Bon Anniversaire

(originally posted September 5th, 2014)

The material world. Slow dances. She. She laughs in his twirls. His masculine, confident twirls. In a nighttime park. I watch from a covert bench. Watch them spin and spin. They think they’re alone, this night theirs. Her clothes float. His arms have a discipline, his steps, a martial deliberateness. The moon adores them, gifts them with its shine. In the distance, sprinklers activate. Even in darkness, grass blades need nutritious moistening.

Their swinging sticks in my head. Their occasional giggles. More importantly, their constant smiles. Constant eye contact.

You need to get back on the horse, I tell myself. You need to get back on the horse.

Classes are like panels in a slideshow, a slideshow going too fast. For a second, flashes of that couple’s dance flicker on the screen, but then, on to the next projection. Future of solar power. The future, I am told, is bright. That glimmer must be harvested. Like aromatic tobacco leaves.

Outside, rain. The ethereal world. The Kama Sutra of listlessness. That ennui moment. Ennui and me. I could write a book. I am writing a book. I finish the book. I leave the book in the rain. Let the puddles claim it.

Every night, they dance. Like they own the park. And I watch.

If we farm all that sun, I finally tell the professor, won’t we burn it out? And all we’ll have left will be clouds, fog, storm fronts. He looks at me like I’m insane.

I think the future is a synthesis. Of physical and mystical. But the strands don’t meet. The DNA won’t code.

They can, though. That couple. Their entwined fingers, so facile. Those grins. True replenishable resource. We’ll never be apart, he says. I know, says she.

I drop out of school. You need to get back on the horse. The coexisting world. Biodegradable. Detachment. Conservation. Predestination. Melting icecaps. Noah’s flood.

In Africa, I see Kilimanjaro. In Italy, the Leaning Tower of Pisa. In Calcutta, I see that couple. I see them dancing in the night even though it’s day.

The future. The future. The future.

I want to talk about tomorrow’s tomorrow. About the emergent secular Iran, about the subsonic train grid connecting America, about a China with clean rivers and clean air, a Europe with no borders, a Somalian spaceship on its way to colonize Mars. I want to cry in joy at the overwhelming modernity that promises to greet us, greet mankind.

The real world. Her absence. Her hands retreating away from mine. Her steps backing away slowly. Her lips carefully zipped. The night turning to a gray dawn, the sun slobbering white light through murky wisps. Consignment to the bench. Demotion to observer.

You need to get back on the horse. You need to get back on the horse.

Evening. A return to the park. Patrol cars skirting the perimeter. Hiding between trees. My world. Private. Her. Long gone, likely rolling in someone’s bed, a level we never achieved. Her future, segregated from mine. Rationality and spirituality forever in conflict. The future, always ahead, never arrived. Embarrassed applications for re-admission. Candles. Cake. Lighter.

The offering glows in the middle of our grassy dance floor. In the distance, sprinklers activate. A poor substitution for dew. “Bon Anniversaire.” She always did like French.

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