2020/2021 (part 2)
10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…1…her phone vibrated to let her know she had an email.
She heard it because she was alone. Alone on New year’s Eve. A crappy end to a crappy year. Probably an email from a friend echoing those exact sentiments.
Being alone on New Year’s Eve wasn’t a tradition she wanted to start and she hoped this would be the last one where she spent the night thinking of him and what could have been.
She glanced down and saw it was an email from him. She almost dropped the phone. Instead she put it down on the table and walked away from it like it was radioactive. She paced around the table for what seemed an eternity. Excited and terrified. He wasn’t supposed to have contacted her. It was off script.
Finally she read it.
“That asshole…” was all she could say for a few minutes afterwards. Minutes spent processing. “He wants me to figure out how he feels?” She didn’t say “asshole” again but the look on her face said it clear enough, although the line about his finger in his ear made her heart ache a bit. She understood all too well. She heard the beach too. Or was it the waves? She decided you needed both.
“Well, two can play at that game” she said and sat down to fashion a reply.
“I think of you every time I hear a report of a boy falling into a deep cavern or hole. The way the whole community bands together to start some heroic rescue effort. The news media making sure we know all about the little guy. Finally, through some system of ropes and pulleys they extract him and return him to his worried family.
Why does this make me think of you?
Because you’re the boy that falls into the same hole again a week later. And the following week and the week after. Enduring terrible struggles to extricate yourself each time, only to do the same thing over and over. Is it because you want to know for a few fleeting seconds how the coin feels being tossed into a wishing well?”
She sat back and congratulated herself on the coin analogy. “Let him scratch his head for a change. Wrestle with that one why don’t you. Try and figure that one out.” She paced and muttered these things under her breath like a crazy person would.
In the past year she had stopped putting her faith in tarot cards and horoscopes, for the same reasons she stopped believing in some all-knowing deity when she was a teenager. Every day there was a chronic gambler somewhere getting his kneecaps busted because he felt that he could beat the game, the same way that there was a young lover getting her heart broken for the same reason.
Better to be accountable for her own kneecaps and heart from here on out. Although accountability has its drawbacks.
“What is it I really want?” She sighed. “Is it even possible to know let alone articulate?” (It should be pointed out that she sighs like nobody else. She works in sighs the way other artists might work in oils or clay. It was her true medium, a master)
Last year her mantra had been “I want to be with those who know secret things or else alone”, a favorite quote from Rainer Maria Rilke.
Tonight found her tired of being alone.
She continued typing.
“That’s the reason I do it anyway. The thing is, it’s been getting harder and harder to climb my way out. I was thinking that maybe instead of us just struggling to get out of these deep holes all the time that we just dig towards each other. Passed or through buried things. Maybe we could meet up. Out of sight from everyone but the moles.”
She was less happy with that analogy. It implied meeting in darkness. In the cold and dampness. Always under the constant threat of everything collapsing on top of their heads.
She deleted everything after the coin part. Accountability has its drawbacks.
“Let’s agree to never stop thinking about each other.”
She sighed again and hit the button that would send her reply on its way.