way you accepted everything. I thought you deserved to be punished. And I did. I punished you. So I'm very sorry brother. Very sorry... I don't know what to say...
I saw he was unexpectedly sincere. I had in front of me my prodigal brother. He wasn’t begging for forgiveness, not for mercy. He only wanted to be listened. And I listened to him; I didn’t say any single word during the two hours and a half he was talking and talking. It was like a thrilling movie, and I was frozen sipping my cold coffee. Excited.
The way he talked to me and looked into my eyes, sometimes lowing down his little head, like if he was ashamed or something... it was moving.
He won my respect definitely.
As he was telling me his story, he grabbed a sketchbook of mine (without asking!) and started to draw while talking, in such natural way. It's something he always do. He has been always a very compulsive man.
A couple of coffee cups later, his story was reaching its end.
- So this is it. But It's ok. Everything is ok, ALWAYS. That's my new philosophy. Life! isn't it? Shit happens! BTW, I need to pee, bro. Where is supposed to be the toilet in this holy place of yours?
My place is so tiny… I thought he was mocking at me. I pointed it with my pinky, while sipping the coffee…
- I see. Down the hall, to the right ;)
- Don’t close the door, please! It’s broken!
- Broken? Why is it broken? Why my poor brother has a broken door???
- A long story! It would take me ages! Enough for today!
- Ok, ok, ok… My poor brother has a broken door (singing)
I heard my bro unzipping and letting the pee fall down from his skinny body, while he was singing and laughing. Old memories came back to my mind. Pee wars, or writing down our names with pee on the walls.
As my name was larger, I could never finished it. ;)
- Hey, bro! You have a stunner neighbor! Hi, cutie!
- Shut up!!! Close the window!!! She is my neighbor, for God’s sake! She's gonna think it’s me! You are ruining my reputation!
- You never had one ;)
I hated him when he did those crazy stupid things. But I must confess it was funny, at the same time. I’ve always loved his psychopathic behavior. I've always admired his free spirit.
When he came out from the bathroom.
- Please, let me treat you as my guest. Not everyday a couple of siblings meet together again after twenty years. My God: TWENTY YEARS!!!
- Ok, I won't move! Not tonight ;) But you must offer me something nice, right?
- What about spaghetti???
- It sounds great!!!
Spaghetti were our most enjoyable meal at University times. The basic diet of 80-85% of students. Spaghetti are cheap and delicious, and I have improved my recipe. But there is one thing that never have changed. The way we cut the garlic.
Since we saw Goodfellas in the theaters, we were fascinated watching Paul Sorvino slicing slowly a piece of garlic with a razor. So we always use the Sorvino style ;)
Goodfellas (1990) by Martin Scorsese. Dinner in prison scene.
Watching my elder brother doing the same brought again happy memories to my mind.
While cooking and drinking fresh delicious Spanish beer:
- You know something, brother? The first time I saw Gianluca Vacchi... I thought it was you!!! I said: look Juan Antonio, it's Mr. Clayton! your millionaire brother!!!
Not Mr. Clayton, indeed
- Hahahaha! That's funny, bro! You're funny...
- Funny?! Funny how? I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown? I amuse you?? (impersonating Joe Pesci)
- Ok, the dinner is ready! We are going to have it at my terrace, right?
And we did. My terrace is lovely and it was a nice breezy night.
We talked about everything that night: life, art, love, family, friends, politics, religion, women... We kept drinking beers and then we killed a couple of bottles of wine. I'm not used to drink, and I can tell you I never drank so much in my life. But WTF, it was time for celebration!
- Hey, hey! Look at this brother! I have written down my complete name on the wall.
- No way. You need a bit more of extra pee. The "o" letter looks like a "c". Not finish ;)
- Fucking millionaires! You never have enough!
Then, he turned his face serious.
- I want to give you something, bro.
He stood up and came to me. He took my head with his both hands, softly, and he kissed my forehead.
- I love you, Juan Antonio. I'm so sorry to have called you loser. I'm so sorry to have taken the money with me. I'm so sorry to have left you that way. It was chasing me all these years, I swear, and lately even killing me... I'm sorry, I'm sorry, bro. Please, forgive me, brother. Will you? I need your forgiveness, I...
He broke in tears. Like a little child. I was moved; my eyes were in tears, as well. Then I said:
- You're my brother.
And we hugged each other. A twenty years missed hug. I felt so relieved while holding him in my arms and feeling his... I could feel his energy passing through me so intensely...
- You're watering my pants!!!
- Upppsss! Sorry!!! Look, brother: maybe my house is not so big and fancy as yours, but I want you to spend overnight here, so I'd love to offer you my bed. I will sleep tonight in my couch, right?
- Your house is more than perfect for me, bro. And nothing would make me happier than sleeping in my brother's couch, as it's my will.
I smiled. So we went to sleep that way. As he fell down into the couch he gave me a finger while saying:
- Fuck you, bro!
I gave him my two fingers and said:
- Fuck you, Mr. Clayton!!!
But he was snoring like a bearded baby, as he used to... I was so sleepy that I didn't mind it at all. In fact, I fell asleep in a few seconds, too.
The next morning my head was about to explode.
- Oh, my God! What a hangover...
I got up and went to the living room, to greet my dear brother.
The couch was empty. He left. Again. That's his fucking crazy style.
There was a golden pendrive instead of him. It was his signature on it, flashing delicately, like slow heartbeats. The USB had a red velvet thread.
- Uncool millionaires - I said. The little device was heavier than expected...
I went to my Mac and plugged it. The only thing I found there was a text file. It was named "Spell".
This was what was written on it:
I have always envied you.
You have always envied me.
We complete each other. We are stronger together.
Now I want my holidays and I have decided to spend them inside YOU.
I hope you don't mind.
You won't see me again, Buddy, unless you watch yourself in a mirror...
I started to be nervous. I went to the toilet and took a look to the mirror guy. I saw the reflection a bit strange. Even disturbing.
- Hi, bro! Aren't you happy to see me? - the guy in the mirror said
- Holy crap! This is scary! This must be a bad joke! - I was terrified.
- You are not happy to see me ;) Don't be scared. It's me, Mr. Clayton, your dear brother. You will be used to having me inside you, as I'm now an important part of yours.
- Oh, my GOD! Oh, my GOD! Am I going crazy, or something?
- You are not crazy, brother. You are only possessed eventually by your elder twin brother' spirit, who is gonna play with your mind to expand it beyond your limits. This can be funny, isn't it? BTW, aren't you curious about your left calf?
I rolled up my pijama and watched. There was something there, but it was difficult to see and I needed more detail, so I grabbed my camera and took a picture with the macro.
When I saw it, I screamed like Luke Skywalker.
Something in my calf
Something in my calf!!!
Mr. Clayton & Me (the consequences)
After this odd episode in my life, I feel I'm not the same anymore. Everytime I see my reflection in the mirror, it's like watching another person; but with the time I'm becoming him a part of myself. Sometimes he behaves (or maybe he is only having a nap), but other times he simply loves to tell me what to do...
Well, actually we are a team... and sometimes he is the BOSS ;)
But I could say that we are working together, actually. And two brains are always better than just one, aren't they?
Now let me introduce you my first attempt to do something cartoony. I was thinking all the time in our beautiful day together. The things he told me. The secrets he confided me... So I have finally finished one of my most ambitious and complex work so far.
It has been Made with Love.
I hope you like it.
Mr. Clayton & Me. ZBrush for sculpting and Blender for modeling and setting the scene. Rendered with Cycles.
If you are following me, you may have recognized some of the elements of this cryptic composition. If you keep following me, you will see the future development of some of them.
Stay tuned, you can follow me in the Facebook if you don't want to miss my steps ;)
Note: I'm not a native English speaker and sometimes I think I'm writing too much ;) Anyway I apologize for every single mistake I make with your beautiful language. If you feel like correcting me or giving me some advice, please, don't hesitate: drop me a line! I'll be glad to read you!