These nights.

These cool nights are unassumingly sumptuous. They might not seem like anything special, but they are. Their secret lies in the tawdry hood that cloaks what lies beneath. When your lungs have not had the pleasure of recycling carbon dioxide for all that long, it’s easy to want little and need less. With the help of a ghastly breeze, an empty tortilla chip bag crawls across the pavement and out of the sallow streetlight’s glare. In the shadows, a soft hand strikes a match, letting it expire as it falls to the curb, over and over and over again. The words flow like this fifth of whiskey: not constantly, but in liberal doses when the time is right, from body to wretched body.

In this unholy communion, everything is shared, from the sacred to the sacrilegious; and it’s all sacrilege. The ashes, the empty bottles, the rock ‘n’ roll music exist only as evidence of everything we do not need. They are not manifestations of the bond we share, but a silent rebellion against everything everyone else believes we need. As the hour grows later, the night seems to stretch its languid fingertips closer to infinity, and each match falls to the ground a little more slowly. Should we choose to look, we’d see the stars begin to weep, but our selves would start to sing an uncouth hymn of naked joy.

If we keep this up, there will come a day when the last of our youth has slipped away and in the absence of self-awareness, this romance will crumble into the basest, most pathetic tragedy – or worse, a humorless parody. These physical constructs will cease to act as our rebellion. They will morph into a surrender, an acquiescence that our shroud of resilience has fallen and our bond now reflects the bad whiskey and gas station matchbooks that we pass from hand to calloused hand. Perhaps we may cling to the shroud that isn’t there, but one day, we will wake up in late afternoon and realize that we want something else, that we need something more – that we can no longer make a life out of living off these nights.

I can see that day looming in the distance, but it feels nearer than ever. Lately the nights feel like the air before a summer storm: suffocatingly stifling and close, and charged with an electricity that intensifies as that future day creeps closer to the present. It’s terrifying. I’m not ready to relinquish my youthful and borderline juvenile claim on these deliciously irresponsible nights of simple community – and I’m afraid I never will be.

Advertisements

Are you sure?

Nothing lasts forever. Everything is ever ephemeral and sweeter for being so. People, places, things, ideas, and the connections among them all – everything will be reduced to nothing, if you wait around long enough for it to happen. Stability is a farcical figment of our imaginations; it really is laughable, the way we create and destroy ideas of certainty on whims stemming from the abstract, masked as the concrete. True certainty doesn’t exist, no matter how much we want it to exist, unless we imagine it into being.

Summer is rapidly drawing to a close, and in the season’s twilight, the days are already growing darker earlier, and the night air dares, at times, to be brisk. We’ve again become comfortable with living through the sweaty, brutally hot days for the damp, shallow nights that somehow last forever, and even though this changing of the guard has been occurring gradually, it feels like it has tiptoed from behind and caught us unawares. The change in season is as inevitable as every other change, and now they’re breaking upon us in waves.

I have somehow managed to take everything that has happened in these three months, and blur it together into a single vague memory of bars and parking lots and backyards, of the boardwalk and car rides and basements. People and things and words that have made me terribly angry or terribly happy seem far away, enshrouded in a cloud of cigarette smoke, enveloped in the pervasive stench of cheap beer. It has all become so much less important than it seemed in the moment. Everything feels like it’s slipping through my fingers – not as smoothly as sand, but it is slipping nonetheless.

I know I shouldn’t try to hold on to this tangled braid of memories, but under the influence of unwavering uncertainty, my instinct is to try to unravel the mess, and put each section into a separate compartment in my mind. There isn’t much to work with. I haven’t written much this summer. I haven’t taken very many pictures, at all. I haven’t spent much time trying to hold on. Without these constructs to keep my mind organized, it seems my mental space is as much of a mess as my physical living space, and I can’t see clearly.

I hate when this happens – when my life feels cluttered and with too many things and people and feelings and memories and I don’t know what to do with it all. Usually I write and organize and find spaces for everything, assigning meaning and trying to make those meanings permanent. Usually I’m afraid to let the good things go, and simply can’t let go of the bad. I’m afraid of forgetting. Sometimes, though, I just want to wipe it all out and start with a clean slate. I know no one can have a tabula rasa, that everything is with us always. And I know I shouldn’t want it to be any other way. But at times like this, I think it might be nice.