Your words, were, are, powerful to an extent I’ll never be able to fully wrap my head around. I found myself trapped in a place so real, sharp, loud, blatantly cold, clear-cut and lacking somewhat in the magic I desired beyond all else. I was empty, sometimes, but so were you. Decades in the past, you spoke of the clearly timeless disease of monotony, reality, tangibility. You, as I do now, found your mind in a state yearning for freedom, and the evidence lays within your written word. I describe your language as ‘yours’ for the fact that truly, it was. You owned the words, manipulated them, tenderly of course. You pieced them together, as if a puzzle, to form an expanded image of your endlessly fascinating mind and soul. It is you, and the intrinsic traveller confined within me, that pushed me to pursue your path, seeking the minuscule, truer, depths of myself, as a writer. I bickered among myself, worrying that one day my fate may also match your own. My cortex pushes me to share as much as possible, it is evident that human interaction has the ability to lay a steadfast basis for joy. But my heart stiffens at the idea of sharing myself, so explicitly on the page, for the page is not yet my page, as you once held it within your bounds so tightly, lovingly.
I’d like to believe that you hear me when I whisper to you in my dreams. Dreams in which I couldn’t be any more bursting with joy, joy that could never be more pure. I, comfortable outdoor furniture and you, my matching patio. Silly things like that, over and over, seemed to describe our relationship, platonic companions through thick (and yes, thin). We would lapse into silence, in the midst of all chaos surrounding us. I could drown comfortably there. Perception no longer held consequence and reality had long been forgotten. With the entirety of myself, I wished to remain there, within that dream, within my mind, my world, your world, our world. Flourishing bundles of bliss stood, stacked, deep within the pit of my stomach and couldn’t help but erupt into butterflies. I’d never felt more at home than when I fell, (yes head over heals), into the world of language. ‘Words are extraordinary’ - what you would say each time you would lay down your pen at the end of our time together within the dream. And in awe, I was able to admire your craft extend past the realm of simple literature, but into its own ‘self’, it’s own existence. I would wake, yearning to write to you for months, years, lifetimes. I had too much to say and so much to make you feel. I wanted my heart to coincide with your own, my loves, hates, joys, residing in both of our chests. I wanted you to feel all that I did, do, at every moment of early morning and night, at every moment within every dream. So I sit here, having trouble remaining steady, beginning what I have wished to do for more than an eternity.
My heart flutters at the touch of the wind, flows with the crashing of the river, quells at the appearance of an immeasurably silent sunrise. / Simmering water on the stove turns to boil and I glance out the window, looking on nothing, everything, something. Schrödinger’s cat, my constant companion, on a quest where I can hardly determine whether I am here, there, breathing, dying, living. / Home has never been concrete and nor do I wish it to be so. The ability to find companionship, family, comfort, in all situations, is an ability I would never trade. / Winter tastes like cotton balls and shimmers in fading sunlight. Spring blankets my mind and body in a cascade of change. / I, as we all are, am built to adapt, grow, learn.
I caught a glimpse of you, on the street this afternoon. I still sit in the cafe where we drank coffee every afternoon. I still frequent our favorite bookstore, I work there in fact. In all actuality, I live among those dusty shelves and second-hand books more than I live in my own home. Few things remind me of you with greater potency, so I hold tight to them, and to memories, and feelings, and smells, and joys, hates, laughs, touches, embraces, conversations, words, syllables, your eyebrows, cheek bones, freckles, the way you emphasized my name, your wisdom, your stories, our moments. I’ll write a novel to you every day that I am alive. As long as I continue to be, so will you. I know - physically - you are far from existing, but life depends just as much on the soul as the body. And you and I, are intertwined too deeply (though I believe you remain slightly oblivious) to depart so utterly from one another.
i. I sometimes dream about writing for you, of you, but I hold myself back.
ii. To mold you in language is a task I’m not necessarily up to. The depiction of my feelings toward you, my thoughts of you, my connection to you, is more empty space than it is syllables. The letters, would be our mutual understanding, the periods, commas, hyphens - our quiet conversations. The empty space, the earth shattering silence at the close of a thought, a sentence - our love. We’re all essentially empty space in reality, so how better to express this indestructible bond?
iii. Yet, here I find myself, finding that language is the only tool capable of this task, a very intangible method for a very tangible feeling.
iv. I’ve never been direct and not so sure that I will ever be, though I strive for it, so I will type this inadvertent series of recollections and moments that are the summation of my feelings, love, for you.
v. I’ll start with citrus. That pungent orange juice and freshly squeezed fruit that throws my mind and spirit back to the age of lemonade stands that seldom brought in any revenue. Beachwear and the smell of suntan lotion and how soft the skin on your thin, tan wrists felt along my side. Feet burning, I would struggle not to whimper as I walked along side you on the heated sand - at that time you appeared grossly tall to my young and very chaotic mind. Beach chairs dragging behind, I was forming a wake of my own. Crashing waves are our melody, harmony. Tired Sunday afternoons in the sun our opening scene. Early morning and late night walks on cool, soft, silky sand - our finale.
vi. Comfortable things remind me of you. I think - partly - that is a representation of how I am content in your presence. If ever was the time to be cliche, it is now, for I swear every time I crack open the dusty, hulking, twenty-pound dictionary (that yes, does remind me of my love for words, that I believe parallels your true, honest, interest and love for me) I find that the definition of ‘caring’ and ‘friendship’ and most significantly ‘love’, do nothing to define to define the words like you do.
vii. I’ll end this here, in an sea of silence, our glue. Just know, that at the break of every novel, sentence, syllable, I will consistently be thinking of you, of us.
I hadn’t know that something could truly be empty before last year. Rain was so full of everything, pounding down on thinning rooftops, giving life to the colors outside the kitchen window, soaking my bones and teaching me what it feels like to feel. Vases were full regardless of what occupied the space within them, whether it be tangible flowers and buds or remnants of joyous memories and colors. Sofas were filled to the brim with moments and memories, even when the cushions supported no one’s backsides. Memories were enough to make permanent marks within the fabric. Never was it the countless times a person had sat down that wore the fabric away, but their spiritual presence, the intellectual impact that lingered long after they passed through the threshold and into the fresh air.
I shouldn’t have said that anything could be empty, for nothing is ever completely empty. Nothing physical is every empty in the slightest degree, actually. The human heart, though, falls lacking sometimes. An occasionally resonant atom of nothing hardly changes the fullness of emotion and love and hate and passion, but to the mind, it grows ever more present.
I know a writer is truly a writer when I’m horrified at the language, disquieted by the ideas, embarrassed for the human that crafted the words. These uncomfortable quotations are poking at those empty spaces, deep down here in my chest. The rain is filling them up slowly, a thousand storms to take up the volume of an infinitely small space. I do hope, by the time I exit this life, exit this world and enter into another, these particles of nothing would have been dissipated and I can know that I am complete, full, comfortable, content.
Shallow, pebbles prick at my feet as I step into the stream. Soaking, I laugh when you shove me into the water. Freezing, I realize this is a bit much for late november. Maybe take a step back, think about things, wait for the summer, wait for clear eyes and pulsing thoughts, emotions, wait for energy. Quiet, our laughter ceases and we take a step farther into the depths. Pebbles change to stones and the water plays at the scar on my left knee cap. Jumping, you squeal a little when the water line passes where your rolled up jeans rest on your thighs. The water grows darker and I nearly tip. You burst into laughter and I’m unable to contain myself. Leaping, I pounce and drag you off to where we can barely stand. Warm, I don’t think that I could ever be cold here, now, ever, with you.
Comfortable, I know now that clarity exists always, not just with the heat. Shallow, deep, I am certain that I’m heading in the right direction.
The ticking of the clock and the whirring of the fan take this cracking place to stability, normalcy. Thunder send shivers down the shutters and the storm begins to pound on the rooftop. Hours after I fall asleep (the rain, my lullaby) I wake to rays of sun tinged orange and red, filtering into the bedroom through the blinds. Stretching, I am constantly in awe of the changes that take place on this earth in the span of (essentially) moments.
I’ll give you a call, I’ll grab my bike and swiftly reach you (also pedaling). I’ll wear my worn-out 35mm camera that my grandfather gifted to me. This notebook (yes, the one I’m recording this in currently) will be snug in my pocket. You’ll be bathed in sunlight when we drop our bikes at the entrance of the path. You’ll have your own pocket notebook - similar in outward appearance, but very different from my own, internally. The wind will blow through and we’ll both shiver. The trees will shudder alongside us and the shadows of the leaves above will dance on the dirt at our feet. Suddenly, I will realize that this moment is something born from this notebook, form happiness, from comfort, from color, from warmth, from friendships and from dreams.
Remember me not as the being who was, then simply was not. Remember my body as the novel that sat atop the mantel for years before you finally picked it up and devoured it whole. Think of my spirit as the crashing waves at ungodly hours of the morning when neither of us had the energy to speak and certainly not the energy to find our way back to the beach house. Recall my mind as the conversations we had over lukewarm tea because we had gotten too caught up in each other’s breath and speech.
I’ve written to a countless number of humans over the years, but none quite like you. I realize that I am still very much a child during these moments. Locking and unlocking my fingertips over a glowing keyboard I’m slightly uncomfortable knowing that I may never be able to express all of my thoughts in perfect clarity on the page. Even more frightening, no one knows me greater than those who undercover these endless literary adventures tucked away in almost every corner of my life. Those missing pieces lost in the struggle to profess myself honestly may forever exist as lost thoughts, emotions, perceptions. I am not necessarily sure that in itself is a tragedy, only disheartening. I’d like to, one day, manage to hand my heart and soul, neatly packaged to a loved one and say:
‘Now, you know me, in all entirety.’
Living is nothing but concentric circles. Tragedy and loss categorize the rapidly accelerating descent from the peaks of joy to the throws of emptiness. It’s all too frightening how enveloping the darkness becomes at the lowest of the low, regardless of any efforts to escape from its unwieldy gravitational pull. It is blissful for the moment, being the only human in a space so empty, where time has stalled and ‘happiness’ has settled into the graveyard, among the long forgotten words of the English language. For me, emptiness was gummy worms and the X-Files on beautiful, warm Saturday mornings. It was long days in bed without a shower. It was ink stained fingertips and gnawing frustration at my lacking ability to verbalize what was necessary for me to scream.
There of course is an end. Months ago, I wrote of the change of seasons from winter to spring. I wrote of the miracles that overcome the face of this planet we call home each and every year, how from a desolate wasteland, beauty and warmth emerge with power and with grace. Recognizing this sign from the world around me, a resolution formed from the nebulous of the path ahead. With a bit of time, a bit of perseverance, some luck and copious amount of patience I came to the realization that I was on the ascent, climbing back to the high that had been so real before the dark had become my all.
Flowers were now vibrant and my mother’s eyes (god how fantastic they were, are) were brimming with joy. I’d reached my own starting line. Joy had become sadness and sadness in turn had expanded to joy. I fought, still fight to rid myself of the sadness that left a burning aftertaste in the back of my throat. At the time, I rushed to erase it with ever increasing anxiety. The inevitable downturn became concrete on the horizon and a second circle took its turn at change.
What is living though, if not something to make our souls weightier, wiser, stronger? I’ve grappled with the thought of death, and what it means in the course of life. Though a bit uncertain, I’ve decided that something exists beyond living in this physical body. What else for, then, is this near century long voyage through loss, love, sadness and joy? The fact is, that we as a human race always return to the start. Every moment that we experience goes to building our minds, bodies, beings. Each and every one of these circles, conversations, moments, emotions, no matter how individual they may seem, are taking us back to the starting line, back home. Joy has its purpose, its place, but sadness and emptiness remain just as crucial. Emptiness in an obstacle built to be defeated. We will always triumph. We may crumble in the winter but we are reborn, we blossom and we grow in the springtime, in the sunlight.
A thick, fogged over bus window served as the divider between an inside pumped with air conditioning and an outside soaked and muggy from three days worth of rain. A young girl (she couldn’t have been over the age of six) sat to my right, swinging her legs that she extended, hoping to reach the floor. The right swung forward and the left back, each their own time keeper, a tick, a tock, flowing to the motion of the bus and the rumble of the engine and the pounding of the rain and the subtle beat of her heart. The legs and her measured breath were unceasing reminders of the continuous progression of time.
It was nighttime and the lights flickered out above our heads, the girl’s mother sat to the left of me (her father was to the right of the girl) and in the near perfect blackness she discussed leukemia and medicine, bloated flesh, painful hospital visits, trembling sanity and nervous cries.
Eyes now adjusted to the dark, I was able to perceive the girl’s growing baldness on the crown of her head. My stomach dropped and my heart stopped beating, momentarily. The hair, or lack of it, made the pain and sadness of the situation all the more tangible. Tuning out the conversation that would only spiral me further into a different type of dark place, I started to swing my own legs back and forth. If only matching her ticking and tocking, matching her silent breathing, matching her very frightening and very different progression of time, could make the continuation a little slower. Just so that the bus would never stop.
So that quietude and the pounding rain could become her world - entirely. So that happiness could be found for her in the most mundane moments. So that comfort was the only reality. So that time no held no consequence. So that progression was impossible, so that health, love, joy coated her as thickly as the condensation that gripped the bus windows.