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Anthony and Me, Myself and I

Laure Limongi

When the river flows slowly, and you have a good bicycle or horse you can count on, it really is possible to bathe twice (or even three times, depending on each person’s personal hygiene) in the same waters of a river.
— Augusto Monterroso, Lo demás es silencio, 1978.

They say they need more data.
— Antoine Viviani, In Limbo, 2015.

She turned over as a long lock of hair left a stain like a streak of night across the blinding white of the pillow in the early morning light. Her eyes did not meet mine; her pupils, the color of water, pierced through me as her gaze wandered over the busy outdated pattern of winding plant life on the walls of my childhood bedroom that sealed in the sweltering heat. My mother’s voice, then the fragrant swirls that announced coffee. The weather back home is calm. Eyelashes flutter above the sheets. Her image evokes thousands of thoughts ;exchanged e-mails, texts, photos, selfies, words of love, embraces, fights and reconciliations, all those plane trips between our two homes. She always lets her head slide onto my shoulder as she falls asleep; I take her photo as she does, strapped in as the plane revs up to cruising speed, it’s a ritual. Long threads of gold snake along my suit. Alternating Christmases at each others’ families. Choosing vacation destinations together, friends in common. It’s been so little time and yet it seems like always. I stretch out my hand to caress her cheek. She closes her eyes. A few minutes later, she gets up in silence. Her silhouette is cast theatrically against the white walls of our bedroom, her long black satin negligée transforming her into a heroine from a silent film, the nape of her neck revealed by her Louise Brooks cut that sets off her graceful carriage, like Vermeer’s woman reading a letter, almost meditative. Most of the time, I’m the one who gets up first, without waking her. She loves to sleep all rolled up in the sheets, almost as much as her passion for black and white. I always prepare my clothes and set them on a chair the night before; each morning at dawn I slowly emerge, I don’t even need an alarm. Poetry awaits me. But this time it is nowhere to be found, leaving me with a strange sense of confusion. Our shared memories flash before my eyes and I don’t know what to do with my day even though there is no lack of tasks to be done. How can I allow myself such liberty? Why do I feel so forlorn? According to the calendar, there are no birthdays coming up, it’s nowhere near Christmas, there are no imminent temporal milestones that would explain away this malaise. Each morning, there are many options— la vida es un jardín de senderos que se bifurcan.

Levi’s 501 blue jeans Festival Rain size 30, Agnès B. white shirt Andy size 40, Uniqlo black coat wool size M, Dr Martens shoes model 1460 Black size 8, EastPak backpack Padded Pak’R traditional navy blue, the train is late and I cannot feel the weight of my body. I overhear the exchange between two metro employees in a quandary: “I heard that, as of yesterday, we no longer say ‘suspicious package’ but ‘abandoned baggage’…” The patient passengers’ faces are lit by the light of their cell phones. They cradle them, as a mother does her child when singing a lullaby. O ciucciarella nun sai quantu t’adoru, le to bellezze, le to cullane d’oru, ciucciarella inzuccarata quantu hè longa sta nuttata, fà la ninna fà la nanna, u to babbu hè à la campagna. The city’s actions against the homeless make shocking headlines. A made-for-TV movie about the November 2015 attack. Arctic temps in the US but, irony of ironies, also wildfires. Contaminated milk, celebrity deaths, anonymous deaths, explosions, accidents, purchasing power, powerlessness…and baby pandas. Brigitte Macron’s micro skirts. Those drowning in the Mediterranean are called Nomen Nescio, unknown names… they only have numbers… Theirs keep on rising. Even the adults who know how to swim drown because of severe weather conditions that cause their boats to capsize, or simply because of exhaustion or cold… and because land is too far away. Not all species know how to swim. It was long believed that, despite their sharing 98% of their genetic makeup with Homo sapiens, monkeys co…