I found the back of your earrings last night.
I remembered myself, love-funked, draped in 3 a.m. shadows. I wondered why I was where I was: the nook between your protruding collarbone and your chin. We were made up of a million million molecules and there were too many molecules in the Universe all travelling perpetually in Brownian motion only to intersect at this particular point. For our fingers to catch, for me to be sitting here eating dry, home-cooked pulled pork tacos with you, was simply a miracle.
Most accidents are founded on desperation – the silent moments that carry you from one high to another to seek the next rush. We found each other through planned misfortune, also known as mutual right swipes. Born of a chiasmus of love, we fucked first and talked after. The tongue that provided pleasure sparked to life and revealed the boxed claustrophobia of Aldo shoes, dusty basements in Longueil, the pond in Laval where you loved to fling breadcrumbs at circling ducks, hands encroaching on your femininity. I remember bold-faced tears, brimming yet never falling as if you were choking back more than words, something rather more intangible and inexplicable.
You asked me when we were clammy and exhausted, what was the thing that we had just done. Did we fuck or did we make love? There was something blatantly both violent and nonchalant about the word. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. The word had the color of the $11.99 Pinot Noir that stood empty by your bedside. It tasted acrid and sharp, and the smell was disconcerting and strangely alluring. Whereas to make love was to bring the word ‘love’ into this vacuum of consensual pleasure. We overcompensated for what was simply not there. I muttered, we made love, even though our bodies were nestled somewhere between the two ideas. Her eyes were glazed. You sure? It’s too much. We only fucked, she said normally, as if you were discussing the merits of your favorite pair of shoes. But the word lost its flavor and became something thoroughly mechanical and habitual. From a passage of life and love and creation, it was transformed into the twin pillars of triviality: pleasure and exercise. Our cycle began and ended with the same soft cry as we spiraled into a routine passage that made us secretly desire more, yet never gave us anything other than what we had asked for. Intimate yet infinitesimally distant, we went for a coffee-to-go afterwards. The Tim Horton’s tasted acrid and sharp on my tongue.
I sought something tactile and comprehensible to remind me of you when electronic screens and black mirrors could not. I tried to recreate you, but all I produced was the sense of you ghosting the light floral scent of Dollarama laundry detergent and places between us that were viscous and precious. I recall the chiffon robe framing your silhouette, a Chinese robe that had a French name whose name I had since forgotten but it rolled on the tongue like a word that never wanted to be let go, and it clung onto you, the sheerest fabric kissing your porcelain breasts drawn from classical marble. Then we had our reawakening. Soft against the hard. White against the dark. Desire but not quite love. Filled up spaces, yet something so so very empty between us. Was a relationship built upon pleasure fundamentally broken? In itself, it was not self-destructive as long as what we were made of was contained within airtight boundaries. However, this empty love latently called for misdemeanor – we began to trespass into guarded places surreptitiously, as if what we had seen of each other was not immediately stolen.
The moment you left for a respite in the bathroom, I tried to reimagine you as a person I could have met in a café rather than a night-call lover. After all, we reinvent our homes to reassemble ourselves, and in turn, we are shaped by our environment. Upon your desk I found blue and yellow dotted pills that could be used as easily for birth control as for suicide as for alleviating a hangover. I found out that you loved Malcolm Gladwell, hated accounting, loved vinyls yet never played them. You loved to paint, and how mystifying these paintings were, but you never intended to show anyone, not even me, the phantasm that paced your room while you were taking a shower. What I saw resembled apparitions, familiar faces that were not quite you in places that I had not quite seen. There was perspective behind those glossy glassy eyes of yours that I had only begun to comprehend. What did you think of me? Would I be sketched and filled and hung up there along with all the others, and would some other guy wonder who that long-faced person was? You did not exist for my mere pleasure, nor did I for yours. You became another layer of my self-deceit as I layered myself with contradictions that matched your calfskin boots and Burberry winter coat, a sequined daydream trudging through the night.
Moments stolen in the dark.
And then you came out from the bathroom, resplendent and unwitting. Your milk-white body was completely and utterly exposed, and you had a soft pink towel wrapped around your hair like a tightly-wound bandage to cover the only part of you that had to be hidden away.
Everything felt different afterwards. You knew that I was the phantom that ransacked your place to leave it as it were with everything in the right place with everything too untouched. Somehow, you knew. So we continued to do what we did and had done, physical duties compelled by our contractual obligations made in the darkness. Then we fell asleep together, naked, back to back. When I woke up, you sent me to the bus station without a kiss, stating that others were watching. You left immediately for a class I was not sure you actually had. I took the metro instead. Underground, I was swallowed by a crowd of hundreds who ambled around me in clockwork rhythms. Doors open and shut and open. Pie – IX. Angrignon. Raddison. Places I’ve heard of but never bothered to see. When I got home it was 8 a.m. I took two showers to wash the night away. I fell asleep on the right side of the bed as if I had never slept before.
Two weeks later, we lost all contact. You had not wanted to see me for some reason yet had not elaborated on this sudden change of heart. I wanted to call you to ask what was wrong or rather what had I done wrong, but I was never good at explaining for too many words would tumble out and I did not know which ones to piece together for my next sentence. I would start each sentence wanting to go in one direction but then half-way through I would be hauled by the allure of another more eloquent path. So I wrote out something long and inoffensive (unintentionally the very opposite of what we once were) and hit ‘send’. Out there, everything sent was permanent and became etched in the unshifting stone tablet of a vast super-network. I wonder if it will be remembered.
I wanted to go one way without going the other but I was never in control. I was bouncing from one thought to another thought in a whirlwind of motions siphoning the miraculous and the erratic. That all of this was an accident. Wonting and self-destructive, we desired to see ourselves fall – Niagara crashing, or rather Adam and Eve – and the illusion shattered into reflections of our hypocrisy. We did not want to love, rather we desired to be loved and mystified by its all-enthralling gaze. When we found that no true connection existed between these two randomly drafted points, but rather the synthetic Splenda of primal ecstasy and thoughtful self-destruction, where else could we hide and find solace in the cosmos?
I have since deleted this memory. I am going to stop finding miracles in accidents when I should be stumbling upon them in the wake of streetlamps. I am going to become a prowler in the dark. I am going to stop looking. I am going to stop all of this. I am going to find sublime wonder. I wonder if you still wear that Chinese robe with its French name, and if you still do, I hope you can tell me its name. I freeze and realize that I am still playing with the back of the earring stud, its circular plastic indentation pressed gently against my flesh. I wonder where its other half is. I wonder if half of the earring you left behind is still dangling from your left ear. I wonder how long it will cling onto you for. I wonder when another accident will happen and how I am going to get there.
I wonder if you remember.