I was standing under this tree– some kind of oak tree, I believe–pulling off leaves one by one. Tracing their veins. Absentmindedly considering if their fluids were like the blood in my own. I decided they were and I shredded the leaves into a wet, sticky pile by my feet.
I was thinking about you with my heart. Minds have a way of occupying themselves with the strangest little oddities and an assortment of bizzare behaviors, otherwise unaccounted for, unexplained, whenever the need arises. It’s how humans get by. Push past. Plan. It’s how we fashion futures out of nothing but bundles of empty, hopeless feelings and burdensome regrets.
I walked up and down that dirt road, telling myself I was looking for stones to skip or feathers to take home for washing, drying, and pressing. But, under the moon light all I could see was this twinkling fire of a million fragmented diamonds peeking out beneath the gravel, from the corner of my eyes. And it was all that I could do to stop myself from wanting to give all that light right to you. Delivering to your doorstep, wrapped up in a big red bow, with no card attached. I imagined your face as you saw it. So I scooped up handfuls of the mirrored moonlight and shoved them deep into my pockets. Some moondust remained on my fingers still when I pulled them back out. I licked them and it tasted much like the most unimpressive dirt. Still, I knew the secret of its beauty, so it rejuvenated me for a moment.
They say the only way to cure a broken heart is to break another heart. Though it’s possible I made that up. I do that sometimes. Just make up things to fill the gaps between things I know to be true and the things I’m still considering about life and people. Temporary stepping stones. Baby teeth that hold the place for stronger, more solid ones that come in later. They are very useful until they are not.
I suddenly became angry. So very angry. I don’t know why. But, I went home annoyed. In a generally fussy mood. Feeling betrayed by some part of myself it seemed I couldn’t reach even with my own internal whispers. That part of myself which seemed to grow deaf at any moment that my mind happened to be making nothing but logical sense and sound discovery or observations of the most reasonable and truest sort.
I opened the door, first with my fingers. Then my hand. And like in any real dance, I continued in with a tap of the hip to complete. I led and the door, like a stiff partner, squeaked and jarred but finally gave into my will in one smooth, fluid motion.
It was just as cold inside as it was out. And so I felt my way around in the evening dim for the lamp. The place was old and smelled even older because of the rotting wood around the window frames. The electric outlets were oddly spaced and nearly ridiculous by modern standards, but I had grown accustomed to them by that point, the way one gets used to any mild annoyance or inconvenience.
My hand slapped against the lamp, and I pulled the string to bring light to either the room or the situation in which I found myself. As it turned out, it was more of a lamp unto my feet than a light unto my path. But it did shine faintly on the small bundle of firewood in the corner, so I suppose there was a gray area to be had there.
Minutes later, as I sat before a roaring fire, simultaneously counting both crackles in the fire and cracks in the hearth, I remembered the way you crack me up. Then I cracked my knuckles. I cracked the spine of the book I had left there hours before when I had suddenly decided what I needed most of all was a walk to clear my mind. Then I felt something inside my chest, in what I couldn’t at that moment, and still cannot even now, think of a better way to describe than, being cracked open.
I looked at the clock and saw that it was late. So, I yawned forcefully to convince my mind I was tired. To convince it to give in for the night. Which it didn’t, but my eyes fluttered and closed out of instinct and allowed me, at least for a little while, to enjoy a few moments alone with you before morning.
Only in those few moments between eyes down and sun up, do I surrender to you without fight. Without anger. With out resistance. Only, only, because even warriors have to sleep simetimes. Even they have to give in to the battle just to win the war. And for no other reason than that. No. No other reason than that.
But, I will never tell. Not even if you ask me. Because that’s not who I am. Not now. Not ever.