I should write about him, but how?
3 Feb 2020
His baritone vibrates in a chamber of my memory and haunts with tenderness, uninvited. He is past. Still, my head insists that I think him. Not his face, not his embrace...just his name. It begins with the intruding reverberations of his voice upon my skin. Then those crawling echoes carry me to my former reflection—who I was then, especially when he was compelled to say my name, in full, and how I once, prompted by his vibration, performed myself, in full, somewhat, quite a while ago. From here, I think of him, first name only.
Long ago, on random occasions, something I said would impress someone I was just getting to know to the point that the person would recite all nine of my official syllables. First. Middle. Last. How do I get you to hear it? His elocution was iambic. First-Middle-Last. And like a hyena endeared to Mufasa, my name would, for the first time in my life, dowse me in goosebumps, one syllable at a time, as my nine rolled off his tongue, and down my spine. I would hang upon my nine syllables as they lifted me away like Piglet attached to the string of a bright, tremendous balloon. First. Middle. Last.
My friends would see him and deduce another fun and juicy body in the lineup of my type. My best guy would see him and uncharacteristically assert that this one was distinct. My elders would see him and smile with Claire Huxtable-style words, and brow lifts, unspoken. And like the night I met him, I would see him and just see something I quite liked. Like the night I met him, every time he caught my eyes, the crowds parted and there was no one else and I just felt nice and easy, aware of how much I really like myself, and him too.
These days, he is stored in the place where my brain puts the good things I can no longer handle. He is on the shelf with fried dough, red juice, ramen and kombucha. He is where I used to store Cheetos, until I learned to manage the craving for two 0.99 bags to once a year or less. He's on a different shelf than teddy bears and my Apple IIe, but in the same room of good, old things. In the replay, he is a marvel, and the tape stops just where it becomes unclear if I was the only one in the deep enchantment that entire time. It stops before I descend into the doldrums of being someone who is too hard to match, too hard to really love. If I play the tape, I will beg and beg and beg again to Fate for a re-positioning in the constellation of romance, not with him, with someone who sing the syllables I possess now, every day and indefatigably. I just want to move three stars left in the constellation’s orchestra seating for Possibility. But it's not the time to get so caught up in the tape.
This is an ode to our vortex and that feeling I chewed and carelessly spit like salted sunflower seeds when he would say my name. Nine syllables, and I would go from the shivers of direct eye contact to the peace of knowing myself. First Middle Last, and I would be bare before him, bare before myself, beaming from the front row access to her--me. Me. First. Middle. Last. Nine syllables, and I see myself complete, good enough, possible and satisfying. Nine, and it would be indulgence when he divulged them again and again. Nine syllables, and I would, yes literally, twirl. First-Middle-Last.
He is gone now, rarely prodding my memory, tucked in recesses. I like to think that I honor the close of seasons. After all, my leaps are meticulously scrutinized, against my nature of Olympic caution, because the calculations in my head must determine that possibility merits exposure to failure. And being so thoughtful, I know to love the burden that there is a time to bask in the banquet before you, and just sit and gobble and nuzzle the gristle and loosen your buckle and eat some more. And I know to tenderly welcome the burden of what becomes of your heart and your oxygen when there is nothing left on the bone, and the whiskey is done, and the chime of emptied platters is louder than the conversation, and the expiration of your seat at the table has arrived and everyone knows it because everyone is noting the presence of the person tugging at your chair. So I have known seasons, and obediently bid them farewell. Obedience has meant the shamefully long bouts of mourning and mourning, all pride vacated, bones pressed to the hardwood floor to lessen the fall of unrelenting tears, nose familiarized with odor of the patina upon what was romance, head never wishing for rust to regress, just lost until it isn't.
My memory holds to the months of our season as the time I possessed an optical telescope for exquisite views of my planet—knowing my stars, my moon, my population, and my bodies of water. I saw so much of myself, and still not the composition of my atmosphere, never counting all of my rings, not considering the next step is to have the rocket that will deliver me to myself. But that view of her, me, I can feel the memory of myself then without really seeing it. And I am grateful to be someone who was always in proximity of someone else who happened to always have the instinct to return me to myself. I love that I know what it is to have someone who prepared for me. In every recollection of our shared moments, by the time I allowed him the conversational lead, he'd always be ready to return my serve, not just with telescope in hand, but having taken the orchestral silence that exists between soul mates to set up the instrument, adjust its aperture and patiently show me how to stand and gaze into its eye piece.
I knew someone who knew to assume the silence required to live out the awe of seeing one's own light refracted, then reflected, then magnified, then witnessed. Someone who would always leave the telescope behind for me to navigate myself on my own. Someone who would always carry a spare, should we unexpectedly find the perfect point to observe my planet, because invariably, I'd always run out the house having left my telescope behind. Someone who recited me by nine.
I do not miss him--and that's without any dismissal or disdain. But his name haunts in the midst of my deep longing for myself, and for a long-term telescope handler and true love. I have not worked on building my own telescope, never retraced steps to the locations where the dozen misplaced telescopes may remain. I just want the someone who will do his part, because I will do mine.
When he left, I decided that nine syllables was just too much to carry. Jenna Bond is something between two and three. It’s one-and two. Not one-two-three. Maybe between one and two.