a.k.a. the art of happy starts as well
Cosmic is you and me, chief. Better get used to it.
At some point, I had grown so hopeless and helpless that I gave myself up to the Universe. I am not kidding. I was picking myself up after a bad fall; it was the beginning of the year. I said, This year is going to be better. This year I am going to be better at this. This year, I am going to get my mind blown by something really amazing.
When I opened my eyes, someone was walking past me, later on introduced as a friend of a friend.
Nodding to myself, I just say, “She’s nice.”
How was I to know at that moment that something was starting something?
At some point, I eventually figure out that there were few irresistible things. And girls who danced were among them.
And then she’s saying, “This band rocks,” arms raised, looking every bit like she’d just given herself up to the beat.
I try to move along, my rhythm erratic. What was this, I ask myself, getting in my head, my eyes a blur of her limbs and the light all around us, swirling.
And then I must have said, “Yeah,” as I struggled with a smile and a nod. Really, I had wanted to say, But you rock harder, but then.
But then, what was this again, and why was watching her dance giving me this buzz again?
“Tell me a secret,” she asked of me once, out of the blue. She was fond of jolting people, and I was beyond jolted, clawing my insides for something else, something that wasn’t about her.
“I’m in love with someone who doesn’t see me,” I just say.
So much for trying.
It’s a lot like a dam breaking against the surge of feeling, my ribcage giving way.
“This is the truth,” I say, my heart falling out. “This is the truth, and it has been here all this while.”
It was trite and brief, the note, then the string of keys before her eyes. In my head I could see her opening it and shutting it and opening it again, slower this time, just to be sure.
“If you ask me, it could be something nice,” I’m saying again, in my imperfect bold letters. As the years passed I had lost that part of me that knew how to write legibly, exchanging them for fingers that knew keyboards better.
When she got back to me, it was two hours later. And though her message had been longer, I was inevitably stuck at, “It would be a lie to say I do not feel quite the same.”
This was the truth, and I had no complaints.
It’s a lot like hunting, this whole she and I thing. “We ought to be mature,” she’s saying, “So it wouldn’t be so hard on us.”
It. What was it again? Complicated was a word we were fond of, though I could not see how it was anything but simple.
So I lay quietly, clutching my gun close to my chest, waiting behind this blanket of silence around us, mute save for the sound of us breathing.
Then there’s the extreme stillness that hangs before one goes for the kill.
“We are so dead,” she’s saying after, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. “We are so dead.”
I was looking up at her, half-scared, half-hopeful. I was dead long before this moment, one hand clutching the gun, the other my heart.
There’s a checklist of things, reasons why we couldn’t, and I took my time, dismantling them one by one, breaking them down into parts more likely to be understood.
Until finally, she’s asking, “Are you ready for this?” after I crossed out the things she feared patiently, one by one.
Breathing in, she just said, “Okay.”
“Okay.” Pause. “Are you saying what I—”
Yes – the word echoes all around me, playfully, in dizzying hues of yellows and oranges and reds, a dash of blue and green.
In my head I could see the Universe twirling the letters in her hand.
I closed my eyes that night lining up the possibilities in my head – trips to zoos and faraway places, photographs that ought to be taken, purchases of things in two’s, clandestine gestures of affection.
It felt a lot like opening a door wide open, letting the sun shine back into a place left in the dark for too long.
But really, it was only in the morning after that I finally open my eyes to the biggest possibility of all – the sight of her asleep, a secret smile on her lips, shadows disappearing as light filtered slowly through the blinds.
How was I to know, one could aim for the moon and hit it in time?
I didn’t then, but I do now.#