“He puts up an electric fence between us, and never once do I risk death by brushing against it. But when we’re in public… the fence vanishes, and we become clumsy magnets, bumping and knocking into each other, grazing hands, arms, legs, shoulders, tapping the other on the back, even occasionally the leg, for no good reason except that it’s like swallowing lightning.” – Jandy Nelson (I’ll Give You The Sun)
There was a moment while reading this passage that I thought of you. No, not a moment, a minute, several, if I am being completely honest. I wrapped my head around the fact that you and I are endlessly in motion and never ready to stop, never willing. Those nights we spent alone, making sure that the world sees the space that rests between us, I willed every atom in my body to call out to yours, while simultaneously, willing them to stay completely still never letting them complete their movements. The world danced around us and never once did we allow ourselves to hear the music. I could have said something, but then again, you could have too.
It was the nights when we had a bit too much to drink and the people we loved were watching, that we let ourselves be exactly who they wanted us to be. Our bodies sitting too close to each other, in a dirty old bar, as if we were afraid the creepy Japanese man would come over and put his hand on one of us. Our hands just barely missing the other, the hairs on our skin brushing up against each other and creating sparks. We, like small children watching fireworks, would become mesmerized by this and would drunkenly decide to keep our distance, no matter how short that distance may be.
The one night our hands met at the back of our group of friends, as we set off to walk down the stairs. I told myself that it was for balance, because of the whiskey at the last bar. You turned and stopped me, hands still locked in place, no words coming from either of our lips. The only sound was the muffled bump of the dance club below us, and the incoherent chattering of our friends making their way down the stairwell. You kissed me. When I finally opened my eyes, you were looking at me as if I was magic as if the moon had set off every star in the sky and the spark from our hands had appeared by the millions. We laughed. Do you remember? Both of us understood that the world was still dancing, but we could never let ourselves hear the music again.
That was the night I decided that I needed to do something for myself. Something to make myself happy and if the world was going to dance I was going to dance with it. So I set off to find the music. Found myself humming on a plane, and drumming silently on the highway not too sure where I was going. I hope that one day you will let yourself dance with the world, but for now I am making my own music.