Where was I when I fell? I think I was beside you waiting
for everyone else. It was morning or night or maybe I was just thinking that the
light wasn’t quite right. It was the other side of beautiful. It was like the way
I thought it just wasn’t supposed to be. Remember when I told you how much I
liked the way you tapped your fingers on the desk when I was sitting across
from you. You tapped your fingers like you were waiting for a song to begin. Maybe
I loved you in that moment though I think it was something else. It was the way
I thought you were looking out the window and not at me, but then I noticed that
you were just watching my reflection in the window. Sometimes all I think about
is how much I just wanted you to meet my eye. I thought that would be the one
perfect instant when everything would come together. Maybe.
Did you think about it ever? I was walking away before you
even said anything. I used to think that my life was just endless moments of
walking away. I walked away from everything. I thought that distance made me
stronger. The way I couldn’t ever quite touch anyone else, but now I wonder if
I’ve been losing bits of myself slowly. If the only way to stay whole is to
give yourself to someone else. If the only way to be complete was to be cut in
Where was I when I thought most about the sky? I think it
was when I thought I saw dragons in clouds as a child. I wanted so much to be
taken away by them. I thought that the white trails of airplanes were the same
as curls of smoke. I thought that if I stared hard enough I’d see a way to some
other land. I told you once that I used to climb in the valley behind our house
and that I thought that I was at home there. Only later, when I was leaning
against you, did I suddenly realize how far away from home I had been then.
Who asked me why? I think it was my best friend asking why I
couldn’t ever tell you anything. I think I tried to explain to her that saying
my feelings would be like breaking some strange code that I couldn’t quite
decipher. I thought that between you and me was something else. I thought that
you would never quite understand if I said. I thought it would be like me
saying words in a language that sounded almost like the one you wanted to learn
but never could, the conjugations were too hard to master.
When did I know? That was the moment when your hand brushed mine
and I felt like my heart was suddenly beating out a new kind of Morse code. I
wanted you to listen. I wanted you to listen but I couldn’t tell you. I could
never quite tell you.
And how many times did I try to say it? I think I talked
around this like it was something strangely foreign. It was a book written in a
dead language that I wasn’t supposed to open. It was the pebbles on a beach by the lake that used to haunt my
dreams. That lake and the waves and the cold. I used to dream of waves. I met
you and those waves stopped rolling towards me, at least for a second. I kept the sea shells, though, the ones that I
could put up to my ear and I could hear that the waves were miles and miles
away from me.
Where could I have gone? I thought about leaving slowly. The
kind of walk away that you wouldn’t quite understand had anything to do with
you. I thought about how walking away would feel like running. I thought about
how if I ever said anything then walking and running and leaving would be the only
things left to me. I wanted to let you know that when I said something and you
laughed that I felt like some spell had been broken. That piece of witches’
mirror had slipped out of my heart, that holy water turned the pebbles back to
men. I wanted to go but couldn’t quite figure out where to go to. Every way I turned
was a path back to you. And you were the only thing. You were the only thing that
kept me from saying that I couldn’t say everything. I think that telling you would have been the
same as leaving. I needed you to tell me first. I needed to know that closeness
was closeness to both of us. And now when I’m walking away and you haven’t said
anything. I think one word would make me turn back. Would make me run back to
you. I think I’d run. We could find shapes in clouds together. We could imagine that the lake waves rolled
backwards. Say something and I’ll turn.
Where was I when I fell?