Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Offer: Yes, I accept

Driving by the overfilled stream on the way to work, I saw you. You were wearing the orange and blue striped shirt that is two sizes too big. Your faded black jeans were wet up to the knees. If we were kids I would have pushed you in the water. You'd get soaked and then you could blame it all on me. Your mom would ask me not to do that ever again because you catch colds so easily. I would say, "yes, of course, I'm really sorry." Then we would walk outside and sit on the driveway so you could dry off in the sun. I'd lay back and get little bits of gravel in my hair and we'd close our eyes to see what shapes appear behind our eyelids. We'd be good friends. Easy. It doesn't work that way anymore, though. I didn't stop the car, I kept driving by. The image is still in my mind. I'm home now. I should have stopped and pushed you. Maybe I've just lost my nerve.

What if I had pulled over and gotten out of the car? Maybe you would look away after seeing me and pretend that I wasn't coming up behind you. The noise of my sneakers crunching leaves and branches brushing my jeans would keep your face locked on the water. When I was close enough, I would touch your sleeve with my hand making sure to only disrupt the fabric. I've never touched you before.

For my benefit I reserve your reactions to be plain and dry. I would accept anything from you. I've always known that I am one word away from being told to fuck off. Your reaction is not for me, it is for you. So you can feel whole, not alone. You had to try. But after you turn around and show me your face, down on the bank of the stream, I would push you in. I believe this act is larger than I ever imagined. Whatever brought my eyes down to the stream today is more than I can fight off. Whatever brought your feet into that stream is telling me that you are with me. That's all I need to know.

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