Friday, July 20, 2012

If she was here

This story is fiction, and it starts with his car flipping over on a highway at 2:30 in the morning. 

She's driving right behind him and sees the whole accident play out and it's so incredible she feels detached. As if her windshield was a movie screen.

Strictly speaking, though, this is the middle of the story. In the beginning, they are just kids. Maybe sixteen.

Sometimes - and this was very early on - she'd see him after school. He'd be waiting for somebody else, one foot leaning against his car (well, the one he borrowed from his dad); the collar of his polo shirt sticking up.

A year or two later he seemed to always be a part of the circle of close friends of whomever she happened to be dating.

He was easy to talk to. They would sit on the ledge of the roof of his house, legs dangling down, and smoke and speculate about the future. Would they remain friends? Move away? Would they forget each other? "You'll be a writer" he predicted "and I'll buy your best seller the second I come across it."

While the others drank rum and coke, played poker and listened to music (now "classic rock") the two of them would search for a quiet corner and sit on the rug, lean against the wall, and talk straight through the night. 

"Do you think it's true" she would ask, "that time heals everything?"

He'd regard her for a long while and exhale, making chains of perfect smoke circles. "Almost everything" he'd declare with authority. "Almost".

They talked about the pros and cons of the various people they were dating. Before long, anything he said seemed to have a hidden message. Her interpretation: "She’s not quite right, because she's not you".

One day right before dawn she asked him in a tone she hoped sounded clinical if he was a good kisser. "Well", he said with a cocky grin, "I've never gotten any complaints."

A few weeks later at a bar he was drunk and she was not and he walked towards her and she walked backwards and he walked towards her until her back was flush against an exposed brick wall. He put one hand on one side of her head and waited a full minute. He put the other on the other side. "We're friends", she whispered. "Then turn away" he replied as he inched his face towards hers. She didn't.

He called her early the next morning.  "Are we good?" Yes. "Are you sure?" Yes. "Well, am I a good kisser?" 

"Of all the guys I've kissed" she replied, "you're a solid #2".

They pretended they were friends for another few months before he confessed he loved her, had always loved her; and then proceeded to have the kind of relationship one would expect from two people stumbling through their early twenties.

If she were real, if she was here, what would I say to her? I would say be careful. I would say that every relationship tracks a path for the ones that follow so inexorable that one day you become unable to distinguish your past actions from your fate.

I would tell her what is already obvious to you: that nothing is more important than the connections you make.

That the people who have known you for years become sole witnesses to a piece of you no one will ever again understand.

And I would tell him that he was wrong. That time doesn’t really heal anything.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Amor geológico

Siguiendo la lógica de la ley física de la conservación, la que dicta que la energía ni se crea ni se destruye, sino que solo se transforma, lo que siento por ti no puede ser reciente. Ha estado aquí siempre.

Existían ya elementos de su composición química en la Nébula solar y en la explosión supernova que dio origen a este planeta. En el vapor marino de los asteroides que se transformó en agua salada, llenando acantilados de liquido vital y de especies de animales que todavía nadie conoce del todo.

Aquí estaba cuando se formó la inmensa curva azul del cielo. Cuando se trazó la línea nítida y recta del horizonte y se delinearon las masas continentales.  

Era ya un rastro de tinta en el libro que usaron los Dioses al principio, ese donde determinaron sin misericordia el destino de cada mortal.

Podemos inferir que existió mucho antes de la creación de la nostalgia. Antes de cualquier emblema. Antes de la religión y de la gestación de los laberintos que todos llevamos adentro. Antes de nuestro recuerdo más valioso y ancestral. Antes de la original formación de la ceniza de donde dicen que venimos.

Estaba ahí cuando se diseñó el trazo perfecto de las hojas de los helechos y el diseño geométrico del caparazón de las tortugas.

En uno de esos casos de elipsis temporal podríamos confirmar su evidencia en el polvo que cubre la colección de fósiles en todo museo de historia natural.

Ya nos iremos conociendo mejor tu y yo, dando espacio a ésta actual versión de nosotros. Pero como puedes ver, es inconsecuente la forma que le demos.

Inconsecuente, porque mucho después de dejar de ser lo que somos seguirá existiendo este mismo elemento, sus moléculas estables, intactas, libres, dispersas; quizás dándole el brillo a las telarañas y el verde a la hierba nueva.

Se verá su destello en los astros que algún día alguien conectará para ver formarse alguna anónima constelación o la evidencia de una historia que, como todo, ha existido desde siempre.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Our own Higgs Boson

As a lover of structure and order and answers, I wish I could pinpoint the second it all began. 

Perhaps it was when I first came across your photographs and captions. Their thoughtful selection betrayed an urgent wistfulness I was convinced was visible only to me.

Or maybe it was before we even met. You were tugging on me years ago, back when I first realized it was time to leave him and start over.

Maybe it was reading the list of things you couldn't live without and knowing I could easily ensure your survival by providing an endless array of good Japanese knives and a life replete with serendipity.

I guess it could have been later too. After I told you on the sidewalk that I would never get on a motorcycle with a stranger. Or later, after the homeless man in the gas station assured me that you were a keeper. Or later, after you grimaced the first time I experimentally called you my boyfriend.

Or yesterday, when I realized (again) that I need space and need you, both at the same time.

Of course, it's entirely possible that the answer doesn't exist. That there is a missing piece out there somewhere with the potential to elucidate not only how and when our universe - yours and mine - began but by extension how it works and how the most elemental pieces of us fit together.

It would interpret why the currently abstract matter that constitutes our relationship actually has mass. And how it, combined with gravity, gives weight to what we are inadvertently building.

Maybe some day in this lifetime we will find it, and it will explain everything.