In a rush to pack, I didn’t notice the labels on my shirts, the shorts, and the sneakers. It’s just a matter of minutes before I’m in my car, headed to the airport, and I’m putting the final touches on my packing list. I have everything I need, and yet I know that there’s something missing.
As I pull away from the house, I spot a man in a green shirt and red cap, standing on the sidewalk. His hat is off, and his hair is matted from sweat. He looks like he’s been there for a while. I roll down the window and call out to him. “Hey,” I say, “I’m on my way to the airport. Can I give you a ride?” He looks at me, with eyes that seem to be looking right through me. “I’ve already been waiting for an hour.” He says. “I need to get to the airport. I’m in a hurry.” “I’m on my way to the airport too.” I say. “I’m going to leave in a few minutes, so I’d be happy to give you a ride.” He doesn’t say anything, but he starts walking towards my car.
I look back at him and wave, but he doesn’t wave back. His cap is off, and his hair is matted down to the back of his head. He doesn’t look like he’s been waiting an hour. He doesn’t say anything. I drive to the airport. He doesn’t say anything as I check him in. He doesn’t say anything as I walk him through security. He doesn’t say anything as I drop him off in front of the gate. He doesn’t say anything as I drive away.
I’m not sure what he’s doing. It could be that he’s in a hurry. He could be taking a bus. It could be that he needs to catch a train. It could be that he’s just trying to get to somewhere as fast as he can. Whatever he’s doing, I don’t want to know. I don’t want to be responsible for his plans. He’s not speaking. He’s not speaking to me. He’s not speaking to anyone.
Loss of consciousness
My breasts were like the soft, shiny black seeds of a coconut, the way they swelled and spilled out of his hands when he wrapped them around my waist. Our bed was a canoe. We rocked back and forth on it, tipping from side to side. A carousel ! I said, and he leaned over me and smiled as if he knew what I meant. A child laughed and clapped my hands, and I thought it was you. I saw you in the corner of my eye, your hair all over the place and your mouth open, laughing with glee. You’ve always been a child at heart, I said, but that’s not true. I lay down on the gray sea, I wake up and it is flat, the color of a slate sky.
I missed my flight and walk to the beach. The ocean turns into one big jet engine, propelling me forward: the waves coming at me so fast I think they’d fry me. He doesn't say anything. May rain make the flowers grow, and the bougainvillea, cascading down the side of our house. Although we have seen so much together, we are still strangers. We have not spoken. Without understanding you, I understand you. I understand that your father died young; that you live in a small house with your mother and sister. I understand that you are not me, even though I think of you sometimes. I understand that you are not me, but I still want to know more about you.
I'm not sure what he is doing
When the wind went down,
I Start counting the small things.
When it came back up,
I Had made a list of all those things, but then
I Couldn't remember the ones that had saved me.
So I said them again, slowly:
The sun, the earth, the stars, the sky.
The trees, the grass, and all that is green.
The beasts of every size and shape
That run with me when I run in the woods.