Dear July 26 2010 Trevor Dodge,
I’m writing this from a place you haven’t even the faintest clue exists, let alone think possible. This is a place where the life you know is unraveled all the way down to the thin cardboard tube where it has been spooled for years you can count but no longer can feel. You don’t know the specifics, but you know what I mean, so you are compelled to trust me and there’s just no getting around that. So please pay careful attention now and really read what I have to tell you.
I just came in from a long walk in the darkness out at your parents’ place, the one with the quarter-mile driveway, just walked it with nothing but starlight and a rusting sliver-moon. You have been walking this exact same stretch in the daylight while you are house-sitting for them. You walk it every morning to grab their newspaper and check their mail, before you water their plants and mow their big floods of lawn on a spritely John Deere riding mower. This has been your routine since they left, and also since your wife left before them, and also since your children left after them. You have spent immense and deafeningly quiet stretches of time by yourself here, time that has thickened and slowed not only because you are writing again, but because you are using that writing in part to try and explain to yourself why you think you are where you are and how you got there. More specifically: trying to come to an understanding of just who the fuck you think you are and what the fuck you think you are doing, thinking about thinking these things in the first place. Because the fact of the matter is that you have simply never done this kind of thinking. I don’t have to go into specifics. You know the thoughts you’re having. And let’s leave most of them at that. It won’t be as messy this way.
But let’s talk about something that does need a little specificity. In a little over 24 hours you will sit across from her for the first time in over 20 years. This is something you already know, because you know you are about to this. What you don’t know is you will leave this utterly and forever changed, and you will spend the next two years free-falling through/into possibility spaces that will smell and wrinkle like dreams when you first touch them.
That’s right. I said touch.
Touch dreams. Read extra careful here. Don’t mistake what I’m saying here as metaphor. I’m dead fucking serious.
It will happen instantly, by the way, when you see the years on her and reach for her hand anyway, in a kinetic moment that precludes any rationality whatsoever. You will be afraid of how she interprets this, and you will worry, and the two of you will talk through it, and there will be more moments that defy rationality, more moments than you can imagine, moments that build an entire castle upon an entire world that precludes the very act of thinking. Because the two of you will fall desperately in love. You will leverage everything; and in doing so you will lose everything, and in doing so you will also win everything. This will be the most exhilarating time of your life and it will also be the darkest. You will know beyond the shadows of doubt what true possibility really is; you will wonder about things you don’t want to wonder about; you will find you are largely alone and powerless; you will find you were never completely alone at all.
These aren’t promises or rewards enticing you, no more than they are predilections or warnings discouraging you. I’m talking about things that are. This is simply what is.
I’m going to explain myself more clearly now. Look carefully. This is a picture you haven’t seen for decades but can recall the tiny details of without prompt or prodding. This is her.
Wait. Let me back up a step because I need to be careful here: this is your favorite image of her. I know this because I know your past as well as I do, but I also know your future. And the next two years of your future will involve knowing a great deal about her, yet knowing sometimes very little. You will learn about the twinned natures of fate and faith, at times spun together in threads fine as cotton candy, that taste just as sweet and evaporate just as quick. It is not right to say that you will have her, because you cannot truly possess another person, nor should you even want such a thing. But this image of her, you can have it. And you will. From my vantage point, it very really hangs on your wall. You in fact possess this image, the original printed saturation of inks onto big, thick paper that recorded the way she literally bent the light all around her on the day the shutter of the camera paused just long enough for the moment to crawl inside its machinery and live there forever.
Just like she did inside you so long ago. I’m talking about the crawling inside and living forever part. See, you don’t know this yet, but you can probably sense it, and I say that with such confidence because 24 hours from where I am, the three of us will join hands and bring a dream to full and real life. Crawling inside and living forever. Where the darkness meets the light, and the driveway recedes to a simple structure built of petals, wood, and hope.
So go on now. Don’t be afraid of what you’re wishing for.
July 26 2012 Trevor Dodge