Your house was in a partial state of either moving in or moving out. There was a printer by the door, a broken cat post attached from floor to ceiling and some suitcases laying about that were full of pans and books. I can appreciate the idea of wanting to move only with an iron skillet and a bunch of books by people whose ideas seem to be woven into all you think about. You liked Murakami, who I think maybe writes too many words at once, but you also had a thing for Didion which is sort of how we matched in our likes/dislikes: 50/50. But it was the kind of 50/50 that works between two people, where you figure out a way to place the 50 percent you don’t really care for in a bin, maybe not labeled “love”, but at least “something I can now tolerate”. It’s a 50/50 that allowed for Adderall and champagne during an entire afternoon of sex, as well as morning breakfasts in hotel bars where annoyance seems high, but we still skipped in delight to the bathroom, swooning over the other in absence.
That was the first day we met really, in that hotel bar. I mean, we met the previous night, that bled into the hotel morning, dancing (swaying?) to some dark synth in a fake sex dungeon, where your friend slept through most of the night on a bed with a plastic mattress cover. When she woke up at 5am she was manically stoned: a mix of uppers and downers that left her not in a middle ground by more like a small fishing vessel teetering from side-to-side on unexpectedly violent swells.
A few weeks later, we’ll be in this friends apartment as she asks me to hang pictures; in a living room that seemed to have layers of furniture stacked against the wall as if the purpose of furnishing a room was to see how many couches could be between you and the hung artwork. The answer at this point was 2, but that number was going to grow. When I went to the bathroom after hanging some art, your friend yelled, “BRING ME A CAT! THE ONE WITH WHITE SPOTS!” and when I opened the bathroom door there were 3 kittens rummaging around among tattered boxes and various loose clothing items. A skid row of kittens.
In your apartment, though, there was a natural walking stick on the ground that an ex-boyfriend had left. There was some back story and the possibility of a friend of his that was a witch that was going to pick it up at some point. I remember sort of nodding through the witch comment, because I take a Pascal’s Wager on that sort of thing and think best not to make any waves with witches, whether they’re real or not. I had an ex-girlfriend who claimed to have witch-like powers, and when I broke up with here I was later with a friend helping print sections of an abandoned factory and the sickly-sweet smell of a neighboring yeast processing plant made me vomit uncontrollably for the 3 hours we worked. I would help him print a section of floor, and then run to a window and vomit. Repeat. I was convinced it wasn’t the smell of yeast, but a spell had been cast on me by my ex. It ended up it was the yeast.
Back in your apartment. There was a lot of warm afternoon sun across bedsheets. Light cut hot and lazy in that way that southern California light seems to drag its feet and then sucker punch me, but still declares its love in a rumbling sort of way; light through broken windows, with blue-eyed cats hanging out in some ledge/tent contraption that suction cups to the same window as if the cat was sleeping on the face of El Capitan, the cracks in the window fissures in granite that were made some time in the last ice-age. I dislike cats, but am happy to watch the room as a sundial while you tell stories of the guy that smoked crack in the laundry room for many weeks before finally getting kicked out.
We talk about the square root of 2.
You try on dresses.
I swear at one point in those weeks I see you battle-dance a friend of mine, who when you first met thought was trying to roofie you.
Anyway. I'll go ahead and wander back out into this lazy, beautiful disaster of sunlight.
To get to a studio I had for awhile I used to run across these railroad tracks behind a fence where the bus dropped me off. There were a lot of tracks, maybe 10, and to the left the tracks bent sharp to one direction so I had to always listen really carefully to figure out if trains were coming. Like all things, I eventually got a bit too careful, and my commute changed from one of careful listening to one of me listening to music and texting as I hopped from one track to the next. One day I stopped short between track 5 and 6, or maybe it was 7 and 8, and as I tried to update my Spotify playlist a train screamed by in front of me. It was so close and happened so suddenly, I thought at first it was something weird with my eyes, because suddenly the scene just looked so dramatically different, but then my brain sort of added in all the sound and vibrations, mixed the whole scene into a dish called Now, and I thought to myself, "I almost got hit by a train."
It passed quickly (a commuter train) and I was left in spring time air on empty tracks. Everything was a bit hazy. There were a pile of railway ties stacked just past the last track and I climbed up on them and laid down as if I was the next tie to be placed on the stack. I imagined myself covered in creosote, thick and sinking into a group of logs. My eyes were open at a blue sky and my clothes stretched with the spots that stuck into the creosote, the smell hung like old coats in forgotten closets, and I thought about if this was my new home.
In a box of memory all alone I remember standing in the corner of a room with my friend Sarah. It was when we first met and everything about our time felt like spotlights on empty stages. I remember the walls flew up into space like low resolution church spires; surfaces flat and unmarked. The floor bobbed and drifted. It reminded me of a time when I was swimming underwater and watched my childhood dog swim over top of me: the hair on her legs sliding and jerking like palm trees in hurricanes slowed down to one frame a second.
I don't know what Sarah and I were talking about, but we were just elements on a stage.
Eyes of rare earth and teeth made of old whale bones.
On the ocean: away from dry ground that looks jealously upon rusted steel drains that feed run-off water onto rock strewn beaches. When I see this dry ground and the large cracks that form, I press my finger deep into the abyss and imagine a drop of water falling from underneath my fingernail, falling long distances to caverns masked by caked-earth makeup, where it makes a perfectly crisp sound of another's tongue gently touching the roof of my mouth.