Sometimes we were in your car, your right hand balanced on the wheel. Your right hand deftly switching gears.
Sometimes we are perched on a dissolving iceberg, glacially slithering unbidden a winding path through streets.
Or I'm turning up the volume as your car succumbs to the whoosh of the car wash. A song we thought we knew so well transforming with the thump of soapy curtains, the dark washed with streaks of refulgent water.
We could be side by side, sleekly shuttled on a train through a landscape altered by night. Unable to understand, but fully aware of the slowly blinking slanted eyes that look back at us from the cloaked forests.
Always side by side, even in the train carriage where we could have faced each other. Your profile is more familiar than the final turn off the road for home. Your smile is only fathomable from this side.
You're always driving. Always sitting a little ahead. Closer to the window. And yet we're shared in our ignorance of destination. And yet. We know that at some point you'll stop the car and I will leave you. And yet.
At what point did I realize that the scent of you would inevitably evoke an instant pang? To tell you how I feel puts too much weight on this space -- it makes it clear that after this you become a memory. To put how I feel to words changes this memory to something irremovable from what I want to be elusive.
But if nothing else, I would put words to it because I don't want the way I see you to perish with me.
We travel through streets unknown and known...and some which are unfamiliar because we've only seen them by night. One dark block we drive through you click a button to lock all the doors, the chunk of the mechanism emphasized by your tightened jaw. There are different kinds of eyes staring back at us here from a different kind of forest.
One street we've never been to before, never could have, but you say, remember when. And I say, yes.
I could tell you things. I'd listen to any words you would form. I could ask of you all the questions I mourn. Who am I? Where am I going? What should I do and what can I give?
And yet. The turn signal comes on and the clicks answer as we wait our turn: This. this. and this.
We have a separate language each of us -- a mystery never even fulfilled by ourselves. But someday I think we'll come to a mutual adumbration of what we meant to each other.
Once I leave you, you will fade. And even now, I can't comprehend the strange grace of our odyssey. Understand though, that to forget you doesn't mean you're forgiven the portent you have cast over me. When we sojourned through the night, I trusted all that you said beyond any retribution.
You say, almost there.
I say, yes.
I can't tell you to slow down or to take another lap. I don't want to take advantage of what I know to be your kindness. And at the same time, I am too proud.
Your car slides to a stop and I don't linger. Outside is one flickering street lamp leaking a puddle of light in the black. After I close the door, I lean forward to look at you through the open window. You do the same over your wheel and you face me. It's the first time we've turned toward one another.
If truth can become a falsehood once it's made concrete by words, I'd wish the opposite to be true as well.
I say, see you soon.
You say, yes.