Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Freewriting: Black Pants

            You came to me in a work setting and we were bound by circumstances. Well, at least I think we were. I know I was. And even though it was a lifetime ago I can still remember those black pants. They were over there. By the copy machine. You rooted through the file folders and they were on you, calling to me in a whisper so loud I scanned the room twice, unsure if others’d heard.

            Across a handful of months we crossed paths from time to time, never without mutual smiles. Seeing your name on the computer always brightened my day and the few live conversations we had I cherished. You were good at your job, I think, but that wasn’t why; our dialogue always turned my motivation on its head.

            After a time I was gone and the same would soon be true for you, too, both of us returning to the grinds from which we came. And the tiniest connection we had evaporated into the skies of our respective lives.

            Trying to quantify everything that has transpired since feels like an attempt to assess your cloud-flanked altitude before the pilot announces it. There’s just…too much of everything.

            Moves have happened, babies have been born, careers have shifted. Goals have been outlined, accomplishments noted, emotions fractured. And at the end of it all a clearer self-assessment reared, one for each of us. With lucid minds, patterns have evolved, preferences illuminated, leading, somehow, to a form of reconnection.

            Like looking out at those clouds from that window seat, it’s hard to rank the heaviest of things: distance, fear, vulnerability, determination, logistics. There’s an energy, though, nudging feelings in a particular direction. It’s unclear what that direction is, and it’s entirely possible that it leads, in a circle, back to self. It’s worth examination, though. At least I think it is.

            Perhaps clearer than anything lies the undeniable difference between need and want.

            There’s no need for union, even if it sometimes feels like there is. There is, however, want for connection. In everyone. And that want is almost always certain to bare union, even if only for a moment. There’s the need for standing ground, for being protective, for maybe sheltering that vulnerability. And at the same time there’s the want of new experience, even if only a teaspoon at a time. The need for homeostasis presents as a form of self-defeat; taking a chance or making a gamble threatens to erase the entire blackboard before all of the notes can be properly penciled.

            What, then, can be made of it all. What, then, is the right -- assuming there is one -- move.

            All of this has spoken to both fence sides. Until now.

            Looking through the chain link, considering hopping the structure can certainly seem like a rose-colored view. The venture, though, should be given full consideration. An initial union should be the choice. Knowing whether the heat that radiated from the side of that copy machine was real or an illusion requires a test drive. Finding out if the emotion -- assuming there was some -- behind those brief, distant exchanges had roots or not matters. Determining that those pants spoke to me in real time or in a dream weighs heavily.

            It’s important, I believe, to feel convinced that this is not desperation.

            I’ve listened to the chorus of the cicadas, felt the bitter silence of winter nibble at my cheek. I know that the sun comes up in the morning, and on some nights the clouds race across the different weights of sky. I’m good at doing my thing, with faults, of course.

            I’ve tossed in my sheets with such restlessness that I’m certain my time knocks from the porch just as I’ve snored loud enough for my children to hear me from down the hall. I have half of a life ahead of me and I can’t know now or possibly ever if my best self wears the boots of solitude. What I do know, though, is that my heart envisions servitude, warmth, and pleasure. Sometimes I picture that very thing as though from a director’s perspective, slowly zooming in on the old-time parlor with two chairs facing the brightness of the fireplace.

(Bigger, more-squared-up, mysterious chairs, and in black-and-white)

The eternal viewer, I won’t know if I’m sitting alone in the left one until the camera arrives. It’s possible that that right-hand seat sits empty most nights, the perfect vessel for the occasional friend, the sometimes relative. It’s just as possible, though, that it’s meant for you, that we sip tea together from them and talk about the day and the neighborhood and the other 9,998 things of the world. It seems plausible that, on some nights, we’re there in our robes, smiling that the steam from our life together has carried us several moments past bedtime.

            On the mantle rests independence and claims of probably won’t. They’re things people look at now, when they’re in our space. To them they hold a different value, a memory of a previous time. They beckon stories, be they vivid or cloaked in seclusion.

            It seems that the end scene involves toothbrushes and night-stand lamps with books on them, an eagerness for the coming day. There’s a strength in that vision that makes the coming hours doable, unity producing endurance.

            It’s entirely possible, too, that that hearth is cobweb-y, that this has been neat for the precise thing that it is, that all of those in-between years return as a sequel well worth viewing, one that leaves curiosity regarding how it ties to the original.

            In essence, it’s a certainty that our lives have room for one another. What it boils down to is putting a finger on whether or not we like that room. I know that I like the idea of it, and I know that liking the idea of it can’t exist if it’s not you. I’ve seen other forms of that room and discarded them with purpose. It can’t be right if it’s not right and it can’t be anything without seeing.


  1. "I have half of a life ahead of me and I can’t know now or possibly ever if my best self wears the boots of solitude." - What an honest line. This whole piece resonates with me on a deep, human level. I ask myself the same questions every day. Well done.