48. Telling

I’ve ducked a peach; I’ve sung the story.

I want to tell you. I mustn’t tell you, even though I believe you would understand that it would only be me telling you. Telling you. Whispers crawling through my brains like tiny horses through pasta, I got to wondering if the horses are always like that, or if this is a special case.

If I tell you, it changes everything. I like how things are, but I like how they could be just as absolutely well. I don’t like how things might be if you didn’t understand that it was only me telling you. Telling you throbs like an artery. Telling you sings like wind. Telling you breathes deeply of the spring air in the early morning. Telling you takes the afternoon off and washes the car.

Telling you like a lie or a secret. Telling you like a swan gliding through the shallows of the pond in the park. Telling you like a confession, waiting to see what penance will be offered. Telling you like roses tell the air of their presence, so that when you’re walking down the sidewalk, you can smell the roses before you see them. Telling you like you’d tell someone a celebrity has died: resignation and interest and loss and sordid pleasure all squished up in a meatball of distant dying. Telling you like you’d tell someone about a dream you had that they were in: careful not to say the wrong thing, careful not to give the wrong impression.

Thinking back on other times in my life, I notice a trend of the world not ending. Yet telling you brings me into the tawdry boudoir of fear, where there are no pajamas.

My entire life has been leading up to this. I was born to tell you here, in this room, with its pentagonal windows draped in fine linen. I was born to tell you now, at this time, using the air I just inhaled to power my recitation.

I will not tell you, because of harm. Because of the things they showed me when I was in the special school. Because I don’t want to detain you from whatever it is you’re doing. Because I’ve never met you. Because you don’t exist. Because I don’t exist. Because there is no sun. Because there are no potato chips. Because swimming here weeps a custard of foam into the sky.

I like that you were there to spark the urge to tell you. I like that I was there to take up that spark and hold it in my hands until I was burned away to ash.

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