My dreams have been incredibly lucid, of late.
There’s a level of realism there that I don’t think I’ve ever experienced. For the past three days, I’ve woken up a bit tired; I’m living a second life.
I think it’s about anticipation. Impatience. A wanderlust so strong (and so, well, lusty) that I don’t have enough time in the day to see to it.
We’re driving in a borrowed van conversion, windows rolled down. I’ve perched one foot on the side mirror outside, and I’m enjoying the feeling of the warm, humid air washing over it. I’m singing to myself, as per usual.
There’s a jungle on one side of us. There’s a cliff on the other. The road’s rough, but you’re somehow managing to keep a hand on my knee as you drive it. My hair is tied into pigtails. Your cheeks are scruffy with two-week-old growth, and you’re laughing.
We lurch to the top of the pass. The jungle is thrown like a nubby green blanket over everything we can see from up here. The canyon slithers through it, the sun slashing down the rocks as far as it can manage before the shadows take over. The sky is scattered liberally with the signature silver-bottomed billows of the tropics. It smells like greenstuff and petrichor and our sweat, salty and slightly sour from last night’s carousing.
I perch on the hood with a water bottle, scanning the endless wideness all around us. You parked close to the edge, but I’m at peace with edges now. I can hear the scratch of radio in the van behind me, static splashing over a man rattling on in Spanish.
You hop up next to me and playfully pin me to the metal beneath. I lose a sandal in the scuffle and it cuts a beautiful arc through the air, sailing down into the maw of the canyon.
Your lips find mine. I hold tight to your wide shoulders, and your pendant taps the space over my heart.
Los Angeles, I don’t love you anymore.
We’ve been together so long, and I know you so well – but we both knew from the start that it wasn’t going to be forever. I was just a kid when we met. I didn’t know who I was.
I know you, sugar. I know you really, really well. I’ve seen you ugly, and I’ve seen you beautiful. I’ve seen you wake up, and I’ve heard your voice as you toss and turn. I’ve suckled at your teat, and I’ve laughed at your ridiculous posturing, and I’ve told so many of your secrets, and I’ve dabbled noncommitally in plans to stay with you for always. Those plans always rang so hollow. I knew it was a futile exercise.
I find the devotion of your other lovers hilarious. If they knew you like I did, they wouldn’t chase you. They wouldn’t bleed themselves out in the hopes that you’ll love them. After all, the only reason you took such good care of me is that I stopped caring what you thought years ago.
Ten years is a long time, honey. I did love you. Some part of me always will. You’ll come up in conversation – so many lunatic anecdotes – and I’ll laugh, and people will wonder why I left you.
You know. And I know.
Good luck with your next one.