I fear forgetting how to write. A couple of stories hum in the pipeline, waiting like children in a Charles Dickens novel waiting for porridge. This isn’t a priority, the way a poet friend’s foreword is a priority, the way tales about Sydney are a priority, but if I don’t begin again some place I fear I will forget. This here is written in hopes of not forgetting.
Tonight rain poured without inhibition, as though the skies were done holding it all together. My flats, a glittered, golden pair reminiscent of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s daughter’s in that scene at a party, turned into boats of pavement water, my toes sloshing in disdain with every step. From Sheung Wan I made it to Central where a good friend of mine and I had dinner, gracing parma ham and cheddar on thin crust with stories of music, hostels, fishing and sinking ships. It feels nice turning around to find a pal on the same boat, rocking with the same questions you are.
Last night was humid, the air wet with terrible Viber connections and the other end of the line due for a hug. It is people, more than places, that fuel all vain hope for teleportation to be a thing of reality. Rooted on my spot by the streetlight, I could only listen to desperation – frustration turning to question turning to justification turning to determination. Just a few days ago I listened to a similar story play out in different colours: wondering turning to clinging turning to admitting turning to relinquishing. In both threads were a vein of hope. Maybe, if only, just maybe.
Atop the IFC tower a few weeks ago, peach beer by our ankles, a girl friend and I brewed a plan with one objective: to be able to say that “we tried.” For two months we would do all sorts of crazy things, things that don’t even cross our minds inebriated – nothing shameless, but neither anything that either of us felt were ‘our style’ – to affirm suspicions about the chances of finding love in this city, known also as, in the words of another friend, a Wasteland. Just two months, by which we mean eight weekends: enough for a speed date, a blind date, a setup…
We forgot about it the next day.
After work this Monday, a friend divulged contentment in single-seat boarding passes and the basic need of being by one’s self. It would be lovely for a surprise seatmate to fall from the sky, but until then the view from down here remains just as exquisite. Until then, the questions and reveries and all of life’s mysteries make for entertaining company.
We shift and shuffle between stories. We feel our way about, attentive to outlines for the next possible tale we’ll tell over chocolate lava cake with vanilla ice cream, over terrible Viber phone calls and disjointed Skype dates. We are equal parts occupied and expectant, our days brimming yet available, packed yet with room. For one, it is about being there, as good friends do. But it is also, hopefully, in order for good friends to possibly become…
For another it is about leaving without regrets, if it means fighting to the end.
Others take apart the threads. Disassemble what happened and move on from it not empty handed.
And others linger by the shelf, convinced a story is done, but not enough to walk away.
In the words of one of these girls, we believe in Soon. But we also believe in Here, and Now, and in the presence of a warm body or words on a retina display. We believe in Better; we also believe in Good, With Potential.
And we wander. Not aimlessly, I would like to believe, although perhaps a little recklessly. A little less cautiously than would do us good. A little farther off the path of certainty.
We shift and shuffle, in and out of stories, content and expectant both.
And maybe not for long, but maybe long enough for us to grow accustomed to it. To be comfortable by one’s self, and comfortable hoping. That would be a sweet, sweet spot, the kind that would welcome disruptions from the sky in no eager manner. In no strained rush.
The kind that would look over at the empty seat next to them, then back at the passenger standing nearby, and say ‘hello.’
Void of expectation. Filled only with welcome, and wonder.