The man decided he would. The woman didn’t know it yet. The woman was here and the man was here too, but leaving in the sun. This was certain. And the woman would not be and they were both sitting sunny in the window. Sure. But not now. It’s the woman, together with the sun where they both sat smiling, staying put, streaming through. They were there. It’s the woman, just barely, and the window too. They sat at the window. They were together like that. How, and yes, and still now, they were in such weather. Can the woman wander? The man left. Figure it out. To think think think. Think about it. The woman is, then. And the woman stayed simply someone, but the man made the description and was certain that the woman was no longer there. But the woman made the description and she is there still. And so she was.
“I think you are gone perhaps. Going, yes, but you never left, never left often enough, never disappeared from here, never departed, you have gone away, ran off, I’m going, I’m leaving, I’m going away, you could stay here, keep on here, continue, wait, stop.”
But he would keep going, his head heavy, like always, he would be tired as always. And he went, he was going out to waste time somewhere a long way off, it wasn’t that far away.
“Your quiet music is too loud to be quiet music.”
The woman was singing quiet into the man’s tiny ear a small sad song. She was giving it a try, to see how her voice could barely be. He was squirming, trying to read.
“Don’t you like the melody?”
“I do like it, but it’s too loud.”
This was the woman’s attempt at grace. But there was too much precision evident in the whorls of the man’s ear. For a moment, she thought she might bite it. Instead, she got up and walked across the floor and looked out across the field. Stared down the riverbed.
In fields in trees in wind in fact.
“The fact of the matter is that you didn’t hear me. You weren’t listening,” she said.
“I heard you, but the phone was ringing,” he said.
“Who was it?”
“No one. What did you say?”
“I said, ‘You’re a giraffe.’ ”
“No, I’m not tall enough.”
You were there, and far, and I looked for you in the fields. I said something out loud there, I must have said something, my voice carried across the way to where you were; I don’t think I’m mistaken about this. And you had gone, it was early, you left here, you said you were leaving right then, I think I can say that this happened, I’m not confused, you said you were leaving and then you were gone. But the look on your face wasn’t different than before. I don’t think that you looked any different when you left than when you were here, where we both were.
They both felt the earth turn when they went out at night to go walk around the town. Arm in arm they were circular. They walked in a circle. The moon it was huge and low and yellow. The woman thought it might follow them inside and their room would never be dark again, she would have to hide the moon away. The man didn’t want to think about that.
He sleeps. Breathing even and slow he is a heavy parcel dreaming, his hands are twitching bird wings flickering next to his face. He slept through storms through winds through traffic through hours and days and all of the minutes. He’s sleeping now, alone in the afternoon, warmly. He was often tired. He complained about how tired he was. “I’m so tired,” he said. Would say.
Whether there is a difference in light now, I cannot say for certain. I am not sure if the brightness through the leaves is the same, or whether the leaves have turned brown and dropped off, I’m not sure of either of those things. Was it you who provided the descriptions when I wondered what was happening to the trees? Am I going to cast these ideas far away from me, now that you are not here to say, yes, the tree leaves are green, the light through them is green, we can nearly taste them they are so green in the light streaming down on us here beneath them, we are so lucky.
The man took his thumb and pressed it beneath the woman’s eyelid to catch a fallen eyelash.
“Here,” he said, handing it to her.
They were so close that their hair touched. They were a snapshot, a flash of fish. They were in the moment that would be the moment at least one of them would remember.
There were weeks of hating how things looked. Everything seemed dusty. The woman touched her finger to the windowpane and ran a clear spot down the center. The man sat and watched.
“It’s so dusty in here,” he said.
“I like how it makes the light look,” she said.
“I like a clean light,” he said, “like the light through leaves.”
“I think this dust is killing me,” she said.
Perhaps I should not think about it, I am certainly thinking about it too much, it is not interesting to think about, I know this. It’s nearly daunting, to let these thoughts go. I know things because I can think of them, and it’s impossible to not think at all. I know this. Quick, other details. No, it’s just all trees and leaving and where we were sitting in the sun. But it’s not possible, to do that, to think about that exactly.
“You there, my little ghost, my ghost there, you and small and you and ghostly, there and floating, I can’t see you, you are too still, say something.”
The light is strange, now, and cold. It is like every other time the light has been strange and cold. I remember it is always the same. And now the light has changed, but only slightly, and it is still cold and still the same as it was, as I remember. I remember, too, singing, or asking you to sing during a time like this. Or were we both singing? And what was the song? This I don’t remember at all.
The woman was hungry with too much to do. She wasn’t doing the right things. She was wasting so much time thinking about what to do next. She slid her finger down the windowpane and pulled up a line of dust. Everything was dusty. She stood. She was standing there, humming.
They went together to hear a concert. The music was so kingly they had trouble in the doorways. They could barely get out to leave.
“That took everything out of me,” he said.
“The crowd?” she said.
“No, the music.”
Meanwhile, an attempt at grace was futile.
We slid together it was only weeks I forget which is to say there was good I came away with that and our light kissed my core was tempted to shatter alone in that moment when everything grew fingers we fell asleep already unison.
Because you have gone, you are walking away from this place where I am. But you, is it possible that you are still here and waiting to go? I don’t think so. I say these things, and I am sure I remember as I speak that what I describe is what is true of where you are now, and where I went to find you is clear. You went to the fields. But where you have gone, and will go, if you are able, is not there, or will not be there ever, or never was there, and if it was, if you are, you were not there and are not there now.
Sometimes the man hated how things looked.
“There’s always a better way to be angled or attached to the floor,” he said.
He said, “I hate how things look sometimes.”
I am in a field, listening to a voice, maybe your voice, calling. Or is it singing that I hear? But I cannot hear exactly or remember exactly. I am describing the trees and the light that passes through them, but I am not saying anything out loud, I am not saying anything. I am there, still, I think, but you are not there, and the light is cold and also it keeps getting darker the more I think about the field and where I am in it.
The woman was describing the man’s features to him.
“Your nose is a strange ritual.”
“Your hands are tall, serious girls.”
“Your eyes are the natural history of color.”
“Your head is a climbing vine.”
“Your ears are branches.”
“Your mouth is something I can’t describe.”
No, I don’t think it was me in that field singing like that. It wasn’t me who left to go there. It was you. Does it matter? I can say that I don’t know, or that, no, it does not matter, but I don’t think that I would believe a word that I said. But I am here in the world, I am almost sure of this. And you were in the field. Look, I can see you walking there, see you seeing me waving a hand. No, there was no gesture like that, you heard me calling out, I must have said something. I said something out loud there, my voice carried across the way to where you were. And you had gone.
“Just a small, changing view,” he thought, “a opening along the horizon.”
He said, “I think my arms used to be wings.”
Little moon hanging there, give me your hand.
I cannot think about these things or try to remember them correctly. I never stop thinking about these things. Will there be a time when I will no longer think of them? Will there be a time when we will pass each other on the street as strangers, both looking up at the leaves shining and green and think it is lucky to be seeing that light there? Will our disappearances become clearer? I do not know the answers to these questions.
Outside the sun shines and they are sitting near a window. They have been silent together watching what goes by. Everything is outside. Things are far away and small and the woman feels like she is surfacing.
You may always be leaving at the start of my remembering. You, of course, are leaving. Leaving. It is easy to say. Everything should be so easy to say. And how can I be certain of this? You walk the fields. At the start. The day’s beginning. Is this a good idea, to think this way? And is it something that’s required? To think? It would be better to forget. But I cannot forget. No. This will not happen.
“It’s not solid here,” he said.
They were walking on the frozen lake, freezing, and she wanted to walk across to the other side.
“Yes it is. It’s been so cold so long, there’s probably six feet of ice by now. Come on,” she said.
“But how do you know?” He had stopped walking and did not go any further. He stood there shivering.
“Well, I haven’t measured it or anything, but I’m pretty sure it’s fine,” and she went on walking and then stopped and turned back towards him. “Do you want to go back?”
“Yes,” and he took off as fast as he could towards the shore.
It is possible that I will never know anything exactly. It is possible that I will remember these things as if I had never remembered them before. Does this mean that I will forget? But this seems impossible. I already said that it seemed impossible. I might have told you about this already, but it doesn’t matter either way. I am the only one to remember what it is that I say. Have I said that before? You may have already left before I told you.
“I think there’s something to be said…”
“And I haven’t thought so much about it…”
“So, tell me…”
“It’s just that…”
“I was thinking …”
You are here, you were. And I am also here, and also there, where you are, when I went to find you. I called out over the fields. But I have always been here and looking to find you because you were here once and I knew I could find that far place where you had gone. And yet, it seems that you are still sitting here, over near the window where I remember you passing the day—there you are. And we are both there, sitting in a patch of sun coming in through the window, you and I together there, and we are both smiling, I can see that, and it was then, I think, that you decided that you would leave.