(Noch Again, 2011)
You fall. I tried to catch you, but you spill out of my fingertips. You're on the ground. I'm half-way between standing and crouching, but I am heading towards you on the ground. You're spread out on the sidewalk. I'm sitting myself down beside you. You're shaking from your cuts, you are bleeding. I place my butt down, find a flatness that agrees with me and rest the rest of my body on that point where I sit. You know you're going to have a million bruises, bruises that are already forming. I bring my feet closer to the rest of my body and start taking off my shoes, starting with the left foot then the right. Your legs that you tried so hard to keep clean of marks and bruises are now camouflaged with blood gathering darkly, you look around you and feel embarrassed, you look at me and see that I'm the only one who saw you fall, you still feel embarrassed. It's been a long day I tell you, that you're tired, I'm tired, and we both needed a rest, so here we are, resting, our bodies forced us to rest, so let us do that. You take off your shoes too, your socks have snails and slugs drawings on them, I've never seen them before. It isn't just the bruises or the embarrassment of having someone see you fumble down and cut yourself, it is something universal, grander in portion and meaning, that this fall is a representative of your eternal struggle.
"Punch me", I tell you.
"Punch you? Why?"
"Just do it, right here." (I point to my calf on my right leg, pulling back my pants to reveal my unbruised flesh)
"I don't think I can right now"
"If not now, then when, this is the perfect time."
You punch me.
You punch me harder.
"Punch the hardest you can, put it all in there." (pointing to my calf again)
You punch me really hard. But stop, I'm laughing, not at punch, it hurts, but it's just ridiculous, you punched me as hard as you can.
"Don't stop." I muster from all the laughter.
You keep punching me, each time I try to look away, there's something scary about seeing a fist in an arm readying itself up two and half feet in the air and seeing it come flying towards your flesh only to stop dead-on in a slam.
I start to cry, from laughter, you start to laugh too.
"Don't stop, baby."
I almost pee myself when I can't bear anymore, I'll either lose all feeling in my leg or wet myself, I think you must stop.
"Ok, ok, that's enough for now".
You stop, but then steal one more punch. Slam. Knuckles. My calf.
We'll have to wait to see if there's any bruises, usually the next day. And the next morning we wake up and examine my leg like its Christmas. No bruises. Disappointed we decide to stay on the sidewalk for the rest of the day, walking people pass by, looking at us. I wonder to myself, I hope it's been long enough time since Radiohead's music video for "Just", and that they don't confuse us lying on the sidewalk as a reference to that award-winning 90s music video. I want the moment to be pure, that we are both here because you fell and I wanted to fall to, though I just sat down gently beside you. A few hours pass, we rest with our bags as pillows, and I thought of a way to get me to bruise.
"Kick me." I tell you.
"What, really, that's going to really hurt".
"That's fine, I can deal with pain, physical pain is easy."
You ready up your leg and pause in mid-swing.
"Wait, where do you want me to kick you?"
"Anywhere, really, just not in the face...or stomach, or balls, please not the crotch."
You kick me in my right calf, and continue to kick, and with each kick you increase the force. After a while I stop laughing and you start stumping down on it like it was some dance move. My meat is getting tender, and before you realize it I'm passed out. It is the first time I passed out in my life, from what, you wonder, I'm not quite sure myself why I am passed out. You stop stumping my leg, and left your foot up from my calf, there is blood, dirt, and white ripped flesh. The sight disturbs you, you're in stock at how far you took it without realize you were going anywhere. I'm not conscious to tell you it is ok, that it was my idea in the first place, and that I am glad that you went as far as you did, you just have to help me get up and walk. You start to cry, and wonder if you killed me, you didn't and it is impossible, but I look dead, especially with that bloody calf.
"Open your eyes, please." You say in a frantic voice.
"Talk to me, please, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry."
You get down on the ground, and you find a place for your butt that agrees with it, and you rest your entire body on that point, you then curl up beside me and grab me. You put me in your arms, and hold me there. I am still out cold, but somewhere in that unconscious state I feel safe, secure, warm, and no longer afraid of the darkness that surrounds me. Night falls, and we spend anyone evening on the sidewalk. Eventually an overwhelming urge takes over me, my eyes open for the first time in hours, you're asleep, and without thinking I say,