The young girl woke up to a hot, oppressive morning. It wasn’t a school day, so she could afford to laze about in bed for awhile with her favourite book. This was the one with drawings of unbelievable wonders. Crafts that fly across cities, boxes with magical moving pictures, lamps that require no fire or flame. They seemed so unreal. Breathtaking.
Closing her book, she saw no joy in the day ahead. It was enough of a struggle just to get out of bed.
The young boy woke up to a cold, dark morning. It wasn’t a work day, so he could afford to sneak open his favourite book in bed. This was the one with the pictures of the great forests. Tall green trees surrounded by animals, streams that go on and on, clear blue skies. They seemed so unreal. The boy could hardly believe in them, although his parents had assured him that such wonders once existed. Incredible.
Closing his book, he saw no joy in the day ahead. It was enough of a struggle just to stay alive.
Once, I got lost.
So I decided to plant a garden. And in this garden I built a home for you.
It was made of sand and stone and moss and water. I mixed them all in an empty clay basin and buried it beneath the earth.
Its walls await your laughter. The hallway, your mud stained boots. The kitchen sink is ready for your experiments, and the shelves long to be filled with adventures.
Fingerprints on the windows.
Half read books and cold coffee on the counter top.
Maps of unfulfilled trips scattered on the floor.
Once, I got lost.
So I got on a plane. And on this plane, I build a home for me.
I am Leigh’s teardrops.
I am her heartbreak.
I am her setbacks, her fears unfounded, her paralyzing guilt and utter remorse. I define her bourgeois existence and steal her nights.
I am the final precipice after all attempts. She is my Olivia, and like Malvolio, I am tormented. There is no surrogate, this is the crossroad; should I leap, or fall? Nary a difference, but in the heart’s inclination.
I am Leigh’s teardrops.
Yet she wishes me to smile.
I am control, sonorous and fervent.
I am also its evil twin chaos, conniving and deleterious.
Listen to my contradictory wisdom, for I am too complex to be contained within simple binary oppositions. You cannot say that I am right, or that I am wrong. And if you say I am neither, you are not merely mistaken once, but twice.
Hear my voice, the beguiling background noise that seduces you. You hesitate, but slowly you come. Because you know, that to possess both, control and chaos at the same moment, allows you to walk with the gods and steal their power. With a single word, you render them useless and unworthy.
I am control and chaos. I am the bellwether, ergo, I am the vanguard.
Steady my heart, stay the course. Understand the consequences of counting the moments by listening to the misery it creates.
You were perfection, kinda.
And layer by layer, one day at a time, you diminished your brilliance so I could look at you without hurting. Agonizing as it was, I soaked up everything that was you, immersing repeatedly in blinding white luminosity. Choking on the apotheosis of your essence, you were existence itself.
I became familiar with your guardians, desolation and torment. Pain was a friend. A familiar face.
But I never knew gone without goodbye.
I think it rained the day I died.
Surely, you must remember. You were there after all, a whisper, a shade. A shadow in the city. I miss the city, its outline entangled in an unbroken neon embrace. Mirrored shapes in puddle realities distorted by countless feet. Our reality.
We were never alive. We were always on the other side. Young, and chasing fiction with greedy tongues. Endless rainy days, just like this one. The day before.
water and bone
"I love the sound of water. It can be loud, but it’s never noisy," you whispered into my ear.
Nostalgia is a harsh mistress.
Evenings are funereal. When the sea swallows the sun and its water overflows, and shadows elongate to meet and congregate.
When strangers who wished they were lovers dance and sway, and when lovers who wished they were strangers unlock lips and peel away.
When musicians ignore agogic accents to play freely, and writers become poets; or are they one and the same? Perhaps musicians are poets too?
Such silly questions. Of course they are, but not all poets are writers.
Unless they agree to come to my funeral. Which will be held on a cold and stormy evening. Because that’s how most stories begin.
You write like a poet, but move like an earthquake.
That’s what he said on his last day.
Although I think that’s an unfair assessment of the last son of krypton.
But then again, he gave as good as he got."
Today, everyone gets a star.
Not a plastic shimmering yellow sticker that you paste in your book.
But a collapsing cloud of material composed primarily of hydrogen, along with helium and trace amounts of heavier elements.
A massive, luminous sphere of plasma held together by gravity.
Here, go ahead, take one. You can keep it in your pocket and take it out from time to time when you think of me."
The house has a new friend. It’s a lime green curtain.
The green that inspires singing in the shower.
The green that encourages the romantic fool.
The green that makes us all strive to do good.
The green that isn’t really green, but close enough."
Be swift little feet, fly back to me in haste. Stay away from the troubles that weight you down, and soar.
Into my arms."
Unclothed on the balcony, sipping your buqisu with intimidating grace. You detest the heat, your nakedness a mixture of blatant defiance and pure disregard. I steal a peek and allow my gaze to linger momentarily.
I turn away just as you look up.
"Ah, the first days of Spring. I’ll have to change to short-sleeved shirts soon - and for you, dear, the time of ecdysis must be approaching," I proclaim.
"I’m afraid somebody was dreaming of me and unraveling my secrets," you say, "I simply must be more careful when I pick up strangers in the future”.
My mind continues to devour your lithe frame long after my eyes had turned. It had already betrayed itself halfway through last night (very likely after the third bottle of rosé) when lust overcame my fascination for your intelligence.
"Hardly possible," I reply, "considering the fact that I was going to be your last dalliance."
"Is that so? And how did you figure that out?"
I smile because you already knew the answer.
I remember when you used to visit the corner shop, drifting from aisle to aisle, inspecting each eclectic curio with relish. Not one hand-painted porcelain piece escaped your attention, and as I watched you in your trance, I wished you paid as much attention to me as you afforded those trinkets.
I remember when you walked the entire tenjinbashi-suji and float in and out of the shops, accumulating paper bags and mystery boxes. You seem to ignore everything else around you, neglecting the past, oblivious to the future.
I remember you that warm winter morning.
Like the river that ran along your house.
Our house. Yours a lifetime ago. Mine now.