Monday, November 29, 2010

For Once, Regarding Friendship

He lives in New England now and also he writes in the present tense and in third person, maybe so it is all fiction, maybe because it makes everything more real, regardless, I mean, here we go:

He lives in New England now, and, late at night and in her car, he is still marveling at the whole thing. In the Mid-Atlantic you can't see stars like this because it doesn't get dark like this, like here, where the sky is light and wispy and the mountains are silhouettes, black, formidable and poorly-defined, like in a poem you read one time that made you wish you went camping more. He wants to fall into that dark, but maybe another time - for now, they drive.

She pulls over just past the state line – a little after midnight in the town where his dad grew up – and they cross the road after trying not to look too shady for the dumpy blue sedan that represents the only other person awake in three miles. The moon is so bright that there is a ring around it, something about crystals in the air, I don't know, and they trek up the last hundred feet in the sort of way you trek up a hundred feet in the middle of the night wearing Sperry Top-Siders; she is leading, so sure-footed and with such poise, he is behind, breathing heavily because he can't even manage the workouts she could do in her sleep, and this is important: he is waiting for everything to be clear. The valley is there, they both know it for sure, but there are trees and bushes in the way of the view and she already knows the end of this but he doesn't. As far as he knows it is always going to be as obscured as this, this, like the piece of dirt you had in your eye and couldn’t get out, like the movie you watched that had a weird dark line down the middle of the theater screen, like the stars look too near that huge mall that you and he and she have all driven by. He wants to understand, he wants to take it all, and most of all he worries he won’t be able to except there is her and it’s a little bit of faith longer four more steps and he never saw it coming and then, suddenly, they are on a soft hill. The dirt is hollow. There are no trees. You can see forever, tens and hundreds of miles, and here is what he realizes: you can be friends with someone and also drive around with them in the middle of the night; you can stand on the top of a mountain in the moonlight and be unromantic about it and want no other company; everyone was wrong about everything. At the top of the mountain and in the dark there is the sort of clarity he is looking for. For once he is overwhelmed with friendship, and he loves it – in, you know, a friendly way.

He writes it down on the way home for Thanksgiving, and, as the looming Berkshire mountains and towns named for old Native American tribes turn to fields of distant apartment buildings and suspension bridges, the details start to go. He knows it wasn’t epiphany, but it was special, anyway. He lives in New England now, and he’s beginning to come to terms with it.

6 comments:

first commenter said...

Crazy good. Just when I was giving up hope on Mostly Harmless!

Anonymous said...

i am much moved. i hope your fascination with New England lasts a long, long time.

Anonymous said...

You are like Caesar. He wrote in the first person. Well at least sometimes. "Veni, vidi, vici," obviously wasn't in the first person, but maybe he said that: I am not sure. Anyway the point of this comment is that you are in good company.

Anonymous said...

Seeing the starts like this for the first time must have been amazing - just like this story...we all hope to read many more as you share your experiences the bubble.

Muse said...

Beautiful

sparks said...

Nice...the readers are there with you.