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I used to have such a pleasant outlook on life; it was cotton candy and soda pop all the way. No, wait, that's a lie. I never liked life much at all. Don't get me wrong I like the touch of a strong hand and the smell of fresh rain, but I have trouble with the fact that no one knows "why" or to what end. I've often hated other people. Sartre said "hell is other people" and I truly agree, but it is a self induced hell. There's this girl named Sarah in one of my classes; she sits in the back of class knitting.
"Is my class so mundane that you have to entertain yourself by knitting?" the professor questioned her with a knitted brow.
"Well, actually it's crocheting, but I suppose that doesn't change your outlook," she grunted in reply.
"I don't think it's very responsible student behavior," an audible sigh escaped his pursed lips.
I could just feel the tension mounting in the room. It gave me this hot feeling all over my body, an excitement. I felt so pleased by her punishment. I suppose that is not very Christian behavior, but I also suppose I am not very Christian. Sometimes I feel I should be more accepting of other people, mind you not very often, but on rare occasions empathy overcomes me. You must already feel I am a rather unlikable person, but I don't believe that to be true. As I sit in my four cornered room writing to you, my reader, I suppose I might like you, given the proper circumstances. You see, I am a judge. I didn't want the job. I never applied and I don't enjoy it, but this is what I am. I know it seems impossible to believe that a twenty-one-year-old woman could be a judge, but it is true. I preside over a huge court and everyone and everything I meet is subject to my judgements.
I oversee all of it, from dew drizzled lush landscapes to decrepit bag ladies. Right now I judge my fingers and toes and the poor soul next to me. I judge proven scientific experiments and baseless philosophical arguments. I sit and stare at this nauseating orange tabletop in this disturbingly small cubicle. I shiver at the thought of how many fingers have typed on these same keys and the meaningless jargon or incredible realizations they have produced.
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We could be somewhere else right now if you prefer. How about Detroit? Tina sits in her shabby basement apartment. She can barely see through the tiny windows, they're covered with that greasy film that occurs in a heavy smoker's apartment. She takes another drag off a Capri menthol light, and she looks at the cigarette in her fingers, thin long and white with the tiny Capri insignia. Her voice is raspy and deep, but she doesn't talk much. She's been told she looks a little like Kathleen Turner, but she thinks it's probably just the voice. She works in a convenience store over in the industrial part of town. There's a strip club over there, like there is in every industrial section, and her boyfriend likes to stop by there when he comes to visit her at work.
We could be there. But, I just think here is more interesting right now. I know I have no plot, no tiny intricate movements of characters deceiving and confiding in one another. This is just me right now, the funny things that flow through my head. What do you call it? Writing for exploration, or stream of consciousness? Yeah, that's accurate I guess. In all honesty I'd like to read about other people's thoughts more often. Don't you always think about that? What if you could know what other people were thinking? Well, I am thinking about you right now. Whoever you are, the funny way you walk or the amazing way you hold yourself. I am thinking that it is interesting that you spoke out loud and I wonder if you meant what you said. I am wondering whether or not you ever consider how insignificant we are, like specks of dust in the universe. Or maybe you think it all revolves around us, masters of the universe, a holographic reality. Maybe you're just hungry, skipped lunch and wishing you hadn't. I really want to know all the things you think.
"I know you think I'm a bit off now. Experimenting with all this stuff is a little on the short side of long, but this is my exploration. So I am talking to you directly. You could answer I guess, but I can't hear you. I am only words on paper, thoughts recorded. Is it insane to be speaking to you?"
"Yes," you say and roll your eyes, "of course it is."
"You've gotta try new things though, don't you?" I reply, happy to get you talking.
"Let's go away again, want to?" I whisper eyes pleading.
"Yes, Please do," you answer.
I know you're getting exasperated. I'll take you to my favorite place. It is of course a beach.
You are walking along the cement. You see the sand ahead and quicken your pace. The first step is delicious, the way you sink ever so slightly and you feel the tiny grains rolling across the bare bottoms of your feet. I can hear you smile. The surf sounds just the way it should, gentle lulling and soft. You move ahead toward the water longing for its lapping cool touch. It is that perfect kind of water, clear blue with a white sand bottom. You run into the water up to your knees and your jeans are soaked. I watch as you run away from the tide; it chases you teasing with its gentle warmth. You stand on the wet sand and as the tide rolls out again your feet settle more deeply into the moistness. Moving back, you lay on the beach. The sand here is a pleasant toasty temperature. You lean back and let your head fall onto the earth's pillow. You can hear the tide and surf, feel the movement in the core of you and beneath the sand. It is the same force that moves the moon. You slowly slip away into perfect bliss.
Your eyes betrayed you they were hazel and then green sometimes almost brown; I saw through them and could almost hear the blood pumping through your veins. I remember the courtship; it was so long, hastened touches behind a veil of darkness, an endless elusion. The night you could not help but come to me. I said "if you must." You did not answer, but arrived late. I fell asleep and heard the door. There was a candle lit and he was gone. You took me in your arms with such tentative strokes, touching each other for hours, knowing only you.
You left me once, driven off by all that had occurred, afraid, I'm sure, of what had yet to happen. Yet, you still touched me. Letters of such passion arrived and I snuck to the mailbox each day awaiting them. I read them over and over again. I sought out sky blue paper with drifting clouds and wrote to you, pouring my love into your soul with calm and easy strokes. We planned a visit, but I came to you ahead of time across a great distance, arriving in the first hours of daylight.
"Come downstairs I have a surprise for you." I beckoned on the phone.
You came not knowing what to expect and there I stood surprised to see you looking so real so handsome. That visit was my joy and agony. We bought a cheap bottle of wine on the last night and stayed up until I had to leave, wrapped together thinking this could be the only thing to make us happy. I would have stayed if you had asked, but you didn't and I knew why. Loose ends are everywhere. Eventually I did return and we shared dreams. I thought only of you and the way you made me feel, the things we could do for each other. Such is love; it tears your insides up, then mends, then tears you up again. The future is unclear and always will be, but we couldn't care less, each moment, monumental, each kiss like nothing else.
"My back is so soar tonight," I whispered stretching my body out.
You touched my shoulder blades, "Must be where you lost your wings."
I thrilled. Could life have more to offer? Yes it does, memories. These are mine and yours, wrought together, cast from the most precious of metals. And now?
The television is on, but it doesn't matter what is resonating. You look to me with expectation, a hand on my thigh the other on my breast. I sigh.
Memories, I much prefer, like the day we walked down to the piers.
"It's beautiful," I whisper as your hand traces along my fingers. We are standing at the edge of a pier looking toward the water. Seagulls fly through the air and a sunset begins its glorious show. You kiss my lips lightly, hesitantly.
"You are a siren, a mystical siren tempting me," you mouth into my ear.
I laugh and realize there are people surrounding us. I never saw them arrive, so enveloped in you. We walk to a small fish and chips restaurant. The food is good. The taste is of the sea and your kiss.
We are above the city, evening has fallen and I see you standing against the light of the buildings. There are children all over, speaking in some language I will never know. Again we kiss, on top of buildings, by the sea, on street corners. You never forget me. I feel nothing but the soft trace of your presence and the confidence of our togetherness.
"Have you seen my cigarettes?" You ask a bit aggravated your lips pursed.
I was so caught up in my memory, so imperceptible to you, but it was you. It was you and I in periods of elation. We hadn't much food, but love aplenty. And now?
"Yeah they're on the kitchen table, or maybe the chair."
Although memory is sweet and laced with breathtaking views what is there if the present is lacking? Now is what becomes my memory. Today is my comfort tomorrow. And while it is possible that we will part ways I much prefer to be looking back at these times as only a beginning to a long and fruitful memory filled with you. For the sea is not as pleasing if you are not there to look with me.