People said "yes" and "no" with a confidence that was eponymous to the answer. It disturbed me that I seemed to be the only person unsure of everything. Even the things that seemed reasonable and physical were suspect to me as definitive. I would think "how do you know?" - a trait I detested in others when vocalized, but upon examination - only because it echoed the inner pangs of my own unanswered inquiries. The creator had me on hold for so many years, stringing me along with the faint hope that I would soon be bestowed with the truth that would dissolve unclearness…the residue that left me opaque through the glass of my manhood. 

Insignificant things adjusted me. They’d come out of the blue as silent miracles and save me, though I’d never outwardly speak of them, a superstition of sorts. They softened me like butter after I'd congealed into an impermeable hardness.  Why are they insignificant if they are so essential?  The driver, Cornelius, with kind, history-rich eyes had saved me today with his piano music turned so low the sound of the sealed car in motion overpowered it.

In the backseat, I thought about my longing to materialize a fantasy I've held since I can remember: falling into the arms of someone strong enough to hold not just my body - but the full weight of everything I'd imperceptibly carried, and when I fell the sensation of being caught would never end. Everything was surrendered into this deity’s arms that was willing to spend a lifetime fulfilling my dream of abandoning weight and exchanging it for nullity.

The things that existed in sanctity in this life were prone to expiration: parents, the feeling of a hot shower, dreams, the way afternoon light transitioned through layers of trees and glass to meet the floor in the kitchen. Those all expired, while the denser materials: rock, pavement, metals, continued on…which is why it may feel so necessary to harden as to continue…a means to further avoid the notion of an imminent end which the softer things seemed to embrace and accept with a seeming vitality. The arc of softness was a muted firework.

I nervously pressed my lips together and tapered the corners in a contrived, weak smile. This was a gesture to let him know that if this moment was just a coincidence, I was okay with it and we could now proceed to going back to normal - wherein we would exchange our goodbyes and I would return to my work. He had no reaction to my physical indication of all the silence fostered in the recent minutes. We had passed the point of normality, even for him, even for me. It felt like chains around us were falling and I could watch each one release to reveal the exterior beyond the prison I'd built. I was no longer trapped but no longer safe.

“Is there something you want to tell me?” he asked.

I hid my infuriation. From his side, he held all power. I thought about the bottle of indiscernible liquid that was glowing in my dresser drawer, engulfed in night’s darkness. The bottle was beginning to create its own tapestry of feelings, invoking an odd sensation. It felt like a phantom limb.

A mass of saliva lodged at the top of my throat. I swallowed before I spoke, trying to do it in a way that hid my neck from displaying its mechanism. How could he be completely free from nervousness? I started to think that I was so unsurprising that he knew even prodding me with the most incendiary asks wouldn’t lead to disruption. He assumed my methods were a certitude, and he leaned on them, which inspired an anger within me that allowed me to unbind myself.

As always, his face remained incessantly still. A part of me imagined it flush with heat from something unspoken, but I’m glad I didn’t speak. My words never shared a complete story; they spilled out as unstable half-lives, doomed at transmission. Within my hesitancy, I felt an odd sense of beingness, existing beyond power, as though this silent honesty was dissolving my enigma.

Without notice, a crystalline, soft-shaped tear slipped down the brim of his nose. He looked to the ground, realizing what he just released.

I wished for a ghost to catch that little tear droplet in a jar, impervious to all elements and time, and I’d save it until I needed to be brought back to life.

Bringing his hand to his face, he rubbed in the tear’s trail, concealing it from the atmosphere. If he knew any part of my reverence for his totality, there’s no way he’d understand, and I couldn’t blame him for that. I doubted anyone understood their holiness. His cheek turned blush from the pressure of his wrist.

She was the first person to confirm the sneaking suspicion I held for many years but resented with my entire body... that achieving peace took work. This tried and true theory filled me with an insidious fury. Why? If peace was the necessary and natural state (which I truly believed it was) why did it take so much work to achieve? I didn't want to effort anymore in life than I already had to. I felt like the container that held my effort was forever sacrificing its final dregs, that a new drop materialized just as quick as it was emptied.

But within this woman I knew that she had what I craved. She held a sanctity with her and it wasn't a facade. I knew facades more than I did truth, so I could sniff them out like a drug dog, because I harbored the worst of them all. I was a mirage that kept everyone far enough away for the illusion to continue fooling eager eyes. But her? I likened her to a nurtured, beautiful jewel, and she was adorned around her own neck. She hypnotized me just by existing. She was pure.

I didn't feel like I had to hide from her, because she wouldn't ask the earthly things that made me nervous. She wouldn't ask about my family or my career or my sexuality, maybe because someone as wise as her already knew I had none of these. She only cared about what lie deeper. It interested me that she could make me feel safe by subverting the things that made me skittish, but at the same time harvesting what was ripe beyond those things… as if my soul might have been strategically designed by a skilled gardener, who laced the edges with resilient weeds and poisonous flowers as to make the center lush and virgin, protected from the land's prey.

Sometimes her eyes would light up to me more than usual and I knew that she had something to share, something important, but more often than not, she held it back. I attributed this to the fact that she believed it wasn't the right time for me to hear something. She was particular about that, and everything else. Her entire life rested on the axis of her own keen intuition... even the deliverance of her words. I thought about how luxurious of a perspective it was to consider harboring some things inside for a bit for the betterment of whoever was lucky enough to listen to her. She aged her thoughts into a syrupy wine to be drunk.

I had shattered the mirror we walked on, betrayed myself with my honesty, but I wasn’t fully convinced that the situation was bad or good. I realized how intensely my heart was racing, pounding past it's state of muscle. My thin arms were shaky and useless and my teeth chattered together like I was beginning to freeze. I had done something new and my body was on it’s greatest alert to prevent me from doing anything else outside of it’s complacency. My body’s most perched vigilance rendered me useless. And yet, I knew something about this catharsis was loving.

With the slightest release of trust, I felt a thought permeate my consciousness, like an object that made it’s way into a bubble without bursting it. It was the thought that my body was intelligent, not in the way of knowing - but in a different way. Inside me, I’d spun destructive storms that I knew could collapse galaxies with their power, but they’d all been contained and mastered by my cells for my entire life, in spite of my relentless treason. Incessant chattering, pulsating, all the things I had been ashamed of were my only scars from my body’s unthinkable reconnaissance.

When my body cooled down from tensity, all I wanted to do was go somewhere quiet and alone to worship it... penance... anything to ask for it’s forgiveness of judgement. The awareness of my own beauty felt like the genesis of my necessary recompensation.

The sole bottle left on her office table was filled with a liquid I could only describe as invisible. The only reason I knew of it’s contents was because the liquid glowed. I’d never been so magnified by an object. It was understood by my body that this bottle was a vessel.

This was the first time I'd seen any piece of Vicki's furniture spared of clutter and knick-knacks. The table's only purpose today was to hold the bottle, the bottle's purpose was to hold something unspeakable, and I was also held… suspended, you might say.

I felt that if I touched the bottle, the Earth's crust would collapse and I'd fall into the center of the planet for this divine trespassing. Even being around it felt like I was putrefying it by the sheer association of space.

If Vicki would have left something for anyone, it would have been me. I was Vicki's only friend, as far as I knew, and no one in this world would possibly grasp the significance of what this bottle held, including me…but I couldn't deny what I knew was an asking from someone or something beyond what I know - not unlike this invisible liquid that I could see. It was an impulse that made me grab the bottle and secure it in the front pouch of my bag, making sure the zipper was tightly closed.

He talked about things I never had thought about before... the chemical composition of saliva, the history that clothing carried, or what the flavor of a tangerine would tell you about it’s relationship to the sun.

He valued everything to their most unseen potential, like his obscure obsession with urine and all of its healing properties. He was the sommelier of pee, and I made myself laugh thinking of him speaking at a fine restaurant to wide eyed patrons. He theorized that in the future all of our body parts would have the ability to be synthesized through our own urine.

I had never presumed that it’d be a special liquid. Something that's so readily discarded and available in abundance couldn't possibly be of lofty significance, but then I considered that maybe we'd all been duped.... that maybe everything we wanted could be available by our own creation - creations we make but can't claim as creator. My inhalation, exhalation, suddenly made me feel rich, and I was, if any of my own creations were as valuable as he spoke of his own.

It was a strange moment where anything seemed plausible, like I could whisper something to the moon and it would hear me and understand English.

There was something in hiding that was productive. I believed I was charging my body for something that was approaching... maybe a great duel, a battle to the death, one that involved no fighting.

We both returned to look up at the cloudless sky. It was so crystalline blue, almost like a pool of clear water you hope never gets disturbed. Seeing the sky from the angle of the ground, I was surprised at how new it looked.

Unexpectedly, I was flooded with a rush of a mixture of contentment and sadness - hurt by how undeniably healing the sky was and how I'd looked at it so little that it seemed like a stranger when I did.

I tried to contain myself. I didn't want Patrick to know that because I looked up that I felt like I'd betrayed everything. My fragility kept concealed under all circumstances because I didn't know how to explain to anyone why I'd been hurting myself for so long.

On an afternoon a year prior, while we were hanging out in his basement watching TV, we started building a fort out of his couch cushions. It was a childish activity, and I was always very self-aware at what I was doing so that I could present as my age, but he was never as concerned as me about presenting as anything he wasn't... maybe because what he was, or could be, was so unanimously beautiful, and he too was a happy spectator of his own righteous self.

He was fine doing whatever made him happy, and since I looked up to him as someone more mature, and since we were alone in the safety of his basement, I followed suit. We were both carelessly indulging in the moment, building our own landscape with the minimal furnishings we could gather.

In between the construction of our couch kingdom, he'd wrestle me. We were just kids playing. He was blissfully unaware that when he'd wrestle me that I didn't want him to stop. I wanted him to go further and further with me and test my limits, I wanted to know what was beyond pain. I wanted to be braided with each other for as long as possible, with our skin kneading each other like matchsticks.

But at that time, my thoughts never appeared to me with form, they were amorphous and intangible in my naivety. I wasn't able to explicitly decide in my mind that I'd never want him to let go, because I didn't even know what desire was. Instead, we just joyfully rolled around each other in our innocence. I did my best to hide and stifle any excitement and never examine it after it dissolved, as though these brief instances that made me feel most alive, were the surest things to activate my own annihilation.

Years later, remembering our scenes as vividly and valuable as the day they happened, he likely doesn't even remember my name.

The way that the sun collected and refracted off the top left of the droplets hypnotized me. I brought up my wet hand into the fraction of light and was once again electrified in stillness. My palm, saturated and protected by the water, bathing in light that nourished all life. What had always seemed haggard and grotesque, now youthful.

“Beautiful,” I silently mouthed to myself. I flipped my palm over to the backside, which was just as smooth and delightful. I wished my creator would have stopped time forever so I could exist only as a statue examining their own godliness.

I put my hands down and finished washing the rest of my body that was connected to the same hands which I admired as though not my own.

A lingering anxiousness hummed in the back of my mind, behind my experience, at the idea that this state of being could, and would, soon evaporate, leaving me back to the pale mundanity which in the moment appeared otherworldly and nauseating. “Please, let me stay here. Please. Stay here.” I covertly begged whatever created my perception.

It felt so right and true to be in a state of gratitude. I can't explain how honest it felt. It made me feel like it was right for me to be born, like there was a purpose and the purpose was to soak in the spring of my own rapture. I never told anyone this because I knew how juvenile it sounded.

I was superstitious that once I left my bathroom I'd lose this euphoria, even considering that maybe I'd been anesthetized by the fumes of my shower...but life goes on, and I stepped one foot in front of the other, like my Mother said I had to, and exited the shower. I dried myself off with a towel.