If I could tell you anything tonight, I would first have to tell you that it is (technically) no longer night. I slipped through the front door just as the sun peeked over the horizon. This night was lovely, and I am sorry to admit the ending, though I am glad I am awake to see it through.
Tonight was the last night of NPS 2013. I spent the day alone, and made my way to the final bout of poetry on my own, but found companions in the long queue by the door. I always appreciate it when awkward social moments (like standing in line) create the opportunity for conversation and connection. This was one of those.
I didn't sit with my teammates - at first, I was upset, but I think I actually preferred it that way. The seat I chose at random ended up being in direct view of the man I had noticed earlier in the week, and hoped to connect with. I couldn't see his eyes from that distance, but I already know their color. He has the same twitch and shift as I do - it makes me feel comfortable, though I don't really know him.
If I could tell you anything right now, I would tell you I like his hands. I spent almost as much time watching them as I did the hands of the woman onstage, interpreting. I wish that you could have seen her - she's an artist. Her hands tell the story, not just the words. She is as much a poet as anyone else who steps onto that stage - it was amazing. Her movements are so graceful.
If I could tell you anything right now, I would tell you that halfway through the show, the men seated on either side of me left. These were the only empty seats in the crowded theatre, and I was alone. I imagined you, for just one moment, sitting to this side of me - then the other. I wondered whether or not you might share my love of words, or if you are more the type who would good-naturedly pretend to share that adoration, because you love me.
If I could tell you anything, I would tell you that, as I sat alone, I realized it has been almost a year, now, since the last time I held hands with anyone in a dark theatre. I don't know if that's healthy.
Still, in a setting like this, where so many people are shy or awkward or even just a little terrified of people, I try to remind myself how lucky I am. Sometimes I still feel the empty, but for the most part, I am finding comfort in my own company. When my thoughts turn in melancholy directions, I remember that old whisper in my ear - reminding me to get moving; to burn all the extra extra
pulsing in my body - so tonight, I went to the place where people were dancing, and did that. I had two strong drinks - danced myself, hard - then ducked out the door when the bartender flashed the lights for last call. Everything in Cambridge closes early - even on a Saturday night. (I guess some things never change!)
I walked back to the host hotel alone, but didn't stay that way. The last night of a gathering, everyone gets bolder. Conversation is easy when everyone is a little drunker than they should be, and giddy from lack of sleep. I picked a bench seat, which became a musical-chairs marathon of excellent conversations. Just like I like it.
If I could tell you anything, I would tell you that I let a nice boy walk me home. We shared stories and an apple I picked from an overhanging tree. We had a long and leisurely conversation about the importance of asking for the things you really want - how a let down is better than the endless wondering. I steeled myself for the inevitable question... but instead, he asked if I would let him touch my hair. I said yes. We stood toe to toe on the street, quietly, and he buried his hands in my hair for one slow-motion moment. It was pleasantly unexpected. At the corner, he kissed my cheek - twice, like we used to do for good luck - and I skipped off.
I could also tell you how out on the main street, all alone, my fast boots overlapped a trio of drunken frat boys, on their long stumble home. One of them called out to me, and I felt shiny, so I asked him how his night had been. His face crumbled - he said it had been a terrible night. If I could tell you anything, I would tell you how easily his bravado slipped. For just one moment, he was a child with a quivering lip, on the verge of tears. His sincerity moved me... I have had that night before - that same slip of the truth, that same quivering lip. I dived toward him, saying I had just the thing to make his night lighter - leaned in, and wound his neck with the balloon snake Joy made for me earlier this evening. It looked just like the cartoon snake from the Jungle Book. It made him laugh, and while he laughed, I dancewalked away.
My boots are so fast, I was easily half a block gone before he recovered. He catcalled Beautiful pixie! Magic boots! Where did you come from? Where are you going? You are like a fairy angel, and I am too drunk to Chase you! Come back!