Posts tagged ‘desert’

December 9, 2008

“The Mesa–Part I”

I thought for this one I’d try something new: break up a longer piece into smaller episodes. Here is the first.

We told the neighbors who saw us packing that we were headed to the Mesa for hang-gliding. Oh! they said. Then their eyes would drift from us to the car we stood before. We watched friendly smiles drift into confusion when they saw no sport rack on the car’s roof, no metal tubing or colorful folds of nylon stuffed in the back seat. These explanations became almost too awkward by the time we departed down the straight road into the desert. In truth, we had no idea how to explain this sojourn. Explanations, after all, have reasons, and it’s like you said: to do this thing we had to suspend our reason.

When you saw me absentmindedly doodling intricate, chaotic spirals on the morning paper, you tried to stifle a gasp. I asked what was wrong, not so much conscious of the question as reacting instinctively to the sound of your distress.

You don’t usually doodle, you said.

Huh. Guess not.

You took the paper, staring hard at my scribbles. Turning them to me, you asked if I had ever doodled those shapes before.

I shrugged. Don’t think so. Why?

The paper flew off the kitchen table as you rushed to your bag. You tore out your notebook and shoved it under my nose: the same spirals, in the margins of notes on Etruscan pottery.

Weird, I said.

It means something.

Might just be doodles. I spoke it into my coffee cup like a trumpeter mutes his horn. And you pulled my cup down from my face, gazing with a force only your will could summon.

Then we will make it mean something.

I never pretended to have any strength over that gaze. I never wanted any. I took your hand in mine, and your smile sang what wonders we might conjure from doodles.

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