Olivia pours the coffee, steams our patience, mixes our expectations and provides us with the operative metaphor; there is much to consider in the empty cup, the frothy hotness, the out of our hands, tepid outcome. Olivia is not the slick image that pours from our thoughts, nor the star burning up over our heads.
She is simply the roommate, the one who locks and shuts off the lights before leaving. She will be here almost every day this week, because she is a working roommate, an independent roommate, a special kind of roommate.
And that’s just Olivia. There’re others, each with with their own swing, their own beat, their own escape route. There were days when we would cross, or bump, or perhaps it was a bit more than a bump, a la Allison, circa Manhattan 1994, under the Roosevelt Island cable car and an overcast sense of nowhere, fast. Her words, my mistakes, a confabulation with no respite. Disease ensued, planes took off, memories crashed and had to be rebooted, a new sense of nowhere arose. And her name is unknown. Forever Lost. Like a smile, fleeting between stations.
I called her Vera, but that was never her real name.
The many Emilies have also made somewhat of an appearance towards the end. On the sidelines, as observers, as witnesses, really, for then things got a little tense, then later huge, out of proportions, oppressive even. Things. Lost and safe, around your neck or your fingers, in your pockets. Broken pieces of it in every corner you happen to look in.
Several Annas showed up even later than that, which was never really the end, and shared their vowels with many other latecomers, a occasional “L,” not capitalized liked you’d think, but lower case, almost a one.
The oldest reduction, the final relief. One. Here. Now.
Nowhere all over again. Postings and faraway musings interfere, but ultimately will only add color, if that. You will not engage the same erroneous ways, there are always new ones, without a net, out there, where there are no warrantees. Only corners, to cut, to make your own, to get to know yourself. To lay the groundwork for what will come much later, when the names matter not so much.
Some will remain, like H. Both of them, the real and the one inside, running through my veins. But the one that actually matters lies elsewhere, as much of life does, giving off signs of life without much continuity. An afterthought, one that will permeate, hopefully even mutate whatever is left into something new.
To be oneself again.