A Moment in the Street
She said the only right thing to do was to wait, so we waited together. The sky was clear and bright even in the dark and I stared up at it like I was drunk. I hadn’t had anything. The whole world—her—illuminated under the trees rustling. My nose’s skin was cold and slightly damp and I thought of the wetness of freshly-cut grass.
Why are we waiting, I said to myself. I didn’t think she had heard me and really, she hadn’t. She just stood there, rubbing her shirt in between her fingers, nervously (for her). I wondered what was up. I hadn’t come to hang out with her just so she could ignore my questions, even if I had been talking to only myself. I wished we were in a city, near a highway, somewhere with just a little noise. The quiet was suffocating me. I took a giant breath in, exhaled sweat and dew. Illumination, illumination.
Her breathing quickened. I noticed this with my highly attuned social skills. I looked at her from the corner of my eye and she just ignored me. Looked away. I moved closer. Suddenly I felt drunk. All the images in my head coming together, making something entirely non-visual. I only felt things. Big things were consuming me, pounding inside my chest, making every hair on my arm prickle with an intensity and an energy that filled me up to my fullest.
I hadn’t come here to act drunk with her. I noticed that she herself happened to be drunk and it made me want to pray to some entity that was likely nonexistent, just sitting there up in the sky, probably illuminated him(her?)self, waiting for me to pray and then laugh and not answer my questions either. A rhetorical device I liked to use with her was ask a ridiculous question and when she ignored me which was almost ninety-nine percent of the time see how long it took her to realize I had spoken. In that moment, I realized something was wrong. She had been paying attention, perhaps a little too much. Too much closeness—there was a distinct intimacy in the way she was looking away from me.
I looked to where she was staring. There was a black hole in the pavement and it captivated me. She couldn’t seem to, or didn’t want to, stop staring at the hole, so we stared together. I tried to direct the energy from my questions toward the hole but it didn’t seem to want to listen either. Entities who want to listen tend to absorb. The hole sat there in its place, drilled or cut into the ground, perhaps dug out, not completely round but not exactly squareish either, just a hole in the pavement that she couldn’t take her eyes away from. Suddenly I was annoyed because my chest ached unimaginably and she didn’t even know. I was alone in the street and she would never realize.
The blackness crept up on me and started to devour me. It made me a part of the night, made me move further and further away. She stood almost completely still, sometimes swaying with the light breeze while she stared at the ground. Her eyes were transfixed and I wish she would stop. JUST STOP ALREADY, I said. She suddenly looked straight at me. My eyes almost closed in surprise because I thought she might hit me.
I want to go home with you, she said. Where?, I asked. To anyplace we can call home, I dunno, she replied. The earth was spinning with us on it. My feet seemed particularly unstable. I felt my body harden and form into something non-human. I might have been becoming a hole; I could feel myself start to move toward the ground, slowly at first. Then I crumpled faster and faster, until I was very close to the ground. She reacted violently and melodramatically, touching my face to her palms. I felt completely calm and rather like nothing.
I wanted to throw something heavy onto her foot. Her face looked all screwed up like that, so close to mine. It made me mad how she never listened. I had fallen onto the ground for her and now look. Nothing was right. My fingernails wanted to scratch new black holes in the pavement.
You never hear a word I say, I said. She didn’t reply. I started pulsating against the ground with my fingertips.
I wonder where our home is, like home together, she said absently.
I turned onto my back and looked straight up into the sky. The world couldn’t seem to change with or without her—it didn’t really matter if she moved or listened or not. The world would continue to spin and suck me downwards while she became more illuminated. That’s the price of not caring about anything. You just start to glow.
Rachel Eager is a queer woman from NYC. She is also a college student taking a break from college to work for an environmental nonprofit organization based in Midtown Manhattan. She is not at all new to writing but she is an absolute newborn in terms of being published in online lit magazines. She loves trying to figure out why she's lonely and how to write about it. She blogs here.