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Why I'm Not Where You Are
-You would always take my left hand by the wrist whenever you wanted to show me something new. A tight squeeze meant "it's important!" So I stopped speaking with my tuxedo-dressed, wine-drinking friends who knew too much of something but too little of everything and followed you into a different room of the art gallery. It was an exhibit of various paintings and sculptures of the Titanic, and I was fascinated.
We crawled, slithered, inched forward at such a humble pace that I became skeptical that we were moving at all- a foothold at the center of the Earth, letting the people, the places, the Grand Canyon, the ancient Mayan temples, the Amazon rainforest glide around us, dance around us, as the world continued spinning as the glasses continued clinking as mouths opened and closed, speaking of God and Donatello and the philosophy of high strung businessmen, unable to love unable to touch and hug and kiss their daughters, their stepsons, their wives.
And so we crawled, inched, slithered along the marble floor, stepping where great artists and great lovers had once been. You led me to the back of the room which got narrower with each pair of opposing paintings; a woman was waving at the harbor, a man was crying and blowing his nose, confetti was flying,
fluttering in the air like birds.
There were two paintings, one of the A-6 boat and one of a baby wrapped in its mother's blanket as they sailed away from the ship, away from its father and her lover, away from each other. I felt like crying and laughing and sitting on the floor and listening to it breathe with old footsteps and squeak with secrets. You let go of my hand, moving quietly towards the canvasses and stopped several inches from the wall, standing between the two pieces, you paid no attention to the blues and greens and whites of blistering cold, of suffering, of dying, of forgetting, of separating; they were separate colours, proud in their own solitude but divided by themselves. And in the way that the painter could not make blue or yellow or white, he could not make you feel, he could not make you suffer.
You whispered my name and I looked up.
"I would like you to see the most detailed work of all."
You laughed, I removed my hands from my pockets and smiled, and together we stared at the gap of white between the two masterpieces. We stared and stared and stared, I saw greens dancing with reds and she saw purples and yellows and the wall shook off its skin and revealed a network of colours, all alive and pulsing, all functioning together to create this white, this emptiness, a blank canvas, an open room, a map of the universe, and it was unified in its beauty, simple in its complexity, how could so many colours come together and form white, why was the white covered with pictures,
portraits, only illustrating a tenth, a thousandth of its detail?
Why are our bodies covered with hair and freckles and skin when the trees in our chests and the splinters of our veins, the butterfly inside a cocoon, you were the silk I was the worm, why was all of this beauty hidden from the world why do we walk and laugh and kiss in plastic molds of what we are, are we aware of this loveliness are we embarrassed by it, why why why why?
I do not understand this any more than I do not understand why I am here and you are there, or why the world has to change and why we have to grow old and feeble and weak and why the sparrows in your garden leave for the winter, or why you bought the plane ticket to France, we hugged and kissed at the gallery's door, we made jokes about the ice berg and smiled, you told me you were going to buy some magazines, I looked at you and I knew you were not coming back, so why didn't I stop you, why did I let you leave?
You still send me magazines, I still send you photographs, I still feed the sparrows, I still wash the shirt and sock you left behind. You are living, I am living, and like the red and the green like the yellow and the purple we are together but still apart, we mix but are still repelled, I am trying to become the white.
I am trying to cover the canvas.
But the letters, the paintings, the galleries, the walls
are all melting brown brown brown
And this is why I am not where you are.