“I don’t know what to do anymore,” I looked out the window. “I just feel like I’m drifting.” Looking back at him, he looked hazy again. It was one of those times where I could tell he wanted to tell me something insightful, but since he couldn’t he just lost track of me entirely. I picked at the polish on my nails, thought about last summer at the lake house, the day that felt so sky blue that it couldn’t have been real. The way people float around in our consciousness and perception, the slippage, the nails that dig into the external hero complex; and I couldn’t even feel sorry or bitter about it. It was the same idea, repeated over, and over, and over, each repetition exactly the same, down to the atom. Only each iteration feels a little more plastic, a little oilier, a little more fossilized. And I know that’s really not how that works, but I also know it’s not really important. His body hovered before me, like a swarm of the most beautiful gnats you’ve ever seen.
Later, at the museum, I watched as he inspected each work of art, his eyes scanning, internalizing value, determining what constituted success, what emotion was derived, whether or not a creation continues linearly through time. Each summation was catalogued and carefully valued with heavy satisfaction. I smiled when he moved on each time, glancing at the artwork, appreciating, enjoying, consuming. When we looked at the other, giving the look that said we had finished, we exited the museum out its imposing front doors, past the apotropaic stone lions. Exchanging mutual smiles, we sat down at a stone bench and I pulled carefully wrapped pastries from my purse to eat, fruitlessly trying to keep the crumbs that could so easily flake off from falling onto our laps. I laughed when some got caught in his beard and its timbre sounded white. With each closing of his jaw, the flake of sweets slipped more and more until finally it fell to his lap and, with a half-smile acknowledging my laughter, he swept it to the grass beneath us.
“What a waste,” I said and he chuckled, taking another bite, a flurry of crumbs falling from his mouth.