Those first few jobless days were some of the brightest. We walked from building to building, our necks aching from staring upward so much.
We walked down street at a leisurely pace. Taking as much in as we could. The city was not quite cold enough for me. I wanted snow. I longed for it.
But I was happy. Despite that unfulfilled desire. I was happy there. I was happy with the sound of cars at night and the scent of marijuana smoke that wafted up every now and then from the street. I was happy with the sight of the moon rising in the sky through our window. Some nights it shone so bright that I thought morning had come already.
So bright, that moon in the winter. As though magnified by the cold. Perhaps our eyes were forced to be sharper.
We never learned weather the heat in our apartment worked. One of the benefits of living on the third floor was that the heat from the floors below rose up into our apartment. Turning on the hotplate to heat a kettle of water for tea was enough, often.
We bought bags of tea from the convenience store on the corner. Those small convenience stores helped us keep from starving when we did not have work. We bought fruit from them. Bananas and oranges and sometimes mangos. We bought the small pints of milk because we had no refrigerator. We only bought just what we needed, just enough to have something around, but not so much that we would not be able to throw all of our things into our bags and get away.
We always had to be ready to get away. There was no settling in. There was no making the room feel lived in. We stayed at our weekly rental for three weeks before we were finally able to find a more permanent place to stay.
Those weeks, oh those weeks still stand gloriously in my memory. No bitterness. We were still transient then, in a way. Still feeling our way in to existence in this state, in this county, in this city, in this neighborhood, in this block. Still feeling our way around in ourselves, in each other. Still feeling out how we felt. So we were careful not to gather too much, careful not to become too comfortable. We knew that this room with its chemical scent and its small desk and its tiny sink would not be ours forever. We did not want to miss it when we did leave.
We walked so much. Blocks and blocks, learning the colors of the paint on the curbs, taking not of places to park that we’d never use, noting alleyways to return to.
Sometimes this place seemed so ominous, so empty, so bare. Parts of it were dominated by parking lots that filled, were congested like lungs infected with pneumonia, and then emptied out and looked like a wasteland. There were small patches of green grass here and there that it seemed like no one would ever use, no one would ever sit in, no one would ever actually want to sit in. Patches of green grass that fed from exhaust pipes.
It made little sense to me. But I had long ceased to expect anything to make sense in the usual way.
To fall in love with Eve was to accept that it was beautiful to witness madness. That it could be beautiful to simply let go. To be mad. To be manic. To be joyful and forget the reasons why we turn away from love. To forget to be afraid of love. To forget to be rational about how things are supposed to work in this world.
With Eve, I could let myself go anywhere, do anything, become anyone– as long as she were there with me. And that’s what we did. That’s what she needed to do. As though she were born with a soul already floating far from her body, telling her where to go next, what to do next, who to become. That there was someone waiting for her becoming.