I had already fallen in love with far too many postage stamps when you appeared in my doorstep wearing nothing but a postcard promise. No, appear is the wrong word. Is there a word for sucker-punching someone in the heart? Is there a word for when you’re sitting at the bottom of a roller coaster and you realize that the climb is coming, that you know what the climb means, that you can already feel the flip in your stomach from the fall, before you’ve even moved. Is there a word for that? There should be.
You can only fit so many words in a postcard, only so many in a phone call, only so many into space before you forget that words are sometimes used for things other than filling emptiness. It is hard to build a body out of words. I have tried. We have both tried. Instead of lying your head against my chest I tell you about the boy who lives downstairs from me, who stays up all night long practising his drumset. The neighbors have complained, they have busy days tomorrow but he keeps on thumping through the night, convinced, I think, that practice makes perfect. Instead of holding my hand you tell me about the sandwich you made for lunch today, how the pickles fit so perfectly against the lettuce. Practice does not make perfect, practice makes permanent. Repeat the same mistakes, over and over, and you don’t get any closer to Carnegie Hall, even I know that. Repeat the same mistakes, over and over, and you don’t get any closer. You never get any closer.
Is there a word for the moment you win tug of war, when the weight gives and all that extra rope comes tumbling towards you? How even though you’ve won, you still end up with muddy knees and scratches on your hands? Is there a word for that? I wish there was. I would’ve said it, when we were finally alone together on your couch, neither one of us with anything left to say.
Still now, I send letters into space, hoping that some mailman somewhere will track you down, and recognize you from the descriptions in my poems, that he will place the stack of them in your hands and tell you, “There is a girl who still writes you. She doesn’t know how not to.”
i have been listening to this again and again for the past couple of days because it’s beautiful. but if i have to be honest with myself, and most of the time i am, i keep listening to it mostly because J hasn’t written to me at all yet this year. there was this one short message on my facebook wall to acknowledge that he received my christmas card but that was the last i heard from him. as for me, there have been two attempts to make contact: a birthday card and an email update mid-may. while i am not heartbroken, i feel a bit saddened about the entire thing.
some pictures popped up on facebook around a month ago that i recognized as from the night when we met. it wasn’t love or even attraction at first sight. but after a night of good conversation over religion, no less, i swear a voice in my head was saying, ‘here is what you’ve been waiting for.‘ i surprised myself when i got home because i ended up praying for him that night. i, who hadn’t been in touch with my spiritual side for years, prayed for a guy i had just met. he was here for two weeks and in that time we got to know each other through texts, chatting, two lunch dates, one group dinner after disc practice and one drinking session that ended with me passing out on his friend’s couch. (yeah, one of those crazy, unplanned things that i swear could only happen to me. haha!) to quote a line that’s been haunting me since reading it in Carrie Ryan’s book The Dead-Tossed Waves, “i could feel the possibility between us.”
and what wonderful possibility!