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.

Monday, November 08, 2010


They lie on the snowy flats, the only spots of color on an otherwise white landscape under a white dome with that sort of smell in the air like cold and wood and the bin full of scarves on the top of your closet. They are heavy with down jackets and snow pants and mittens and feelings, so many feelings, and also balaclavas which are not as weighty as feelings but still important. The snow is soft and fresh - we are in the middle of a storm here that is taking a break to perhaps catch its breath and it is calm for the moment with the sort of silence that comes after the world is covered in a layer of ice and tissue and felt. The trees are bare, you couldn't point to the sun if you tried, the mountains are dotted with the sort of houses your sister has always dreamed of retiring to, and they, they, they are on the ground, staring up at the sky.

She says: I want to tell you something important about myself.

He says: yes, do that.

She says: I have often thought about lying on the ground and having it snow like two feet at once, just like a huge thick pile of snow falling on me. Can you imagine what it would be like to be overwhelmed like that?

There is a beat in which they keep looking up, his hair messy and weird from the hat he had on, her eyes blinking with all the gray, and then he turns on his side and touches her sleeve with his mitten and that, my friends, is where it is too much for us, just too private to continue any longer. We are out of here, moving back to look at them from further away, tiny dots on the map. It starts snowing again.

Friday, November 05, 2010


I'm sorry about this.

1. Sadness of knowing you can't win; sadness of knowing it is all your fault; sadness of missing; sadness of love; sadness of death; sadness of poorly-flavored crackers; sadness of a stuffy nose; sadness of mistakes; sadness of in-laws; sadness of cold fingers; sadness of injury; sadness of poor punctuation; sadness of lists.

2. One couch without two cushions, one drying rack, one TV (never used), one desk, one chair, three pairs of cleats, one pair of running shoes, one movie poster, one box from home, one small container of dish soap, one used band-aid, one old piece of fruit.

3. Sleeping in, successful layouts, warmth on cold days, riding bikes inside, playing a game you are too old for, original music, the xylophone, losing and feeling okay about it, laughter (of course), friendship, snow, kittens, inside jokes, rhetorically mindful text messages, inconclusion.