She came to me on roller blades. In her audition, I wondered if anyone else was as blinded as I was. I fetched her coffee for several weeks, collecting her grateful flashed grins and stowing them in my jacket, next to my chest. There was always a second, at least, for her to look at me before someone called for her attention again. Everything was always moving, but she knew how to pause. “Where’s yours?” she said once, at some time in the morning that you only share with foxes and a crew you won’t know in six months. Later, we drag the dregs in order to stay in each other’s company, suspending the moment, steam rising between us, a smoke signal in the middle of the American diner. We walk quickly against the cold, quietly buzzing, boots clopping in a way that means we don’t have to say it. I show her where mine is at some time of the night that I now only share with her.
I think about what kind of gift I would give her if I dared. An image comes into my mind of a glossy paperback with a rough stick wedged through it. Not placed inside but stuck through the cover and the pages, piercing them, almost sewn in like thread, right across the middle in a vertical line. Impossible, the inexplicable violence of it completely at odds with what it means about us, her, my feelings towards her, and yet it feels like the only right answer. Earthy, and all that mothers. Who’s to answer for our such wild notions? I picture her taking it from me, looking at it seriously, and at me, eyes asking, This Is For Me, From You, This Is The Answer? I almost nod, she almost reciprocates, taking the book. The air between us presses like a vacuum, compressing us into a still scene, each part of my intention crumbled like charcoal and dried into paint. She does not touch the stick, but we both feel it as if it were caught through our bodies. We are both here, but are we ready?