He began to be in the habit of counting the spaces between each suicidal thought the way people count the space between thunder and lightning; the shorter the space, the more terrifying the weather. By he, of course, I mean me.
Think of sunlight. Think of it in all of its various forms. The way it can run around the house bouncing off the walls, giggling. The way it can shatter itself in a mirror or on top of water and then recompose itself, diving under the surface in perfect columns of gently swaying peace. Think of how it can flint and dapple the ground on shady afternoons, lulling you into reverie. Think of sunlight. Think of it in all of its forms.
They are lounging about in bed. It is probably already two in the afternoon but neither of them makes a move to untangle their limbs from the other. The sheets were pushed to the bottom of the bed sometime earlier. The room is filled with heady smells: marijuana, sunlight, sweat, sex, the frankincense in his hair, sleep. Does sleep have a smell? Never mind, baby, don’t worry 'bout it.
And then kisses him. By him, of course, I mean me.
Why this memory comes back, he doesn’t know. But he is maybe six or seven. His father is in a cool rage, a type of rage he cannot understand but fears tremendously. His father removes his belt. Come here.
This time, though, he has decided; he won’t.
Think of nighttime, how the later it gets the more alive you become. You have always stayed far away from the dark crowded bars and the red hollow of their half-lit smiles. The nighttime is a balm and an awakening. You move through it with ease, with full breaths, ever accompanied by now-visible muses, by kind and forgiving ghosts, by the music of 4 a.m., by owl spirits. Think of nighttime, how the later it gets the more alive you become.
Come here. No. No. No.
His body shakes. It begins to betray him. Pull down your pants and come here, now! No.
And then tears. No.
And then urine warms his pant crotch, moves quickly down his leg. His father grabs him by the arm and pulls him over his leg and hits him on the ass and hits him on those silly legs and hits him on that curling back until his head is spinning in pain. And by his, of course, I mean me, but maybe him, too.
Never mind, baby, don’t worry 'bout it. You’re beautiful.
And Pharoah Sanders plays on the stereo. It is The Creator has a Master Plan. And the song is filled with sunlight and frankincense. And he kisses you again and again as your tears fall. You’re beautiful.
And by you, he means me.
If you'd like to hear an except from Pharoah Sanders' The Creator Has a Master Plan click here
[Photo by Shane]