it’s sweet of you, but there’s no need to come back. i heard what you said the first time. it just needed to simmer awhile. please open the door for Autumn; she’s waited weeks. on your way out, if you could call the clouds—just say “coalesce”— the grapes (and the rest of us fragile squatters) would be ever so thankful. they turn erstwhile as they wander and i’m sure it’s the only way they can ever leave, with we thirsty throngs ever-keening. i try not to think that this may be the time they don’t return (the archetypal worry; we all know it).
you’re always welcome, in due time, but don’t let time catch you clinging (who snickered as she flailed, scrabbling to dig fingers into fleeing coattails? or who broke her with a “no” in his eyes when she, bearing herself away, cried “wait for me” ?). i’ll see you when i do.
she’d be mortified if she knew, of course, but that’s okay, too. this experience is one that transcends time; i remember with adorable clarity the first time i paused at the piano (i can’t have been older than eight) because i could *swear* someone in the house was listening to a cd of violin music and whichever piece was playing was written a half-step higher than the key of *my* piece and i’d be damned if i put up with that dissonance any longer than necessary, so i prowled through the house only to stop, stymied, in the living room, where i realized the culprit wasn’t in the house at all, but across the street. i’m sure she’s heard me sing, and by now she may be aware of her audibility, but it’s as if a moratorium has been placed on the subject by unspoken agreement.
why have i deluded myself into thinking i lofted above such tasks? typing is all well and all fine, but my mind begs for writing when thoughts cavalcade inside my head and need marshalling into formation before they can become tangible, understood, memorable, contextualized.
i need the delay between hand and mind, the primal infusion of me into the words. the knowledge that the paper has been irreversibly altered by my impressioning upon it. the connection between mind and keyboard is too immediate, my fingers fly too quickly over these buttons, unfiltered, unrestrained.
equal right for all thought. i have a mind that whirs and whirs and whirs and so much is lost in the noise of itself. it’s okay to admit that i need tools, need channels, am not perfect, am not in ironclad control of the population growth inside my head. organization is good, slows my flitting from thought to thought to other thought to tangent to what were we talking about? say that agin, i got lost in something entirely irrelevant and now you think i wasn’t listening in the first place. bullet points. periods. waiting to guide the pen through loops and peaks and valleys until we’re all in agreement as far as what’s coming out and why i ought to remember.
no, that’s unfair. the house is as idyllic as it ever was. inside it, i’m the one who’s changed. the gilt’s been rubbed off of the concept of solitude that shone so gloriously in the shade of familial discord— now that i’ve been reminded of companionship’s joyous chatter, of my own laughter’s heinous volume, of the utter rightness that settles into the air around two individuals who truly understand one another and stick around regardless—which is what friendship should always aim to create, if you ask me. how gloriously full this airy house feels when story after story is let loose as weeks apart are divulged with precious few details omitted, until yawns outnumber pronouns and questions need repeating a few times before an answer struggles forth. daphne’s back in the city, and the next two nights will drag along, ponderous, impregnated with silence. of course i’ll make my own music, but now is one of those rare instances in which that won’t be enough, i’m afraid.
from these ten days i’ll take the sensation of honest serenity. true peace. i so often forget what that tastes like. the fantastic actually outnumbers both the mundane and the morose. I’m just not a solitary species.
in the city, where such fragile manifestations of natural form seem forsaken, stranded, imperiled.
our eyes fell upon it at each end of the same hush-drawing instant. onyx wings reflecting some tepid sun—the noxious urban air had yet to corrode them and rob their sheen—the creature clung to this woman’s burnt-Siena sweater (of standard Banana Republic fare) with she none the wiser. how could she be? the appendages that clearly gripped this poly-cotton blend with every strained modicum of strength the insect possessed barely surpassed the width of a single hair from my head, lending their bearer an air of spindly nobility; spun-glass strength. daphne’s hand gravitated towards the little flier only to wheel home to her side—had the flicker of redaction not caught my eye, I surely would have missed her candid reaction of awe, of yearning repressed.
“should we tell her?” i murmured from my six-inches-back vantage, eyes yet fixed upon the incongruous miracle, this fleeting introduction of ephemeral exoskeleton to implacable council of concrete and steel. Burnt-Siena-Sweater played ferry and refuge, reprieve, last bastion of permeable softness, of warmth; life.
and she never knew.
the little white man beckoned to us with his usual fluorescent command, and we sped around the indecisive group after exchanging a knowing glance—tourists, don’t know where they’re going, as usual—departing from those moments of time-suspended breath-held wonderment, of an instant of symbiosis at once minute and grandiose.