Friday, February 17, 2012

Staring at the hearts of lilies

Written to the sound of this

For the first few days, I slept at the very edge of the bed, making room for you. 

If you were here, you would inevitably joke that this is more room than I make for you in the bed when you are in it. 

Last night, I had shrimp and bacon (bacon!) and wine in a shirt that exposed my collarbones to a world that was unshocked by them. I am ready for falafel and fruit crumble by your side. I am ready to go back to dreaming about bacon.

I sleep in the middle of the bed now, claiming one whole mattress for the little person it houses.

You sleep on overnight trains across India, in the kinds of beds that only leave you with only one option as to how to lie. Since you went there, the world keeps shoving India down my throat. Even the Sunday newspaper I bought to see if Greece would default "tomorrow" came with a complimentary copy of "Sensuous India: The Kama Sutra (unabridged)." What is the less subtle, less welcome version of the universe winking at you?

When your flowers arrived, the man who brought them to me looked weary. His face said "yeah, yeah, yeah, *yawn* more Valentine's Day flowers." He must have arranged countless lilies, which sit in bedrooms across this city, listening to other lovers' Brandi Carlile's, eavesdropping on other lovers' negotiations of mattress space.

Right now you are on your 26th consecutive hour on a train. 26! I told you to take a photo of a different scene every hour to mark the journey, knowing that this is what I would do, with you over my shoulder muttering "my little dork" every time the shutter closed. 

You complain of suffocating heat. I am looking at snow. Colombia-Uganda-Egypt. Guatemala-Cuba-Sudan. Desert-Equator-Tropics. One foot in this hemisphere, another foot in the other. A smile at the lowest point on earth, a grin at the peak of an active volcano. Between them, I had erased the snow, exchanging it for sand and monsoon. Now I stare at it till my pupils shrink, till all I see is whiteness.

The lilies are not changing as fast as the landscapes outside your train window, but I photograph them every few hours regardless. I hear "my little dork" whispered every time; I picture you feigning impatience at the constant clicking. Through their life cycle of these flowers, I measure time. Every wilting of the lily brings us a day closer to falafel, to the orange chair I hate in the living room, to the reunion of the little dorks.

I stare at the lily till all I see is a blushing world.

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