May 11, 2010


If it weren't for the caterpillars in my chest, I would not have remembered everything I was about to be told. I could see it in his eyes, how they didn't meet mine from the front. Rather, they snuck around the bends of the shadows on his face to look at me. He was about to give voice to the one thing I couldn't say because I wasn't sure if it existed enough to talk about it.

He knew what I did not. That if you talked about something, it existed. If you thought about it, it existed. I only felt it, and hardly at all. But it felt me. It clutched onto me, newly born and already being dragged away. I was sad but not surprised. I may be sadder now but only because I never gave it a chance to surprise me. I didn't take him for granted, I just took was I was given.

The things I focus on when I am trying very hard to not feel what I am feeling always surprises me. This time I chose to focus on my posture. The only way to meet unpleasantness is with good posture. The kind of posture that evokes strength but not in a defensive way. The best offense is a good defense. And a good defense is sometimes just offensive. I may not be happy about this, but I won't kill anyone over it.

The only wiles applicable to the here and now are to give the gracious courtesy of letting him say what looked so bothersome to articulate, and then remaining reflectively and cruelly silent for a while as I very deliberately push strands of hair behind both ears and lick my lips before speaking. It doesn't matter what I say now because I know that there is only one thing he is waiting to hear and he won't listen to anything until I say that one thing.
I let him wait. I let him ramble. I make him earn it. If I'm to say something I don't necessarily believe or want you to believe, I at least want the time to catch enough air to breathe some semblance of truth into it.

He's never appeared his age until now. And I've never felt as old as I do now. It makes me want to apologize to my youth and all its expectations. For all the good times, there is always ample bad timing. I make sure not to leave that out, aware that I may not be saying anything really at all with it.
This is your mid twenties and everyone must find out who they are, and a lot of times they feel that they must do so alone or risk losing integrity of their own identity that hasn't quite solidified yet. They cannot be influenced by anyone who hasn't already got their own heart to feed. To choose the most decadent solitude.

I choose the most decadent silence. The kind that's got legs with miles to walk, and bridges to cross with a pocket full of matchbooks. It could make you wonder, but it mostly just makes you uncomfortable. And then I look at him and smile with only my eyes and my voice takes on that half-whispered quality that it always does when I am trying to wish something into the dust.

"Yeah," I say and wait. "We can still be friends. If you want."

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