Coming out of the jungle I wasn’t sure I wanted to go to college. I told the jungle man and he told me it’s a waste and that it’s better to ride motorcycles. I didn’t buy a motorcycle and I still think about what it would be like to ride one. I went to college and I know very well what it’s like. What it’s like is just about why I went. I went because that’s where you find a person. I found a person. I suppose I did.
What’s objective about the person and our relationship isn’t something I knew about when we were together. I didn’t know em’ until we stopped talking. There’s a point then, maybe a few days after, when you start to remember things. Things that you didn’t ever forget. It’s just that you weren’t trying to remember anything at all. Bad things. They come often in dreams. I think the worst ones have to. If you remembered them when you were driving you’d maybe decide to indulge that wheel-tug fantasy off the highway.
And you remember them in other ways too that don’t come in thoughts or pictures. For me when I hear a car sound passing the house I get stiff and stop what I’m doing and check the windows just in case they came. I always did that while we were together. What I’ve begun to remember is that it’s odd. Clic’ Clack’ of shoes outside my door means they’re outside my window. Opening the door to leave the class they know I go to. It’s a very heavy metal door.
Public places that they go to. My car is a unique bright blue. I liked it because of that, they did too. I can’t hide it in a parking lot and what if even though I made it home from my class they saw my car and are waiting for me in the passenger seat or back seats because I forgot to lock the car. What if they say something and I forget these things I’ve remembered and forget that I’ve forgotten. I know you don’t want to talk, just listen –
There’s no more school left. There’s one quarter. There’s me remembering me thinking about the me I am now who would have found their perfect person, the one that’s just like my first love but nice, whatever I meant by that.
And I remember me but young thinking of me but old. And I become the person the kid thought they’d become. Because of em’. Slowly.
I cut my hair and my head becomes a new toy that will give me confidence for a few days enough to not be afraid in public spaces, shielded by all the people who might fall in love with me at first sight.
Last time I tried to leave, after a few days, a friend told me I seemed different. I didn’t ask and never knew what different meant. But I know what different means and it means anything but. And coming from a bad place, anything but is everything and-.
I am very afraid of everything around me. My mama said, “it’s not like you’re afraid of everything around you all the time”. I’m afraid of everything around me all the time – except for when I’m not where I am. I’m at the edge of The Amazon again, looking in. I rev my blue car and the jungle man gets in and says not bad compadre. I full tug the wheel and crash back into –
Coming out of the jungle I remember I’ve been here before.
[art by James Reed]