it’s been a while since I wrote something interesting, so this is me attempting to break out of this “college intellectual” mode that seems to hinder more than it helps at this point in time. Parte Deux in the next few days hopefully.
I see, in the corner of my field of view, a light, refracting in the long tube of my iris. The light begins to grow and split apart into a million rays, taking up one whole side of my eyelid. Then, suddenly, without warning or hesitation, the light swings past me, exploding in intensity until everything fades to white.
a horse, its feet off the ground.
it’s beautiful and heartbreaking, because nothing will ever be the same. now that we know horses can fly.
I open my eyes and the fluorescent bulbs make a mockery of light, casting it in every direction equally, coating us in it like whitewash on a fence. Enrico’s face is the first thing I focus on, his head resting against edge of the corridor stretching out behind him. I can’t quite remember what either of us has said in the last few minutes but I need to say something.
“I feel like this is where we wake up. This is where the movie starts, this is where things happen, like nothing else we’ve seen before. We’re starting in the middle of something, this is our… what do you call it? In media…”
“In medias res. ‘Meh-dias.’ Not ‘mee-dia.’”
“Alright, whatever. Not like you’re fluent in Latin.”
Rico pauses and grins.
“It was in a book I read. You ever heard that? Reading?”
“Yeah, probably a book about movies.”
“You know what? Fuck you. I like movies. And that’s what I read about.”
He grins and giggles. He’s content just sitting there.
“C’mon, we got to go do something. I need something,” I say. “Stimulus. Visuals.”
“Because. We’re only in the middle. In meh-dias res.”
“You’ve still got it wrong. That… that term means it’s more like the midst. In the midst of things.”
He looks at me and blinks heavily.
“Alright, well. Good job getting your money’s worth,” I say as I stand, cautiously. We walk to the stairs and as he walks up to his floor, I walk down to mine. We had met in the middle.
I’m tempted to walk back down to my room, to curl up and die there for the night, to kill all the sensations flooding into me. My head grows heavy and I reach for the handle of the door.
What am I doing? This is no way to spend a night.
I turn around and walk into the lobby and out the front door. The night air is warm against my humbly clothed skin. Fellow wanderers litter the streets. Groups arriving to sanctuary from ragers, raves, after-parties, get-togethers and chillers, sanctuary, or maybe just a change of pace from all variances and quantities of alcohol and its cohorts, marijuana and any variety of pills. There they sit, smoking a few cigarettes to clear their heads, because, they think quietly: if you can counteract it, maybe you can function for a few minutes, or at least a few seconds, or half-seconds.
One of them, a name I can’t remember, holds a cigarette in his right hand and shouts out my name.
“Joseph! Joe, where’ya been?”
“Oh, no where, I was going to watch a movie with a friend but,”
“Watch a movie? This late?”
“Well by movie I mean…”
He laughs heartily and slaps me on the shoulder. I get the impression he has no idea where I was going with that. I wish I was drunk. Not in this bloated, evil space.
“You, you’re a cinema major right?”
“Yeah, of course, you got a cigarette?”
He pulls out a crumpled box and searches for one that isn’t broken. I take it and he lights it up. It pulls me out for a bit, reconnects me with the ground, kind of the way coffee does. Feels like home. Do you have a home? The group of boys in front of me jabbers and laughs and I have to rip myself away-
“Wait so, you were going to watch a movie, then…”
“No I was joking, I was never going to watch a movie.”
Great job, got interrupted, gotta be fast enough to interrupt yourse-
“Oh, I see.”
“Well, we’re gonna go back to my dorm to talk, you’re welcome to come.”
“Oh, well that’s very nice of you.”
“So do you-“
“No thanks I’m in the middle of something,” I say in a rush.
No you’re not. He gives me this awful look of confusion. He’s not drunk enough to forget it but drunk enough to interpret it as: “fuck you.”
“Okay, well seeya later, Joseph.”
What the fuck is his name? I walk forward. Forward is the only direction. The only direction. The only direction. I love to get caught up in observation. I look to my right as I pass a wall. The bricks have an inconsistent texture and I reach out to touch them. I feel their rough edges on my nail-bitten hands and I feel a connection, one with the building. Why couldn’t I be an architect? Then I could just spend all my time picking out which bricks to use.
I continue walking. Ahead is a 24-hour convenience store. Kids stand outside, talking and laughing. Cars pull in and out of the parking lot. I walk in to get a coffee. The light is so bright I feel like it’s burning me. Reminds me of long trips across the country in the minivan, walking in casually to slip mom a candy bar, hoping she’s too tired to put up a fight about it. I walk up to pay and the man shoots me daggers. Does he do this to every poor sap who wants a coffee? God I hope my eyes aren’t that red.
I walk outside. There’s Serafin, standing around a big group of people. She turns and catches my eye.
“Hey…” I drawl awkwardly. I’m not exactly in the best of states for this.
“Oh hey!” she exclaims with a downplayed kind of excitement. She breaks away from her little powwow to give me a hug. I look into her eyes and try to smile sincerely. Why do you have to fake it? She laughs in my face.
“So I see you’ve been having a good night.”
“Oh, me? Yeah it’s possible I suppose.”
Always with the sarcasm. Then she smiles just as sweetly as I think I’m pretending to do. I wonder what’s in her head. What’s she trying to get at? Maybe you’re just jealous. At what? Her ability to feel? Yes. She can do it all by herself.
“It’s really nice to see you. I feel like it’s been too long.”
“Much too long.”
I give her a kiss, short and sweet. It turns into longer kiss. I feel like people are watching.
“Come on now,” I manage to get out,
“What? What’s wrong?”
I look over to the circle of people she sprang from. A pang of panic shoots out when I realize Ryan is in the middle of it. Was he watching? He seems to be talking and laughing with a few girls in the group, showing off his little cigarette roller. I guess no one ever watches. You left her hanging.
“Oh nothing,” I blurt out after what seems like it must have been forever.
Sera manages to pull my head down. In her eyes I see that same joy, the glee of young love. The happiness in everything, in finding a life for yourself, in having love with no limits, there when you want it, able to live on its own terms, in coasting. That’s what Ryan saw too.
She manages to sneak in another kiss. I have to get out of there.
many promises to keep