It wasn’t ever very natural. Over the time spent apart they always had to relearn how to act. Relearn how to kiss each other. They didn’t mind. She waited for him, to hear the thick truck engine shut off and the boots on the porch. The door would open and she would immediately engulf him. He smelled like tilled dirt and salt. His Carhart pants would be stiff from weeks of walking. They had there, overwhelmed with how much they’d missed each other and how long ago that feeling seemed, though only moments had passed. He would give her the letters he wrote her that he cut from the blank pages of his books and she read and re-read them while he washed the salty smell away. Then they would roll about for hours, overjoyed to no longer be alone, and sleep. Above all, and even in the end and after the end all they cared to do was sleep.
I felt used to the shouting. I have grown accustomed to drowning it out and experiencing silence inside. The vibrations of the music, the talking, the dancing in the street reminded me of something simple and sweet, but it reminded him of something sinister and convoluted.
We talked about it. We laughed.
I listen to frogs “gruuuup” all night long. They lull me and I tip my whiskey in appreciation.
Some afternoons the sky turns black. A wind picks my hair up and threatens to destroy us. Trudging the rain has become an everyday activity. Something I no longer think about. It comes with a shrug and a wave. It brings a coolness to my skin I only dreamt I couldn’t remember. It exists. It breaths life into me and my neighbor watches me from across the street, through the rain, through clouds of both our cigarette smoke.
"I’m not sure what else you need.."
Other than the hug I had just received, I wasn’t sure myself.
“I just want you to blow my mind.”
I wanted a drill bit in my temple to relieve the pressure. I looked to the sky, hoping to find a crack in the universe. Instead I didn’t find a single star and I sat down on a strangers doorstep in complete defeat.
“I just want you to blow my mind.”
Everything she felt, I felt. Everything she knew, I knew. It was my heart speaking to itself. But everything I said she doubted, I doubted. We doubted ourselves and got no where in the process. We were talking to brick walls. Being similar can be a burden, indeed.
The sound of a saw was deafening. She left lipstick rings on her cigarette and she felt heavy and warm. It rained all morning and she missed her own voice. She misses singing to you, but no longer missed you. You were just a memory. A smell. A vision. Fiddles accompanied the construction. The neighbors just watched. She sat in the window, watching smoke rings float into the air and counted the days she would be able to pick and play and sing. She had seen so much and couldn’t think of anything to sing about.
The air was swampy and it stuck to her like over applied lotion. She watched the skull swing from the ceiling and wondered how her life was going to be. There are too many options.
She waited for the lightning storm that was promised. She had dinner already prepared and a bottle of wine waiting to be celebrated. The night sky had been bright pink and the daylight was grey. Prayer flags swayed in the open window and the wind knocked portraits off the walls and into the kitchen sink. She read about Frida Kahlo all afternoon and found a familiarity in her painted eyes. Felt a deep sadness when she read, “For the first time, I’m not crying anymore.” She wanted to take her heart out and paint with her own blood, as Frida did. Giving away the heart with love, having lovers to give it to. Gone are the days of remembered love.
"I can’t stay here," she whispered. "You know I can’t stay here."
“I don’t know who I am without you.”
“Won’t finding you be grand? Hard, lonesome, tiresome, and grand?”
Looking around, she couldn’t recall the last time she cried. The last time she laughed so hard her breath ran short or the last time she danced, hands in the air, heart open. Some days she sat for far too long trying to recall her last hug, the last time she felt her heart flutter.
She stared at a flickering flame, emptying her mind and body and soul. Emptying it of thought and feeling. She ignored the spasms in her eyelids and ignored the tingling in her toes. She wished her whole body would tingle from lack of blood, but pushed that thought out, too. She wasn’t supposed to long, or tingle or ache. She was going to be.
She heard thunder rolling, and knew it was only her heart crying. There were no clouds outside her window, no moisture waiting to drop except from her heavy eyelids.
Is it grand? She wasn’t sure. She probably wouldn’t ever know, because there will never be a moment of finish, a moment to stand back and enjoy the fruits of all the labor.
He tugged on his shirt and stared at the ground. His toes moved the dirt and we watched the sand create a barrier between us. His breath smelled like bath water, (but not my kind of sweet, lavender bath; it was something more salty and still). My eyes hazed with exhaustion and I squinted in the midday sun. Our intention was unclear and I felt a knot in my stomach. His eyelashes were short and he had frown lines around his thick eyebrows. His movements were short and precise, as though he had been frustrated his whole life. As though time constantly escaped him and no amount of experimenting could trap or bottle that time. I looked to the sky, right-left-up-down. He didn’t seen to notice or care about anything I did. I could see his every facial expression and he can probably only remember what color boots I was wearing, or that I had thin ankles.
The waves started to come in. Seals poked their heads out of the water and I wondered aloud where they slept.
“On rocks? In the water? Are they cold?”
He just stared at the ever-deepening line he was creating with his foot, back and forth-back and forth, and shrugged.
Of course they weren’t cold. They had blubber. Did he know anything? I asked simple things to simple questions and he couldn’t, wouldn’t respond.
I mumble. I’m quiet and most my friends only hear 70% of what I say. Maybe he couldn’t hear me.
“Are you cold?!” I almost shouted at him, and it startled him and well as I. He looked up, looked me in the eye. He was classically handsome, like a photograph of the 1920s. His eyes were glazed, and I thought he might cry.
“This,” he spoke so quietly the crabs stopped walking to listen, “this is beautiful.”
I looked down at his feet which had stopped digging in the sand. They turned to the side and started moving, one in front of the other.
“Don’t follow me.”
I watched the sun set and the seagulls stopped their crying for the night. I watched my feet turn the opposite direction, one in front of the other, and I took the long way back home.