I said to him: people these days sense everything that speaks to their hearts must be totally contained, must rise to the surface of things. Nobody can reconcile those hidden staircases in themselves, not with all the debt on their hands.
When we’d get worried about our future together he’d say: intelligence won’t save us. I’d say that we’re pattern-recognizers, decent at prognostication, and he’d reply (cool as ever) that clairvoyance won’t save us either.
We’d both say that we saw meaning everywhere. That the world was our body — until we got so uncomfortable with what was undeniably mundane, what was not part of or designed for us, that it made us depressed.
I told him about the difference between difference and indifference. Indifferent means apathetic in a relative way because… difference connotes meaning? Undiscovered vistas for the mind? Is that right? (Yes, that approximates all this strangeness I’m trying to convey).
Because thinking is always an excursion out toward the new. Not the exotic, the sanitized novelty of the foreign available only to those with disposable income. What I mean is the alien, the hostile. I’m still getting chills from the thought of those thrills.
It’s an election year. You know that old saying, as goes Ohio…
I told him I only dated boys from flyover states. That I liked Midwestern simplicity. I told him I meant that in a nice way. Trust me I hate New York (and by the way, I live in the South now).
I want a hero, an uncommon want when every year and month makes the idea more ridiculous. A boy with a mind bright and exact as polished lacquer. On a day so hot that sentences dry on the page long before I write their end and my perception liquifies to near worthlessness this dream boy could still offer a little incisive comfort. Like, go take a cool shower.
Go take a cool shower, I’ll think of the steam rising from your red collar bones up to the crown of your dark wet hair. Fog on the mirror, condensation on my glass. Think about me thinking about that.
Now pretend we’re lost on a day hot as this and trying to divine water. No time to pretend.
So tell me a secret. (I’ve got too many, he’d say).
Then give me your most well-guarded, the one you swore you wouldn’t take to your grave but still might for having never found her, that merciful trusty harbor, what romantics call The One. Make me her.
Because we’ve got a desperate thirst now, and a climate unpunctuated by rain, this drought that gives us nothing but a production and carnival of mirages. Heat that makes the sky shine like a wedding band, the ring you forged in the fire of your cheap college age mythology (the one you never gave away). Stagger the minutes before this air kills us both. You, Hero, you make my heart stop first.
But maybe the sky would open and rain would save us while the words were on the edge of your lips. Right after you’d already come to a decision about which to reveal. And then you’d go back, home to the black peaks I wrote as your home after we met.
I’ll get a message from you one day, another reminder of what won’t save us. Go out and find him in reality, you’d say, and don’t forget not to think weird things.