The Point Where You Place Your Hand
The night sings. There’s a spatter of stars fighting through the wet orange glow of the street lights, and he spins around as he looks up, his head back, his arms wide. This night. He feels like taking off his shoes and dancing on the damping grass. But he’s not here for dancing, and his feet may not touch the ground. Twists of night air and cold; tingles on warm skin. He walks an angel moment, why’d he ever wait this long? Every moment should be held like this. Held with air and heaven.
It’s not just elation that prods him forward, not just his feet that drag him along. It’s been time to talk for too long now. He’s known that. He’s walking in ideas he’s had, and through dreams he’s known. Today is his first day home in himself. There’s a shape like a circle that led him here. It’s strange, it’s a shape that also kept him away for a long time. The stars glitter in cloudless night.
Looking out over the grass, all lit blue by a big moon, he sees the park writ in mystery. There’s a story here, somewhere. He’s been in the wrong story and the wrong storybook. The next morning, when he walks through the park again, the park will stand naked in steaming morning light. The new morning is a mystery too, wrapping itself in gauze; a soft focus start to the day.
His steps echo dully, bouncing softly from the trees. He wonders if anyone will be here so late. He’s not expected. He would barely have expected this himself. He quietly grins again; a little burst of air as he lets out a single ha of laughter. His skin thrums with electricity. You say one sentence, you make one decision, you start one new life.
There are events and there are conversations. There’s something that he’s been waiting to tell her for far too long. He remembers the perfect symmetry of her face as he spoke, the soft pink of the o that her lips formed. The complimentary circles of her eyes as they opened up for his words. This was his day, and his night is something new. The stars spin as the day trips itself through his mind. Today forgives the past, and he finds himself forgiven and new.
There’s a figure up ahead, on the edge of the night wood. The outline blurs into the dark. A fold of cloth follows the line of an extended branch. This is suspense. He finds his breath catching, and smiles at it all. There’s a moment between the smile and its fading when his eyes close. In that moment the dark of the night forms a seamless whole with the dark behind his eyelids. The figure up ahead steps out into the path.
Their eyes lock, or the dark spaces where their eyes should be, and it only takes a second for that to happen. He thinks of her face and the soft pink of the o that her lips formed. Had she worn that frock for him? The light and the twirl of the sun through leaves, the dappled shadows on her bare shoulders. On the other side of the street a woman was posting a letter, her dog pulling at its leash. The sky was a broken blue. He thinks all this, but it’s gone, and he’s headed off the path, following a figure he can barely make out. If there’s a sign warning him off the grass he doesn’t see it.
In the morning he comes by this way again. The route twists his lips upward, no thinking required. The grass misted over so early in the day. He makes the same steps, his chest tightening with odd recognition. And this sky is grey now, long clouds duvet the city. It’s the way to work, and there isn’t time, but he stops his steps where he stepped off the path last night. Ducking under branches, he relives part of the memory. Looking down at a space, he sees his body, the unfamiliar curves and reactions. The way he had put his hand out to steady himself, like pale flame in timorous moonlight. The obtuse movements and gentle arcs of limbs juxtaposed. His hand at a point where grass gave in to rock and rubble. Kicked earth. The thrill of unfamiliar fingers on his hip. The brute notes, and night clicks. The sighs and sounds. Even now, the grass is twisted stems of his body’s signature.
With charming and elaborate sadness his thoughts step a little further back. Maybe words had been too blunt, after all. Across the road the dog is barking, and he can’t meet eyes that have filled with delicate tears. Her hand impulsive to her collarbone, nail on her skin. Talking. And talking. The broken blue shuffling white over its spaces above them. The street suddenly full, a hubbub of motors and voices; a cacophony of something to say.
He makes his way back to the path. Work was this way. There were other thoughts to have. He takes another step with new feet in old shoes. Slowly, the day starts singing too.