< eL Diluvio
Published July 20 2023
New York City

La Chat Et La Souris

I have to thank God for that summer. The summer I was struck by lightning.

The sunsets were pink and the alcohol was smooth. The phone was off the hook. The music was on and every hello was a hug. I was doing way too much. In ways I couldn’t tell anyone about.

The summer on the river when I realized it was all a big game of cat and mouse. The first girl taught me that.

There were neural pathways I was addicted to. And other ones I was avoiding.

The summer I woke up with half written poems & crumbled up numbers in my pockets. More poems got finished than numbers got called.

Every stranger was prettier than the last. The more you get to know people the worse they get. So I liked to admire them from afar. I'd catch a pretty girl's gaze, write our story together and move on. It was quicker that way.

When I realized the art is in the space between the strokes. The silence between the notes. How much more I loved the tension than the release.

The June when they said we better get that thing done.

The July when we got it done.

And then we had more money than I knew what to do with. The second girl hated how much that made me smile. Because the only way it got done was that the first thing I did in the morning was check my emails before I looked at her texts. That mouse got away.

The August when I realized what we had done.

Now there were two kinds of girls in my life. The kind that knew how to play my heart strings. And the type to make my brain feel like it was on a playground. Why couldn’t there be a girl that did both? Only one had ever made me feel reckless (so far).

And Sophie (my Russian Blue) used to do that one thing that all girls do. She’d lay on my chest and I’d pet her till she purred & purred. She loved it so much she’d slap me and jump off.

The playlist I made two years ago got longer and longer. I meant to send it but it had become a sonic collage of my failed romances, not the ode I intended it to be.

The days were long and they were bright. The city was alive. I settled into a rhythm, a hot blooded one. I knew here was where I had to be. And it seemed liked I had everything I needed. The Bible on the window, and the $250000 check underneath it should have been enough.

But it wasn't and that’s why I would sleep at 1 and wake up at 7 so I could cross off everything on my list just to do it all over again.

Because it was better to work than to think. To think was to realize something was missing. That’s what dreams are for—you can't escape reality there. The summer I stopped lying and I started telling the truth. And I realized no one was interested in the truth, even if I delivered it with the same smile that I used to lie with. So now I had to make up stories that had truths in them.

I could tell the world was ours for the taking and it drove me crazy no one else was as excited for that as I was. Especially her. The first girl. She was more interested in molecules than manifestos.

Instead I settled for telling Chris I wished he was a writer. I knew his love for Zoe would have made great poetry. After all—he talked to her everyday. I was stuck trying to read minds and bottle up daydreams.

But maybe that’s why I could write this, alone in my room looking out at the skyline marrying the pink sunset. Meanwhile Chris was on a bus headed to meet her family in Boston. He was working on music for her. His love, in his language—falling on welcoming ears. A language that could not exist in silence. Unlike mine—which thrived in it.

That summer.