By Emily Neves
We. We are. We are on. We are on a boat. The boat rocks but is docked on dry land. The land in question is our closest neighbor’s yard, but we cannot see our house. The farther away from the boat, the more watery the scenery becomes. It’s like Seurat started a painting and Monet finished it. The sky is a downpour of sunlight. The heat makes it nearly impossible to be outside- the headache heat, the squinted eyes heat, the labored breath of summer. Yet we cannot see the sun. Only know of its presence. We love summer? Maybe, that’s why we’re on a boat.
Our neighbors do not exist. We just barely exist.
We look like ourselves, our default settings. At this moment, our clothing doesn’t matter. But we are clothed, because being naked would be significant and there is nothing significant about our persons. What is important? We say in unison, hazily, we watch each other move our mouths and feel our own faces move. Yet we hear nothing but white noise. We do not blink, we do not need to.
We are facing away from the house, out towards the horizon. And there is something in the way we stand that lets us know we shouldn’t be outside. The way we sway lets one know we’re making a bad decision, though nothing about our situation is bad. Maybe it’s the boat. Maybe it is the invisible tides. Maybe it is the heat. And now we are holding a blueberry.
We raise our left hands and look at the small object. We roll it between our fingers- it is fleshy, alive- the juice within can be felt pulsing in the tips of our hands. It feels like the wrinkled skin of a kindly grandmother. Pressing on it results in a wincing sound from the both of us. Is this the bad thing? It feels wrong to look upon the blueberry- the crater where it was once attached to its mother vine resembles the front view of a nipple, and to look upon the breast of a naked person is some sort of forbidden sight. So the blueberry is bad? Or are we bad for thinking of bare bodies? Dirty minds lead to filthy acts. And as our dirty hands reach for our mouths, our lips part, tearing themselves like a ziplock, saliva gently making way as we accept the blueberry.
That is all our bodies are. Energy containers for food conversion.
As the blueberry rolls along our tongue, we take note that the fleshy texture remains. It bounces around the ridges of our teeth, and falls into the pouches of our cheeks. No longer wishing to dwell in the realm of its existence, we bite the berry. Its blood burst from its body and spread along the inside of our mouth. When one of us chews, the other does not, yet our jaws move in tandem. Everything we do is synchronized. To call the other a mirror would be a disservice to our teamwork. We have achieved the illusion of love. That there is another half out there, who mirrors what you do but is aesthetically different. No one wants to admit that they would date a clone of themselves. No one wants to be self-centered. So, is our act a trick or an illusion?
Here is the difference- a trick is meant to be wondered about, an illusion is meant to be broken. And in the moment that we find ourselves on the apex of digesting the blueberry, you swallow, and I do not. The illusion is done. There is no more we- there is a you, and there is a me, and as long as there are two of us, one will have to be alone.
Your knees buckle, and you fall sideways off the boat. Instead of hitting the ground, you fly upwards into the air, past Seurat, past Monet, until you are no more than an abstract feeling, a mistake in a masterpiece.
Have fun dreaming. I will be here, waiting for the next time you open your eyes.