If corruption is akin to chaos then it makes sense to have an affinity toward it. The universe tends toward chaos, so it seems only natural that people would also be enticed by a lack of order.
The more pure something is, the more fantastic its corruption appears, don’t you think? Like splashing paint on a stark white canvas, screaming in a silent room, or shooting a bird mid-flight.
My ideal lover is one who will not obey me when we stand across from each other and I say to him, strip. He will match my gaze and tell me, you first, although not because he lacks confidence. I would reply, together, then, but you begin.
What ensues would be like a game of strip poker, without the cards, die, and bets, because we would both have tired of games by that time.
She called me into her room on a quiet Friday night, I was eleven. We sat on her bed while she cried and asked me questions that I didn’t know how to answer. ”Do you think I’m a bad mother?” “Do you still love me?” Her eyes were so leaky and she seemed so sad.
“Mom, is it true that you had an affair and Daddy found out?”
“Whether or not I did, it doesn’t change the fact that I love you.”
“I’d love you either way too, but I might like you a little less.”
I told her how much I loved her, and I repeated it over and again until she said it back. She promised that she would always try to be honest with me. And yet.
“Mommy, why is there a tape recorder under your pillow?”
“It’s not recording,” she said, as the little red light blinked under a button labeled REC.
I don’t think people realise the amount of effort that goes into those seemingly effortless things like appearance, perception, and intelligence. But then again, maybe that’s better, because what is virtue if it requires effort?
They sat in cushioned chairs across from each other, knees touching, in a small coffee shop. The barista was in the back somewhere, and the only other customer was an old man reading a novel in the corner of the room. The boy looked at the girl, and the girl looked at the old man. She liked to think that he was watching them, too, when neither of them were watching him. Perhaps he lost his lover when they were both nineteen. He has been lonely ever since, and has found that one of the most beautiful things is unrestrained love – the kind that only youth can sustain.
She turned back around and faced the boy. Isn’t it funny how there is you, and then there is the way that I perceive you? That the firing of neurons in their synapses through the squishy grey matter of my brain makes up my perception of you. He looked at her, silently and unblinkingly.
Maybe he didn’t think it was funny that he was just a series of neural impulses in her mind. Or maybe his coffee had lost its heat and he couldn’t decide whether to order another one. He lifted a hand, pale beneath layers of scarves and sweaters, and gently brought it to her face. He brushed a few of her hairs away from her eyes the way one would fold delicate lace.
Under his doe-like gaze, she continued. That every time I see you, hear your voice… think of you, those chemical stimuli trigger the release of certain molecules. I only know a few of them by name, but together they create this sensation that I’ve learned to call happiness. She kissed him on the left corner of his mouth. Serotonin. She kissed him where the lines of his jaw end. Norepinephrine. She kissed his fluttering eyelid. Dopamine. He kissed her on the center of her lips. Oxytocin.
The old man closed his book and looked out the window through streaks of rain. The boy didn’t notice the pattering of raindrops over the pulse of his heart. The girl listened to the sound of her cells dying, and wondered when her neurons would become too frail and cynical to form synapses with each other.
I overanalyse and give significance to the most irrelevant happenings, and sometimes I forget that I don’t believe in fate. Coincidences are one of my favourite things. I think being able to appreciate them makes the world seem infinitely more beautiful.
Sometimes it isn’t very simple to think of something to say to someone who occupies so many of your thoughts. Sometimes the things you think of aren’t the things you want to say, so I said nothing.
For a moment in March, you thought I knew you the best, and I thought I didn’t know you at all. I thought I only knew bits and pieces, like snippets of a film or shards of a broken mirror.
That’s all people really are though – masses of bits and pieces and sometimes a little broken.
I suppose it was because your whole added up to more than the sum of your parts, and as much as I knew about you, it would never seem to amount to who you were.
But it’s really impressive when someone has seen all the bad things and chooses not to be tainted by them.
It was nine years ago, I was listening to the radio with my aunt in her car, in front of a sushi restaurant. A happy slow song began to play. No more than ten seconds in, she changed it.
“You don’t like that one?” I asked her.
“I like it a lot, it’s beautiful.”
“Then why did you change the song?”
“Because it reminds me of someone.”
I knew well enough not to ask her whom. I don’t remember what song it was now, and I still don’t know who she didn’t want to be reminded of. But it was then that I realised she was herself, and I was a whole other person.
I think that was the first time I understood loneliness.