40. A man who can see into the future and a woman who can read minds



Birds everywhere, countless squeaky hinges and a single repetitive tone that sounds like a cell phone ringing. It has come to this, dear birdsong. The long-legged-insect-umbrella-like way the leaves of the great chestnut tree outside my window emerge from their tightly packed buds; the incredible softness that post-pubescent geometry unfurls into. How commonplace the miracle, and how ancient the information that enacts its annual performance.

We are at an impasse; we wish each other a good day, pace the border like sentries as we gently but firmly dissuade one another from crossing the line. You are especially keen on preserving your good manners: it is a matter of principle for you, and I try to comply as best as I can. The ache is thereby delayed, but not for long.

What is it like for you? You claim to have seen me turn a corner and not look back, yet I’ve never left, I stand here, rooted to the spot and unable to move, or to speak. A man who can see into the future and a woman who can read minds: is it possible we were both mistaken? That the future you saw in that one blinding moment was not our future at all, but a phantasm of your fear? That the mind whose signals I absorbed was scrambled by the same? How to write about this without betraying you, without betraying myself?

There are parts in each of us that still hurt so much it can even be dangerous to touch the scars. I pick at them nonetheless; like a dog caught in a vise, it’s the only way I know to free myself. I will gnaw off a part of me in the process, if necessary. Does this repel you?

Haven’t you realized by now that I only want your freedom, too? Diving into the wreck, it’s been called; you breathe differently down here. You, a diver, would understand this. We are the half-destroyed instruments that once held to a course, and no way to find that course again without plunging beneath the surface to scavenge for the fragments of whatever is left.

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