I used to believe god had a book in heaven with a page and lines and words that recorded each thing I'd done, even every thought I'd ever had. Sins had red marks on them. I don't believe in sins any more (except the sin of being willfully ignorant of the present), but i did at the time. In a way, I suppose I still believe in that book. The book is bound, and my life continuous. The cinematic effect of reshuffling pages is merely bound up in how I feel at the moment: I am pulled out of time by distress. But the whole thing goes away if i notice it, and then the past and future pages stay where they are, and I stay where I am, in the present.
How different things were when I met my boyfriend. I was attracted to Aaron, and had been since I'd met him six years before. Part of me had searched for him, in others, for six years. Part of me was distressed to discover that others are never who I wanted them to be. Even though people remain a composite of other people I know, the reality is that they transmute into unique individuals anyway, no matter how many external references I identify in them. This wicked character montage did the opposite of what it was supposed to. Instead of breaking people down into other people I knew, it created new people, unknown, indescribable, and uncontained by my feeble dissections.
Sometimes, I wonder if there are any continuities at all, so I list them.
I make lists of my friends. Who I Spend Time With and Who I Wish To Spend Time With. It's an astonishing exercise.
I enumerate the way light happens.
I made a list of all the ways I experienced love with the men I have loved. Part of me was distressed to discover that I fell in love with all those men right away because I wanted them to be Aaron.
And that night, just after he asked me to stay, I realized he was the only man I could fall in love with.
He led me to the bedroom, as if leading me through Starlight Lounge, carefully holding my hand, guiding me over new and unfamiliar terrain, guiding me through a discovery that might lead equally to delight or disaster, every moment dying and being born, yet the accumulation of the Present leading to a pulling away of a veil of mystery about where a gorgeous like he with such arms and such shoulders rests, sets his alarm clock, folds his sheets over blue pillows, tosses his laundry, and drops his shoes.
He pushed me down by my shoulders, so that I would sit on his bed. He began to pull off his jeans before removing his shoes. I relaxed my back and began to enjoy the sight of him wobbling on one foot, attempting to pull the pant leg over his shoe. He wobbled and slowly began to realize, through all the cocktails he'd drunk that night, that he would have to take them off first. Even this clumsy moment revealed his cunning: the smile he put on his face looked like it would transform, at any instant, into an opening that would tear his shoes off with his teeth. Delight or disaster, love. I decided to discover, through thick and thin, if he was capable of guilelessness.
He laughed aloud, tore off his shoes (with his hands), flung each against opposite walls, ripped off his jeans, and stood there before me with an erection and a drunken grin. The sweat on his chest and tummy glistened in the streetlight bleeding into his room, through the barren window, invited in, the way one would a vampire, to suck darkness from the space. I could smell his crotch like it was a bloom. His arms, shoulders, and chest looked exactly as I'd remembered them six years ago. And now they are mine, I thought, as he stepped closer, grinning, begging, grinning. His grin-beg-grin was reflecting my own need to beg him for the same happiness. The person I longed to be in 1996, the position I wished to be in, I now occupied. I'd become the myself I'd wanted to be six years ago. It was time to live that life. I reached out for his tummy, and let my hand slide south.
Yet another possibility opened up for me, while he begged me to stay, grinned at my hand, begged me to make him happy, once again unhinging time in a way as involuntary as my own breathing; the possibility was that once I began to love Aaron, I would suddenly discover how to love others, again, and independently of him, the time-delayed First. And then I began to make that happen.
ps all work in this domain is copyright chad the minx.