Just don’t stop moving. I tell myself there is no time to waste. I try to keep making promises to myself even though it scares me now. It didn’t used to (scare me) – this thing of goal-making, plan-making, dream-staking on the currents of uncertainty.
There was a time when I’d bellow a vow aloud, to anyone who’d listen. But somehow, as I get older, I make fewer scars on the skin of my knees and instead grow deeper scars on the skin of my heart. I slip my fingers between chicken skin and flesh, separating the two, swathing the meat with butter and thyme and praying for crispness in the end bake. And suddenly, hope costs more, it’s slick as oil to catch in my hands and unrefined like oil, its currency is decided by its mysterious sheen, its scarcity. This though is precisely why I know I just cannot stop moving, must keep things going. I stuff the whole thing with diced carrot and onion, some wedges of lemon. I go over the skin again, rubbing it with more butter, flaked salt, more thyme.
Underground, in a tunnel of rumbling tubers, I’m standing stabled by the subway bar next to a man with a stubborn tuft of white hair, sleeping. Save the tuft, the rest has been plowed away, but what remains looks as soft as a baby. His face, with its swaddled folds, looks baby-soft, too. This gently sleeping gentleman, in autumn, has eyelids like wrinkled lilac buds, and his hands: young like dough, old like leather holding everything together. Time is funny, clever this way, isn’t it? It plays amusing games of features mismatched like playing cards on the surface of a card table context from another time. A young face in an old frame. “But please,” I plead in my mind with the old lilac man strung sleeping between spring and autumn. “Please,” I say, “Don’t let my heart ever grow old, okay?”