by Arran James
I read the book she has lent to me; Conditions of Love: the philosophy of intimacy. Violin and acoustic guitar slowly rise from the damp earth of silence. I am thinking of today and of tomorrow. My mind wants me to think about the months to come and to the time provisionally scheduled for her taking leave of this small, modest city. I don’t want to think about these things. I find myself for the first time in a long time unwilling to confront the impermanence of things. Everything is temporary, for how long have I been fond of saying this? And now it isn’t that I want our time in that same damp earth, broken only by the sounds of flesh and minds extending out to one another and by the immediate laughter and demands of her child, to be eternal or endless. Simply, I can’t conceive of such an ending. I find myself refusing to believe in such an ending.
I remember crouching in her garden alone in the night, composing a poem to the stars about their distance and their destiny, speculating on how many might already be dead. I remember telling myself to keep hold of the line: we’d be miracles were we not accidents. I betray these thoughts when, inevitably, images of her are aroused in my imagination; when suddenly everything appears right and just and full with necessity. What new illusions am I happily cultivating? What new joys might they pierce through the arid parts of this indifferent earth?
Here I am. This vanishing singularity. A precarious and fragile system. The meaning of intimacy: showing to the other one’s fragility, one’s catastrophe, the wounds of one’s tiny history and the offering of these wounds as the wellspring from which some beautiful music might emerge. To be a passionate but unhurried duet in a world of mournful solos and the terrifying grandiosity of symphonies. The music of the two instruments submerged in each other, trying to find a rhythm and a pitch. And I imagine her dancing to that melody, any dissonance offering the chance for an innovation in how we might move together.
I don’t love this woman, let’s not get carried away. Our duet is young in its composition. But what dance might it generate? We met one night by accident, under conditions dictated by separate (if not finally separable) trajectories. The conditions of love? I don’t know… but the conditions of its possibility?
Finished typing, I return to the book. It’s covers are smooth and cold in my hands. I will read for a few more hours. I will sleep and dream and rise and go to university where I will talk and learn and teach and…I will be waiting for the hour when she sends me that text: F. is asleep, you can come to my place whenever you want.
And she will show me her fragility.We will show
Cold of night.