Here, in this cup of time that’s been reheated over and over,
every move is deliberate.
Not forced in any sense of the word, but slow and saturated with purpose. I hold it in my hands and my fingers close around tightly with predetermination.
This is not an accident. This is a current filled with iron energy, no room for blank space or hesitation. You can look behind you, but you only move in one direction: North, if North is forward and if the makeshift magnet floating deep in the woods of your heart hasn’t steered you wrong.
I know I can’t ask everything of you.
All I ask is that you carry love and tenderness with you, as you always have, across tens of thousands of miles. Allow me to keep your smile hidden, held inside a flannel pocket, to bring out when I have almost forgotten what it looks like. Love familiar, well-practiced and easily carried out, love as truth realized too late to be enjoyed fully, but enjoyed anyway and sent to past versions of ourselves. They will find it along the way.
Can we do that? Can we keep and carry love for each other like postage stamps, traded back and forth across the world, worn and faded, but still lovely by the time they arrive? Secret messages in the margins of maps, single lines to each other that only we can translate, messages that can’t be packaged in any other way—the weight of empty rooms and half-remembered songs? To tell you the truth, I think we can.
I don’t see any other way down the road.
Zoë Brouns is a recent UC Berkeley graduate and proud queer woman currently living and working in St. Louis, MO. She studied political science at Cal, but finds that writing helps her breathe more easily. You can find her on Twitter at @alonelysloth.