all my darkest secrets

I met a girl on the bus yesterday to Tacoma--I wasn't going there for any real reason, just to take a trip. It was a fairly bright, sunny day, as it so often is, so I had my sunglasses on, so I never had to meet her eyes. Traffic was terrible but we spent most of the trip talking--sharing secrets. I told her I was afraid I was unable to commit to anything and she said she was afraid she was desperate to commit to anything. I worried I was lying to myself about my quest for meaning, that I was trapped in the past, and so on, and so on. I told her everything I'd ever thought or worried about myself and she told me all of her fears and I realized, to my surprise, that this was a real conversation. Not just a chance to vent--I can vent anywhere, I do vent anywhere. This was reaching out to someone and actually getting something in response.

There was a desperation about us both--we both knew that even if we ever saw each other again it would never really be the same. So we held on to the moment as much as we could, bared our souls, said it was such a relief to tell someone all this even though we'd both said it a hundred times before to a hundred different people. We were both too poetic to have any dark secrets we actually kept.

But it was honesty not because I valued a relationship or because I thought honesty was the best policy or that lying or keeping secrets was morally wrong--it was honesty because it was safe. It could never come back to hurt me. I even told her that. I told her that she was the one girl in my life who could never come back to hurt me--she felt the same way.

I wanted nothing more than to live forever with her, despite knowing only that she had the same fears and problems as any number of similar people, caught in the moment. But I knew one day I'd have to take my sunglasses off, look her in the eye--and that would ruin the moment forever. She knew things about me some people had never heard but she didn't know what color my eyes were.


thoughts of the macabre

Driving across the mountain passes these days makes me uneasy, not because I'm afraid of an accident, but because I always find myself thinking of how easily I could end my life--just moving my hands a few inches, barely a twitch, and my car could go careening out of control, off the cliff--and I'm not afraid of this, no, but I have the power. I think about it. I even have to fight back the impulse.

I don't really know what it means. I could probably reference a handful of philosophers but that doesn't mean anything, it's just wrapping it up in words and making it sound palatable when the fact is it's just wrong--and it doesn't make it better if other people are the same way. And then I'm driving and the moon comes up over the mountains and somehow everything is better, but I still know it's only temporary.



Last night we had a blackout and a thunderstorm. Even the phones were dead. I was hanging out with my girlfriend at the time. I thought it was exciting. She thought it was a profound reminder of how much we rely on technology.

It struck me then that every five minutes we're reminded how much we rely on technology. It's nothing new. It's not even interesting anymore. Yes, technology is convenient. Yes, sometimes it breaks and we have to rely on more archaic methods. This is nothing new. It isn't paradigm-altering. I'm going to go right back to using my laptop and cell phone and electric lights when this is all over, I said.

But you can't now, she said. Doesn't that make you feel enslaved to technology? You're stuck with candles and you can't call anyone and you have to write on paper.

I tried to explain that I was really just enjoying myself with the candles, but she was bent on believing that there was something important to be learned from this. I think it's this: we have too much time to wax existential when our technology fails us, and not enough drive to just run with it, or find a solution.


how to disappear completely and never be found

It was sometime in the evening last night that I started feeling like I wasn't real anymore. I was at a show, watching the crowd between sets, and felt this weird sort of disconnect, like maybe I was imagining the whole thing--just a passing ghost that nobody could see or, worse, nobody cared about. I knew I wasn't, of course, but then there's that whole question: what if I'm wrong?

As I made my way to the bus stop I suddenly felt very ill and very weak, without any real prompting. I staggered into a seat and watched the empty 1 am streets, coughing occasionally, trying to fight off the sickness in my gut, the dreamlike certainty that the bus driver wouldn't even stop for me.

I heard a siren down the road, and I remember this very clearly, like it was a scene from a movie. A car sped past, going perhaps sixty miles an hour in the narrow downtown streets. The wind from its passing blew a bus transfer from the sidewalk, swirling it up and onto the ground at my feet. I stood up and looked down the road, where a police car was fast approaching, weaving past a few cars. I put a finger in my ear so the siren wouldn't deafen me and wondered if he saw me, if he was coming for me. I watched him drive past before I realized of course not, I wasn't really even here.

There was a crash down the road. Someone yelled something about it, but I wasn't listening anymore.


letters i'm afraid you read

I found this, yesterday, in my sent items folder. She never responded.

I'm worried that when I tell you I love you, you're dismissing it, like it's just something I say, some rote thing. I worry about that when I ask you how your day is, too. Or how you are. I want you to know that I ask these things because I care--about you more than about anything I've ever cared about. It is important to me that you know this, especially now.

I feel ridiculous but I feel lie [sic] you've come to define me somehow. Sometimes I worry that my love for you, my concerns, are selfish only--that's what they're telling me, isn't it? I love because it makes me feel better, to quell the empathic pain I feel with your pain--they use words like codependent and enabling and tell me I shouldn't try to help, I'm only making it worse, and I tell them I can't do that. We're in this together, you and I.

I'm worried you think I'm inconsistent, schizophrenic in my dealings with you--confident sometimes, worried at others. I'm a wreck, I'm a neurotic wreck, it's true. You know how they say the best way to see how a man will interact with a woman is to look at his relationship with his mother? I used to think that was silly--my mother passed away years ago, I would say--but now I wonder if I'm not forever five years old, trying to come to the rescue, feeling responsible. I want to save you, from everything. I want to take you away from all this.

I wonder if you recognize how much of what I say is planned? I wrote that last line in the last paragraph because it's a cliche, an old movie cliche--it captures everything so perfectly, so beautifully. I lace my letters to you with references to songs and movies and books because I'm sure you'll know them. Then I worry that perhaps you'll miss it entirely, and I will be left feeling vaguely ridiculous.

I hope you are well. I say this--I even write this in letters to others--but know that with you everything I say is uniquely sincere. With you I am incapable of lying, or of false sincerity, or of any ill intent. I truly hope that everything is well with you.

I am very truly yours,