Nihil est sine ratione
Ah! Have a seat, I’m so glad you’re back. I was wondering when you’d turn up… well, if you’d ever turn up.
My hands find themselves grappling the coffee table, unable to bring my eyes to her face. Friend.
Uh, are you comfortable? I’ve plumped up the cushions for you.
I pat the seat around her, taken aback by my cordial manner and continue.
I notice that as time has gone by, you’ve… you’ve grown quieter. Probably because I don’t pay you much attention. I was beginning to worry that I’d-
wait, I’ve got to get the cookies.
My hands shake as I carry the smoking tray out of the oven. I kick the oven door shut with one leg, arms out and tongue hanging from concentration, trying to keep the cookies from slipping off. I settle the tray on top of a silicone mat. The cookies smell divine.
So yeah, I was worrying that I might never see you again.
I motion to the cookies.
Have a chocolate chip. No fuss, I just printed the recipe off the internet. Wanted to try a new site. Anyway, I don’t blame you for running away. I’d be sick of straining my voice as well. Sorry about that, really.
I look her in the eye and say it again.
I take her hand and press my face against it.
I need you.
We hug each other and I can’t stop crying for the longest time. It feels good to feel bad.
I like Happy Sophie, who sees shapes in clouds and throws her head back to let out a whopping laugh or a machine gun snigger. I like her simplicity, the gratuitous smile that pervades even the eyes, and the fragmented tunes she whistles as she trots down the stairs and along the road.
I like Chatty Sophie, who likes people, small talk and exchanging stories. She meets facetiousness with a witty response and does not miss a beat- words are water from a running tap. She answers with aplomb, and it’s almost an out-of-body experience watching conversations unfold like maps with roads that meander off the edges of the paper.
I like when Chatty Sophie, Happy Sophie and Drunk Sophie come together with their hands interlocked. This is the point when Carefree Sophie makes an appearance, with this dangerous proclivity for skipping too high (with no fear of falling), forever chanting “why not?” as Reasonable Sophie takes her cue to jump out the window (for a much deserved vacation).
But I don’t like Selfish Sophie. She tosses her hair and swats people away like flies flying too close. She chooses to erase the things that ground her for the briefest luxuries. Hedonist! Greedy, venomous beast! She’s possessive, jealous, with the same neediness of an infant for his mother. Her fangs glint between painted lips, ready to take. I’m scared of her, and anticipate Guilty Sophie who usually crawls out from under the weight of Selfish Sophie, battered and begging to stay for days. Sometimes I can’t get rid of her, but when she doesn’t show up, I feel like a part of me is missing. Guilty Sophie you are my compass.
Sophie wears adjectives and personas like costumes on rent. I wonder if I’ve ever met Just Sophie… must’ve just missed her.
Today I came home in a taxi van. It was undeniably stylish inside and I didn’t know where to look to find the meter.
As I sat in an uncomfortable position, craning my neck to the side and slumping on one arm, I looked out the window and the image of this short guy that kept catching my eye came into mind. They were accidental looks, mind you. But his stature reminded me of this other guy who taught me his ‘body-building’ dance move. I smiled remembering how he had come up behind me and how we had moved our arms in unison. Cocked at the elbow, as if our #swole muscles limited movement.
“Sophie, are you pissed?” she broke the silence.
“No, no not at all”.
For the trees. For the two older people in front of me who have lived to be old. For the sky, the beautiful sunset, the orange, the purples. For the twinkling lights of buildings. For arms that swing, legs that walk and run and jump. For an uncle who introduces the song Shanghai Breezes by John Denver to me and a cousin who mistakenly believes that I’m good at everything. For food at the table, for vegetables that taste like my grandmother cooked them (they’re the best), for air conditioning when I’m red in the face. For books to read, a room to retreat to.
For Your love, God, without which I would be hopeless. I remember the last time I thought I was done. I remember when I could barely be thankful. When I had done so much wrong I thought I couldn’t be forgiven. A way was cleared, a friendship saved, and I trust that all my tomorrows are Yours.
We have trucks chained to our backs
and we’re heaving up the hills.
The chains begin their lacerations,
and we look back again to simpler times.
But we mustn’t tip; Integrity is our fuel.
You up north, myself down to the south.
There is no right. Only forward.