I'm really afraid of my internal monologue. Maybe afraid isn't the word. It's out of my control. At best I can suggest topics for it to stay away from... and hope that it listens. I got lost the other day, and it was beautiful outside. I felt great. The wind was whipping through my car, girls in sundresses littered the streets, the radio was playing exactly the right notes and words. The storm came, the monologue shifted, actors taking their place on the stage and setting the tragedy on its course. There was nothing I could do, except for let the torrent of Her memory wash over every street, remembering all the worst parts. Despite my efforts to focus, to lean on the good and the happy, it's always the tragedy that we remember. Nobody recalls the great deeds of Agamemnon, or Oedipus, only their downfalls. It's human nature. It was the night before that I had the dream again. It's one of those dreams you don't realize you've had before until right in the middle of it. In that dream, there was a girl, and she was amazing. The perfect mixture of coy, lascivious, humble, decent, ambitious; her hair was long and dark, her skin a gentle olive tone. We flew together. Not at first of course. Before we could fly there were prerequisites of meeting, embracing, discovering. Not a physical thing, at least not entirely, but a moment of overwhelming “I can't believe you feel the same way I do” from both parties. The dream went magical places, not just because of her. There were so many other things. I woke up, out of breath and exasperated. I felt the strongest desire to grab pen and paper and write everything down, it was so revelatory. In my fatigued state, I made the mistake of believing I would remember it in the morning, and alas, no remembrance came. Her name was Stephanie. Her smile was foolish, but I loved it all the more for its asymmetry. Then the night was gone, and the day bled me physically and mentally of its strangeness. The truth is, that kind of romance, the one I dream of, is the thing of which I'm most afraid. The page shifts, the moment shifts, and there is friendships old and new, and old and new all over. I wish I could draw the moments out. I thought that I would grow out, expand my life, but the only thing I have are more piles. More things unfinished, gardens untended, relations abandoned and bridges unburned and burdened. I'm only truly happy when I'm by myself and being alone makes me miserable, but in the end it's only one of a number of paradoxes, and everyone lives with worse in their life but they are either too oblivious to notice or strong enough to fight it. Meanwhile (paradox) I'm neither. I'm content to notice and discontent with my lack of action, and manage to handle both as mutually exclusive options. Lofty ideas and ideals will only build a loft, but you have to fill it, and that takes work, and lots of it. Goals need racers, scorers, not goalies, but I manage to tend them without scoring and finishing. I see a face, someone I haven't so much as acknowledged in years, and I dream up love stories. I do it with strangers, with friends, with people I'll never even say a word to in my life, with people I never want to talk to again. I've become so accustomed to falling in love in my imagination that I've lost touch with my abilities to do it in real life. Keep it flowing, keep it flowing. I see people, and sometimes they see me. But they only see what I show them, it's a secret game. Sometimes I wish it wasn't. Sometimes it isn't. Sometimes they see everything, and instead of embracing the moment I flee. I need my secrets and secrecy. It's so hard to separate what you know from what you've experienced. I know that it's no sin to open up, to trust, but it's my experience that it burns. No matter how hard you try, how much work you put in, the ones you confide in the most will leave you. It's not the truth, not the course, but the lesson. Finally, spiraling downwards... rest.
But the rest does not last forever, not yet. So then there are more storms... but these storms are real. I don't know why I tuned the radio to AM fuzz, but sometimes I do it without noticing. I watch the lightning peal across the sky, and hear the crackle of it on my speakers. Rain drops, drip, dripping, drops splash into my eyes and hair and I can't help but laugh. Then the moments come of small, strained, friendly nights. Somehow, though, even these maintain a shadow. Paranoia? Paranoia! Somehow I manage to always see the shadow looming, and I freeze. I say my hellos, my goodbyes, and I make off like a thief in the night. The fun of it is that my crimes are imagined, yes, in this instance they are. I can turn it off, with a great effort of will. I can turn it off and spout the negativity outwards, embrace the positive, for a while. The sun falls, the moon rises, and it's gone like so much ash in the wind. I see it, I know. It stays there until I choose to try again. I embrace the solitude, but the solitude does not always accept me. The truth is, I know exactly how shallow it is. I prove it to myself all the time, but the accusations from decades ago are truer than the accusers know: I know exactly how to convince myself otherwise. But... but I can find the magic in a moment. Any moment, examined thoroughly enough, can gleam like the sun, bright enough to burn, to scour and discover. I miss the moments that I had... too much. Hands clasped in friendship, discovering anew a land misted with a cold white topping, sliding and slipping, capturing images. A song, building sweaters, with a smile and a wink and a giggle. Late nights, second helpings of the food and third helpings of the wine, the misty walks through the quiet streets, an orchid drenching us in its pollen. A quiet drink at a corner bar, stories imagined, futures created and destroyed, lies whispered and truths withheld. There's so much magic, and so much sadness in each moment, in each memory, and they always wash back, they always wash back, they always swirl the drain, until it clogs and sends them spilling back out. I can't help but obsess about my obsession of putting these memories on a pedestal, and why they remain so happy in memory and so sad in the present. Late nights, loud music, and an interruption of veritas. It's not all bad though.
A statement, stuck like so many others, dislodges, and I look at the sky. It was gorgeous. Two blinking stars, but not stars, other worlds, glinting in the darkness. We got out the telescope, and I look at the moon, with its shadows and pocks and craters. A life, so new and fresh... and I could share a moment, a memory with him.
I hope he always remembers me as the uncle who showed him the surface of the moon. In our quest for immortality in our family, that's the legacy I always hope I can retain.