No one remembers the details of his 21st birthday. There was a tall, plank-thin, tube-limbed, big-eyed, laughing sweet blond guy there. Also a shortish, sturdily curvy, always-tan (with or without the sun’s help), eagerly thoughtful girl with dark brown kinky hair. He’d known them both for some time, but never really talked to the girl. She was more the other guy’s friend. Anyway, there they were. But who remembers what happened or what it looked like?
A beach somehow, sun sparkling on the waves and sand, the happy hoards splashing in the cool waters or basking in the warm air and on the warmer sand. Then darkness, cooler but still warm air, a bright lit bar or restaurant where they drank sangria and conversed. Who can imagine what sorts of things they said?
At that time, at the age of 21, having his birthday in Barcelona without bothering to try to call his parents (it was, to be fair, still kind of tricky and expensive to make international calls in those muggy days before widespread cellphone use). What was going on with him? I cannot tunnel back to him. I like how well his skin accepted the sun, how easily it let the summer brown it. I applaud the rippling of his muscles and the vigor of his movements. I envy the inability of alcohol or–as we’d soon find out–cigarettes to counteract his body’s certainty, it’s exquisitely solid grip on health. I flinch by what he says, and woebegone my eyes while flatten-pursing my lips when I think of the distance between his mind and the rest of him. Creaking, groaning, wobbling, jerking, like a robot trying to move like a human. Painful to watch. But a fun guy, I guess. And so funny, I’ve heard. Who can remember?
Not everything goes well. Sometimes you try to connect what is inside with the outside options and just don’t have the linking structure in place. And what then are the others to think? They stand outside your outside, within their own inside, looking through their own gauzy linking contraption into the common space where you are carrying on so awkwardly. Their wisdom sees your desperation and goes gentle on you. Their own blindness sees things differently. But neither their wisdom nor their blindness can accept a bouquet of flowers tossed hurriedly at their face.