Street Corner Bequest
Originally Published in the June 2012 Issue of Empirical
Later, I would remember this place just as I would her breath on the back of my neck. We always got along so well, perhaps it was our collective predisposition to being unhappy, perhaps it was because all we had ever known was nurtured by vice and daring: wilted gratification. But we were still young then at the height of our youth, before her cancer, before collapse. The orange glow of the street lights buzzed behind us, illuminating our halos. White noise spilled over the viaduct, and we basked in its waves of calm. And now, years later, I cannot recall it exactly as it was, simply serene beyond anyone; who upon trying to recreate these moments of industrial tranquility, could begin to conceive. I inhaled a hit of nitrous, held my breath and looked to the sky, feeling her next to me, providing salvation like evening prayers.
Exhale, and again.
I gratified my ego there amongst the docks, amongst the sea gulls, the drunks. The child within me giggled with delight as my grimy surroundings transformed into a sparkly playground of fleeting bliss. We sat there, motionless, allowing ourselves to be rocked into periodic sleep by our only constant friend - the Seattle city streets. Desolate on a Monday past midnight, we smoked cigarettes. She turned to me, flushed in rosy artificial light, and said: “Load me one.” Smoke rising from her fingernails, she looked away; as an
afterthought, she added “No, load me a double.”
I laughed sincerely, stating: “I was going to anyways….”
And so I did, and she did as I had done, both of us hopelessly lost in the oceans of our heads. We were beautiful. We were the essence of 21st century youth; doomed and elegantly degenerating, lowering ourselves into our graves dug by hypnotic media, manic preapocalyptic supermodels starving for culture, substance. Passion. We wore it in our hair and stitched it into our clothing. And our guises of combat boots and fairy wings effectively deterred the drunks and tweakers who moved amongst the shadows. Everywhere we went, heads turned and eyes followed our flowing skirts around corners, up escalators. We danced through crowded rooms of rambunctious sanctity as little wisps of seemingly innocent bliss, often stirring sophomoric woes of those who neglected to see the divinity within us. Her and I, sitting on the old park bench, overlooking concrete and childhood, waving goodbye with each empty nitrous canister we emptied into our souls.
Forever, goodbye. And so we sat together alone, and asked ourselves questions: of life and love, where we were going and where we were from. But we never did find any answers, just options. And so, we sat, welcoming each artificial breath as we would a second chance at ignorance. Graciously, she rocked herself steadily to the beat of some internal struggle. We laughed, we talked, we loved. We were all each other had really. Save some external vice factory, dripping fulfillment down our welcoming throats. It was beautifully imperfect, disastrously miraculous. Searching for validation amongst the stars, what very few I could see, I exhaled and gratified my ego there amongst the docks, the drunks, the gulls.
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