“Listen I just wanted you to know that the longer this takes, the harder it will be to get back to where you started, even if you don’t want to be back where you started. If you’re lost at sea, all you need to do is follow the black cat,” she says, her starry eyes wide, staring up.
“He’ll get you home. I didn’t have a dancer in my hands but I had the little black box, and it sang sweetly. You were everything he had imagined and been terrified of. Your creator was furious and betrayed by the peach shampoo. You don’t know what you don’t know what you don’t know, except that some day, it will all be over,” she pleads. “It will be, and you’ll need to still be holding on to him, when that happens, or he might be lost for good.”
“You won’t have anything to cling to anymore. This whole futile exercise will come undone. She still has to wrap the presents, and lately, she’s been losing sleep, dreaming of all her angels. It hasn’t happened,” she says, shaking her head. “Are you listening? It hasn’t happened yet.”
There is a long pause, while she seems to think, or maybe it’s that she’s listening. Finally, she says, her voice so very soft, “It never will.”
After that, she continues, seemingly on a different topic, a different direction, saying, “She collected all the medallions, just for them. She gave them away, piece by piece, but never finished. She’s the queen of not finishing. Don’t let that happen to you.” She stares at her hands, frowning at them.
“Don’t let all the ways and teaspoons and cigarette ends measure you up and find you lacking. Eat the peach. Drink the scotch. Kiss him like you’ve wanted to for lifetimes. Take his hand. Tell her she’s killing you, inch by inch. Tell him you never wanted him, and it isn’t his fault, but you wish he were dead. Tell him you’ll never forgive him, and know that it’s okay,” she promises. “It’s okay.”
“You take me the way I am, and you’ll never know how wonderful it was to have someone hold my hand and not end up in Bora Bora, although sometimes I have ended up on the beach with Anna. I warn her not to talk to him, because he is more than she knows, but I know each time she’s going to do it anyway,” she says, putting her hand on the concrete pillar, tracing her thin and unshaking finger over the chalk drawing of the stick figures, some with black wings, some with white wings. “It’s funny that these are still here.”
“These are the whispers in between, the missives unsent, caught in the dead letter file of a dusty closet where they keep extra sneakers for me, because they know some day I’ll come out in a flood of bottlecaps. They know, and they leave the light on for me. They know it’s all the same moment, the same instant,” she explains, wringing her hands, looking all at once excited, and frightened.
“Everyplace,” she promises, nodding.
“Everywhen,” she whispers.
“Listen to me: you have to pick it back up. You have to cut into yourself again and let the words out. The writing is in your blood, remember?”