I’ve become a man who knows his songs but lost his music somewhere along the way. And so, day after night after day, I, a man burdened by this preternatural solitude, I labor to rediscover the forgotten melodies that sing to me the sound of her voice, she whose presence alone has been enough to convince me that the most beautiful things in life are yet to happen, grand as they truly are, like unborn promises awaiting their birth on her lips. This desire is the yoke I bear, inseparable — ceteris paribus — from who I have become and who I will be for as long as she remains the blues to my jazz, and because I want her today more than yesterday I will play every song I know in search of my lost music. I might find it.
Or I might not, for her absence has somehow nullified that possibility, muffling and muting whatever sound there is left to listen to in the corners of my mind, like the echo of a hymn so solemn and dignified it makes no sense why it has to struggle finding a wall in a place where there is none. You hear it once, the beauty of the song, and then never again, try hard as you might with your effort to remember, because it is not in the nature of memories to be true to form. They tend to take their own sound, and another, then another, which is probably why sometimes I mistake someone else’s voice as hers.
I have always wanted to sing her name.
Or I’ve become a man who understands his fiction like the back of his hand, whose arteries and veins extend until the point where the tip of the pen meets the paper, fluid and unrestrained in consummating their union; a man whose phrases could bleed the life out of him were it not for his calm resolve to stop when the stories have become too believable they start to mock reality; a man vulnerable to his own prose, every word like a dagger ready to stab him and pry him open so that, at last, the world may see that he, too, is of mortal bearing, that there has always been a heart where a heart should have been, contrary to what some people have said about him, and so it must be said that here is a man before you who could have been just as heartless as those who abandoned him with the flimsiest of reasons, a man who could have done so but decided not to, not because nothing more is left to be said, only acted upon, but rather because his life begs to be told, daggers and all. One day she will listen, and when I have uttered my last word she will never be the same again.
Or I could write that final word — no, sentence, or question — across the sky because god knows how often she turns to heaven to find the answers to questions she barely comprehends, and by then she will have to decide for herself once and for all what must be done: “What am I to you?”
Perhaps I’ve also become a man who trusts that the color palette can help him recreate the world on a small canvas with brush strokes as controlled as his breathing, slathering paint like streaks of stains intended to portray something familiar into something so alien it deserves its own name. And if it were to become the way in which illustrations are to be understood, my room would be a dictionary of labels unheard of, for where the walls stand there too are my drawings, lined up and down, left and right, returning my gaze with the irreverent coldness of the bluest shade I have yet to use on any one of my sketches, probably her eyes, for though they are nowhere near blue they are cold and unfeeling just the same. Or perhaps that is how I remember her the last time I saw her looking at me. Through me. And then she was gone, gone all of a sudden it makes no difference that she was there for a minute or so. Her momentary presence was worth a thousand absences.
I am just another man, someone that the world can live without, but what I have become has been beyond my volition, willed unto me under duress, forced by the circumstances of my time, the girl notwithstanding. Yet it seems to me now that I no longer want things any different. What I could have become other than this, I do not know. The permutations can extend infinitely, and where the possibilities are endless I refrain to venture no further and farther than where my compunction will allow me to tread. It is an error, my error, and rightly so.