Now you start over again.
You meet more people, learn more names (brothers, sisters, friends), more places (Where you from? Parents from? College from?), and numbers (How many years have you lived here? How long dancing? How old parents divorced?), becoming the version of yourself, you imagine, you are like.
And it’s all very simple and all formulaic and it becomes sort of a numbers game till abruptly and without warning the pattern breaks and suddenly in the wrong place, at the wrong time and with the wrong opening lines, you have an intimate understanding of someone before knowing the names or places or numbers.
She speaks, but tells you something else at the same time and it happens so easily you wonder if perhaps you’re inventing all this up, till you see the smallest spark in the very very green of her eyes that say, “I am speaking to you, but I am telling you something else at the same time.”
Finding your flaws to be characteristically appropriate, you can’t stop being yourself.
The person you’ve always thought to hide is now showing up (unannounced) at every turn. The reflection of the R train, windows of automobiles, brushing his teeth in your bathroom mirror.
She lets you hear a song. You buy that song. You listen to the song while you write. She tells you it reminds her of an acre of grass, a clarinet, and an orange popsicle; taking you to a world so tiny there’s room for only one other person and now for the first time, surrounded by 10 million people, you and her are completely alone.
You walk around with this little world inside the very very blue of your eyes. It’s a secret that circles your own spark like a planet with rings. The man in the bathroom mirror sees you smile.
Now the world is yours. For you carry around your own experiences and a glimpse of someone else’s and the universe begins to pop and crackle.
Reading a portion of her book, you attempt to procure a copy for yourself but instead find another book about porches and pianos and you remember when you played and you remember your youth, and you remember your mothers house and you remember the moment when you decided you’ll never love anyone again because she was taken from you too quickly and you don’t like the pain of walking around with scars on your eyes because you much prefer sparks. You look at the cover and wonder when you’ll play again and how, if you could, you’d cover her with music.
But then comes an obstacle as obstacles often come and you both bend and you both jump and you both make it and you both land but one of you lands soft and the other with a crunch.
It begins as a tingle, then she takes a step and feels a tightness, then she takes another step and realizes something broke. And she keeps walking and braving the pain and you look over at her and wonder, “is she wincing?”
You walk tall and pretend not to notice the strain in her face till the spark in her eye begins to recede and is slowly replaced by the thing that happens when any old person, with any old crayon, on any old construction paper mixes blue and yellow.
Now there is no inner dialogue but only words coming out of your mouth and suddenly you’re grasping for names and places and numbers you can’t remember. You think about the song and you think about the spark, but all the porches and all the pianos can’t save you from realizing you’re two people who have just met. You know her as much as the person who sits in a chair at a restaurant, knows the last person who sat in the same spot.
You look back to the strain, the jump, the book, the song and think about her last text and her failure to respond. You again have lost the girl, as they say, to circumstances directly under your control.