Of Nature: A Dialogue


“Hello. I saw the birds fly spiraling up around a tree and away into the sky and I thought that maybe something was coming, maybe I would climb this hill and someone would be there, waiting,” Hans said to the girl laying upon the top of a grassy slope.
“Greetings. I come from the land of the dolphins, and I enjoy the 6:00 news, followed by a quick game of rummy. I just got my hair layered,” Gretzel replied, squinting up at him.
“I’ve watched whales out at sea swim in slow majestic families into the sun to blow a spout of water into the air,” Hans said carefully, bowing slightly to peer at Gretzel’s hair, “And yet, and yet, all I seem to grow is ever more distant from myself. I seem to leave pieces of my heart in every scene I witness. And then what is there to bring me back to the home land? I am everywhere, dispersed, and I sense that there will be no return, only greater distances, only greater lines, greater boundaries, all encompassing closed walls to keep me from going crazy.”
Gretzel eyed a squirrel that was eyeing her and watched its tail flicker cautiously. “I don’t know about that,” she said shortly, and then puffed out a breath, relenting, “well, I mean, I do know what I need to keep me going, and that’s Marlboro menthol milds, frequent cunnilingus, jamocha milkshakes, and French hip-hop.”
“Jamocha?” Hans said wondering.
“Sure. Arby’s.” Gretzel sat up, hoisted a pack of cigarettes out of her jeans and promptly lit one, a determined line forming between her eyebrows as she married the flame to the tip of the cancer stick. She exhaled audibly and said thoughtfully, “It’s a certain lack of thought I think you’re on about. But is it really a loss, after all? I get a pretty brown study out of watching Blind Date, as it is, thinking about human nature and what not. Mademoiselle can send me into whirlpool depths of introspection.”
Hans nodded eagerly, sitting down beside her. “Yeah, exactly. That’s what’s scary. It’s like I’m drowning in the hooks that are supposed to draw me out of the water. I mean, I should be safe behind glass, right, in the car, on the boat, in the theatre? But suddenly I find myself inextricably bound within the scenes I’m watching, and beyond the script, beyond the moment, beyond the action, there is the sense of an incredible danger, raw, lurking. Outside of the lights. Outside of what we’re watching. And I FEEL this, you know? And everyone feels it, it’s just that we learn how to smile, we learn how to laugh, we learn how to settle into these habits and keep ourselves feeling like we’re nameless, like we’re faceless, like we’re tourists snapping pictures to show to friends in a book with labels when we get back home, when we’re no longer in the air, in the water, in the world. But there’s too much. There’s just too much,” Hans smiled lopsidedly at Gretzel, noticing that her lips were shaped like a line sketch of a seagull flying smoothly off into the sky, “And there’s no turning back, no quiet space outside of the storm other than what’s brought to you live right now.” He trailed off, noticing that there was light emanating from Gretzel’s eyes into his own.
Gretzel smiled patiently, puffing a jet stream of smoke out of her mouth like a dragon.
“Yeah. All we got to know is what we need. I mean, anything you want is out there, if you’ve got the name and the paper to own it. But what we need is pretty simple: we need attention, we need mints for after our meals, we need a puff of magic every couple of minutes, we need connections, and fast ones, dammit. If you’re not in my movie, you know, then you can mosey off down the street like all the rest of extras. But there’s always the center of attention, there’s always the focus of your eyes. You look around and you can see what you need to do. Someone’s willing to pay to watch you do it. So you can watch and you can do. Either way something’s happening. Something’s going down all around us. I knew you were coming. If there was something wrong with me, if there was something wrong with you, one of us would have run away by now. There’s nothing wrong. There’s just how much you can take.” Gretzel sounded tired suddenly, and she snubbed the butt of her cigarette into the grass.
Hans waited, feeling the blood in the right side of his temple pulsing. The darkness was all around them, closing in. He closed his eyes. “I want to take everything. I can’t take anything. There’s just the gifts of god, for lack of a better term. Magic happens when from unguarded directions, and that’s exactly why it happens. I am a destroyer and a creator at once. What I create with my body I destroy in my mind.”
Gretzel watched Hans warily, sensing the danger menacing. His face seemed to stretch out away from his body like a giraffe. But, she thought, there is still a light shining, slipping through the cracks. Like a laser, pointing. She waited, listening to the passerby’s chatter.
“What I need,” Hans said slowly, tasting the weight of the words on his tongue, “is you, now.”
Gretzel looked at him, thinking about what outfit she was going to wear to the party tonight. “Ok. I need you let your phoenix out then, and stop trying to look for your mommy. The sea is thick. Respond to yourself and I will ask the right questions.” She laid back down on the grass.
Hans fell around her
and ate her.

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Author: manderson

I live in NYC.

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