Ask me a question. Do the research. Gather the trends. There's something I'm not sure about you, but I'm working on it. I can hear it in the songs you like, see it in the words you say, the pictures that you link to, but how can I know if you're still all the way over there? Just because I can see an avatar on a screen doesn't mean that there isn't distance, that we've even traded 5 words together. And yet you're like a sweater with a thread hanging off that I just don't want to stop pulling at -- there's a fascination.

Where does that come from?

It's 2013. We're connected to connections. It's what we've become, even if the intention all along was just to build a better bridge to finding something real. There are places to meet people that have like buttons so that other people can see that we like meeting other people. And even then, somebody will see that on your wall and like that too.

We like a lot of things. We like a lot of the same things.

Websites pay a lot of money to draw lines between that. Some nerd, locked in a coding bay -- twisting his mind this way and that to try to figure out a way to get two people on completely different sides of the same town to realize that even though they've never met and their lives are totally separate, the fact that they both like ketchup has to mean something.

We all know what that's about. We've just gotten better at not saying it out loud.

And even if it does kinda mean that some ketchup company is desperate to find a way to make money off that piece of code, it doesn't mean that we're not all lonely sometimes. Even in a crowded room, sometimes you feel miles away, like it's not your crowded room to be in. Like you know how to navigate it, you've been through the practice drills and the run-throughs, but at any moment talking about this and that you could still easily slip a million miles away into a favorite song or a long lost memory.

There's been energy around me lately. My therapist says that "I've been putting in the work" -- even though I don't really feel like I know what he means by it. But whatever the case -- the seeds I planted by moving into a new place and trying not to eat so many damn microwave dinners at 1am started to show through.

And so you fill out a few profiles, and take a few dozen quizzes on OK Cupid, because that's how things are today. The emails come, the conversations flicker. You browse faces, you read profiles. You put in the work. Collate, divide, pare down. It's new and exciting just as much as it's old and tired. I mean, this shouldn't feel mentally exhausting (it's supposed to be fun, right?) -- but at a certain age you don't want trial and error anymore. I can read a profile menu, let me just order the dish I want, dammit.

But you can't just mix paint and get a new color. Even if you try, the first few swirls are really two colors spinning around each other, waiting a few dates before really smushing into something else. And even then, too much blue in the green and it's not really what you were after in the first place -- even if it is kinda yellow when you look at it.

Because when you get right down to it -- as many shades of a color there are, as many subtle hues and variations, if I say PURPLE

You'll see something.

You see your purple. Your shades and overtones. Your depth. Maybe it's more lavender, maybe it's more grape, or maybe it's the one that almost fades to black when the satin falls outside the direct light. But whatever the case, it's yours. You can look at a million dresses on a rack, a million shirts on a shelf -- but if it isn't there, it's not really what you want (even if it will do sometimes).

When I close my eyes I see a girl. a girl who leans back when she sits in chairs, but she sits on the front edge of her seat when she drives. Arching forward, close to the wheel -- like she wants to be in the wind as the car cuts through the night. Like she wants to get there first. It's sort of like the way she holds her hands over her mouth when she laughs, like she wants keep it for herself -- or she's been around too many people who would ask what she's laughing about who wouldn't get the joke if she told it to them.

There's something isolating in that. Something we've all felt I imagine -- that feeling like you're the only one who finds something funny in the way that you do anymore.

It's why we send texts to people we haven't talked to in forever. It's why we hold candles long since melted past the wick. It's why we still let our lives get entangled with faces from the past, even if there are consequences to be had.

We're connected to connections. We want to feel like we can laugh out loud for real, instead of typing it again and again. Say it enough times and it becomes true, I suppose -- but what would you give in the middle of the night in your bed all alone to just to bust our into a big dumb grin, to know, really know what the joke is about and to laugh from the bottom of your belly and not worry who else could hear?

Because I do.

It's what I've always wanted, I think. It's what I've occasionally found, but then somehow lost again. Things aren't always as easy as they seem in the movies, I guess. Timing and circumstance. Maturity and mistakes. There's been so many wonderful people in my wake, so many amazing smiles I couldn't stop from leaving. Each cut leaving a line on the skin, each one healing in a different way.

It makes you wonder if it's even worth trying sometimes.

But who would we really be without a smile that wasn't ours looking back at us? Where would the poems come from, the colors on the canvas?  All that work you put in, it's got to count for something, right? And so you press on. You find warmth in moments, even if it seems like the energy is uneven. Because what else is there but clicking "like" on ketchup, even if it turns out what you're really looking at is just ..catsup?

Close your eyes. See the girl.
Maybe this time she's really there.

[Now Playing:  Journey - "Separate Ways" ]


kazehana said…
I think...Idk if this makes sense but, *looking* the act of seeking or whatever makes it harder to see what there is to be found.

There is a narrow focus involved in looking, a limiting factor that is necessary to the process, but which kills the real surprise of discovery.

And often, I've experienced that what I think I'm looking for is neither what I want, nor what I needed, it was just what I liked at the time.

But those moments of finding when no looking was taking place...those items, friendships, romances always stand out in my mind as the best.

Everything can get fucked up somehow, nothing is 100% fail proof, but those perfect findings remain in you forever, not to be nostalgic over, but to form the scaffold on which rests your continued transformation.