By Terra LeMay

I am you, and you are me. We haven’t met, but we will, in some months. Then again in a year. More frequently after that for a stretch, though it doesn’t last. Or perhaps we never meet. Or just that single time, which was (will be) both meteoric and ephemeral.

Except I remember that weekend and you don’t.

I remember them all. All the moments. Even the ones you forgot, and those which never happened. They are all here, in this one place in my mind (in your mind).

Our time together was (will be) catharsis for you, but I will fall in love, like a spaniel. The world cracked open the day we met (or another day, in another place), and we became one. We have always been (will always be) one. We stand in two places at once, two times, two dimensions. We are separate. But I am in your head, in my head.

We grew up on either end of the same street. We both had grapevines growing in our yards. (Have you heard?) Yours in front by the mailbox, ours hidden like a naughty secret next to the fence out back. We only had three blocks between us, go figure, but the road stretched all the way from Antioch to San Juan, spanning a continent, spanning the ocean, spanning a million, million miles. Or only a millimeter.

It took too long for us to find each other. (Sometimes we never do. Sometimes it is too soon.) Once we had, we were inseparable. Except when we fought. Or never meet.

You always walked the difference between our houses, even though the hill between us was almost too steep to climb. I rode horseback (or drove a car) even though going to you is always downhill. Maybe it wasn’t laziness. Maybe it was precognitive thought–(Photons in two places at once, two times, two different dimensions, two heads, two minds, two hearts. Twins, inseparable even apart.)–the truth already, so subtle, so soon, so obvious.

Maybe it’s only common sense, the knowledge that once I’d gone downhill to find you, I’d have to return the way I’d come, and that hill was always too steep to climb.

Sometimes we met (will meet) in the middle. Halfway up the hill for you, halfway down for me. We’ll sit in the gutter next to the mailbox with the ugly plastic flowers zip-tied to its flag. (I stole one of those flowers, sun-yellowed and cracking, once when you were gone. Maybe you never noticed, or maybe the flowers were bright and new when you looked at them. Maybe you stole one, too.)

Did you know, growing up, we went to the same school? I don’t think you ever saw me. I watched you in the hallways. We passed each other every day at 11:25 and again in the break between Chorus and Ancient Greek Sexuality. I sat in the back of the class, three seats behind you. Sometimes, if I strained my eyes hard enough, I could just make out what you were writing on your lapscreen.

It usually wasn’t notes for class. Sometimes it was porn. Sometimes it was poetry. Or a suicide note.

Once, I came to class stoned on a cocktail of weed and microdots and Corona Extra (with a twist of lime). No one seemed to notice, but you gave me a cock-eyed glance as I shuffled past your desk. I let myself trail fingertips across your papers, and you didn’t think I saw you blush. Paper feels like velvet when you’re stoned.

One day you will ask me to tell you what it’s like to find your future (faith/destiny) in tarot cards or chemicals or the variations of oscillation in ceiling fans. Jesus loves you as much as your light fixture.

Of course, back then neither of us knew what I was seeing (would see/never saw). Neither of us understood. Those were daydreams or flights of fancy. (Nightmares.) Maybe. When everything happens at once, when everything could happen, when everything will happen, everything becomes equal. Potentials are realized. Negated. Equated.

I don’t like to think on it too much. Better to dwell on the happy moments, for they are infinitely equal to the unhappy ones. Infinitely better. (Infinitely worse.)

The first time I kissed you, we were in front of our old house. The house at the bottom of the hill. (Uphill in both directions back then. Now. Tomorrow.) I remember tonguing over your braces and worrying that we might get stuck together.

We only kissed. I didn’t want to share my bed with you. (Or my head with you.)

Much later (or on some other visit), you made a pallet on the floor beside me and spent the night. I dreamed I caused the apocalypse, gave birth to the Antichrist  or learned to split photons with my mind (Option D: All of the above?), and you held me while I told you what I’d seen in those dreams. You said you never dreamed. I tried to open your eyes, but you couldn’t put yourself in my place. I wish I could make you understand.

There’s so much you don’t see (won’t ever see/haven’t seen yet). How is it that we are the same, but so different? Sometimes we can’t even speak the same language.

And yet, we talk for hours when we finally meet, filling up the space with words. You drive us to the lake (the caldera on top of the volcano/the dollar theater double-feature/your house). Just off the edge of the lake is a small island, hardly more than a sandbar really. The water between the two shores comes halfway up my thighs. I hold my skirt up to keep it dry and you carry my shoes. Your pants are soaked through all the way to the crotch, but you don’t complain. There’s a wide plank-swing on the island, hanging between two trees. I thought we’d sit on it together to talk but, instead, I sit on it and you push me. We say only two words during the entire night.

“Higher?”

“No.” (Or “Yes.”)

We don’t kiss that night because I am so intimidated by you. You take me home when it’s too dark to see the stars. And then I’m with you two years later (last week). We are making out in your basement. When we come up for air, you take me to look at your paintings, and I accidentally kick over a cup of dirty mineral spirits, ruining the rug. For many years, the stain will look like spilled blood.

Our relationship dissolved after that (except sometimes it fermented, cemented, or otherwise improved). I apologized, but it was too late. By that point, I’d already broken your lamp (knocked it over with my head when I rose up from kissing you) or backed your car into the security-light post in the parking lot at Swif-T-Mart.

“Don’t drive when you’re high (drunk/splitting photons/in a hypnotic trance). Just don’t.” I don’t drink. I don’t do drugs. I’m a straight-edge. It’s true.

That was the year I discovered how to be everything and nothing. You were the one who showed me how to alter my consciousness. You got me drunk on a bucket of frozen margaritas, then helped me outside when I couldn’t stop coughing from all the pot smoke. You showed me transcendental meditation. You showed me the power of prayer.

You showed me how to be in two places at once, two times, two minds. How to be here and there.

You showed me Jesus (Krishna/Buddha/The Invisible Pink Unicorn). You tripped me and I hit my head. Or I tripped you and you hit your head. Or we were both dreaming. (I thought you said you never dreamed.) All our life (lives/past lives) passed in the flash that occurred during the moment right before our death.

One of us looked into a scrying mirror. One of us learned time travel (quantum mechanics/psychomancy/telepathy). One of us learned that photons exist in two places at once, or two times at once, and we learned to split them and share them with you, with me, with each other. One of us fell into a black hole.

Do you remember? So much happened between us in no time at all. Time did not exist for us. It’s overwhelming.

I say, “I think I’m going to throw up.”

“That’s okay. You’re in the bathtub. It’ll wash down the drain.”

It didn’t.

“You’ll see,” you said, “Chemicals don’t change people.” (Or maybe you said, “Time travel is impossible.” Or “I can control your mind with my psychic powers.”)

But it wasn’t true.

Chemicals changed you. We both had psychic powers. You invented a time machine, and I used it.

In school I sat beside you, one row closer to the door. You smelled like watermelon lip gloss. We were fifteen and sixteen, and I still wanted to kiss you but wasn’t brave enough. Besides, you had a boyfriend who wore heavy metal T-shirts and smoked cigarettes.

The second time I kissed you (the first time) we were at Caitlín’s pool party just after we’d graduated from high school (elementary school/rehab). My very first kiss with anyone, ever. You had a different boyfriend every week, back then. Someone discovered how easy it was to play Spin the Bottle in a swimming pool with a plastic two-liter bottle half-filled with water. We held our breath and kissed where no one could see us.

When I am everywhere and nowhere, I revisit that moment. I hold you under the water. My eyes were open; yours are closed. Air bubbles cling to your lashes, and you put your hand on my breast. I taste your wintergreen breath-spray and the chlorine in the pool.

I once tried to tell you about that kiss. A hundred million times I’ve tried to tell you about that kiss in the pool, but you never remember, and you never believe me. I don’t know why I keep trying to remind you.

It’s okay. I remember. I remember you rescuing me. I remember calling you to come over to my apartment and sit with me when I couldn’t stand reality. How many times did you let me stay with you when I had no other place to go? (Where can you run to when you are everywhere and nowhere?)

When you moved away, I thought my heart would break forever. I never wrote you letters, but you wrote back anyway. You wrote me replies to questions I never asked you. When the Internet was invented we had secret liaisons on GEnie. You sent me poetry.

Once, you showed me my letters. I did not remember writing them. Once, I showed you a poem you sent me. You said you’d never seen it, hadn’t sent it. Both were only echoes, slipping across reality.

Sometimes, we never met at all. Sometimes we meet while you are away at college. I fly out to see you. We make love in the airport, and the world ignites in apocalypse while we bring each other to orgasm in a bathroom stall. We are frantic, as if we know with certainty that we only have a few moments left together.

“I love you,” I whisper. It echoes off the bathroom walls, and old women powdering their noses can hear us in the stall. I can smell their rosewater perfume even over the cleaning chemicals and urine.

“I love you more,” you say. “I love you a hundred times more.”

“That’s impossible. I love you to infinity.”

We are silent, both pondering the possibilities inherent in that statement. (“I hate you.”/”Don’t know you.”)

You ask the impossible question, the question that begins and ends everything.

“What does that mean? What is love to the infinite power?”

“I think it’s like a wavefunction. An uncollapsed wavefunction,” I say, but I don’t even know what that means, really. I was never any good at theoretical physics. (In another instance/timeline/universe, I don’t reply.)

“You don’t love me at all.”

“Don’t you believe in God? (Allah?/Zeus?/The Flying Spaghetti Monster?)” I say. I’m crouched with my feet up on the commode, in case airport security comes through. Men can be arrested for sharing a bathroom stall in an airport. “God is infinite. God is in everything, even a ceiling fan. God loves you.” (Or maybe, I talked about physics, instead–and the practical applications of the infinite.)

“I don’t believe in God. I’m an existentialist. I am God.” (Or maybe, we discuss alchemy, or paradoxes.)

“Then I am you,” I say, “and you are me, and I love you infinitely.”

“And you do not love me at all.”

I couldn’t argue.

What is infinity? Surely it is more than nothing? Isn’t it? I rest my cheek on your cheek. You kiss me again for the first time, and there is paper (a pill/a microchip) on your tongue (or a love note in your hand), but now it is on my tongue (in my hand).

I love you, like a puppy, and you don’t love me at all. But you are me, and I am you. We love each other just enough, and not too much. We are strangers, and we are the same person. We are crazy more than we are sane. Again and again, or only once, (or never) we make the wrong choice/the right choice. When every moment in our life is singular, there is no choice.

We are Love, infinite.

Terra was born on top of a volcano (in Hawaii) and since then has crammed a lot of unusual experiences into a relatively short number of years. She tamed a wild mustang before she turned sixteen. Before twenty-five, she traveled throughout the U.S. and to parts of Europe and Mexico. She has also held some unusual jobs, like training llamas and modeling high-heeled shoes (though not at the same time!) At her current day job she pokes holes in people for a small fee, in a tattoo studio north of Atlanta.

 

“Shrödinger’s Pussy” is her first published short story. You can find her online at www.terralemay.com.

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