Specks of sadness dance in her dark eyes as she tells me of her life on the road, always moving, always unstable. Her next deployment is across the sea and over the mountains, thousands of miles away from here, from home. He wanted to be with her, she said, but then she received news of the assignment and so he stopped asking to be with her once the reality set in. She has one more year of service before she is free to be herself again, to reclaim her freedom. She said she would dye her hair green when she returned home.
This weekend I will try the new coffee roastery by my place and go for a walk afterwards, under the cool and brightening Los Angeles sky. She will head back to base and make preparations to set off for one year. She will leave everything behind and venture into unknown territory, to the other side. The point is that she will be so far from home, from her family. It will be one year before I see my friend again. It matters not what side I stand on, because I love her more than all the politik combined. I admire and appreciate her courage, and I am reminded of the value of my freedom. Freedom to choose, freedom to be. Let me never forget. I will miss her dearly.
I revv down the winding mountainside as my machine’s purposefully crafted chassis compliments the sharp turns and alternating speeds. The noon winds ride beside me as they take me into their soft and strong arms, like a companion in the ring, light as the clouds but hefty like velvet. I breathe in deep lungfuls of air as I pick up speed. I’m spiraling down the path, each turn more treacherous than the last, but I’m in control and anticipate every move. There is no one ahead or behind me. The way is mine.
Somewhere in the distance, I know you’re there, watching as I wind down the side of the mountain. I catch the faintest hint of cologne in the air, it smells like deep waters, like the dark ocean ahead. I smell mint and sea water. You beckon for me, smoky ghost hands outstretched in the clear cerulean sky above, certain and inevitable.
I’ve been hard on myself. I’ve bypassed my choices in with fleeting glances. I’ve refused myself. I want to be free. I should let you love me.
Wide as the ring of a bell,
gone all star white,
small as a wish in a well.
Iron & Wine | Sodom, South Georgia
Will you sing to me when I’m gone?
The moon gathers those wispy clouds around her tonight. She might be cold. She could be lonely. Probably in need of company. Her fleeting friends dance around her in slow motion, the delicate and fickle creatures.
My days have been warm and anxious, my nights cool and fulfilling. I’ve let things go, let them fly up and into the dark skies, spreading through all the pines. I’m here in my body at last, in agreement with my thoughts.
Wednesday marks the 18th year since you died. I’ll be at the manse on the hill to whisper simple words to your memory and bid you another peaceful year of happiness, wherever you are. I’ll walk through the grand entrance with a straight back, into the hall of candles and statues, up the hill to your place of rest and there I’ll shrink back into my 13-year-old self.
It’s fine. Tomorrow is a new day.
Neon streams of light dance around me as I enter the Room of Wonders. The spectrum of color moves in all directions as voices fade in and out of earshot. Shadows glide across the velvet space to a counter embellished with sparkling chains, like makeshift humans gravitating toward an open bar. Every creature is occupied by the roving screens in front of them. They concentrate in dumbfounded awe. My party of ghouls disperse into this transcendent room and disappear altogether. Tonight is their night to make a killing. Before I join the fray, my pocket machine pings. Transmission received from unknown sender. “I love you,” the message reads. My mind reels. What words to utter in this place of marquees and dreams. I’m peeved. My anger rises. Those words don’t belong in this place. They don’t belong to me.
Give me your origin of reverie,
your unwavering spirit of belief,
your monsters of old treachery,
the sand you hide beneath the blighted sun,
I have searched long for your ways,
lost as I am time and again,
in this layered state of chaotic order.
Tick, tick, tick. This time, it’s right. Finally right. The quietness of a moment is all I need. My mind clears. The roads are clear. I can move on without my wheels. The tireless rush of blood to my head stops for a moment of oxygen, good enough to subdue my senses and bring me home. I don’t need to be more than I am, no more than my heavy skin and bones. What’s a life worth these days? I owe everyone nothing but the generosity of a night’s closing. The moon ahead guides me to the intersection of revelatory two way lanes and layered synthetic melodies. Let me run headlong into the cave of wonders.
I’m older now,
I know too much of what’s not there,
I’ve come and gone in the blink of an eye,
I run like the wind,
the wind of a well-oiled machine,
I think I know my desires,
I know my fears,
I act on these fears,
I’m hindered by my ghosts,
I cave into myself with age,
because I no longer believe in us,
I don’t believe the world is mine,
I see that everything hurts me,
so I fold into my thoughts,
I slink away and into the corner,
but I was grand once,
I closed my eyes and let you lead me,
I held my breath and jumped into the sea,
I was invincible and spectacular,
it was all before the long storm,
the call of the taming,
the inevitibility of growing up.