A Boulder in New York
I was taking the garbage out before I read your story. I like taking the garbage out. It reminds me that I live in a home – not a house, but a home. I came back inside, considered calling the city to get a replacement garbage can, didn’t, and then sat down at my desk. I never “sit down at my desk” — not like you.
I want to meet the person who, centuries ago, decided that writers ought to sit down at desks. I can never write sitting at a desk. But I imagine that if I could, it might feel like home.
I put on The National. “Mr. November” was playing. I opened Safari on my phone and found the website that published your story.
Why had I waited so long to read it? I think the things that I love most I keep at the greatest distance from me. So that when I struggle, I'll know why. I'll know why the pain is there and exactly where it sits. Because I put it there.
You wrote the moment exactly as I remember it. How did hours span only minutes? Because – in only a few paragraphs – you included everything.
Do you think we can live there – inside of that moment? So that we will never need to be or become anything, and instead only need to watch? Maybe things wouldn’t feel so sharp if we could live inside of moments that weren’t ours or ones that had already expired.
It is a weight of a thing to live inside the past — even more than to live inside of moments that haven’t happened yet. The present is this mysterious flow of things that find their way to one another without knowing how or why, like a baby discovering its tongue.
My friend, I will sit with you on that boulder in Central Park — forever. There will always be a place in the world where we are laying on our backs, atop a boulder in Central Park, your leg across mine, us wondering if this is what it looks like to be deep.
The above flash fiction is dedicated to Kevin Sampsell in response to his below flash fiction describing the first time we met: