As one approaches up the boulevard, virus-abandoned, nothing, no glimpse, no prelude, no feat of imagination can prepare one for the wonder of this fusion of shapes, projections, facets; every step forward confirming the last, delight upon delight upon delight; every promise, beckoning. This is contemporary as it should be, form and function coalesced; finesse and poise in every line, angle, surface, and texture; staggering is its generosity of space and light; contradiction in its weight and weightlessness, yet comforting, still, in the integrity of that confluence. A fastness heaven-bound, the threshold between then and now. Scarce, sparse, cowering, hiding, missing, gone – humanity.
Will I reach you in time – not for me, necessarily, nor for you, necessarily – for us. Maybe we will have a chance.
So here we are in the embrace of Manila’s glass and granite arms as they reach for the waxing half-moon. Or is it Moscow, Paris, Havana, or somewhere else…? A blend of wildness and wiseness, I, the dusky heart polka-dot breeze of you, darker where I am visible, invisible where I am not. You, standing impatiently on the street-side in the shortest of skirts, the coolest of high-heeded shoes, pink purse, makeup only on your lips, pomegranate-red. I imagine that you are me, that I am you, myself when I am real.
What could possibly go wrong? What could possibly go right? We could list all the good things and list all the bad things, but if nothing mattered but the intervals between the seconds we would share, what difference does it make? My heart could be a stone, granite, or slate, it is a crystal, facetted, in a torrent of rushing water; it is an extra-terrestrial rock with a fiery tail crashing into your atmosphere, breaking down, and bonding up, in collision with your destiny.
So let our atoms melt together, let our nuclei converge. I want you now. Your conscience can be clear, my ‘then’ is dead, only my ‘now’ alive. And yours, your yesterday, I could care less; your today, with me. The present is an illusion, perhaps; tomorrow, but a nightmare away. Both tragedies, getting what we want, not getting it. This is our story, our drama – preview, main act, epilogue, soliloquy. This is our rom-com and it ends when it is finished, destiny not coerced, cajoled, or counted on.
Without looking up, the girl cautiously takes the boy’s hand. Defiantly self-possessed, she braces herself for wonder or surprise in mystery, disappointment in identity. Then, looking up, she meets his gaze, too deep to fathom. The boy smiles, surrendering; the girl accepts. They kiss.
We pull away to the view of lovers. In a long coat against the threatening weather, a woman straddles a man on a wooden bench. Behind a coin-operated lavatory, two boys passionately embrace. Vague silhouettes sigh behind the steamed windows of a parked car. Two female figures fumble insatiably in a phone box. There is a couple in every doorway and around every corner. No one wears a mask, no distance is kept. On everyone, rain begins to fall.
We drift up into the sky, and look down on the boy and the girl as they become tiny specks on the Manila street. We pull away farther and farther until Manila is gone, the archipelago of the Philippines is gone, Asia is gone. Now we are in space, watching the Earth as the sun rises behind it. Satellites orbit by, a billion stars surround us. We float over the moon, then we cut to black and the credits roll.
I want you now, for now is all we can know.
Imagine we wake up tomorrow and nothing has happened, nothing had happened. We will never see in our lives again the moments we now refuse. Think of what we would never know, if we doubted this reality, however fleeting. One night of love, maybe, or not, or more. Are you still doubting? Take my hand, take my tongue. Let us run. Tonight can be a detour, a respite. I am the mouse with whom you will play while your cat is away, your much deserved night off. I am your sensual liaison, tryst of lovers, strangers, despite and still.
My heart could be a stone, granite, or slate. My heart could be a crystal in a raging stream. This is the end, decades in the making. Decade of design. This kiss is ‘hello’ This kiss is ‘goodbye’ This kiss is ‘I love you’ This kiss is ‘forever’.
The destinies of all of womankind, mankind, are commingled. The blood in our veins is shared. You have some blood that is mine, but that I have never known. I have some blood that is yours, but that you have never known. Yours is mine; mine, is yours. Found, anew – humanity.
Choose to be then or now.