The sinew and bone holding you together was expected; that your beautiful face doubles as a warehouse of all I do not know of you and all I never will was an obvious truth obscured by inconvenience.
It’s a breathtaking revelation because it’s true. And because I overlooked it. I can stare infinitely and search in perpetuity—soul-fingers marinated in gristle and blood, plunged into the centre of what lies beyond my reach—but it will not tell me everything.
We are demi-consorts only. The loss of the thrill of stranger-ness is comprised of an ounce of laziness, an ounce of arrogance, and pounds of what-the-fuck piled up over years or days or hours, such markers of time made irrelevant with one small side-slip of camouflage, with the breakage of an invisible mask.
You didn’t even wince as it hit the floor.
And I didn’t wince when your familiarity was rendered unfamiliar. I breathed again, trying to taste as much of the you I found beneath face value as I could. Your underneath stirred my underneath though our countenance remained immobile.
It’s thrilling, this slippage. Hair stands on end, nerves are set aquiver; my mouth grows arid even as I am flooded with words at a volume and intensity capable of debriding the grime of convention.
It’s exhilarating this slippage, and therefore cannot be faulted.
We are free now, or rather I am free. A single millimetre provides sufficient room for a mile or more to be covered (more when the slippage occurs with the face I face whilst brushing teeth or applying mascara or wiping the residue of the day from freshly soaped brow.)
But I knew already. I knew we were basking in the afterglow of a temporal connection programmed to expire from time and indifference. But it booted us from its presence first, our hours there incomplete.
Time and indifference ease us into the gloaming—it’s knowledge that packs the punch that rearranges the cells that formulate us into something new and wholly different.
But I am still standing, still, as are you.
Band-Aids are best removed in one fell swoop, sister. Amen. Waste no time; weep briefly; marvel over regeneration of flesh before integrating the wound that reinforces the backbone that supports my existence.
The freshet of blood and lessons learned are of value, not the goddamned Band-Aid or the memory of sitting on the lip of the tub distracting myself with the roots of disembodied hair and an ugly drip from a leaky faucet threatening to drive me mad while I’m peeling back that plaster a fragment at a time.
Threatening to drive me mad when I’m already set to ride with another distraction.
Leave me with the shock of impact, the sting of my war-wounds, and the tedium of my recovery. Leave me to undertake the second chapter of knowing you.
Scars are involuntary tattoos but they are tattoos nonetheless.
You are imperfect in your ability to anticipate what I need and/or want from you. I am imperfect in my impatience to sample what is before me and to begin excavation of what is buried beneath.
Your perfection is no longer even a rumour…I saw you, and you saw me seeing you.
What changes everything now (or not) is whether you run, or feign ignorance, or overestimate yourself again. That last one is most insidious of all for it reeks of both arrogance and ignorance. Human catalysts for fantasies of a different self.
Need I bother with your details if we are both working on the riddle of you?
There’s insufficient room for me within this equation. When the gloaming ends it will take intrigue with it and leave me standing in the wake of its heat, its shadows, with your rags of interest clutched in my hands so I might brush away tears of frustration with their frayed to decaying edges.
Miscalculated moments happen; moments that urge the articulation of wrong things, even if true. Miscalculated moments that ameliorate or deteriorate what lies between us.
Everything else can burn.
I know not only more of who you are but who you wish to be. So what if something more pressing pressed upon our act IV—first came indifference, followed by a reckoning of sorts, the third? Well that’s between us. Now comes our fourth, or not, depending on the face that fell and what exactly heals up in its place.
I’ve become aware of myself through the masks—and the breaking of, the lack thereof—that you wear around me, or don’t.
I know who you think I am, or who you think I wish to be. The answer lies in the spaces left by the absence of words neither spoken nor written between us. You have removed all letters from my tongue, rejecting them as futile.
We roleplay, you said, every goddamned day.
Indeed. But let me tell you something—there are places we go unfettered and alters built too far within to tolerate vanity from without. Sometimes the white and the black of words on paper open the door and if I tread carefully I catch a glimpse of where I am going and exactly where I have been.
I am not disappointed that you slipped and broke before me. We are real now, and I refuse to grieve the parts of us that did not survive this revelation.
Godspeed, my beautiful friend.