Kissing Blue Eyes Goodbye
I left the blue eyed girl and Alaska. I slept on the flight from Juneau to Seattle. I dreamed all truth and all lies. Superposition of wave functions. All things exist in Schroedinger's world. Everything has happened and so has nothing.
It's the Copenhagen interpretation of life. Whether light is a wave or particle depends on point of view. Wave is point of view. Particle is point of view. Language is point of view.
Never put my seat back. Passed out against the black oblong window, assuming the point of view of a rock.
I slept. The plane doesn't exist. I never left Alaska. I never leave the ice.
The artist saw what he saw. Hunted a black bear who stared him in the eye. Soulless red that captured an imagination while I watched, cameraless.
Cursed beast from the depths of hell I stabbeth thee.
Missed the shot in the rain that never stops falling while I stood next to her feeling Antarctica, learning that the ice is not a place under the feet but a longing from birth to see over the next mountain. An adventure the spirit compels.
It's all point of view.
Rain isn't rain when it doesn't fall. Snow isn't snow until it freezes to stars.
Becomes billions of bits of white that make the glacier blue.
There is no room in my camera for the glacier. But drink the glacier ice and it becomes the infinity of you -- the where you are in your body, the where you go when you die. Breathe the ice in lungfulls. Live the ice in heartbeats. Crush it between your teeth and wherever you go the next mountain awaits.
Kiss someone -- taste them and you take them wherever you go, no matter which mountains you cross.
When everyone had left and it was just us two, she took me to the chapel with the glass wall. Behind it the glacier spat blue bergs into the meltwater. We stood at the heavenly gate waiting for God's plane to arrive. It was an altar her grandfather helped build. This church with the picture window full of clouds and ice was linked to her family by sweat and nails. Then it turned on them when one of them was born unwelcome. And they refused to jettison their own beloved for a man's interpretation of the mountains.
So now they pray in the hall when no one's around, alone in nature's resplendence, beneath the beams their ancestors erected.
She told me more about her cousin while we waited for Gabriel. God's flight was late so we picked an empty pew and sat listening to a college student practice scales on the church piano. Eventually he got up. Folded his music and walked off.
"Before then, my family was very involved in the church community. Religious. Afterward -- well, reality has a way of changing your point of view," she said.
"How is he now?" I asked.
"He's good. He's in Seattle. But we don't come to this church anymore, anyway."
Behind the tall window fingers of sunlight broke through the dense mattress of clouds. It ricochetted from the ice on the mountain peaks in brilliant orange-white beads, then reached down to the treetops in the mist.
"Why don't you play the piano?"
"What would I play?"
So I went to the instrument and felt the keys like sticks between my fingers. Cleared my mind.
I tried to play,
"Thank you, God.
Thank you, God.
Thank you, God."
But it sounded like the surf on a beige New Jersey beach.
Then she said, "I have a story for you if you want to hear it."
"Tell it. It's not a story otherwise."
When it was over, the end didn't come as a final photon or collapsing wave function. It manifest itself as lack of interest. When no one was paying attention it faded away and everything was gone before anyone noticed.
At the end two spouses lay entwined in each other's limbs. The husband touched the other's nose with a tip of a finger and said, "I have to go."
The wife listened for the birds outside to herald the morning. But the birds and the wind had become darkness. The rain and the sun had become ice. The river and the bears had become dreamerless fantasies. And so she said, "When Ulysses came back to Penelope they spent their first hours alone together recounting their adventures. And when they were done they were so tired they fell asleep instead of making love. So Minerva lengthened the night for them, so they wouldn't have to face the morning without having known each other."
It was the kindest thought left in the world.
She had never before seen a tear in her husband's eye, but now he was crying.
I told her -- "I gotta go."
"If I could get Athena to squeeze in a few more hours, I would. I call, but the line is always busy."
"She gets a lot of requests this time of year."
"I could try again. This is a chapel. We could pray. If we had more time..."
It came on suddenly. Surprised me how quickly it had gone straight in -- how firmly those strings had been plucked and the sound they made resonating my bones. Muscles tightened I never knew existed. Something warm pressed against the back of my eyes. My chest tightened and I couldn't stop the gasp from passing my lips. With no air left in my lungs, with the salt rising to my eyes I had to think to breathe so I could tell her how I felt.
While I struggled in silence she said, "It's just a story."
"That's the nicest story anyone's ever made up for me. " It was.
She put her arm around my waist and kissed me. "Goodbye, blue eyes," she said.
So ended the world.