This is the story of a life led looking.
My wife says, ‘Why are you writing? Why aren’t you here, in the real world, with me?’
I look up at her like she’s something new to me. ‘I am in the real world.’
She has ways of knowing me, of course. She has ways of bringing me back. ‘I’ll make green tea. Cinnamon too.’
When she’s out, when I’m in words, worlds might as well fuse. Then, slightly, she touches my face with the very tips of her fingers, and even this doesn’t rouse me completely. I know she’s there. I’m looking, in words, though.
Once, in a lucid moment between words, she asked me what I was looking for. It was a night when the cold seeps deep into the skin. ‘I’m looking for love.’
‘I’m here,’ she whispered. I don’t know if she affected hurt. ‘Look.’
I saw. I smiled because she was there. When my head was down again, she asked me what it was I was writing.
Later, that night, I left my notebook open. She came to bed, and she was warmer than dreams. I was half-asleep, but she pushed her face close to mine.
‘What are you doing?’
‘I’m looking,’ she told me.
She didn’t answer, but she kissed me.
When she’s out of the room, when I’m in words, worlds might as well fuse. Then, slightly, she touches my face with the very tips of her fingers. She comes to kneel, an offering of tea in her palm. Her hair falls over her face. She’s very still, but her eyes aren’t, and I remember us. She has her ways of bringing me back.
Why am I writing? My notebook is unattended. I see her, and she’s all the words I need in this, the story of a life led looking. Her questions, now, each time, are just the prelude to a ceremony.
Words fall from me when looking.