With her, I was fearless. I became fearless. I became seduced by the possibility of being perfectly awake at every moment. Of being in one place at one time and being whole in those moments of forgetting every elsewhere that tried to lure my mind.
She would have allowed nothing less that complete presence. She dreamed while awake and turned the world into the environs of her fantasy. Yet it was not fantasy with her. It was real. I do not remember her with gauze and lace and clouds. I do not think of her as surreal. I think of her as a part of reality. So real, so much a part of the world, that it was difficult for my detached mind to grasp her. I did not remember my dreams, and because of that, I was detached from reality. We are truly a part of the world unless we can dream, can imagine, can fantasize about what it could be to us, what we could be to it. Eve was a part of the universe. It came easily to her. The fire, the strength, the determination, the laughter, the–everything. It was impossible to try to divide myself from the world when I was with her. It was impossible to drift into a mindless routine. It was impossible to think of anything other than the moment, the present. She had questions for every moment, and I would stumble over myself looking for the answers with her.
Where are we? What are we doing? Why not? Why not? Why not? The question she always asked. Why not? Why not leave our city and leave for another? Why not walk down this street? Why not jump on this bus? Why not hop the turnstile? Why not sit on this bench for a moment? Why not lay on this patch of grass and look at the sky? Why not enter that building? Why not take a look? Why not be in love? Why not? Why not? Why not? The question was always in her eyes, dancing with the galaxies in there.
If not for her, how different might I be. If not for her, how much darker would my vision be? If not for her, how much tamer would my heart be? If not for her, would I have ever awakened?
She was never meant to stay still for too long. She thought she was not fit for this world, but she meant to devour as much of it as she could, with her eyes, her hands, her ears, her mouth. She wanted to taste, touch, see, hear as much as she could.
I should have been exhausted, but I was not. I was brought to life by it. I was brought to light by it. I couldn’t help myself. She was a fire lit beside me and I couldn’t help but be caught.
The first days in this city were the stuff of fantasy. My eyes tried to tell me that this place was grey. That it was empty yet noisy, that it was not real. My eyes tried to tell me that it was all artificial, that it was all contrived and there was nothing human here. After all, that is what so many people said of this place. It is the place where our dreams and worst nightmares could switch places. Where fantasy becomes reality becomes fantasy again. Where people could become someone else. Where people made themselves.
Of course she wanted to come to this place. Of course, she who was always seeing the world exactly as she wanted. Of course, she who so completely accepted that she could be whatever she wanted. Of course, she was at home here. She reveled in this city that was not at all easy to look at, not at all easy to love at first glance. But the moment she saw it and I saw her eyes, I knew that she had fallen in love with this place. I loved this place through the love I saw engulf her. I loved this place because she was in it, and I loved her.
I could not have imagined being anywhere other than beside her. That first day, that first breath of air here. Tasting the air of a different city for the first time. And it felt like the first time with her. No matter what logic or history or reality was, what I felt that day with her, I felt for the first time.
She walked through the terminal as though she knew exactly where she was going. Some people are like this. They charge forward with certainty even if they are utterly uncertain. They charge forward without worrying too much that they do not know where they are going. They have a compass inside them whose arrow is always pointing to “just go.” People were blurs beside us as we rushed through the terminal. Telephone booths were streaks of blue. We tripped over other people’s luggage and they gave us dirty looks that we did not notice because we were moving too fast. She was laughing. She always had something to laugh about, somehow. She was always bubbling with that sound inside her throat. At any moment when something new was coming. At any moment when she was entering something unfamiliar, she laughed. She laughed as though in announcement and declaration that she had arrived, that she was arriving, that she would only be there for so long so show her everything, show her as much as possible because in the next moment there will be something else.
We exited the terminal into the roar of the sidewalk. Cars, taxis, buses, relatives, lovers, families, business partners, policemen, security guards, vans, carts. The sound of them rushed into our eardrums.
She looked left and right. I raised my arms high above my head in triumph, smiling. There was no fear. There was no worry. There was no anxiety. There was no wondering. We had no plan. We had nowhere to go. We had nowhere to go–except everywhere. There was nothing to do–except be.
We had arrived. In that moment, that was all that mattered.