On a redeye flight to Saturday morning, the tile floor was cold on my bare toes and the kitchen was dark except for the steam rising silently up from our teacupped palms. The tabletop was a war zone, empty blue tin beer can land mines populating the thin air like ghosts trapped between worlds, and I could feel the grime of the night against the bare soles of my feet: hairs and wetness and sharp, stale crumbs.
Besides the heat from my hands, I could feel the black heat light from your eyes tearing into me, searching, guessing, trying to find me, but I was uneasy and shifted about, not knowing what to offer you or what you wanted to find.
“For lack of what is found there,” you had answered the poet whose words had failed her the day before. “Men die every day for lack of what is found there.” And I wondered then if you realized what Williams meant.
You tell me we're alike as two people can be, and I think of how many others have shared your sentiment: everyone tells me I am just like them. But you need not know this. You need not know my methods of survival.
It's probably best we keep this small distance between us, this valley between our knobby knees, the tiny rifts between our fingers. Trust travels slow, lingers lightly on the furniture till someone brushes it off and it settles somewhere else, unneeded and unheeded. Faith is a mere rearranging, an adjustment so slight as to be unnoticeable, as when the eyes are thrust suddenly into night to search frantically for patterns they might recognize.
I once believed it was impossible to know someone. That to try was to peer over the edge of an old, deep, cobblestone well and drop a single pebble down and listen urgently through the miles for the soft plunk on the bottom.
It will take some time.
words: Lisa Reade, Boston (the vigilant lily)
photo: Steve Wing, Florida (sand shadow)