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There is Something Beautiful about Disappearing
It is evening
the November chill swims in the air
which reminds you that winter is near,
and you have to stock up on new clothes,
but you keep procrastinating,
because you hate going to the mall.
There are always so many people there and you avoid crowds,
but it is pleasant for now,
so you bookmark this thought in your head
to return to it.
You have to see a girl.
This girl you met on Tinder. Tinder.
Left, then right, then right, then left
then another right,
swiping, ever swiping
mapping your way,
reaching for the elusive center of your desires
at odd hours in odd places,
hoping to find somebody from an unending stream..
their faces oval, round and heart shaped,
their eyes sparkling and full of hope or some, just lost or wondering, even bored,
their expressions pleasing in a way you find disconcerting.
In the background places and people,
who meant something once, now locked in a frame to be just props for lookers
your mind racing, barely registering any of it.
But sometimes you stop and begin to wonder:
is everybody just as restless?
just as desperately looking to be joined in their emptiness?
on their glowing smartphone screens,
as you do?
which is a pathetic thing to think about, when you think about it
somebody swiped right on you.
somebody was looking
if not for you, then something that could have been you
not exactly you, but imitating you, approximating you
A luxurious, interesting, affable you
matching inscrutable human expectations you
checking unknowable check-boxes you….
You are 10 minutes away from the place you are supposed to meet her,
she was so great on the text
intelligent, perceptive, funny
there is so much you want to say to her,
you want to tell her everything
you want to be her best friend
you want her to see you
you want to stay awake all night with her talking about causality, time, space, and philosophy
and people and love and movies
a charge flows through you,
you come alive.
But then another thought leaks in, seeps in
it could just as well be nothing like what you thought
Just a buildup! or a tripwire
a mirage your mind laid out throwing you on another illusory chase.
Possibly, she is nothing like what you thought she would be,
and you don’t get to say anything you wanted
or you don’t even want to say,
because you are out of sorts,
and there is no human connection.
Then again you think: Would that be so bad?
two strangers — you and her — passing by one another
not thinking, not knowing what went on another’s mind:
inchoate wishes, stillborn desires
not remembering anything for long
from that fragment of time,
not a trace carried forward, not a surface scratched
no burden of meaning, no epiphany of resolution
long streaks of life just getting longer, unhurried, unsullied, undisturbed,
gradually you disappear
gradually she disappears
like vapor trails..
there is something beautiful about that too.
Street is bathed in pale lights
fumes from vehicles have turned the air translucent
you have reached
you watch fireflies hover over the lawn’s hedge in the dark.