Cyan and The Bechdel Test or Whatever The (2004)


“The Socratic word for either deduction or induction is ‘sunogages’ or something.” 
David Samuel Shalen

They are easy to disregard; the promises you make in the morning. I won’t see him anymore. I won’t drink, too much. I won’t miss class. And I’ll catch up. I’ll do better about responding to texts, to emails.

It’s easy to say these things, to list them, to write them in a journal. It’s easy because it isn’t true. Not just the promises, the man, the relationship, the story of it, the everything.

What is true, you wonder. Perhaps your parents. Your siblings. Perhaps the first real relationship: the tired boy you never loved and lost. The words of poets. Yes. These things are real, aren’t they? But no, they aren’t, not even. They fade and slip away, or like your uncle, flash. One day here, one day gone. No getting used to the idea, no trying out the feeling, no preparing, no control. If someone can come and go within the same instant, then perhaps, no, perhaps we aren’t real.

The sky. Now that’s a real thing. The celestial dome that covers over everything. That will last long after we are gone. Of course the science people, professionals and laymen, would cry out--no. Galaxies will spin apart, faster than the speed of light, and the sky, even the night sky--with all its referents--will become something invisible, something that once was. Whether there is an earth or a being to remember them or not.

Why do I wonder about these things. Anything. I don’t want to. I want to be in the grip of life. Livet i vold. A college student having an affair with a teaching assistant. It should be simple. Easy. It should be slightly thrilling. Doesn’t it feel good? To have the admiration, the validation, of an older man – a man with graying hair and eyes that look straight through you. That’s what I am supposed to be chasing—the gaze of those eyes. Or is he supposed to be chasing me? I can’t remember and I’ve reconstructed the theory too many times to recall which drives which. One of us, I believe, is trying to be immortal.

Last night I watched a special on Johnny Carson. He was handsome. I’d never noticed because he was already rather old by the time I was watching, and I was a kid--a teenager--staying up late finishing book reports on the French Revolution, skipping chapters of Dickens, listening to your classmates closely before the test. An English TA will smile and a casual remark you made, thoughtlessly, witlessly, will take on significance. You’ll repeat it to yourself on the bus. You’ll hear it in bed. In the shower. And always with his smile.

Is this love? The meaning of your life. Romance? Is this Freud? Why can Johnny Carson have affairs, young loves, a real career, esteem – but you are now defined simply by this small thing, this two or three month flirtation. Slightly more than just that, of course. He called, and you came. This repeated and played out and ended. One day there was a man in your bed, one day there wasn’t. Why it ended, you aren’t sure. The change of season? His wife? Your pride? His job, perhaps? Maybe he grew tired of you, your jokes, or afraid. That you wanted more. Did you? Who knows. You can’t remember. Was this the story you wanted to tell?

Now take a deep breath, and sigh. Take a hand across your face, move your hair in place.
Turn back to the windows, the glass to see through, the wandering star, the color blue.


- AMD, November 25 2014



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