Saturday, August 06, 2016

You Were Ever a Stranger

You Were Ever a Stranger

My eyes are no good. I love them, to be sure, and I'm glad to have them, but I have reasons to believe they are no good. Everything is blurry, for one. Especially when I take off my glasses. The moon strongly, but also anything else that is pale on dark, splits into two overlapping images. In the summer when the dust is in the air everything is a bleary mess. I stare strangely at people on the street because my eyes can't focus on their faces, and I can't be sure of anything about them, whether they are smiling, grimacing with fury, or are perhaps my own mother. Until they are a few steps away I just can't be sure.

My eyes have no special ability that offsets this deficiency.

My legs are also defective. Though, perhaps that isn't a fair assessment. Perhaps it's even a romantic notion. My legs are perfectly functional. In fact, my legs are very strong and generally sturdy. My calves and feet are well-formed, maybe even beautiful. But my legs are short and wide, my knees are like my grandfather's and will eventually grind themselves to dust because I resemble too strongly some ancient ancestor who never walked upright. My knees ache, and occasionally they fail. This makes the sturdiness of my legs somewhat an illusion. They will fail long before the rest of me does. Except maybe my shitty eyes.
I can barely remember anything about the events or circumstances surrounding our presence on the snow that night. In my memory it is divorced from everything else, paired only, vaguely, with a warm summer memory of reddish, slanting sunlight on water, pale bare feet visible through the water – a different day in the same place. The summer memory must have come first.
In my mind we are suddenly there in the snow, there is a bottle of wine between us, red wine, green bottle. Sometimes the wine is in my hand and sometimes it is in your hand. I am chasing you. My boots slip on the rocks and mud under the snow. You are like a black rabbit, darting between the trees. Above us, concrete pylons stretch into the gray sky. The highway is high and it roars quietly, unceasingly, invisibly.
We are below, a black rabbit running from a clumsy man, both drunk on blood and wine and salt sweat. Searching for nothing, just running beside a black ribbon of water. Black water that tries to reflect the white snow, tries to show the black rabbit that she is a young woman and the man that he is a monster, alienated from time and cut off from everything except you.
Above the high highway the moon was surely full because it was bright, even beneath the crisscrossed overpasses. The thick white blanket of snow stole the echoes from our stupid laughter and groans of love, but it glowed like a ghost for us.
My eyes are bad with white on black, you were there: you were black on white. Rabbit, a black moon in the white sky. A quick moon – my eyes are bad but I saw you. My knees ache and protest the slipping, but I chased you.
This memory serves no purpose. It is part of no complex of memories that together build an idea or contribute to my understanding of myself, you, or the world. It's just something I remember and, the above notwithstanding, it boils down to:
I remember running with you by the creek in the snow, trying to steal the port wine from you even though I was already drunk and my mouth was puckered from the sticky sweetness of it. You were wearing black as usual and we were in a place I knew well and had known since I was a little boy. A place where many primal adventures had already taken place. A place that held many more important memories than these.
We crossed the secret plains and stumbled down from the roadway where winter cars hissed and glared at us. We ran along the water and emptied our heads heaving buckets of breath.

This useless memory belongs to me and I won't attempt to disown it or to shun it when it visits me. Those useless nights belong to me and I'll burn them and have them, I'll both burn them for warmth, fuel and light, and I'll have them for clothing, for bedding, for shelter. You can have them too.


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