And I believed in her. I believed in her as I never thought I was capable. I was never a bright-eyed soul. I never expected the best. I didn’t expect the worst, either. I expected less than that. I expected nothing. I expected nothing to ever change. I expected each day to be like the one before and I expected that there would never be enough change in one day to ever make me feel any differently.
I was walking half-asleep. I worked. I slept. I dreamed dreams that I did not remember in the morning. Whatever dreams I may have had were forgotten by morning. I thought they were either not worth keeping or my mind was simply not strong enough to hold on. My hands were never strong. I dropped things all the time. Pens, pencils, glasses, plates, dishes were always falling out of my hands. Ever since I was a child, my hands were always too relaxed. I was always relaxed, yes.
Everything may have been the same but I was alright with the sameness. I did not find anything wrong with it. There was contentment in the routines, the shifts that happened slowly. I did not live to jump from rooftops. I did not imagine myself in different cities, leaving my mark on the world. I never had grand dreams like that.
I don’t imagine Eve had them either. She just–was. She never told me her dreams. She was dreaming all the time. She was dreaming all the time and yet always, I could see in her eyes that she was awake.
I think of the first time I saw her. Eyes large. Mouth just waiting for a moment to smile. As though the smile was pulling at her lips and it took all her will to suppress it. She seemed caught in delight at every moment. She looked into my eyes as though she were not a stranger. Direct. Open. She held my eyes with her gaze and I felt we were no longer strangers. It came over me, this sense of our familiarity. As though she knew me more than I had never been known simply because she truly wanted to. I could feel that she did. Her eyes pierced in the most gentle, inviting way. The light in them. The light in them dances. As though there were stars turning cartwheels inside her eyes.
Universes and galaxies inside those eyes. I fell into them and there, found life.
Where were we at that moment, at that very first moment of being? The moment we met was the point at which the world would never be the same. The moment we met was when I woke to light. To the universe in her eyes. I may have slept forever if not for her.
I did not know what it was to be awake until I met her. She took me. The shook me. She made it impossible for me not to rise, to meet her, to take her hand and go.
I took her hand, and life ceased to be quiet and calm. It was cacophony that felt like symphony in my ears. Life filled with sound of birds’ wings flapping and car horns blaring and oceans crashing and the very earth rumbling beneath our feet.
Yes, I became awake. I began to taste colors and see sounds. I could feel her voice caress me. Beckoning me. Tempting me.
Who was I before I knew her? Who was she before she knew me? Did we fall upon each other at precisely the right moment for explosion? Sometimes things happen in our lives that feel so right that we cannot help but think it was the exactly right moment. Not always because they feel good or comfortable but because it was simply the right thing to have happened at that particular moment.
It’s a feeling in the gut. It resides there, waiting to be startled into our consciousness. It is there waiting for us to live the life that we have etched into our bones to live.
When I met her, I felt my bones tingle. I could feel the writing there. I could feel that our story, that she was carved into my bones. If my flesh were stripped away, back then or today or years from now, you will find her name etched there. You will find our story written in precious tiny letters across each bone. My femurs will carry the longer stories, my phalanges will have the small details (what we ate, what size shoes we wore, how many sweaters we shared). Across the wings of my pelvic bone, the stories of our lovemaking will be written. Alone my spine will be her fingerprints. My collarbone will have bite marks and the shape of her lips. Across my jawbone will be the anecdotes she told which made me smile.
On my skull, there will be all of the fears, the dreams, the promises we made. On the day you read our story on my bones, you will know the ended and I will be drifting elsewhere.
She took my from my sleepwalking life and I wanted to sleep again when it was over and could not.
You see, once you have been thrown from the safety of your quiet, there is no returning to it. There is no unseeing, unhearing. There is no unknowing.
There is no returning from the brink of flight. There is only flying or falling. We flew.
We flew across the nation. We flew from the cold place that was our home and came to a new city. A city with vague weather changes and subtle seasons. A city that she convinced me we could make our own.
So convincing, Eve. I believed her. I believe her still. I still hear her first words reverberate in my brain when I look at the city skyline. “This place will be ours,” she said.
I did not understand how it would come true, but I knew that it would. How could I not believe her, with all her conviction, her shining eyes and her unshakable determination? It was simply not possible to doubt her. It did not matter anyway; I would have been alright with anything.
I felt invincible. Stepping off that plane. Barely a chill in the air in the middle of January. A new year in a new city in a new climate.
Eve’s eyes were bright as ever, and that was all that mattered. What was there to be afraid of? The only thing to fear was the possibility of not being, and there was no danger of that.
The first day sits in a special place in the vault of my memory. She navigated the buses and trains and wide streets with the certainty of a life-long dweller. It was like she was meant to be here.
The first bus ride we took here, I looked at her, and knew that she wanted to be nowhere else at that moment. And that is the way it should be. Why should our minds constantly drift off so far from where we are? How much do we miss while we are dreaming of elsewhere? How much do we miss when we do not look? How much do we miss because we imagine nothing there?
I would never have come here on my own. I would never have found myself adrift if not for her. I would never have become myself if not for her. This self– I owe to her.