dialogue ad infinitum

She said: “I like your apartment much better than mine. This room. It’s comforting. It generates warmth, stimulates deep rhythmic sleep. There is an energy in this room, I’m telling you, it’s agreeable. I can see myself here, sitting on the edge of the bed right there, drinking hot tea and stretching my toes, watching you cook breakfast in the kitchen.”

“What else,” I said. “Make a list.”

“Winter morning, windows of crackling white light. Jazz soft and cerebral. You, shirtless, the wafting grease and butter. The cup in my hands like fire, brown liquid steaming, too hot to even drink. I’m sitting there on the corner of your bed wearing one of your tattered shirts, deep fabric of your scent. Tacit anticipation of Christmas in the coming days, a subtle tactile yearning, candles wavering in daylight, crystalline contentment.”

“I want fire. Can there be a fire?”

“Everything is white. Bright reflective glare. Things are cleaned and shined to a luminous sheen. The day’s newspaper has been read and disassembled and stacked neatly by your front door. We are both unshowered, smell of sleep still on our skin, in our hair. Remnants of jagged dreams congealed and stuck in our tear ducts. We don’t speak. We function minimally, with the ease of knowing we’ll eat and make scattered love and then soak together under hot water, exhausting the building’s supply, tea and honey on our shared breath, sunlight blinding white from the bathroom window. We watch our shadows coalesce and dance on the walls.”

“We go to work or it’s our day off or what’s happening here.”

“This is our life. We have no obligations. Nothing is required of us.”

“Utopian afterlife.”

“Only here and now. This is everything we need. We only go out at night when the world is sleeping. We have the city to ourselves, the whole buckling monster of energy and grit. Dark and segmented enchantment. We feed the night pigeons, they ask us questions. Everyone else is asleep, dreaming their icy dreams.”

“What do we talk about?”

“We don’t hold hands because it’s way too cold for that.”

“You’re not even real.”

“We walk different areas of the city each night. Shoulder to shoulder. Our breath leaping out before us in violent plumes, mirror images of the horrors inside. We walk all night and plot our return as light begins to breach the black and star-spotted winter sky.”

“But you’re not even real.”

“And the moon watches us, it keeps us warm through the night, we melt into each other on those frozen sidewalks and the moon watches us, the moon prays for us.”

“Standing there. In this room. You don’t exist.”

“And then we’re back here in our lair, timeless and casual and static in our comfort, our ego-universe.”

“Standing in front of me, you’re smiling, a transitory manifestation. So real. It’s so easy to imagine you. Your voice, I can hear it, the subtle inflections and pitched stresses. Your little coded patterns of behavior, body language, eye movements, positions and fluid gestures. All the things that make you a singular entity, who you are, your personal genetic mutiny against the world, my creation. All this I create.”

“We have each other. We’ll take all the clocks, all of your instruments of time measurement. We’ll crush them, hammer them to bits, burn them, submerge them in your bathtub.”

“Because I need to fashion something that moves me. And there you are, eyes green or blue or both, hair the color of mud. You smile, I can see it, it’s real. I could reach up and touch you, feel your fibrous truth. God, I ache for you. I can see you, every real part of you, connecting your pieces and breaking me down. Because you help me on nights like this, you keep me creating. You sustain me through the loneliness, the pacing, the knuckle biting. I pinch at my mouth when I’m deep in thought, I realize this.”

“And maybe I fall asleep and you’re still there working through the ideas, the pictures in your mind, images of words and whatever. Working by candlelight. Scribbling or tapping. The sound of imagination replicating. You stop and find me in the semi-darkness as your eyes adjust, outlines of a body warm and curled into itself beneath your blankets.”

“I have to remind myself what’s real.”

“The quiet stillness. You finish your lies or truths and fall into bed, warm and fragrant. A calm richness on your skin. Almost immediately you begin to dream, small running portraits in mystery.”

“In my dreams I’m always confused. Confusion is the prevailing theme in my dreams.”

“You need me.”

“Sometimes I feel like I’m thinking so clearly, like my mind is slicing giant gashes in the universe, anti-matter oozing out. I can see and feel the world and interpret the patterns, stepping out of myself to observe the terrific chaos, the mute precision and omni-conscience. The beauty and tragedy of it is enough to kill anything. Maybe Nietzsche was wrong and this is why god died, not a martyr of history but a victim of her own marvelous creation.”

“You need me to help you work through your muddled logic. To protect you. You’re being watched, observed from the dusty corners of other dimensions. The thinking creatures across the galaxy study the works of human writers and grow jealous. This is your power.”

“I’m inventing this entire dialogue.”

“You need me to balance your consciousness. You need our perfect little winter mornings together, our midnight strolls. Together we interpret the world through our misunderstanding of it.”

“Ninety percent of what I love exists only in my imagination.”

“This is not sad.”

“I need you to help keep me grounded. There is a potency, a drugging clarity in madness.”

“But I’m not even real.”

“Together we will shape cultures. We will fashion worlds, create the offspring of nuance. Beautiful, twisting ideas of perfection. Condensed thought. We will create a new moral paradigm. Trust me, I’ve had visions.”

“But I’m not a real woman, though.”

“This is the only way it can work. It has to be this way.”

“Our little secret.”

“You and me.”

“Us.”

“We’re gonna live forever.”

One thought on “dialogue ad infinitum

  1. Very poetic. These lines, “We have the city to ourselves, the whole buckling monster of energy and grit. Dark and segmented enchantment. We feed the night pigeons, they ask us questions,” are almost a poem unto themselves. An updating of Sandburg’s Chicago.

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