How confusing for you to feel my hand in yours, my body solid and warm leaning beside yours as you smoked that cigarette and watched me walk by with an icy stare trained away from your eyes for all but a moment.
How odd and somehow reassuring to hear my voice whisper, “Don’t take it too hard, we’ll be back.”
And then to see a woman you’ve only known in dreams unremembered appear before you reaching her hand up toward your hair, which at that point was too short to brush away.
You hear the commentary.
She’s walking fast because she can’t stand it. She feels like it hurts her more than it hurts you. She isn’t ready.
You ask questions but the answers don’t make sense until now.
Jarring images in colour and in sepia. Clips and scenes. On mute.
What the fuck does a mermaid in a bathtub have to do with this chick icing me? you asked that day.
I can’t tell you, I reply.
And then I squeezed your hand and nodded toward the sky. Beautiful sunset coming.
The blue is turning inky. Do you see the world in this way?
No. I see in numbers.
So that was you.
I wonder how many teen versions of me walked into your bar over the last few years. If you would recognize them without knowing what I looked like then.
She was the one with no fear. And, you might have overheard or encountered, a bit stubborn.
I wonder how many adult versions of me, had I not met you and been given a fright, you’ve said hello to, smiled for, changed the album for, fell into even for a brief minute in these years.
She was the one with no boundaries. The one whose eyes had a light to them dimmed by something she would never speak, but a light that came through rebellious in dots and dashes.
She was the one who didn’t give you her number. Who said, I never do this, and somehow you knew she meant it.
I wonder how many versions of my now self has glanced up from her work to look into your eyes.
How many versions of me have been through your bar both before and after we met?
And did it feel like home maybe on some level, even when it was confusing?
Did you think of me when I wasn’t looking?
Have these versions of you that I’ve prayed for, smiled at, scowled at, explained karma to and been dorky with even for a moment made a dent in the wall I built between us?
Have these versions of you that I didn’t recognize, sparkling with a recognition and an awareness that I mistook for angels, the divine working through, been comfortable unleashing emotion out loud into a space where anyone might be walking in big black boots, stood alone in front of a pinball machine waiting out a storm?
I think, maybe, the more unclaimed versions of us walk out there unmoored, the more we lean toward loneliness.
And I think, maybe, there are certain parts of us that can only be claimed by someone other than ourselves in love, genuine caring.
But please don’t jab your finger into my shoulder one ugly morning after an all night fight if this turns out to be untrue.
I think there might be a way to fit together.
I think there might be a way to allow my heart.
And I didn’t want to say anything until I figured out how true it was, but it turns out I had little choice after the earlier choices I made.
I have a try left in me.