Wednesday, October 14, 2009

If You Want it to be Real Come Over For One Night and We Can Really, Really Climb

No attempt is made to explain away
the things that really, really, really, really, really are behind.
You can't hide.
- Okkervil River "For Real"


I found out on the metro, I mean -- I realized what I already knew -- that you're never going to call again. I figure that's okay, I guess. I tried/didn't try/didn't know what I was doing. But this is what I want you to know: no one knows what they're doing. It was my first time being born, my first time being 6, and 7, and 8, and feeling death -- my first time having a dead mother -- I don't know how to react -- does anyone? -- my first time in high school, first time learning the history of quebec, the geography of other people's bodies and mouths and hearts. It's my first time being 18, my first time living this day -- october 14th 2009 -- I'm never going to see this day again -- but how do I know what to do with it? So when I walked past you in the hall, so when I gave her that note, so when I avoided him on the way home; I was just living in my own weird way. I don't know if I'm doing it right. There's no instruction manual. I don't know if I should've said something else, or if this gets easier or more vivid. I don't think living gets easier, it just gets stranger. If I'm confusing it's because I'm confused.

I started reading the first couple of pages of this book and on page two I was told "love and ideals are not actually real". Oh, okay. I see it now.

Maybe it's because I have neither that I think this is untrue. Maybe I've read too many books, seen too many hollywood movies with romantic endings. Maybe I've been listening to too many songs that tell me love is the best sensation hiding in the lion's mane. I want love to be real, I need love to be real. I need ideals to be real because I idealize love in the worst way.

I slipped her a note in class, sat back and thought My life is a joke. After class she turned around, "Was this you who wrote this?"
"Is this real?"


I'm just using you so I'll have a story to tell. So do your worst and I'll write my best. That's all I could ever hope for -- an experience so brilliant it will lift the words off the page. I'm running low on gas and I've kind of given up on you -- you, you'll never call. But now I'm asking you, come on, make it hurt! You're not killing me the way I want you to.

Come on, idealized love. I know you're real, I've felt you moving in me before.

And now I'm a walking contradiction. I wrote some days before -- notes in my phone -- But you're like, a real person. And I'm not. You're the kind of person who won't call back. And I'm not. I'll make you larger than you are. I'll write you into fiction, make you beautiful and smooth. But you're still real, you're just somebody else. I'm real too, but to other people. Maybe I passed you once before, before I knew you, and we slid by each other -- our worlds so close to touching -- your eyes straight, my head turned -- I didn't know you'd be real to me one day. Am I still outside your line?


I spend my days learning. I learn the curve of the hallways -- where the A wing is, the elusive F -- which bathrooms to use and when -- where to go when I'm alone -- and where to get on the metro so the doors open right in front of the stairs.

And when someone asks you if this is real, the answer is "Yes. Yes, of course it is." Because if this isn't real then I have nothing. If love isn't real then I -- we -- truly have nothing. You may call, or not. We might brush so close to each other again someday, maybe tomorrow. But I'll never have this day back, or that note, or this particular feeling walking home in a frustrated sorrow. I'll never be 6 again, or 7, or 8, my mom will never die again, I'll never be in high school for the first time. I'll learn new curves -- elbows and shoulders, lips -- meet other 'you''s and write other stories -- but I still won't know what I'm doing. It will still be the first time, it will still count, it will still be real. And I'll be here, taking notes.

Yes, this is real. This is very, very real.


laura said...

this part

"Maybe I passed you once before, before I knew you, and we slid by each other -- our worlds so close to touching -- your eyes straight, my head turned -- I didn't know you'd be real to me one day."

reminds me of this

and i like that.

Anonymous said...

So I usually just lurk, but I know you like when people leave comments and this really spoke to me. Kudos.

Molly said...

I have been semi-lurking for a bit, but I really enjoy the amount of Okkervil River lyrics in your writings/blogs. I can rarely find anyone who appreciates that band like I do, haha.
I like this too: "I don't think living gets easier, it just gets stranger"

Anonymous said...

your writing is beautiful. just thought you should know.

saint modesto said...

laura: i just read that poem. it's very good.

anonymous: thanks! i don't mind anymore if people lurk.

molly: when i first started this blog, i had just bought 'the stand ins'. lost coastlines was stuck in my head and that's how i thought of 'the shoreline receding'. i guess you can say this blog's almost based on okkervil river!

anonymous: thank you. really.