There are a great deal of things you think about and a great deal of thing you do not. And I know you’re so focused on people looking at you weird–weird like you’ve taken the wrong pair of sandals home from a beach party–that you can’t focus up. Can’t realize. But we’ll get to all that. We’ll get there. First thing: you are boy and you want the muscles your toys have, with arrows and lines that all trace back to the same place: a cock–your cock! which you want to use soon and often. You want to experience things. You want things to happen to you. You say, Nothing ever happens to me, but things will, they will happen to you because they happen to everyone and you just have to wait a little longer because you are safe and happy and no matter how many cars you crash or electrical boxes you rip from the ground or fights you get into in the parking lot behind the Les Schwab, it’s not the same as what’s coming.
And you know that now.
If you know anything, you know that.
So, ready? you asked me, haltingly.
You halt me.
I say yes: and we’re in the backdoor pretending our names are Aaron and Mike like the guy on the lawn of this big ass party asked us as we pulled up on our bikes that were both your bikes. We look at each other the way the animals will when they inherit the earth. Stunned. Timid. Searching. Not ready but knowing it’s time. So: we are Aaron and Mike for a minute in there, playing beer games and making imaginary friends with those real people. You make all your shots and I make half of mine, so we’re basically gods in that kid’s house where the floors are being re-done and another bedroom is getting added on, and a bathroom, and a stairwell to a solarium where the glass will ship-in from Michigan and be hung high overhead, clear and bright.
You take it all the way.
It’s the only way you know how to take things.
And because that night all the guys have a chew in and all the girls are wearing pom-pom shorts and have love in their hearts, you do the only thing you can do and kiss me. We laugh while we go in for it, our bodies on opposite sides of the kitchen island as the stereo plays a yellow song. It’s the perfect crime. Perfect. Until Megan Choo comes down the stairs from one of those unpainted bedrooms with her pecan skin and hair tied back; she gives us up as being something other than Aaron and Mike. They go to my school, she says, still holding the hand of the guy she’d been upstairs with. And they’re not like that, and their names aren’t Aaron and Mike.
You think everyone is looking. You think they’re saying everything you do is fucked up. Look at him walk all wrong, you think they’re saying. I bet he has a tiny prick in those jeans that don’t fit and- Oh! That dumb haircut…I wonder if he has videos of kids screwing on his computer. This is what you think about when you walk down the streets of New York. You think everyone is after you, especially those two awful agents. You think the twin towers no longer stretching at your back has something to do with the way you tied your shoes that morning. This is the way you’re thinking: so you take out a notebook you stole from the CVS, and in a sudden, overwhelming want to capture every moment of your own life, you begin writing.
The pages are not recovered with your blue and swelled body.
But I know what you write.
I’ve seen those pages before, on the kitchen floor of the house we once shared.
They are the things that make sense to you.
You write: Dad kept the tv on for light/ Blood Moons are orange and beautiful/ The egg race at Heshmont Cathedral/ Watching bowling with Mac after church/Mustard and ketchup in equal dollops is best/ Japanese pop music sounds good on her porch beneath the Blood Moon/ We look like Nascar people/ Dead grass liked growing around our trashcans most/ Remember: Jodie Foster’s Myspace page/ Niagara Falls/Falling in love feels nice/ Point my car towards a place without rules/ Move across the country in search of fun/ Keep friends: Cameron, Luke, Franco/ Find the coast long before the fun/ Potholes on Lawrence Boulevard/ New white bike lanes on 16th Street/ The rabbit ears lost their tension on the tv/ Hudson Valley was all smoke and flip-flops/ Upstate I was scared that my frozen paintballs would hurt the skinny girl so I aimed at a bird/ He kept falling out of his chair on his visit/ My Dad/ My Mom/ My Sarah/ Ocean snow challenging the city to a dogfight/ I wish everyone could see this/ All the people I have ever met/ Except those people who wish me harm/ I do not tolerate the state-sponsored hunting of me/ I do not tolerate what is happening to me/ I do not tolerate/ I do not/
You write things like this.
These are the things you write.
Then when you’ve crashed- or your pen has blown, or it’s too wet from the rain and the water is staining the paper- you look around for the man and women who’ve been following you since this whole thing started. You find them: those awful agents you’re certain will kill you. And maybe you have a moment of clarity–of certitude–or maybe you don’t as you grab for the steel wires and lift your body over the edge. Maybe you’re still convinced they’re coming for you. Maybe you’re not. Maybe you realize that no one is coming for you, but your brain isn’t going to let this go. Maybe, for you, there will always be another van, another operative, another satellite overhead scanning for your thoughts. Maybe it’s like that: you know enough to know you can’t win at this.
Can you tell me?
Was it like that? Are you scared when you let go and the dark rushes at you even darker? Does it hurt? Did it hurt you? Does the water feel like concrete? Is it as they say? Are you thinking about what you should be thinking about? Or are you thinking about what you shouldn’t be thinking about? Are you there? And who else is there? Is there wallpaper? Is the wallpaper flocked? Are there birds? Games? Does the Burger King have a place for us to lock our bikes? Are there bikes there? Children? Are children still putting their heads on their mothers’ knees when they grow tired of dancing in the place where you are?
Can you answer me.
Can you tell me.
Because I lie here, troubling the bedsheets with my self-same methods of breathing, waiting.
For you to say something to me.
But you don’t.
So, I do what you would hate: I pray. Pray the East River is more forgiving than its appearance suggests. Pray that the ferryboats were empty as you fell into their wake. Pray that you were not as scared as I imagine you to be. These things. These are the things that I pray for. But more than anything, I pray for something that I know to be impossible. My prayer: is that the door to this apartment will open and that you will come back to me as you were. That you will make your little jokes as I gather myself. And then I’ll make my little joke, to which you will just smile. You’ll touch my arm to show me that you’re real, and we’ll both have a laugh at that. You’ll have a beer. A sandwich. Kick your feet up, relax. We have time. We have time. Let’s catch up. Just talk about nothing, about something. Whatever you want. We’ll circle it for a good long while. No reason to press. We have time. We have time. And you can tell me if you feel like it– if you’re up to it. Okay, no rush, just tell me when you can… Tell me. Tell me. Tell me what it was like to jump. What it was like to fall. How you beat the odds. How you overcame. Was it your mind? Your body? Spirit? How’d you survive all this, man? You can tell me how you did it. You can tell me how you won. You can tell me anything–anything! Really, just start talking. We’ll start with something small. You can tell me. Just tell me. Tell me what water feels like when it’s being destroyed.