The smell of the basement after was of detergent and too
ripe mangos, the kind that bleed sticky sweet juice when you touch them. It was
the same smell of the concrete courtyard behind your building that summer when
we lived on ramen noodles and root beer and apples. That summer when you told
me that you liked me most in retrospect. You said you always wanted to think of
me as someone that you could have almost had but didn’t. I told you back that I
loved you most as someone I’d never meet but would idealize.
I used to ask myself: what if you met your soul mate and they
turned out to be a jerk? What would that say about you as a person?
The taste of the blood in my mouth after I bit my tongue in
my sleep was like the sea and was like the way I thought that bricks might
taste and was like the taste of the clay rich dirt the time I fell hard amongst
the trees and the earth got into my mouth. I remember thinking that it seemed
strange to fall. It was like the ground was rushing up to embrace me. It wasn’t
like a fall really. And that dream I had that caused me to bite my tongue? It
was about a forest where the trees were men locked up inside wooden tombs. I
tried to break one out, using my hands, my nails clawing at the bark until my
fingers wept blood. There was just no way to save them all.
I wondered once: are dreams prophetic ever? Or are they more
like a way to understand what has already happened? You suddenly know
everything and it’s too late to do anything?
The sight of the water flowing out from under the sink was
like the waves lapping across the stone pebble beach that summer my family
stayed by the lake. The cabin was always the perfect temperature, not hot and
not cold, and the sound of water lulled me into sleep and I always dreamed better
with the music of waves crashing ceaselessly. Years later, you know, when I
asked where you most wanted to go and you said to a stone beach lake, I laughed,
and in that moment I wanted you more than anyone ever before.
I thought about something: how far is it possible to go
before you know that you’re lost? Can you run forever without realizing that the
turn you meant to take is too far back to ever return to?
The sound of the wind that time at the top of the building
and leaning out over the balcony because the party inside was too loud and too
crowded and too everything at once was a lot like the sound of your breathing
the night we slept under all of the covers because the heat wouldn’t turn on
and you said that you’d call someone in the morning. You breathed in and out
and it made me think of how when I was a kid I once got scared by my own
heartbeat because it sounded like boots crunching through deep snow and I
couldn’t figure out where it was coming from.
I know maybe three things about myself and question all the others:
am I someone who loses things easily? If I find something years later will I
remember why I let it go in the first place? Will that change my mind about
picking it back up?
The feel of the sheets warmed by the sun reminded me most of
your skin. The way when you touched my hand it had felt like tiny static electricity
shocks if static electricity shocks could feel good. An sometimes now when I’m
thinking about you, I feel like there’s something, some pleasure of touch, that
I’m never going to feel again. And sometimes I think that the more I miss it,
the less accurately I’m remembering it.
And when the fortune teller said that I could ask her three
questions: I said there weren’t any I needed to know the answers to.