Goonies II

A confession: I do not know where I am going. Some days, while I walk through doors that slam behind me like the opening of wings, my perspective changes—instead of watching me mark time with my back towards you and my eyes toward another, I am facing you—my eyes pink and hopeful like a baby mouse, like a tongue—my body swinging towards you but not moving—left arm up, right arm up, left, right. There was that time, outside this house, we made a bridge to cross—we put down rocks and mud to stop the creek from flowing: to end gravity, to halt the natural movement of things. Welcome here. You are welcome here. Are you tired? Are you tired from digging, from believing you can change the layout of the ground—that you can pick up gravel into your hands and throw it into the air like it is confetti: like there is a parade and you are invited, like the rocks would float down from the sky like bats, like skulls with no neck bones, like jaws. That everyone would laugh: that you could throw the rocks higher than anyone, that they would snap back to your hand if you asked them—a videotape in reverse—the luckiest catch in the world. That you could swing a hammer: that it would connect somewhere—a nose, an eye, an arm, and there would be no consequence—that there would be no blood rushing out of no mouths, that they wouldn’t be frightened, that they would allow you to rest here; that you could close your eyes and feel new—can see without glasses, can breathe underwater. If you believe that, that you can punch a wall while locked in your room and make something appear other than fear and heat between your knuckles, then you can believe that there is something to all this—that there are rivers that stop, that there are bridges, leaves, wood. That you are two minutes late. That I felt you here. That there are rivers that flow backwards: that the water snaps back into my hand like a ball on a string. I do not know where I am going and my hands are dirty. Our hands are dirty and it is getting dark. There are mice out here, certainly, and we have forgotten our way back to where you live, to where your parents are waiting for us, to where there were not enough people in our lives to pretend some were missing.

I planned for this. There is no way you will believe me, but I promise you I did. I know where we were—we were in the attic because there were rats there: fat bodies with long tails that coiled around your wrist like a bracelet, like a rubber band reminding you of something, someone—a reminder you have been here before, a reminder there are people missing. A reminder you are missed. There were places where we could walk—slats of wood the width of your foot after it has swollen up like something bit it: small insects making you larger than you can imagine, your skin expanding like a loaf of bread, like the length of the word pink on your tongue, like a bruise, like all those things. This is what happens when things go wrong. You’re late. I was almost killed. Be careful where you step or you will fall through the ceiling of a white room made of white bricks the color of a string—of the twisted rope that kept the spinning orb elevated, of the string that pressed into your finger as if to leave a gap where a ring should be, as if I were married, as if this is hush hush. When I was a child, there were rats in my house. They would sleep underneath my bed. I would imagine their teeth next to my cheek, their nose against my nose. I saw one once—a long tube of hair snug between two pieces of wood: eyes closed, mouth open. This is how you will find me: in the woods, in the bridge I tried to make, in the river. I put myself into the world—I swung a fist and hit the ground—my hands are dirty. Please help me: what do you do. This is where it all changes. This is where it all turns back. Do not do this—any of this. No one will forgive you. You will not be welcome. Get out of here if you have nothing to do. You will not be welcome.