I will always think of this time in smoke-choked lilacs, and the quiet of 7 in the morning. It is easy to forget about the way the in-betweens fit into all of it once you have left. I don’t want to forget any of this. The year of in-between that, and this, and the talk of birds that lost their way in the jungle and ended up in this smog-heavy city instead. I am, and I am not, like them.
I tell people that I will not know how I have been changed by it until I go back, until I’ve held my heart up against those I love as a measuring stick. I do not think this is true for everyone. This, I believe, is uniquely mine. I am ready to watch the seagulls flock on the pier, and count the different kinds of wildflowers again. I am ready, and I am not, for this.
There are so many things to fall in love with, and most of them are transient. Nothing can stand up to the glare of the sunlight, but that does not mean it matters any less. The endless blues in our ocean, the lightness of a body dancing for a lover, the blueberries in the bottom of a gin-filled glass. I am always falling asleep in the afternoons here. I am always dreaming of somewhere else. Nothing, no one, can live up to what I hold in the spaces between my bones,and yet there is no reason for that to stop me from searching for it.
The city is going up in flames and everywhere emergency alerts go out telling us to stay in doors. Stay where its safe, and try not to breathe. There is a metaphor in this, but I never listen to the obvious things. We go outside, stare up at the skies and wait for the sun to come out. The birds are resting, and they are biding their time. You can’t sing when there are fires, but the water will come. Only a little while longer, and the blue will show again.
If there was ever a jungle, there is also a way back into it. The birds know this in their bones, and so do I.