Halfway around the world lies the one thing that you want. How many miles is that, really? How many miles can there really be between two people, once indistinguishable from each other, now on two sides of the earth, looking at each other across a hallway lined with yellowing linoleum squares of 12 by 12? It would only be three steps to him, every morning; it would take less than a minute to get up and cross those tiles, but that diagonal line toward his aloof stance, one foot resting on the wall, hands behind his back, is a tightrope made of the thinnest gossamer thread, threatening every second to break and drop me hundreds of miles into the cavern below. Every time I itch to push off the ground and don my tight-rope uniform like I used to years ago, iron handcuffs bind my wrists and ankles; I become a captive of my own mind, clamping myself down and tearing my gaze away, instead reviewing for a Physics quiz, or complaining about the French project that is due.
Monday syndicate meets everyone the same. Another Monday, another class bell, keep moving, keep working. No longer do I feel my iron limbs rusting; time has been my Oz, turning me back into a person, and though I never lost love for things like summer nights or chocolate cake, I feel myself glancing over my shoulder less, my ears becoming less alert at the whispers of his conquests, and my attention being in the moment much more. While the irrational pull of a giant magnet like those that pull entire caseloads of Acme explosives toward it always looms, threatening to consume my little world, its force is counteracted by the returning attraction to millions of other things, inclinations to step away from him because now I have other things to step towards.
Close your eyes, don’t open till the morning light. Begged and pleaded with, I feel my eyelids sliding down, my eyes closing of exhaustion as if I’d run a thousand marathons, that exhaustion leading to my natural tendency for escapism- not like the escapism of the Great Depression (that would just be melodramatic), but escape into a calm sleep, a fantasy, an evening spent watching the sun streak thousands of shades of fiery colors across the sky holding a mug filled with mango ice cream. The morning has taken an eternity to come, but I can see a glimmer of the first fingers of dawn creeping every slowly into my horizon. It will not be long until I am soaking in the first moments of the morning, eyes still closed and hair sprawled out everywhere, but my body stirring to lift up, release itself of the unease.
All we know for sure is all that we are fighting for. Just as the morning slides into my being, the realization does that my battle is a losing one, and one that I am having with myself. I used to believe he wanted me to fight for him, to fight this new butterfly (though it is not at all beautiful) he had become, to knock down the pretentions that came with his new haircut and Oxford shirts, allowing his old, attached-to-the-keyboard self, whose eyes literally lit up at the thought of his robot being able to turn left. But I never thought to ask myself if it was I alone who wanted to fight this new buzz-cutted person, simply because he didn’t register in my memories of my middle school companion. Do I know for sure that he wants to return the way he used to be? Now I comprehend the deliberate thought behind the transformation, the calculated plans he subcionsciously made to escape anything from his old life, including me, including our time together, our shared feelings, our shared everything, jokes included. (“Lord of the Flies? What’s the sequel called- The Two Flowers??” he had said to me one day, and what I will never forget was the innocence of his crooked, toothy smile, dimpled to one side and able to lighten up the even the most morose of days).
We haven’t lost it all yet. He may come back. Though statisically in our relationship I am the one losing my money with hands that don’t add up to 21 (and though we don’t play enough to even have what normal people would call a relationship), it is worth having my chips slid heartwrenchingly away by the dealer across the felt table to know those accumulated chips could one day return, when the stars align and Jupiter decides to give up whichever house it has currently taken up residence in.