Monday, November 10, 2008

I guess at one point there had to have been some water. Steam, maybe? In any case, glances condensed like fog and dripped down inside my eyeballs, that's for sure. And we all know that water's super power is that it wears away, incrementally, without notice. So that before I knew it your winking had broken through my cornea, had leaked all into my vitreous humor, had streamed down my cheeks and soaked my clothes.

All of this I could have stopped, had anything other than those drops been driving the car. Laying down in front of the wheels is only a romantic gesture as long as it stops them from moving.

Once we caught a field mouse, because it stood frozen there in front of us and it seemed cruel, somehow, to leave it there paralyzed in the path. Better to stoop with our huge hands and settle it gently out of harm's way, in the way we so earnestly wanted something larger than ourselves to do for us. Because we couldn't relocate each other, with hands so cold they would freeze to skin, and so we stood there stricken in each other's path and looked to the mouse to show us how to be lifted.

But I remember the frantic beating of its heart against my fingertips, the way it looked up into my face, terrified and bold, watching for a hint of its last moment. I was sure in that second that we were not saving the mouse from anything, that it would have been infinitely less cruel to leave it there gently trembling in the grass and instead merely stepped around it. To have left it to the momentary fear of our shadows rather than introducing it to the air and our skin and to a new patch of land where it was probably not even attempting to travel.

Things would probably have been less confusing, later, if I had paused then to notice how my own heart sped up and throbbed in my own fingers in concert with the mouse's. I missed the warning from my own blood, crouching bent below your shadow in the grass.

No comments: