Upon entering, we see a round, yellow light. It flickers slightly in a nervous fashion, as if we have entered uninvited, and perhaps in an intrusive manner. Behind a table—there you are, I say. You stand up quickly and give a faint nod of acknowledgement. I stand at the threshold, waiting for your signal, but you do not give it…your eyes follow mine with unbearable penetration, and I can see your pupils dilating and your irises flashing grey and silver. We’re both motionless for a while—who knows for how long (only God)—and only the flickering light gives us any notion of time passing. You raise your left arm towards the table; I begin forward, a step, and then another. Now you bend your wrist back so that your palm is facing me, silently telling me to stop. I do. What happens?
I’m nervous, I don’t know why. But you’re so utterly calm. Your eyes and mouth are still as stone. Is there a breeze coming from somewhere? Please sit, you speak in such a quiet voice, several tones above a whisper. I hesitate before doing so. This is such an odd memory, I tell you. Why do I not remember this?
“Because you chose to forget.” But here we are—what does this mean?
“It means nothing.”
There is grass underneath our feet. Soft, green grass that has grown wild, long, and unencumbered. My mind is thrown in circles and unseen lapses. I manage out, where is the sun?
“It’s somewhere…probably far, but not farther than usual.” You speak as if we are in a dream, as if in a dream of a dead person.
“Dying. The dead don’t dream; they remember.” My hands feel light and uneasy. I loved you so much one time. Maybe I still do. Do you remember? Was it so long ago that my memory is nothing more than a faded painting that’s been burned, then scattered into the ocean? The confusion leaps up in a wave. Your apparent indifference frightens me. Can it really be…?
“I can’t tell you that. No words can revive a reality that is no more, or never was.” But why do you speak to me like that? The light goes out. I can still see your eyes though, through a dim glow of unconscious memory. Such handsome, beautiful eyes. When did I last see them? A few seconds, a few decades?
“I should ask you now: how did you find me?” I do not hear this question; I am watching cars pass by: green one, grey one, red one…one driver in particular looks over at me in a brief moment of recollection. A child is sitting in the passenger seat. (Is it you? Or me?) The buildings on the opposite side appear tilted. I drove here, I say. I can smell the leather seats, and I can hear the blinkers and a distant honking. Do you?
“No, though I can imagine it.” One of the buildings is smoking from the fourth floor. No one is screaming, no one is panicking. A few people look up and watch with curiosity. The walls seem a few inches closer than before. I glance back and the doorway is gone.
“Are you happy?” I am caught off guard by this. I’m—but first I take a deep breath. The air is crisp, almost cold. I can barely see you anymore. The buildings fade into the background, and I can feel the brushing sound of grass again. Your body is almost transparent, like you’re floating. I’m not happy. I’m not, but that’s ok. A voice I knew a long time ago is whispering, everything’s ok, everything’s going to be ok.
I can’t see you, but I know that I am supposed to tell you why I’m not happy. I’m no longer sitting, but am either standing or lying down. In front of my eyes I see a single flower, a familiar orange poppy that rouses something deep inside me. So now I say, I’m not happy because yesterday I made the biggest mistake of my life. I am speaking more confidently now, ready to pour the truth out and place my heart in front of all to see.
But in this moment I feel suddenly alone. Everything is dark. I know you are here. Say something, please. I am surrounded by silence. I am not afraid, I tell myself.
“We can continue some other time, can’t we?” Yes, it’s true, perhaps now is not the time. I feel a soft nudge on my left shoulder. Promise? The biggest mistake of—
“Isn’t everything so colorful?” Yes, that’s true too. I am on the verge of ecstasy. We see a field of flowers, which seem a crowd of strangers’ faces. The sky is full of life. A flock of pigeons fly overhead and I imagine that they’re vultures, blocking out the sun, waiting for tomorrow, as they were yesterday and the day before.