(When Harry Met Sally, 2013)
My mother looks back at me from the passenger seat and tells me about how we are going pass this place where aliens run about. We shouldn't stop there, they might come running after us. There's some secret laboratory somewhere out there in the desert. My mind wandered and all I can see was this yellowish white sand everywhere. The shimmer of hot air to anything in the distance. This shrub and this cactus, some yuccas, and endless desert. At the time aliens were the thing I most feared, and at the same time was most curious about. I lived in the epicentre of alien activity as well as myth. From that backseat I wrote poems. One, two, three, four to the hundred I wrote already in that notebook. I remember them all being sad, about heartbreak, about the reality that was then.
The rope forms piles and you stop a passerby and ask for help. "Will you help me pile this rope?" The stranger helps, looking curious herself into what lies at the end of this comically long rope. Hours go by, a routine has been formed, there is a system of organizing the rope, how much you take before you need to rest your hands. The sun sets, night rolls on, you and the stranger both take shifts of pulling the rope. The sun rises. The rope turns black and at first you are startled. It suddenly feels heavier, you look down into the hole and for one brief moment you see a flicker of light.
I often wonder if my mother ever found those poems, if she ever read them, and if so how did she see her son after that. Did she decide to give me more attention, to bring herself closer to me? Without her I'm not sure how I would've gotten through those years. How she would devise a road trip to here and to there, to see The Array, to go to White Sands, Roswell, Joshua Tree National Park, this ancient city and this, to an alien abductee meeting downtown, to some many countless things that were the best things a child like me could witness, to experience. Without that I wouldn't be here. I would not be I, it would be different, something with all the creativity in the world I couldn't imagine who was. All I know is who is I that has seen those things, felt those things, and lived to tell those things.
Eventually the rope reaches infinity in your mind. You ask the stranger if they have anything sharp in their bag. The stranger strangely enough has a pair of scissors. You ask the stranger for them, they hand them over, and you hold them open with the black rope in-between the blades. Both you and the stranger look closely at that rope. Your eyes say a farewell speech, that it was good knowing you, rope, that I have learned a lot from you, rope, that I am ready to leave you, rope. The rope doesn't look back, it doesn't look at all, it just sits there, without judgement and waits, waits for whatever to come of it. You press the scissors closed and one by one the strands that make the rope break free of each other. The last strand breaks and a miniature cloud of dust forms. You lay the rope to rest by the hole as you and the stranger hold another passerby's truck with rope. You sell the rope for $1 a yard and soon sell out. You soon forget where the hole and the rope was, and years later you try to hunt them down but find no success. Even the stranger who helped you is no where to be found. You wonder what her name was, what they did for a living, if they had kids. You saved every cent you made from that rope in a series of jars. They grow dusty and the same with you. You forget all about that rope, that hope, that stranger, but never those jars. They too eventually lose their memory and your grandchildren ask, "Dear Grand(ma or pa), why do you have all that old paper and metal money in jars?" You can't remember and so you give them the jars, telling your rosy-faced grandson that has an appetite for trouble to smash them. He looks worried, wanting to smash them to pieces but knows he might get an earful from Momma and Papa bear. You assure them it will be a secret.