sandandwater: (pippa loves ro)

The friendship came first.


He asked her to dance in the middle of an empty bar, the band packing up their instruments and the jukebox unplugged. Still, he asked and took her in his arms. The tune he hummed under his breath became the foundation of the song he wrote for her.


He wanted her to make a present for his sister, trusting her talent and skill without even seeing any of her work.


Their first date ended with smiles and a promise of more. Even if he didn’t try to so much as kiss her good night.


She drunk-dialed him and made a complete fool of herself, or so she thought. He didn’t mind her middle of the night confession in the least.


That first kiss made her feel weak in the knees. So did every one thereafter.


He told her his secrets and left it up to her if she wanted to take the chance of seeing where things could go.


She told him her secrets and he refused to judge her for them.


He adored her puppy.


When they made love, where and how and why, it was always about trust and honesty and not a little fun.
sandandwater: (damaged love)
And then I'm in your arms I'll try to relax
Don't want to lie awake all night wondering where we're at
Oh this tossing and turning won't clear these blues away
When I am longing just to hear you say
'No Turning Back' - Sarah Blasko

Six months ago she walked out of his life, or tried to at any rate. Pippa couldn’t sever all ties with this man no matter how often she told herself it would be better, easier, safer. No, there were phone calls and letters, emails and now he was here with her in Venice. Here because she had asked him to come.

What was she doing?

Lying in his arms and pretending things were fine, acting as though there weren’t problems and issues to be settled and discussed. She was savoring the feel of his skin, hot and still damp with sweat, against hers. She was listening to him breath deep and even as he slept. Studying the lines and curves of his face, the delicate cheekbones and the wide, generous mouth—she could still taste his kisses when she swallowed involuntarily. Shifting, she stifled a groan as sore muscles protested, strained and aching from vigorous lovemaking. She sighed.

Pippa was not sleeping.

It would be morning soon and he would wake, she would have to find some way to either continue this charade (oh, the cowardice that taunted her) or face their relationship (lack thereof) head-on and the consequences of her actions. Would he want to discuss what happened? Could he find a way to forgive her? Should she forgive him? Did he realize that she still loved him? Too many questions and no easy answers no matter how hard she searched.

Keep trying.
sandandwater: (Default)
Rory in Venezia
sandandwater: (groggy)
Summer 2009

She didn’t scream this time. The tightness squeezing her chest made it impossible to draw the breath needed and the swollen lump of her heart was lodged (or so it felt) so far into her throat that she wouldn’t be able to cry out in any case. She didn’t cry either. Her eyes were wide with shock and fear, but dry as she shifted her panicked gaze from one focal point to another.

Meaningful movement of limbs tangled in sweat-soaked sheets took a bit longer. By the time she was able to untangle herself from the damp cotton and sit up, Pippa had found the ability to breathe again. Breathe and shake, trembling as she recalled the too-vivid, too-real sights and sounds of the nightmare.

The nightmare. It was always the same. Never ending, never changing, always filled with the same terror and helplessness and always, always his voice. A sick, twisted narration for her suffering punctuated by the laughter of a monster. She’d been trapped, strapped to the table in his dirty, dank, filth-filled apartment. Tied down and screaming, begging for no more. An end, only he never listened. No, he continued on with his little project. His stack of presents for an Irish singer: first it was her hair and that was humiliating but painless, then her finger and oh, how she screamed. It never stopped there, the events of reality and sick fantasy twisting until Larch had managed to use those rusted-dull garden sheers to cut away every last digit, right hand and left.

On the good nights, that was when she’d wake up.

Tonight hadn’t been a good night. Pippa retched and gagged as she shut her eyes against another onslaught of images she’d woken up from. Things worse than being slowly dismembered, Larch hadn’t managed to do what he wanted to the redhead, no, but he made sure to share with her the grizzly fate of all the women before her. In sleep, her tortured thoughts turned on themselves and rewrote his narrative, applied it to her and let her feel what her fate could have been. Should have been, but wasn’t.

Because of Rory. She was alive because of the relentless way he’d refused to accept her disappearance. Because he’d urged his brother to search for her by means inhuman and incomprehensible to her. Because he and his brothers…she was sitting in her moonlit room in Venice because three very brave, bold and self-sacrificing men came to her rescue. Men she repaid by rejecting, avoiding and leaving. That realization was even more painful to bear than anything the madman had inflicted.

The dry heaving stopped and the tears began, hot and silent they coursed down her face, wetting her cheeks and chin, newly dampening her nightgown. She pushed them away; all of them, anyone who wanted to help her. Rory, most of all, most importantly of all. The only one who could help at times like these. Comfort and reassure her. Make her feel safe and whole. She ran away from him, from that, because she was scared. She was still scared and now, here, without anyone to protect her.

When she moved next, it was almost instinctive. Her hand reached for the phone on the bedside table, pressed the buttons in the dark. She didn’t need to see in order to call up something so deeply ingrained in memory. If she’d been awake and calm, she likely would have ignored the impulse to call him, or would have at least hung up before the call had connected. But tonight, tonight she sniffed back fresh tears and as soon as she heard the line pick up, be it voicemail or Rory himself, she let out the heartfelt truth:

“Oh, Ro…I wish you were here.”

Pippa Kerr//Last Call//630 words
sandandwater: (longing for you)

The nights are lost to dreams of The Red King.

Her days consist of forging and sculpting with flame and from memory, pulling his face out of molten glass and refining the delicate planes and beautiful curves of his features. Large eyes stare back at her, following every move she makes, no detail escaping his sight or her vision. Care bordering on obsession goes into etching regal cheekbones and generous lips. The dizzying swirl of crimson and gold boldly declare his power and passion—or is it her desire and adoration being put on display?

Rory MacEibhir is simply everywhere.
sandandwater: (venice)
How did we get here?
Well, I used to know you so well, yeah.
But how did we get here?
Well, I think I know
[‘Decode’ – Paramore]

She wasn’t the same woman who left Venice at twenty-two. There were similarities, certainly and familiarities—the things that Alessandro recognized as Phillipa Kerr despite this new broken aura that surrounded the gaffer. But this wasn’t his brilliant star, this wasn’t the woman he had loved so fiercely and given so much of himself to; she was a pale imitation. A ghost. A shadow. It broke his heart.

He accepted that she hadn’t wanted to marry him and that she had wanted to return to New York. Love was that way at times, burned fast and bright and then was over. The memories would last and there would still be a student for him to mentor. There was no regret or animosity there; he only wanted her to be happy—happy and fulfilled. It was painfully clear to him that Pippa was neither of these things.

Pippa spent her days working like a thing possessed, not an artist enjoying her craft but a soul tortured and engulfed in a painful penance for sins imagined and transgressions he couldn’t begin to fathom. They had argued about this, the way she worked. He wanted her to slow down, rest more. Drink. Eat. Live and not merely exist. She steadfastly refused and on the days that he would voice his concerns, Pippa would only work harder and longer. At what, he didn’t know. She would not discuss it after his one derisive comment regarding molds and forms. This had been his error and her silence the price he would pay.

Alessandro accepted that as well. He insulted her unwittingly and the red-haired beauty would hold a grudge. Recognizably Pippa, such behavior was. It would have made him smile if the sheer stubbornness hadn’t turned into something far more disconcerting of late. The anger, he could deal with it was the sadness in her voice and the hollow look in her eyes that he didn’t like. Something was missing, a vital part of the young woman. Determination wasn’t security, working to near exhaustion wasn’t confidence and aloofness didn’t disguise fear. Whatever happened to change his former lover had been profound.

The maestro had the disheartening suspicion that that something had a name and that name was Rory Stone.
sandandwater: (some class)

Make a list of things that you would leave to other people in the event of your demise.

As things currently stand, my Last Will and Testament decrees that my my assets both financial and otherwise are to be consolidated and put into a trust for _____________ (name redacted for recipient's privacy). The few personal effects that I would want distributed are more for sentimental reasons than anything else.

To Alessandro, I'd leave my silk scarf. He's always playing with it, rearranging it every time I wear it. When my hair was longer, he used to take the scarf and tie my hair back with it. While we were...involved, he used keep it folded under his pillow at night. He would also retain rights over the glass pieces I have created in his studios these last few months.

To Marcello, certain pieces of my jewelry. His little girls are quite taken with the handmade notions I've put together from dice and bouncy balls, game tokens and the like. His wife, I know, is very fond of my Nana's brooch. And Marcello, my dear, dear, Marcello--to him specifically, I'd leave the bracelet I wear on my left wrist. He would understand why.

To Ro, for Rory I have only one thing I'd like to leave with him. My sketch book. I don't often use it but for this latest project I have. Every stage, every step, has been drawn and drafted. If I can't have the chance to complete what I am working on, I at least want him to have the notes and progress. I need him to know just what it is that has been occupying my every waking moment and most of my dreaming ones as well while I've been in Venice. And I hope he'd understand what I have been attempting to do.
sandandwater: (looking down)
February 15, 2009


I know that your album is set for release this month and I’m sure you’re caught up in a frenzy of activity and celebration because of this. I’m writing because I wanted to tell you that despite everything else, above all else, I am so very proud of you. The rest of the band as well, but mostly you. I always knew you had it within you to do this, Ro. Always.

I once told Mike not to count on Breaker Street being a regular act at Last Call for long because unlike so many other bands that came through those doors you six had “it”. You had the drive, the talent, the raw want and need. Anyone that’s ever heard you perform as a group could see that. And when Robbie Fellowes agreed to come listen to you—on what I thought was an indulgent whim because of my nattering—I knew you wouldn’t be walking away from that meeting without everything you’ve always deserved.

Of course, I didn’t know then that I’d have to nudge and convince, poke and prod you into accepting that offer or into believing in yourself as much as I did. Still do. I always will. You’re so very talented, gifted and gracious about it. I hope you never lose sight of that, of who you are. Don’t let fame change you, don’t let the publicists force you to be someone you aren’t, make it about the music. Isn’t that what you always told me? It was about the music and the audience, making that connection. Baby, you’re going to be so connected you won’t know what’s hit you and neither will they.

I debated for a while whether or not I should write this let alone send it but I finally decided that the things I wanted to say, needed to tell you, were worth putting into print and worth sharing with you. You deserve to know that I wish you well, that I think the world of you and want nothing but the best for all of you. Give Junie, Nil, Sascha, Dave and Kreske my regards.

Mi manchi*,


P.S. I’ve held on to this bracelet for the better part of a year, I bought it intending to give it to you as a gift at your first wrap party. I hope you’ll still accept it in the spirit in which I give it. No strings attached, no promises made. It’s just me wanting you to remember that your Believer Girl does.

ooc: * I miss you
sandandwater: (with marcus)

I posted this once before, but here I am as a baby.

A toddler.

A teenager.

and now for something a little bit different... )
sandandwater: (dear lj)
Date: January 20th
Subject: Mr. Beaker


I don't want to impose, but before I left you said to have Mike call you if there ever were a problem with Mr. Beaker. He called me. Mr. Beaker is apparently more than he can handle and would like me to find someone else to take him. I am really sorry that I have to ask you this, I know you don't owe me any favors, but would it be possible for you to take him, at least short term until I can figure something out?

sandandwater: (come hither)
ooc: written for [ profile] fey_fire for the snuggle meme. Binding only if his mun wishes.

May 2008

Warm day, cool breeze and Rory brought her to Murphy’s farm. He said there was something he wanted to show Pippa. She knew from many of their chats over the last year or so (mostly between sets and after gigs, more recently from some of their dates) at Last Call that the Irishman sometimes worked on the farm, exercising horses and giving the occasional riding lesson. It was a lovely place a bit upstate, large pastures dotted with pretty trees, tall grasses and pretty wild flowers.

She was currently in one of those pastures, backed up against a split rail fence, laughing as a gray stallion snuffled and snorted against her midsection. It tickled and then she squealed as the beast had managed to work his nose against her bare skin, her shirt riding up over his long muzzle. “Ro, stop! Oh, my god…stop…I can’t breathe…tickles.”

The horse nickered, flicked his ears and gave his tail a swish to the left then right. He was laughing. She knew he was laughing. And she was helpless against the equine’s size and strength as he continued to nuzzle her. Pippa tried to push his massive head away then resorted to tugging on the forelock of his mane, not that either deterred the stallion. He had his pretty filly where he wanted her.

Right where he wanted her.

The stallion finally relented once tears began to run down her cheeks and she really did sound as if breathing were difficult. Pippa was still laughing though, giggling until the horse vanished in a flash of energy-white light and the face pressed to her belly was once more the familiar one belonging to Rory Stone, púca fairy. Her boyfriend. “Ro, you are…”

She didn’t get to finish her declaration because strong arms wrapped around her waist and pulled the waitress down into the grass, tumbling her into a small heap alongside the much taller, lankier now-man. “…crazy,” she finished unnecessarily as Rory brushed long red locks of hair out of her face.

“A muirnin, my darlin’.” He murmured the words with a gentle smile, pressed a kiss to the side of her neck and proceeded to nuzzle her in much the same way he had in his stallion form. He even made a noise that sounded suspiciously like a nicker before clearing his throat. “Pretty Pippa, why did never tell me you could ride? All those times I’ve mentioned Murphy’s farm and not a word from you, why, sweet?”

She sighed and shifted, rearranging herself atop her lover to better cuddle with him. “You had your secrets and I had mine.”

And now, thanks to his foolish playing, Pippa also had several dandelions tucked into her hair.
sandandwater: (you don't say)
takes place well into the second week of January

She needed a break from the oppressive heat in Alessandro's glassworks studio, needed a drink of water and to wipe the sweat from her brow. She also wiped at the back of her neck and the small of her back. Moisture gathered everywhere it could pool as she worked and it didn't bother her until she stopped long enough to break her concentration. Now it positively itched.

Carrying her towel and a bottle of water outside with her, Pippa sat on a low stone bench and leaned against the building's exterior. Several days ago she'd had a conversation with one of her friends over the internet and since then she'd been having an internal debate over one sticking point: should she call Rory?

Today it seemed as if Pippa had had enough of her internal debate. She was going to call Rory. Just once. And if she got his voicemail, she'd leave him a message.

Her new phone, already filled with numbers and contact information, was missing an entry for the Irishman--not that it mattered. Pippa knew his numbers, his address, his email by heart. Without much thought, her fingers danced over the keypad, entering the digits for his cell phone.

As it rang in her ear, Pippa nodded at a passerby and offered a soft greeting in Italian. Hello, good afternoon.
sandandwater: (sleeping)
I know I'm being childish here but I can't help it.

I've been wandering around Alessandro's empty house all morning. He wanted me to go with him to Mass but I just can't do that. It makes me feel even smaller than I already do to sit in an nearly ancient Cathedral and listen to some wizened old relic carry on in a language I barely speak (Latin) about damnation and guilt, knowing I have more than my fair share of what the Catholic Church would consider sin on my soul.

That's not really what I am being childish about though, cowardly maybe but not childish.

No, it's Ro.

He didn't ask me to stay. Didn't ask me not to go. He didn't come after me to ask me to come back to New York either.

It's not that I left just so he would chase me. It's not that at all. I don't know what I would have done had he asked me to stay or had he shown up here asking me to return.

I'm not making much sense.

I do keep wondering if part of him is glad that I'm gone. I'm so scared that he is.
sandandwater: (*flop*)
This is supposed to say something about my month? )

All this really says to me is that I need to change the songs on my iPod.
sandandwater: (my head hurts like omg)
I'm only going to reference this once.

I left New York. I ended my relationship with Rory for reasons known quite well to him. I need space and time to sort some things out and I can't do that while being in a relationship with someone.

So yes, I'm the 'bad guy' here. How dare I need to put myself first for a while? I'm not going to discuss the particulars, it's not anyone's business other than my own, but does anyone honestly believe I'd leave the man I love without good reason?

Just because I made the decision to leave doesn't mean I'm not hurting too.
sandandwater: ([short] to the side)


Peace be with you, my red-haired darling. Good-bye.

Those were the last words he’d said to her. All he could say once she told him that she was moving back to Venice and she wasn’t planning to return. That she was leaving him in order to try and make sense of the chaos her life had become. To reclaim the things so suddenly lost to her.

I love you.

That was what she wanted to tell him even if he might not believe it.

Mr. Beaker

She hugged the Doberman tightly, squeezed him until the pup whumped and whined at the way she was pushing the air from his lungs. Pippa kissed his head, his snout, rubbed his back once more and forced herself to stand. It broke her heart to leave Mr. Beaker behind but she honestly believed it the kinder thing to do for him.

Be a good puppy for Mike, Mr. Beaker. No making messes, don’t eat anything that isn’t doggy food and no loud barking in the house.

He tilted his head and gave Pippa a confused woof and an excited wag of his tail.


More hugs, more tears. Promises extracted and made. She’d call. He’d follow her lists of instructions about the dog. She’d take care of herself and he’d not work too hard. She’d find the time to drink good Italian wines for him and he’d call Rory Stone if Mr. Beaker became too much to handle. She’d stop crying and he wouldn’t ask how the Irishman could let her go.


Everything necessary had been packed in two suitcases and a carry-on. Things that were important to her had been packed away and sent to storage. Furniture had been draped in white cloths and everything else had been sold or given away. Pippa flipped the switch to shut off the custom light fixture in the bedroom. She ran a hand around the basin in the master bath. The little bits of herself she was leaving behind—the real estate agent was thrilled with that. Real selling points, the woman had assured her.

Pippa left her keys in the lockbox hanging on the door.

New York

She flew out of Newark’s international airport, not JFK. It was more modern, less crowded and seemed less New York to her than the famed major hub. Somehow this was fitting in Pippa’s mind. She’d said farewell to the city as she’d taken the ferry from Staten, the subway through Manhattan and then finally hailed a cab to the airport. She kept the window closed during the plane’s ascent, her last memories of ‘home’ would not be an impersonal aerial view.


Phillipa! Mia Bella! Come here and let me see you.

She made it from the airport to the bus and then to the gondola all on her own. But once she’d arrived at the address belonging to Signore Evangelisti, Pippa was welcomed. She hadn’t seen him in three years and she’d been surprised at what a difference a short time-span could have on an old man. His eyes were still bright and his embrace still strong though and that’s all that mattered. She cried. He held her. They both laughed.

Later, they would talk of many things but for now Pippa was content to just be back.

Pippa Kerr//553
sandandwater: ([short] down)
Notes: RP log with [ profile] fey_fire

Rory: .......... so ... are you saying goodbye to me as well as Staten?

Pippa: *gives him an 'are you brain-dead?' sort of look* I'm saying goodbye, Rory. Everyone keeps telling me I need to put my life back together. I -want- to put my life back together. I can't do that here. I can't do that with you. Don't you understand that?

Rory: *long silence, eyes closed*

Pippa: *quietly* I'm sorry.

Rory: *equally quietly* You have to do what's best for you. I want you to have your life back as well. *eyes still closed*

Pippa: *finding this harder than she'd like* You won't even notice I'm gone. You'll be swept up in all the wonderful things going on with your band. You'll fine. You'll be great. You don't need me here. *trying to sound far more upbeat than she feels*

Rory: *utterly bittersweet smile* I'll ... manage. *suspicious hints of moisture at the corners of those closed eyelids*

Pippa: *reaches out to brush her hand over his, hesitates and drops her arm again* I know you will, baby. Rory. *corrects herself hastily, using his name instead of terms of endearment* I know you will. *she's cried this all out on her way back from Boston, she won't do it here, again*

Rory: *sits with elbows on knees, a bit hunched over* Is there anything else? *swallows* I suppose I should return your key.

Pippa: Oh, um...*watching him is becoming painful* Yes, actually. Excuse me. *she leaves him sitting there only to return with a box full of his carefully packed things, it's obvious that she's taken her time doing this and well in advance too* I thought it would be simpler if I sorted this all out before most of my things went to storage.

Rory: *doesn't even look at the box as he pulls out his keys and separates hers from the ring* And Mr. Beaker? Have you made plans for him? *lays key on the table*

Pippa: *finds herself staring at his key* Mike. Mike said he'll take him. I wish I could take him with me but the idea of subjecting him that flight and then would be cruel. *Yes, she's shared her plans with her former boss before talking to you, Rory*

Rory: *nods* If ... other arrangements are needed for any reason, please ask him to call me. Tadhg will take him if need be. *shoves keys back in pocket*

Pippa: I...will. *not going to cry, dammit. not going to...she's going to cry* Ro...?

Rory: *barely above a whisper, still not looking at her* Is there anything you want me to do with anything of yours I find at my place?

Pippa: *shakes her head before realizing she needs to speak* No, not particularly. They're just...things. *gives in and moves closer, lets her fingertips touch the back of his hand* I didn't want it to be this way, Ro. I wanted us to work. I wanted you to be the one for me. *here come the tears* But that was foolish of me, love doesn't make everything better. It's not enough. After everything that's happened, it's just not...enough.

Rory: *nods again, then is abruptly on his feet, collecting his jacket and helmet* I should go.

Pippa: *looks startled at his abruptness but recovers quickly enough, nodding* All...alright. Um...*her hand sweeps over the soft leather of his jacket* Drive safe. *it sounds so...meaningless but what else is there to say?*

Rory: *if he stays any longer, he'll try to talk her out of going* You be safe as well, Pippa. *looks at her at last, century-old eyes filled with tears* Slán agus beannacht leat, a muirnin rua.

Pippa: *she doesn't ask for a translation, the sentiment clear enough and the last of it are words she knows quite well* I will be, I'll be where I belong. *tears are sliding down her cheeks but she doesn't bother to wipe them away*

Rory: *the pain in his eyes deepens; he no longer trusts his voice, but turns toward the door*

Pippa: *she can't let him leave like that* Ro? Wait, please... *she's only speaking to keep him from actually stepping through the door before she can close the distance between them* You'll always be the best thing that ever happened to me. *it's as close as she can come to saying that she still loves him as she tries to wrap her arms around his middle for one last hug*

Rory: *accepts the hug with his hands on her shoulders, if he holds her in return he'll just have to fight with himself to let her go again. She can probably feel the quivering in his stomach muscles* Goodbye. *drops a kiss on her forehead and turns to go*

Pippa: *nods and lets him go, the hug feeling hollow to her and not the soothing thing she had hoped for it to be* Bye...

Rory: *one last squeeze to her shoulder, one last look in her eyes, then he walks out the door, his movements almost mechanical*

Pippa: *she closes the door as soon as he's through it, refusing to watch him leave, it's too painful to know that she's caused that stiffness in his gait, the hurt etched on his features*

Rory: *gets home on autopilot, moving strictly by rote until he toes off his shoes and unwittingly scuffs up a bit of glitter left in the carpet. At that point he curls up next to the couch and sobs*

sandandwater: ([short] mussed and smexy)
Notes: This takes place just before Pippa's Christmas post. Sorry for the time line hopping.

Peaceful. Unaware. Beautifully naïve.

His face is all delicate planes and muted angles in the cool, pale light of the moon. Long lashes cast shadows over soft skin, marring the ethereal visage belonging to the man lying beside her. She can’t sleep so she watches him instead. Watches him despite wanting to press her face into her pillow, protection against aching in her heart, the tightness in her throat and the stinging behind her eyes. Pippa won’t turn away and she doesn’t wipe the hot tears seeping from the corners of her eyes. They run down her cheek and into her ear.

Her mind has been made up for days, weeks, really. She made the decision while they were apart—thinking seems easier when he isn’t right there. Now she has to tell him. Break his heart and leave him. Pippa continues to study him until the weight of her stare (or maybe the noise of her troubled thoughts) seems to draw Rory away from slumber. She even returns his sleepy smile with one of her own, whispering his name as his hand comes up to cup the curve of her cheek.

“Hey now…” he whispers in concern as he feels the dampness on her skin, realizes she’s been crying. “Sweet, don’t cry. I’m here. I’m right here.”

He folds her into his arms, kisses away the tears she’d ignored. Pippa lets him run his hands over her body and push her nightgown up over her hips as he rolls her beneath himself; his movements are well practiced even if they are heavily drenched in drowsiness. She knows he’ll barely remember this come morning—if he recalls it at all.

Still, he’s hard and she’s willing and it doesn’t take much for her to guide him to where he wants to be. Her face stays pressed against the warmth of his neck as Rory shifts, rocks against her and thrusts between her legs. She doesn’t want him to lift his head and look down at her; he shouldn’t have to see the sadness in her eyes as they make love. He makes love—Pippa winces as she corrects herself.

He’s making love; she’s only biding her time.

Pippa Kerr//368
sandandwater: (hot stuff)
Notes: This piece takes place some months down the road from now. I'll be moving around in Pippa's timeline a bit as I tackle her leaving Rory and her time spent in Venice as she attempts to heal emotionally from events of this past August.

Sketching was not her strong suit. It wasn’t even particularly necessary with her chosen craft in most instances. She preferred to work more organically and to be as fluid with her creations as the material she shaped lent itself to be. Molten glass could be controlled and molded, but the process was delicate and time consuming when one was limited to centrifugal force and the very air in their own lungs. It became easier when other tools were added. Steel, water, blocks and casts made of metal with melting points far higher than sand flux.

This, however, needed to be precise. So Pippa sat, charcoal in one hand, gum eraser in the other and large pad of thickly woven sketch paper propped against the angled surface of the drafting table. The sketch would serve as a detailed reference, a quick visual to accompany the one in her mind, used to move into the next step of the process. From this drawing she’d create an inverted three-dimensional likeness out of dampened sand—a mold to cast her sculpture. When she thought of her intended piece, she saw it in the final stage, the way it would look when she showed it to the world. What she was doing on paper and in sand was a deconstruction of sorts, forcing her to mentally work backwards in order to move forward. It had to be perfect.

When she returned to the glass studio in Venice, Pippa wanted to give up the traditional glass blowing altogether in favor of working with casts and molds. Alessandro had a fit, argued. The Signore wouldn’t hear of it. Forbid it, in fact. It wasn’t that it was a lesser art form, it did require its own set of skills and talent but the old Italian gaffer was set in his ways and his beliefs. It was easier, she told him. Easier than trying to compensate for a now deformed hand, the missing finger and the deadened nerves. What she didn’t tell him was that it was easier than facing the memories of what she’d be able to do and being forced to compare them to what she was now capable of—and finding herself lacking. She was his prize student, la stella brillante—the brilliant star. She would not confine herself to less than she was capable of and that was final.

Except for this piece. All ready figured out were the ingredient sums: she’d tallied how much silica she’d need to mix the flux, the sodium dioxide and the lime too (to set the opacity of the material once cooled), and worked out which compounds she needed to achieve the perfect shades and hues to color the glass—gold mostly and in chloride form to get the rich and brilliant reds she imagined—required. She’d done the math and worked the chemistry. Numbers were easy; the execution would prove the challenge. She had to create it. Was driven to it, occupied by the image in her mind to the point of total distraction.

She found herself slipping her fingers into the sugar bowl at breakfast, imaging the delicate white crystals were the more durable granules of sand she could sculpt into a mold for casting. Salty silica instead of the sweet cane coating her fingers with a sticky grit. Pippa had laughed then, it seemed fitting really. Her muse craved gooey confections the way she craved the ability to pull his image out of the page, press it into wet sand, morph it into glass.

In the shower, she’d use the steam and the bar of soap against tempered doors to outline a nearly life-sized image, trying to get a feel for the enormity of what she was undertaking. It would be heavy, unwieldy at times, maybe even impossible without careful planning and the use of hands other than her own. She was grateful to have Alessandro’s studio at her disposal, his students to command and instruct. They’d have no part in the creation but they would lift, turn, carry the piece for her. These things she’d consider as hot water washed away his face just as she’d ended their romance in a torrent of hot tears.

Making her bed, pillows and blankets became construction material as Pippa debated what the base would look like. Sheets wrapped around pillows and bed posts, piled, folded, draped to give form to ideas. It had to be sturdy of course, able to withstand the weight and the stress but also compliment if not actually become part of the piece. Metal she thought then discarded. No, that wouldn’t do—not for him. Stone. Granite. Granite and glass, one supporting the other, entwined and enmeshed. The rock would be the foundation; the glass would run down the thin columns and flow over the angled base, softening it, bringing it to life with color and warmth. Out of the two would emerge her sculpture, not resting atop of it but growing out of the base—the way their relationship should have been.

Every day it was the same for her, this routine of moving through the necessities of life all the while moving closer to completing the only thing that compelled her to keep going in the first place. Her need for perfection made the process painfully slow despite the sense of urgency that pushed her forward. A relentless drive and constant hunger for something that would not be sated kept Pippa in an artistic fugue. Alessandro worried over what would happen when she reached her goal. Pippa kept working.

Pippa Kerr//927


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October 2009

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