Recursion (Part 0)
I dreamed about you last night.
About a silence so loud I thought my ears would burst like a body under miles of water splitting apart from the pressure. Silence being such a heavy thing. My heart was beating painfully through my ears, yelling and reaching and falling short.
You were reaching out to my feet, I remember in detail their trembling. You wanted to touch them so badly that I could see the desire consuming you but you shook with fear, a curious deep fear as I hovered between a now we were rejecting-would always reject, and a then that we couldn’t possibly understand.
The wind, already so strong it turned my golden locks to whips and threatened to rip my skin from my bones, was picking up and you were crying, tears being whisked away forcefully from your pinkened cheeks, and I was numb. I knew I would break if I heard your voice, knew that I always broke when I heard your voice, and wasn’t sure I had many more pieces to spare. So as you started to beg I swung my arms up and the wind obeyed and I couldn’t hear anything, couldn’t hear you beg me to stay as I took hold of the very fabric of time, space, and being and wrapped it around me like a cocoon, readying myself to be reborn into non-existence, wiped from your memory and from mine.
Even in the dream it struck me as funny though, all those years we had side-by-side, proverbially if not literally, and you never said the words that could heal me, the words I craved so badly, the words you knew I needed and could have changed the direction my life flowed, but as you were about to lose me for good, in those final moments you screamed them out from the very base of your being and with all that you possessed and were made of as if they were a prayer.
But there’s too much that lies between us now and so I woke up.
I woke up with the sun in my eyes and the sky trying to sneak a lie past me, saying it was blue and lively as if it were warm outside, but I wasn’t falling for that one again and knew perfectly well it wasn’t. The usual pain was there like a childhood friend, or that proverbial thorn in my side, I couldn’t remember a time I had been without it. It stood to reason that it had not been the same before you, instead had worn the mask of loneliness, which is all it was after you, just a different type. But time before you had a funny haze that I was much too lazy to look beyond. I pushed the pain away as I did every morning and waded through the fog that accompanied my existence to the kitchen, the tiled floor cold beneath my bare feet, but too far from my heart to kill me and besides, my shoes were thrown somewhere between the bedroom and the livingroom and I couldn’t be fucked to find them.
The point of all this mess is that I’ve avoided you this week, or at least more this week than usual, and haven’t had the opportunity or the will to tell you, but I’m telling you now, in this letter. I learned something about myself this week and I’m writing to you now because I may not find my way back but you will find this someday in some random mailbox and read it and know that it’s true.
You see, I was having lunch with Arthur last week, oven-roasted turkey on rye and cucumber slices as well as refreshing iced tea. It was a lovely lunch and I do so enjoy Arthur’s company, he is attentive and his blue eyes are earnest and adorable and he is just overall rejuvenating. Usually he makes me wonder why I couldn’t just love someone so simple and beautifully complex and interesting, why did I have to be intrigued by the sort of complex that leaves shadows in the mind and scars in the heart? But he had to get back to work fairly quickly so I thought I might catch some time at the beach before going home, but as I tripped over an uneven bit of sidewalk-you know that bit on 3rd that I’m always complaining about, I tripped into another dimension.
It was beautiful and full of lights and I’m pretty sure they were living, I heard them gossiping in excited whispers about “the dull one” which-at the risk of sounding rather paranoid-I’m pretty sure was me, as I was the only one not illuminated and I did appear rather drab and dull in comparison. And just as quickly as I had arrived there, I was thrown back out, but I was miles from 3rd and slightly annoyed that I was further from the beach, so I bought myself a coffee and caught a bus home.
I did a little research. Well, a quick google search but most mentions of dimension-tripping (perhaps I could have been more specific in my search terms, but who has the time) seemed to be fiction and what wasn’t labelled as such seemed just to be the work of nutters who had not as of yet been apprehended and stored away in straight jackets. So I thought nothing of it, just pushed it out of my mind as I so often did with you. Decided I just needed more sleep and sun and vitamins or a combination of all in some way that could be figured out at a later time and I went to sleep and dreamed of nothing in particular but lots of little unparticular things that jumbled together rather ungracefully.
I got dragged into going shopping with Kate a few days later for some sort of girls day out, which is usually as enjoyable as getting one’s teeth pulled without anesthetic, but it was some sort of unwritten thing in the unspoken contract of girl’s friendships, so I went to pay my dues. We were looking for summer clothes and talking about boys, she was leading the conversation of course, I didn’t actually have a lot to say on that topic and most boys either bore me or annoy me, you being in the latter group. She paused at one point to ask me about you but I shrugged her off and switched the topic to some boy she had been babbling about that she was currently seeing, Jake or John or whatever his name was, and it worked like a charm. Then off she was talking about Josh-yeah, Josh, I think that was it. And I tuned her out and let my mind drift to you in a moment of weakness, a stolen moment, a guilty pleasure. But as it usually does, it quickly turned to anger. Only mild, annoyed anger, but anger none-the-less and I knew it would be prudent to get you out of my mind before my face betrayed me with that unhappy flush that accompanies thoughts of you like ketchup on fries. It was obvious you too enjoyed being difficult, found a pleasurable game in my suffering, it would be too easy to say what I wanted so desperately to hear. You still saw me as some silly childish girl who was on occasion useful but usually just mediocre and set on a shelf.
My nostrils flared then as they do now and I absentmindedly stamped my foot, that I emulate by tapping it now as I write this, then I threw my hair over my shoulder and sighed you right out of my mind. Kate was still yapping from the changing rooms, her voice louder to make sure I was still listening, so I circled the racks, running my fingers over the fabrics without really feeling them at all.
Then it happened again.
One whole rotation around the rack and suddenly I was in yet another dimension. No beautiful lights in this one, no beautiful glow or gossiping whispers. It was gloomy and stormy and you would think it would be scary but honestly it was just a bit sad. Or more overwhelmingly, oppressingly sad. The kind of sad that settles in your bones and never warms again. Even my internal voice was talking slowly, labored and depressed and I could feel me turning on myself. If I didn’t get out of here soon I may be starting a war with that voice inside that no one could hope to win. Come to think of it, I was fast forgetting what hope felt like at all. The rain was beginning and it was warm. A small cloud ventured forward from the formation to say a brief and unemotional hello without any sort of inflection or excitement. I leaned down to study it more closely and offered a hello back in the same sort of monotonous spirit but it just simply drifted back away.
I shook my head at his rudeness (I can’t actually be sure it was a him but his voice was masculine I think so I refer to him as so) and suddenly I was at the beach two days later. I was slightly frustrated. I hated it when even the smallest of my things was moved, even if it appeared to be a chaotic mess, I liked my things to be where I put them. And this thing, well, it was moving me all over the place. However, I was a little amused at the idea of Kate’s face when she came out of the dressing room and I was gone. I’m giggling even now as I recall her phone call as I worked my way to a bus stop. She was very annoyed at me and immediately launched into a lecture about my manners. I apologized and promised another girls day out and wished her the best with her date with Josh then went home and slept for a full 18 hours.
It was you that woke me up, with your incessant dinging on my computer and I groaned myself awake, lying in that all too familiar limbo of wanting to run and see what you had said (somewhere inside I still held out that toxic hope that it would be the words I so longed to hear) and not wanting to know at all, or maybe just a bit of not wanting to look needy, or like I cared in the least, wanting mostly for you to want me to read it. Eventually and with a grumble I gave in, but mostly only because the computer was on the way to the coffee maker and it didn’t really matter what path I took, I couldn’t get from bed to coffee without passing it. It was just the usual, hey where have you been and all that. After the usual initial let-down I realized I didn’t actually feel like answering so I watched a movie instead. You dinged a few more times but jumping dimensions really takes it out of a girl so I just drifted back off into sleep.
Arthur was pounding on my door when I came to again and that was very uncharacteristic of him being so shy and quiet and mousy and all. After a few knocks and straining to make out what his deep voice was calling out to no avail I decided I should probably get up and answer it if he was going to continue being so insistent. I opened the door without looking out of it and stumbled to the coffee maker, signifying with my clumsy actions that he should enter and it was implied he should shut the door after him.
Want some coffee I asked. But he was already off and talking again and my brain hadn’t really had any significant amount of caffeine so it couldn’t catch up or latch onto any words to gain footholds and begin following the conversation so I found myself staring at him but not really hearing anything until he said your name. That name shouldn’t have come across his lips, he shouldn’t know it. Only I knew that name, it was secret- a secret I guarded greedily. So I interrupted him and told him to repeat more slowly as I gripped his shoulders trying desperately to steady him, the room was tilting as the words were being processed but I clung to him to keep him from falling, completely unaware that it was actually me that was moving steadily toward the floor.
No this wasn’t true, maybe I wasn’t awake. No just no, hold on, I haven’t had my coffee, stop talking, wait, go back, say it again. You were gone, taken without a trace, no crumb to follow, just…gone. And he was saying your name and something about this being in the news and did I know you or knew that it was you. I didn’t tell him we had met twice or that I had held you once, even kissed your lips before you pushed me away with pain in your eyes and the sun in mine. Didn’t tell him that your smell still haunted me in my dreams because he was babbling more lies, lies about you belonging to another. Say again, I knew you better than anyone or maybe I knew you better than I had ever known anyone but evidently that didn’t really mean a lot. Now I was going from scared for you to angry again at alarming speeds, back and forth, and I couldn’t decide which one to land on and stay with so I walked away from poor Arthur even as he continued to talk and got into the shower.
The loudness of the water racing down and over my head and onto the tub was welcomed and it was under the spray when it covered my ears and rushed over my head and I couldn’t hear anything-even myself-that I knew what I had to do.
I knew without a doubt that I had to do it again, there was nothing left here except anger and anger takes so much energy and I’m generally a lazy person so I was just going to go somewhere else, sometime else and forget that any of this time and place had existed. Or that’s the reason I told myself, but I’ve never been overly good at being honest with myself and that internal voice that likes to taunt me reminded me that the real mission I had was to find you. I stuck my tongue out at that voice and turned the water off. I didn’t really want to jump naked, not for modesty or anything, I just couldn’t be sure it wouldn’t be cold. As I dried off that led to another line of thought. Should I pack? Would a bag even jump with me and anyway what would I pack for? I mean, so far I had run into living light and sad clouds, there wasn’t a lot of rhyme or reason to the process, not yet at least.
Screw it. I picked a hoodie, a comfy pair of shoes and some loose jeans. I didn’t even brush my hair, I just thought of your eyes and I don’t know how but I just tripped into another time and place. Poor poor Arthur, probably confused, and I was aware of his affections that were not aptly returned so he was likely a little insulted thinking I had crawled out of the window and run away on him because who would think I was jumping dimensions? And that’s really why I had to go, what kind of boring world didn’t think of jumping dimensions as at least a top ten reason for disappearances? That’s the same reason I had loved you so deeply and so quickly, you were that one that would see that as totally plausible and a very good reason to disappear, for science and all. But you had left no reason when you had gone and no clue and that was just rude. If I did come across you in my travels, I vowed then and there to slap you on sight.