I come from the winter people. They sent me to this sometimes green and hot place for learning. I thought it was an honor. I thought it would make me rich with experience. Since then, at least ten, maybe twenty times a day I have begged for ignorance. This is wealth with no place to spend it. "We will wait for you," they told me. "We will feel every moment of your progress." I made them swear it. Yet even with awareness of their presence my loneliness aches so deeply that I am convinced it is burying me. I want to go home. But home will not have me. Not yet. Not when it is clear even to me that, although fatigued and battle-scarred, I am still standing. And not until I know all that is killing these sometimes green and hot-weathered people.
I remember them now the dark plastic green with ridges the etched circles in the base that scratched my hand held the dandelions I brought home for you the fortune laying on your bed it was an accident it was an accident I never had a chance it was an accident I remember.
The second week of November I came home from the library to discover an
envelope on my pillow. At first I thought someone had mailed me a tardy
condolence card, but Bryan always left mail for me on the foyer table, and the
piece in question was lacking both a stamp and an address. Curious, I
picked up the mystery envelope and inserted my finger underneath the flap—only
to remember Bryan telling me something at breakfast. Something about how
Bob would be coming over to the apartment that night while I was at the
library, to pick Bryan up for a basketball game.
My finger froze in place.
It couldn’t be. There had been no letters, no glass rocks,
no nothing since my first week at Bob’s apartment. But no one else was in
the habit of leaving unmarked envelopes on my pillow, and Bob, Tim's favorite
messenger, had come to the apartment that night. Who else could it
Cautiously I opened the envelope. As I withdrew the note-sized
piece of paper, sparsely dotted with handwriting that I had come to know better
than my own, I could feel my stomach seize up. What if the few words on
the page said something likeI
hate you, orJust so you
know, I never loved you after all? What if he truly were gone
forever? Bryan had taken all of my pills away. I would have to
settle for a kitchen knife this time. Mentally composing the letter I would leave for Bryan, I lowered my eyes to read the two sentences on
Saturday, 8:00 p.m. It’s been
I flipped the piece of paper over. On the other side was the
fragment of a math proof.
My eyes filling with tears, I went to my closet. I needed to
find something good to wear. I was going to see Tim—on Saturday, his 22ndbirthday.
I see a man on top of a hill underneath a tree I turn to face him we stand there for a while the grass is green from the rain he does not know my name I turn to him I open my mouth and nothing gags he listens I turn to run I run run run down the hill my arms stretched wide I dive between the tall grass the grass is tall from the rain he calls for the daydreamer but I am gone it is too late he does not know my name but he knows there is no turning back