We had sex in the afternoon and then fell asleep, me pressed against you, you snoring, your body like a furnace. I marveled that your skin could feel so hot, that it wasn’t obvious when your clothes were on. I drifted off thinking about sunbeams and dandelions.

When we woke, daylight savings time had made it evening. We walked east, into the neighborhood where the backyards go way back into some sort of ravine, and the houses are small and crumbling and different from each other. The sky was heavy and grey but bright at the edges, like it was lined in fire. A harbinger of spring. Portland is green all winter but now there were new shades of green, minty greens and milky greens and glowing, transient greens, the parts of plants that fall away and leave sturdier, longer-lasting parts. In the new foliage was the tweedling of birds whose absence I had not noticed until now. Summer birds, who sing in the evening. Along the roadside was the small burning of daffodils.

“In fantasy land I want to buy a house in this neighborhood,” I said. “One of those ones whose backyards goes way back.” We were walking past a house whose yard was filled with junk. Behind the house was an outbuilding that had stovepipe sticking out. “There’s birdsong out here.” I said. “I think I could live in the city for a long time if I lived out here.”

After our walk the dogs were not tired, because they are never tired. They have only been around for two and three years, respectively, and their mitochondria are furiously pumping out ATP, and they are furiously, ecstatically alive. My dog has little shining lights inside of her, and she shoots them out at everything via her eyeballs, like hyper-focused laser beams of energy. Sometimes I envy her sparkly newness, but then I remember that she will grow old too one day, and then I feel sad, because I don’t ever want her to lose her bright shinyness, ever.

On second thought, I don’t think that my dog will ever grow old. I think that she will live forever. And everyone knows that Chihuahuas are infinite beings. That’s why there’s so many of them.

After our walk we went to get tacos, and while we ate it began to rain again, even harder this time, the water pooling in the streets and splatting against the pavement. You drank real soda and tried to kiss me in the restaurant but I felt self-conscious, because I have a fear of being seen as a gay man having PDA with his boyfriend. Even though I know that gay men do not really have PDA, and so as soon as we kiss the hipsters sitting next to us will decide that we are lesbians. I do not know why I care, except I am always afraid of doing the wrong thing, socially. One day when I am old I am going to look back, and wish that I hadn’t given such a damn about what other people thought of me. Or maybe I can figure it out before then.

After dinner we should’ve studied for our finals, but instead we ate chocolate peanut butter ice-cream and watched gossip girl, because school is, among other things, stupid, and relaxing extends one’s lifespan and makes one much nicer to be around. You watch gossip girl alone, sometimes, in between when we watch it together, and so I am always having to catch up, pausing the show to ask you why chuck and blair are mad at each other? And are lilly and rufus still together. Of course nobody cares about serena, although the show’s creators obviously intend that we should. I can’t ever keep track of what the characters are doing or how I am supposed to feel about it, but I like the clothes and I like how eerily shiny blair’s lip gloss is. And I like how chuck is always posing narcissistically, and that he has only one expression. And of course it’s fun to laugh at fictional rich people and their bad integrity, and to feel superior as a poor person.

Now it’s late and I should be sleeping, but I slept in the afternoon so now I can’t, yet. I like writing like this, though, in the middle of the night, with you snoring. Sometimes I lay in bed to sleep and instead I start to write in my head, making sentences like little sandcastles at the beach. Scooping sand into my little bucket, inverting it. Patting it. It’s nice to get up then and write until I get tired, wring it all out of me, use up all my thoughts. It’s cold in your room, anyway, since your space heater burst into flames. It’s a little disturbing that we live in a world where one’s space heater can do that, burst into flames. I think about how you told me that when it happened you were studying, and you blew the flame out, and then you put the space heater in your closet. I think about the space heater in my trailer that I leave on low when I’m not there, mostly for my plants. Now it’s not just a space heater, it’s a place for my anxiety to go. I kind of wish, now, that I hadn’t eaten icecream before bed.

Tomorrow in the morning I’ll take the dogs to forest park, and we’ll run in the mud. If I’m lucky it’ll be raining too, and there’ll be no-one else there, and I’ll feel like some sort of wild creature, traveling through the misty forest with some serum or something I’ve got to get to the next village in a hurry. The dogs running up and back, crashing through the underbrush. All those breathing plants, the thick cold oxygen. Then I’ll come back to your house in my rain-drenched sweatpants and you’ll feed me breakfast, even though you’ve already eaten. Eggs and tortillas and some cold leftovers from your fridge. And then I’ll go to school and do the first of my four finals for the term, for which I am extremely unprepared, and then the term will be a little more over than it was the day before. And summer will be a little closer, with all of the bright warm treasures that it brings.

4 thoughts on “sandcastles

  1. Your writing is so engaging, and intriguing, and so so so good! twas like starting a good novel, and becoming intensely thirsty for more.


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