My Hidden Lives // Prose

138. about spaces in and between us

(third floor, second door to the right)

(third floor, second door to the right)

We comfort ourselves by reliving memories of protection. Something closed must retain our memories, while leaving them their original value as images. Memories of the outside world will never have the same tonality as those of home and, by recalling these memories, we add to our store of dreams; we are never real historians, but always near poets, and our emotion is perhaps nothing but an expression of a poetry that was lost.

Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space

*

See, this is what comes to mind when I think of safety. Your uneven heartbeat as I tried, for the umpteenth time, to nestle into the crook of your neck where I’d previously sent some of my sloppiest kisses to sleep. The uncomfortable numbness in my upper arm when you turned in our bed and, disregarding all notion of space, spread your own arms wide and hit me on the nose with your elbow. I squealed in protest and tried to jab you between the ribs.

We were always waging wars: in bedrooms, in parks as we ran toward gates or monuments in an attempt to show who was fitter, in bars where we drank each other under tables because we couldn’t admit defeat. In conversations – „No, Stephen Hawking never said that, you’re delusional“ – „How can you live without ever having read Proust?“ Time and space became inseparable in the dough of our everyday battles. Who said what when, and why, and where – I am here now, tomorrow I may not be, but yesterday we were both away. Don’t take it so personally. These are all relatives. Time, space, you, me. Especially “us”.

Nothing is solid during that time in-between, when we are ourselves in the spaces which might as well be on opposite sides of the Earth. You speak through the telephone, a bodiless ghost speaks instead of you that is – I can’t tell what you really want to say.

And then you say, „Sugar, your philosophy is boring,“ and I know I’ve dialed the wrong number. Because you also sometimes say „The world is a dot composed of zeros and ones, and you have to decide quickly which of the two you are.“

Fuck me if that’s not philosophy.

Both of us leave without saying where or how long we are going to stay. Sometimes we return. Other times, different people come back in our steads – part us, part strangers we’d met along the road. Strangers whose faces left reflections on our own, new friends that challenged the exact location of home.

Spaces and places have lost their linguistically-bestowed privileges as far as that word is concerned. Their definitions do not apply to my own subjective perception of what home really means.

There is another four letter word that sounds quite the same, but I fear to use it. It is easier to tell you, still, after all this time, you are my home – because that much is true – than to call you my love, when we both have other faces, images, shoved into the drawer labeled with that name.

One can have a lot of loves, I think, but only ever gets one home.

„You’re it,“ I scream and race you to the rotten tree trunk. When I press my head on your chest, your breathing and your heartbeat are both deliciously uneven. You’re it.

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