Quite apart from this neglected space, I’m writing a very long story. It’s taking me a long time. Let me tell you some short stories here tonight.
- There is a strange briny smell in the woods this morning, as though it’s not just the forest and the cicadas and the river but the ocean that stands behind the veil.
- One view of a bike-squashed frog with his guts upchucked across the trail, flies swarming, well, that can ruin my whole afternoon. One view of a fat woodchuck hop hop hopping through the forest floor, well, that can delight my entire day. And time passes. Bright white beach light streaks across your ceiling. Then by the time we are done talking it’s shrunken to a point of light. The dark I’m in is racing for you.
- You have nothing to be ashamed of, I tell myself, quivering and raw with your presence. You’ve done nothing wrong. No one can prove anything. Because there’s nothing to prove. A sense of longing that chokes me up and then I clear it and it passes. Being sure of a person is one thing.
- Who wrote this? You asked after I opened my veins into your inbox. I did, I said, feeling a painless pleasure for the first time in days, because you would not have complimented me if you knew it was me you complimented, and this is how I knew you meant it.
- I went out one night with a friend who fancied himself very cool. That’s what we saw eye to eye on the best. I didn’t know the first thing about socialism, or about silencing my new cell phone, which made that fluorescent meeting room in the basement of Wheeler Hall very awkward for everyone involved. Afterward we walked north and ate burritos.
- First sex? The cabbie asked. I was squished right in behind his driver’s seat, which was cranked back as far as it would go. He seemed to know something. “I wish,” you laughed, and I didn’t know whether you meant it or not, but that night I came down to your bed and you held me and then we didn’t talk about it for months.
- We’re in a car that’s ours for the weekend. You took the time to go through the manual and turn its extra alarms off, because you love me. We’re driving through the countryside as fall sets in. Winding roads. Yellow corn, brown grass, blue sky, green trees. Quiet places. We play music for each other. Michigan’s in the rearview now. I feel melancholy and nostalgic even in that moment even with you driving right next to me. I love you in a way that makes me sad that time even passes with you. Time passing with you is my favorite thing to happen. Being alone in a car, it’s just the two of us in our little hunk of metal, going anywhere we please. Accountable to ourselves. I want to pull over and kiss you stupid.