outwait outrun outwit


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04.03.04, earliest saturday morning when I should be sleeping

Oh Helen, I thought of you tonight. Although still phlegmy & recovering from oral surgery only a few hours ago, I drank a glass (or two) of wine & read a book where the characters ruminated over the subliminal & the liminal in the relationship of mother & daughter, girl & girl, etc., those spaces that I can never share with Jimmy. After a few chapters, I glanced at the one I love most in this world, only a few feet away, recovering from poison oak & asleep on a cot in the living room, the planes of his face starkly illuminated by a lamp, sole in our loft's midnight darkness. I couldn't help it. I put down the book & remembered: you & Jimmy & me, in your Brooklyn apartment, on a cool rainy autumn afternoon, sipping leftover booze from tiny Snoopy-etched glasses.

I wrote about that November afternoon, months later; it was a beautiful moment, a resonation tolling deep as long as I need it. I thought you were so beautiful, graceful not in the way you moved, per se, but how you easily negotiated the difference, the unknown, between you & I, the stranger, my brother's sister, your ex's sister. Somehow we got along smashingly, in that moment when three young people get to know each other, even Jimmy & me, sweethearts for life. Even the most intimate are strangers sometimes; the other day when I did something stupid, Jimmy said, You don't know everything about me.

In that moment I knew you; if not as anyone you have known longer, then as someone who identifies you wholeheartedly as compatriot. I knew all the planes of your face almost as intimately as my brother had known them. I knew the grace of you. The meditative calm in you, forged by a strong will through unimaginable trauma.

Those few hours over rum & conversation ranging world-wide, I could not see clearly, despite starkly lit planes & curves - the three drop-flecked windows, the polished wood floor where I crouched, the white couch where you & Jimmy sat, your faces. The world was shadow & its other, light; light & its other, shadow, coelescing into a strange liquid luminescent body predetermined only by our wills to meet, intimate even as strangers to each other.


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