This happens in a tent 150 miles away from McMurdo Station in the dry valleys in Antarctica. We are alone.
There is this and only this, ever was. Brilliant sunlight filters through drifting clouds, is shattered to droplets by ice born in the time of pharoes. The horizon is broken by spires of brown-black rock ribboned in milky yellows, bolders like towering beasts strewn at their base.
Air as clear as the nothing between stars.
I can see forever: light years back to men who walked in leather and wool. This is where I've imagined. Now a character in my own dream, though warm and smooth, touch this face and feel the heart beating underneath. Your hand will not pass through as if impeded only by the vaporous beings of the mind.
I am this and only this, ever was. Hopeless. Nothing I want ever happens except everything in some other way. Everything was set up by someone else. The man who made the reservations never took the trip. The one who had these dreams didn't walk the path. He backed off. Chickened out. Sent me, this one who takes any dare. Now I'm living his dream, having the life he wants while he lies buried alive in a grave so distant he'll scream like a hurricane for a thousand years before they uncover him.
She is this and only this: brown eyes he wrote about. He told me to look for them. The color god thought of when he made the mountains. And now I'm there amid the peaks and her eyes are full of nothing--
First you have to realize you have to feel something. Something hanging in the air is about to evaporate so look fast. This is the hunter selecting, and once singled out from the pack there's no protection. Safety in numbers obliterated by desolation. If you don't sense what you need to feel then suffer the consequences and don't complain when it's later and it hurts.
She who bore me never allowed that to happen in the real world. In the real world the calculus of life demands one remain aloof to be wanted in safety. But sublime is the admiration of the tiger one second before it sinks its teeth into your sinew. Sublime is the admiration for her persistence, the choice of words, a smile and a gesture made with the extremities.
"I sleep alone. The Scott Tent"
And now the sun passes behind a mountain peak, the wind stops and the walls of the Jamesway stop fluttering. And now hear a heartbeat rushing through the ears--first the one owned by being I've become. Then hers.
I can touch her and it's not what I imagined. Not at all. This is something that belongs to the earth. She's going to let me do this because it's been there all along and I haven't been seeing and she's been wondering if I've been thinking, or geeking, or ceasing to be warm and human.
"I have to tell you," I hear myself say, tearing away at my wind pants, the polypro around my arms, her arms, the nylon camo gear around her waist.
This is daylight. This will happen in daylight and I won't see a goddamned thing because I can't take my eyes from hers. Couple of seconds they're closed. Couple of seconds we're not touching something wet in our mouths.
Think somewhere, cars on highway parking lots. Steaming radiators and kids screaming in line at Disney World. Discounted merchandise priced to go. Fast food, ask if your game piece isn't automatically included.
Kiss the inside of her thigh, close to where muscle meets bone and torso.
I am alive in this world that has none of those cell phone calls to voice mail. You need to buy these clothes. This car. Eat here. Drink this. Be young. Be cool. Be anything other than what you are.
No no no. Drag it out and it blows away in the katabatics. Nothing left but guts and blood. What matters is that you're warm when everything else isn't and will never be.
In here, she's whispering to my ear. "Right here, now." As if I didn't know. As if I was dead dessicated nothing blowing away in the wind.
How fast everything goes now. The cold sticky tent plastic. Places on the floor riddled with jagged rocks. There's one I want I can never have. It sits at the base of my spine poking through layers of sleeping bag while she stares down. I can't stop looking.
What the hell was I thinking? I can't run away because I can't tell her 'no' because nothing but 'yes' to her exists when the job and phone are gone with the engines and ten-cent reductions in the price of gas.
Eyes are windows. Warm creatures see each other's souls through the eyes.
"I've got this thing about mountains," says one who used to be me.
Why and what cue to move, to switch. Gravity irrelevant, just keep her away from that rock when she turns to the bottom. Colder on top. Power on top. Now she wants to be me to be had to be adored. And I do.
Am I imagining, or does she know where it is?
Her calloused heels. This world, solidified from a dream where time had no place. I was a kid when I dreamed it. Didn't know what it meant. I wanted Antarctica and I got the rocks and the tent and someone who stalked me like a lamb in a field of wolves.
Your new name: Sleeping with Wolves
Now I know about this place, how it becomes you and takes you away so the person who is left, who looks like you is not you. This is now and will never happen again. You will never be this you right now. Never again. And so you own this time.
Says she, not going to close her eyes. "About mountains."
Counting. One two three. I control her breathing with my muscles. Watch.
"What thing? What? Wha? wha? wh? w? ..." in time. Lots of sex is in your mind. All of it is control--in it or out of it. Get off on it. When you're nowhere, you can be no one.
"Something about power. I get this feeling in the mountains. Bending skyscrapers. Forging steel with my fists. Ageless life. Mountains tear the sky open and it pours into me."
Move again. This way this time.
I can't turn her down. I can't turn away when she stares at me. I won't run, except toward her. Everything else is gone. I'm nobody. Nothing. What did she say? "What did you say?"
Looks at me like I'm an idiot. "that"
Nothing left to fear. Nothing left.
Zen nothing white wall where first there is no thought, and then the impossibility of thought that makes it's absence irrelevent.
I won't run from her though I'm frightened about what I'm doing.
I am the mountain now. Frozen here. Everything dead. Only mortals get to die.
The rest of us, we move among them, invisible.
She has made me. I am the ice.