stop me if you've heard this one before


we met in detention. it was raining and i sat in the back of the room trying to get some homework done. something, for some counterintuitive administrative reason, against the rules of serving detention. to my right a girl i had a few classes with, who was more like a trucker than a high school freshman, was closing her makeup compact closely above her upper lip so as to remove the unwanted hair from that area. i was riveted by this exercise for as long as i could be until she noticed my staring. when her eyes darted my way, i quickly looked toward the other wall and saw him sitting a few seats away looking over at me. we sort of knew each other already, but only by proximity. we shared a few friends in common and frequented all the same social gatherings on the weekends. as detention droned on notes were being passed and numbers were exchanged and soon the late night discussions of anything from family to basketball, to the cosmos, commenced.

i think i knew i loved him when we fell asleep on the phone one night and both woke up in twinning constellations. i was on the one end of andromeda, not alone.  i heard him wake up from the same dream. but i was a bit of a tough cookie then and never wanted to like someone more than they liked me.

when i was much, much younger i would stand in front of the window that faced the street at the end of the hallway. the carpet was tight little dark green knots pressed against my toes--the walls were a soft and rich dark wood with a ribbon of purple in sunlight. i would slip into long moments of staring out onto the neighborhood; the cars, dirt bikes, families, the mail person, dogs--anything that passed before me. my eyes would drift from the view of the street to the rippled glass in the window. it reminded me of how on hot days heat rose off the street and made the world a wave. i would challenge myself to smoothing out the glass with my mind. it was a job i took without much purpose or hope for success, i think i knew that then.

in the evenings from my bed i could have sworn that the streetlamp was venus. bright, round, orange, and near; the planet closest and named after the goddess of love. i was sure she hung low, neighborly, and illuminated at night across the street from me for the better part of my childhood.

i believed then as i try my best to believe now, that on certain days when the moon is right above you, yellow and full, we are as native to our dailiness as we are alien. that we, like anything else, are perched against a limitless vast that is as random as it is in perfect order. i am a writer because for as long as i can remember i have tried my best to imagine the other in everything.

and now 18 years later, back in andromeda, we live together and plan for the future. i think about how i might translate all that has happened to get to here. i think about the other(s) and how constellations mimic spider webs in certain light and how poets and scientists both attempt to measure space and time. i think about our individual orbits barely touching and then colliding and how the wind blows from a different direction across his face today than it did yesterday.

sometimes i am thinking about all of that when i am supposed to be doing something else. but since things have a way of working out just as they should, i mostly just try and make up for that along the way when i can.