(The Lookout, 2011)
Take a knife from the kitchen, put it in your backpack, come over now, bring a flashlight, a lighter as well, some rope would be great too. We'll hide out in the woods, we'll live there for a while. We'll disappear, we'll fall off the face of the earth. Together, yes, together. For. ever.
I called my mother, I told her I'd be going for a while, where she asked, I didn't know, just somewhere far. She tried to say more to me but I cut her off, and told her to just trust me. Trust me. I knew what I was doing. Did I? I did everything I was told, I had my backpack packed, brought a book too. I put my hiking boots on and I left. I looked at my bedroom, said goodbye. It was more of a farewell, I'll never see you again, and if I do, and I hope I do not, then that would be really disappointing, I was finished with you the day I closed my door on you, farewell.
In the night I roamed the streets, in search of her shadow, her shadow being exactly her, in all physically aspects, but something would be off, oh yes, her everything, her essence, her character, but I'd fool myself into thinking it was her. Yes, I would, and maybe I'd just hold the conversation for the both of us, me being me, and me being her at the same time. I pictured us running away, then when I got sick of her, her being the shadow, I'd find another shadow and I'd keep on piggy-backing from one shadow to another. It went in this endless cycle in my mind, and then I wondered if it would perhaps be easier just to have the real thing. For some reason I made up my mind, we cannot meet yet, there must be some time in-between, I wondered why I thought this way, I wanted to see her all the time, I wished I saw glimpses of her throughout my day, but nothing came close, everything falling short, sad, pathetic, not even reminders.
During those days women would float like phantoms through my life, all would stay for at least the night, we'd talk, and I tried to force their faces into her shape. In the back of cars, in a lot somewhere far away, with no one looking, their faces always came close, but fell short. And with each attempt I felt emptier, missing something vital to my survival. I always considered myself a very solitary creature, I knew in all my survival training that if everyone were to die of mass infection, or a nuclear explosion, that I could survive on my own, in the woods, hunting and gathering, my eyes getting duller by the day. I'd be looking into that fire, the same fire early humans made to keep themselves warm and to cook food, in that fire I would eventually see her face, somewhere in the flames, and when that happened I wouldn't be able to be alone anymore. I'd have to leave my hand-made shelter of branches and logs, leaves and stones, hidden against the background of forest, I'd have to go and seek, to leave my shelter and say farewell, but a farewell that says we are not complete, that I want to come back but I know I will die looking for her, farewell.
When I arrived at her house, I saw her face through the window in the kitchen, I looked from the bushes, I waited till she turned off the lights. I checked each window to see if they were open, none were. The backdoor was unlocked, almost inviting, in fact, it was totally welcoming, telling me to come in, particular-but-not-at-all open. I entered without a sound, it was dark, shadows and faint light from street lights covered the walls and the ground. In the living room appeared to be someone watching TV, the TV was off, and there was no one there, but in the shadow there she was, looking watching, she even smiled like her, waved her hand, and gave me a peace sign. As I approached the scene she disappeared. I passed on by, and entered the hallway. The photos on the walls were portraits, and of course they were all her, she gave out each and every one of her memorable expressions, the ones I grew to cherish, and as I approached them closer the reflection off the glass showed my face, each and every single of the photos did the same thing, my face, and when I saw my face it looked wild, I hadn't shaved in weeks, my eyes weighed down by a set of heavy bags, my glasses broken, I didn't see myself in them, just some stranger. I passed through the hallway to a room at the end. A warm light glowed in the gap below the door, and enchanted me, danced with my eyes, I felt warm, this was her bedroom, the one she grew up in, it was where she became a girl, and where that girl had started to become a woman. It was where it all started for her and I could touch the door knob, I can turn it too. Bring the knife. Why did she want me to bring a knife. I touched the door knob. Bring some rope too. Why did I need rope, to tie her down. I turned the knob. I pictured the knife in my hands, I'd have to let go of it as soon as possible, before some nightmare took over my hand then my arm then my mind and leave my sight so I can watch in horror. I wished I hadn't brought that knife, or the rope, the flashlight was useful, I used it earlier to find my way through the forest behind the house. I wanted one of those Bill & Ted moments where if you think of something, to remind your future self to not do it will be done, but this wasn't a movie, it was real, I was holding a knife, I was opening that door, I was letting my world be flooded by wicked, wonderful, and warm, warm, warm light. I was overwhelmed, I pictured heaven being so bright, I let go of my hands, they flew before me, I couldn't see anything but white, warm, yellowish, white, and there were figures, moving around, but they existed in my mind, the white light did as well. The room too, the knife stood in space, floating, my hand no longer holding it, it dripped, it fell forwards and hit the floor with a loud thump. I closed my eyes, I was sure it was a dream, I wanted nothing but a dream right about now, the chills of reality were running beads of sweat down the back of my neck. What have I done. Echoing like karaoke, this is the end, my friend. The shadows creep all around and gathered, each looked like her, but they all fell short, they were always missing the most important part.
In the forest, I returned, my shelter still there, I entered, and closed my eyes, I rocked myself over and over like my closed legs were a rocking chair. My eyes opened even though they were open to begin with, the world around me had disappeared and was replaced by a beach. All my clothes were gone, the sun was blinding, a dog started to bark at me, kids were there, they totally saw my junk, then their parents saw their kids, then me, then their kids in stock, and looked back at me, dog still barking away, spit flying out his mouth and on to my face. I picked myself up and ran, where, I wasn't sure, I just started to run, into the forest, on to the road, into the street, on pavement, on gravel, on earth, and over water, I kept running, running like it was what I was born to do, the only thing I could do, and I have yet to stop. My heart races on, my dreams are a mess, I'm not sure which world is real and which one isn't, and I don't know where all my clothes I have disappeared. I keep running, and the only thing I know is I'm running from shadows, I'm running towards the light that produces them.