Memory is such a strange thing. It breathes, it changes, it forgets. The most vivid ones are those captured by the lens of an undisturbed moment: when the air is static, subjects all suspended in negatives. But overtime they lose their luster, they blur in the edges and then you start to forget. You forget small details: the colour of his shirt, the face of the man who sold you that burger, the tune you were humming. So you remember pockets. You remember in dreams, in filtered films you can pause and rewind. Zoom out and you see you’re there with him, two specks in a crowd, the crowd a sea. Zoom in, tilt a little to the side and you’re in the back in the moment, except now he’s missing a wrinkle or two, or somehow the lighting is just a bit off on his teeth. It’s a photo you leave in between pages of a book by your bedside, just a little something to stumble upon when you decide to read before sleeping. A voice in the back of your head wishes for a chance to remember the moment again. A little wish for a dream.
It almost feels like a dream.
It was noon. It was Times Square in the summer heat. We had three hours before the buses came so we walked. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the city we kept silent, reveling in each other’s presence. Applebee’s. The little girl with the yellow balloon. Your sunglasses perched on my head. Our feet moved to the pulse of the city, all forward, fast. Around my neck slung a heavy camera but not once did I reach for it– my hands were tied– one clinging to my bag and the other clasped around yours. Your thumb rubbed circles on back of my hand, as if in writing, as if invisible circles could whisper your thoughts up my hand, my spine, to my ear and heart, sweet poetry in nothing, memory in everything. To my left, it was B.B. King serenading from decades away. We rounded a corner and you guffawed when some suit glared daggers at me for stepping on his foot. I threw those daggers at you. Your eyes crinkled at the corners, your lips pulled to the sides rather than up, like the promise of a hug, like arms I could bury myself in, soft and warm. You called me a bitch and I threw a fry at you, your fry. I bought a Yankees cap for $30, and you attempted to steal it but it couldn’t fit your head. We walked some more, palms sweaty but you tightened your grip. More silence in the noise. I looked up, looking for the sky and found concrete instead, but beams of sunlight escaped on the back of birds. You cracked a horrible joke so I stopped in my tracks and stared. This time you threw a fry at me. I cursed and we both cackled at pathetic tourists, like we weren’t ones as well. Your arm on my shoulder. I said stop it with the fucking accent; you said fuck you, I can’t help it. We continued walking. Sweat trickling down my back and forehead, blood rushing to my cheeks. Extra large cokes in capitalist capital. You didn’t get it so I laughed by myself. More walking, more naked Americans and more comfortable silences. We kept walking forward, one foot in front of the other, hand in hand. Electrical impulses shooting up our fingertips to spark the nerve endings, to light up my face. Your pulse the rhythm I followed. The bass of the city streets below our feet. Green eyes, emerald in New York lights. Time pushing us out of the dream, out of the memory. Forward, forward, forward.
I left a bit of that moment in New York.
You took some with you. I don’t mind.
Although sometimes I like to write about it, not because I’d like it back, but just to keep it safe. I try at it again but in different voices. My voice, the bird’s voice, the hotdog’s voice. Anything of the dream but never yours– yours would remain untouched, untarnished, locked in stars to keep it from fleeing. The beauty in stasis, away from touch, like constellations.
But sometimes I like to pick it up just to remember what it felt like in my fingers. The electric blue, the sweet abeyance of ticking time.
I search for it, in fragments.
I search for you.
(I still do.)
I wrote this on a whim a few weeks back for a performance thing, but it never really solidified nor did it ever feel finished and ready. (Even the title is meh!) This has been rotting in my drafts for quite some time so it just feels right to post it now (for some reason that eludes me). The stupidity of it all just hit me so I guess that this is a way for me to laugh at the past while moving on from it– along with some new elements aka my friend’s current hullabaloo with a certain mister. Expect sushi (raw) writing because this is le shitty first draft!