I have a vision in my head of you and me, sitting by the train tracks under the stars, looking out over the highway, a bottle of cheap red wine being passed back and forth. I wanted to bring glasses out with us; you wanted just the bottle. I remember having my hair blown out of my eyes by the wind kicked up by a passing semi. We made suppositions and guesses about the driver’s life, discussed our place in the universe, and decided that maybe your reason for existing is in fact to father that little boy who may someday rule the world. Or maybe he’ll only rule his own world; it doesn’t matter. The possibilities are endless. The possibilities matter.
Another: Standing on your balcony, overlooking a vacant lot filled with weeds and wildflowers, the neon light of Burger King half a block up. Cigarettes shared, a bottle of Jack Daniels at our feet, the stars once again eavesdropping on our conversation. Discussing our blessings and our failures and what we have learned from them.
Doesn’t everyone do this?
If they don’t, they should.
Another: Laying on our backs in the courtyard of that church up on the hilltop. Surrounded by grapevines, rolling green hills, blue sky, and puffy white clouds, it was still and perfect. We hiked up the hill that day, feeling the muscles in our legs being used, and the cool wind in our faces.
The massive wooden doors of the building were warm under our palms; the pale stone walls were cool. The terra-cotta tiles of the courtyard were smooth. The sun peeked out from behind a cloud as we lay there, and the world was so still and quiet I heard the sound of the air being displaced by the wings of a passing hawk. I almost became a believer in that moment.
Another: sitting at the bar while you play a gig. Your fingers flew on the strings of your guitar; the movement still holds my attention just like the first time I ever saw you play. Every now and then my eyes would roam over the crowd in front of me as they mosh and shout, bouncing off of each other like pinballs. I wondered what they are trying to escape from as they chugged their Budweiser until they couldn’t stop smiling? Maybe they see a better version of themselves in the bottom of that bottle.
The glass at my elbow held no such promise and I knew that, but I drank it anyway, until the room started to blur and you finally got off stage and came over to me. All those girls that were watching you with bright eyes, licking their lips and whispering to each other drooped with disappointment when they saw you kiss me… until they found someone else to lay that bright attention upon. The morning light found them tarnished and tired, their makeup smeared under their eyes and their hair in hopeless tangles. But maybe that boy will want them anyway. Is that what they are seeking? I wanted to ask them, but I knew that it wasn’t the time or place for a conversation such as that.
I discussed it with you instead, standing on the balcony with shared cigarettes and a bottle of Jack Daniels, stars winking at us as we counted our blessings instead of them.