I imagined swimming with you through the air up into the sky. As we got higher and higher the air got lighter and we could swim faster and faster towards the night sky. The stars were strobe lights, twinkling with interstellar whistling. I didn’t care about the stars so much as I cared about you, as we danced in the light and thin night air. We were flying so fast. The dark sky turned a dark blue and brush strokes of red paint were strewn across the canvas. You were a silhouette in the red, dipping behind and around the streaks of paint. I caught up and we had flown around to the sunrise. Slowly the sun lit up the earth as we hung suspended still in the air.
I remember we were at the fairground then. It was night. Just beside us a fire spinner manipulated balls of flame in his hands within an area fenced off with wooden posts and string. We were lying on the picnic table. It was cold, but I was in one of my favorite sweaters, and was also beside you, which always left me with a sense of warmth, real or otherwise. We were talking. Every few minutes light applause would sound from the group watching the fire spinner.
“What do you see?” You said, staring at the stars.
“Well. I see the big dipper.”
“That’s all I can ever find, too.”
You twisted your head a bit to get the angle right.
“Is that Ursa Minor?”
I wasn’t really staring at the stars anymore. I had my eyes closed and listened to the cadence of my breath, my back lying flat on this chilly wooden picnic table. I thought of a song I played whenever I wanted to put a feeling into a box to revisit later.
“You awake?” You asked.
“Ah, a little lost in my head.”
“Is there a way to say what we feel?” You asked.
A few gasps behind us, and then clapping.
“All we can do is try.”
“That’s a little cliche, don’t you think?”
The way some words hang in the air.
I thought of the typeface letters falling out of your mouth in slow motion, they twisted about in the air and collapsed into words. My eyes focused like a camera on the words and behind the words was your face out of focus for an instant.
“What’d you say?” I asked.
“I love you.”
There they hung.
A tear welled in my eye and I pulled you close. my heart stopped and in the moment between two heartbeats I saw the infinite depth of this moment. I saw how when I looked at you there were movies playing in your eyes of all our time spent together, cinematic and edited.
You colored in the good parts.
I thought of all those late nights, us fighting sleep to stay awake in the soft yellow glow of the lamp on your bedside. We were naked on white sheets that we had soaked in paint. Violent colors collapsing into the pigments of our skin.
I would wake up in the morning and wash my face and in the mirror make sure I purposefully left a little bit of blue behind my ear lobe.
Ran down the stairs to the beat. Started coffee, cracked an egg to the familiar sizzle I had come to associate with mornings. In a towel, you walked into the kitchen attaching your earrings.
I asked, “Eggs?”
I look to you, “It’s not too late!”
You come close and stare me straight in the face, “It’s not too late?”
“No way, go sit down. You have time to sit.”
“What do you need to do?”
“Put my face on, put my face together, just something to fix my face! It’s a mess!”
Pancake batter was stirring, cinnamon from the shelf sprinkled in, frozen blueberries dropped into the batter fell in slow motion, splashing batter, bled blue into the batter.
Narrator: Shit. You put blueberries in pancakes when they’re cooking. You’ve done it too early! Now all these cakes are going to be blue, actually somehow they’re all green. Fool!
You come back with hair tied back, eye shadow.
“What the fuck are these??” You say.
I’m already at the table with plates set, silverware beside plates, syrup in a saucer, orange juice in the damn cups.
I am speechless. I can only stare ahead innocently while I chew my pancakes.
You laugh and take a seat.
“Big day today?” You say between bites of pancake.
“Every day is a big day, these days.”
*with mouth full* “Sounds like you need a vacation.”
“I need a series of small days that I can swim through while I figure all this shit out.”
“You can’t swim.”
“I know that was a joke but I’m going to take that to a deeper level, too, and really feel that to my core.”
Swallow pancake bite. Sip of orange juice. “You need to learn to swim.”
“What time is it?”
“I gotta go in early.” You say.
“Okay. So while you go out to bring home the bacon I’ll be here cleaning?”
You put dishes in the sink with a clink.
I leave the pan on the old shitty table, it’s unstable, but able.
“Look out there! Outside that window is a world ready to be discovered!”
“I see the light!”
“Good bye, dear.”
A kiss, a door shuts, a clack. I clink in the sink a bit myself (admittedly) while I shuffle through dishes and soap that breaks into spheres that float in the air up to the window and they dance in the sunbeams coming through the glass, and then at some point they stop and pop.
Your car steals out of the driveway. A plume of dust erupts.
Bill drops off the mail. I put on a button up shirt and spray cologne onto my right wrist, rub my wrists together, rub my wrists on my neck, and then do the same with my left wrist. I have all the wealth in the world. I feel the paint dry behind my ear lobe.
We were canvas. We colored in the good parts.
Night. Dancing. Lights! We’re in a large dance hall with black lights illuminating our white shirts and face paint a light violet.
Back before the dance: “Paint a flower on me. Do it now.”
Back to the dance: the bodies around us are coils of wire charged with electricity swaying to the music. You’re learning a thing or two. I touch you and feel sparks ripple on and tickle my skin. The sparks head straight to my heart and the rhythm that keeps me alive and breathing quickens.
You yell over the music, “This is crazy!”
I kiss you and run my fingers over your spine. Dew drops of sweat float on your skin and they evaporate coolly in my fingers. We hold each other close and dance into a scene that takes place the following morning.
I wake up before you do, per usual. I can’t sleep in. Maybe it’s genetic. Maybe it’s anxiety. Maybe it’s how excited I get about being awake. Anyways, I wake up a little before 7AM. I have the kind of hangover that leaves you feeling cool, calm, and collected. My stomach feels fine. My guts are alright. I don’t know how you drank so much and didn’t experience the kind of shit I have to deal with if I drank that much. Anyways.
I smiled, it was so nice.
The window was left open. The pine tree’s scent outside is heavily influencing all space and time inside my bedroom.
We bake some bread a little later, our shoes tangled and collected by the front door.
They have mud caked onto their exoskeletons. Where have your shoes taken you? One pair is so old they have holes where the big toes rest.
My dress shoes have holes in the soles through to the floor. My mistake for using my nice-shoes as dress-shoes.
I float out, “Is there a word for this feeling?”
“There it is.” You say, seemingly impressed with yourself.
Lakes are calm on warm summer nights.
You get to enjoy some things for a time.
lve, love, love, love