This piece marks the beginning of a series of works/projects I’m doing inspired by my year in Japan.
#1 “A Chess Match” an original piece
I can’t stop thinking of you. The delicately intricate details of your constitution are like wires I’m crossing, experimenting to find a current. I want to figure you out, put my finger on your trigger. But sometimes I can’t stand to think of you. Your image pops into my head and I cross it out with ink and burn that sheet of paper until it’s ash and throw the scattered pieces into the trash. I want to dissolve every trace of you from my life and start over sometimes. Maybe that’s why we work well with long distance.
We’re two acrobats walking a tightrope. We have all this rising action, slowly making our way towards each other, but we never get to the conflict or climax, we never meet. We’re just walking along.
You texted me today. It was very out of character, I might add. What is your character? Well that’s simple, I think of you as the passive one in this relationship. You sit back and watch as I make all the moves. I’m the one who said I love you first. Most people think that makes me the loser in our little game. Check-mate, and you have my queen–my heart–trapped in a corner with no pawns to guard it.
But I hate chess, so let’s not think about that.
Let’s get back to your character. Yeah, you’re a tough one to pin down that’s for sure. Passively watching this whole relationship from the safety of your desk, like a series on netflix set to autoplay. What episode do you think we’ll come to next? Maybe you’ll wake up one day and find yourself in bed set adrift on the open sea as waves silently sway your makeshift ship slowly back to shore. Or oblivion for all you know. Because time is now a thousand clocks in one room, and the ticking is all off. One clocks on Pacific Standard time and the others on Eastern, and so you don’t know where to look, trapped in your bed boat, trapped in your life.
Then you look to me and I’m just suppose to rescue you send you a life raft and pull you to shore. Yeah, well what about myself? You never do think about how hard it is to steer my own boat let alone yours. You’re just dead weight dragging me down further with you. I want to set my own course, take myself to foreign places and explore islands and other oceans alone. You’re nodding in agreement like you understand.
“You should explore,” you say. Go out and be your own vessel. Take all the time you need, so you say. It’s too agreeable, too convenient. You like the idea of us being separated. After all with neither of us tied down to one another you get to park your bed into another room at the edge of space. You disappear without a trace except for a small message, “I’m exploring my options.”
A shellfish. That’s what you are an oyster slammed shut. You tricked me with a pearl but it’s just a rabbit I’m constantly chasing. Why am I chasing it? I can’t even remember at this point. How did this all start again?
No really, where did we begin? Oh that’s right it was Christmas time in my room, on my bed. God Christmas season, all those hollow ornaments hanging on the tree next to uneaten sugar cookies in the shapes of stockings. It makes me lonely. But you were there. You were there like an unwrapped present on Christmas eve, my own private teddy bear.
I can’t remember our first kiss. Was it awkward? Did you like it? I just remember my back gently falling on my bed, those ugly sheets ruining the moment, your hand exploring my waist, making gentle motions with the tips of your finger, smoothing out my imperfections. I felt my lips on yours and it was sweet; the sweetness that only comes with a first kiss. Of course you weren’t my only first. We have many first first-kisses.
To be honest it wasn’t our first kiss that makes it into the highlights section of kisses. It was all that happened next that makes the memory so vivid. The rush of blood that drove us against each other, moving fluidly, naturally, almost precisely. The room caved in around me with bits of plaster disintegrating into dust and then gas enveloping us, until “us” disappeared as well. You noticed it too. We were no longer two bodies, two spirits. We became intangible, floating further and further away from reality. Locked hand in hand we were on an odyssey that reduced us to vulnerable sparks of motion. Two circuits connected and we fell back down to my bed and those ugly sheets.
I don’t know if we’ve ever come close to that night again. Maybe it was one of those one time deals. I’m glad though. I hate you sometimes but I don’t want to let you go either. I want to posses you, keep you locked up in a room chained to the wall so you can never leave me. I know it’s weird, but I’m insecure that way. I’m afraid to let you go because you’ll fly off on your own, leaving me behind to deal with the gaping hole in my heart. Is this what it means to date as an adult?
It’s so nerve racking I wonder why people do it. But I’ll keep studying you, if just for the useful anthropological experience. I jot notes down in my journal. I know you see me when I do because you watch me out of the corner of your eye. Yes, I’m complicated and emotional and I fit all the cliches of an English major who reads too much. And you’re logical, reasonable, sometimes leading your arguments and comments into a cold dark cave where they fester and scare me. But it’s definitely a different view point. Sometimes it’s good to change the scenery around you. So let’s get off this tight rope. I’ll pull your boat ashore and I’ll sit in your cave if you promise to keep reading my letters, to listen to my rants, and to never play chess (but if you must you have to let me win).