Strapped In

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I inform my friend of 16 or so years that the state of my affairs is dwindling. My love has become a flame sputtering out—trembling and ungracious, spitting like a mad, arthritic old woman.

My friend takes the news in stride, and instead plies me with womanly distractions such as gossip, weight loss news, her own troubles. But I will not be distracted, and soon my dissatisfactions spill over into her own. I jolt her into making plans to restart her own life as well.

I begin by telling her I am dissatisfied with my present set of circumstances, that I feel my destiny lies in a place other than this, that I see myself walking down a cobblestone alley in some European country, on my way to drink red wine with a man whose pale eyes can look into mine without fear or hesitation.

She is alarmed by this, as she is always alarmed by all kinds of ‘crazy’ talk. But she plays along, and tells me she, too, has similar plans of escape. She tells me she is thinking about getting her passport, at last.

We are all pinned in place by our hesitation. We are strapped into bed tightly, we watch the walls close in.

I ignore the gaps in her logic and begin to turn my face up and outward, away, as though the act itself will transport me. As though the horizon will change as soon as I meet it with my gaze.

Sixteen years, and now I’m beginning to wonder, is it only the fear that weaves us together?


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