I’m telling D about Alexis again. Some girls have a short fuse when it comes to that sort of thing — me describing a past relationship while sharing a bed with them. But bed, in my opinion, is the sort of place where you never wear pants and share things that are important to you. You don’t just share a present and (hopefully) a future with someone. You’re also supposed to share your past — the things that were so transformative for you, things locked in your timeline, i.e., this is why I am who I am. What’s the point of showing someone who you are if you’re not going to tell them how you got there?
I was terrible at sharing with Alexis, keeping thoughts/feelings to myself mostly because I didn’t think very nice things back then. She made the mistake of being with someone extremely cynical who just kept quiet about it — for the most part.
But even though it was never easy for me to open up to her, I’ve discovered that it’s incredibly easy to open up about her.
This morning, D has her head on my chest, and I’m playing with her hair. There’s construction going on outside, the crashes of a city constantly rebuilding itself — not unlike a living, breathing organism. There’s the constant reconstruction within myself, for example. An infinite number of back-thens floating out of my mouth and into the atmosphere. Meanwhile, I’m regenerating into a newer and newer me.
The relentless transformation turns the past into a series of paintings — changing memories into still-lives. It’s the difference between what your brain remembers and what your heart remembers.
During our morning coffee — she’s “brewed” some Nescafe that I pour way too much sugar in — I tell D how unfair it is that time strips away the things we felt, leaving behind only a loop of blinking eyes looking up at you, sometimes a faint “What?” spoken by a tender voice. The scenes don’t matter nearly as much as the feelings they invoke.
I want to tell D what being alone with Alexis was like, how it felt to love someone with such an inquisitive heart, but there isn’t anything concrete anymore, the soft beating diminishing from the canvas of memory.
After coffee, we both sit down to write.