You like science, and that’s okay. I like feelings, and that’s fine, too.
After our debates about science which lead to bigger issues of belief, God, and death, you tell me I’m smart and then maybe I cry a little because of leftover childhood feelings of insignificance.
“Oh, Rabies,” you say. “Don’t be sad. We’re all just particles and atoms organized in particular arrangements. Isn’t that amazing, that you and me here, talking to each other, is just physics?”
“Physics!” you shout.
“And math?” I ask hopefully, burying my head into the fat cat you’ve just handed me.
“Math, too,” you say, and everything is back to normal happy.
We are normal happy, but it hasn’t always been this way with me. I tell people that with you I feel a pervasive sense of well-being and then they’re like, “whoa,” and give me whatever they’ve been holding in their hands, like a box of cereal or fruits. “Hold this,” they say, “because you are, like, okay?” I blow their minds with my normalcy and then they hand me things to hold because I’m finally more stable than they are. “You can’t be a writer if you’re happy,” they say. “You’re, like, totally screwed.”
Have I mentioned this is a true story or, in the case of this story, a true non-story?
A non-story, true or not, is a story with no climactic moment and no point, usually told with gestures of great enthusiasm. It’s what happens sometimes when writers become happy: their forms fall apart and they must find new ways of expressing this strange and uncomfortable way of feeling. They turn to epistolary tales fraught with bunnies in teacups and live puppy webcams, lyric lab reports chronicling taste bud experimentation, sestinas that invoke “divine fascia” and “tangerines,” all manners of ill-advised white space and perverse line breaks, one act plays about blonde-haired ponies, stories that begin “we wake up” and then continue on with other sophomoric conceits. They become obsessed with discovering the fourth-person point of view, convinced it is some sort of cosmic perspective to unite all in one, one in all.
And then we sit down on the couch and the kitties come running, meowing their heads off about low-fat yogurt.
“You know what’s a really bad idea?” you ask. “Space tacos. I mean, think about it.” I imagine the chunks of tomato floating around and all that shredded cheese.
“Space tacos would be uncontainable,” I say, and we both sit there on the couch licking low-fat yogurt from spoons and imagining Sally Ride with ground hamburger in her curly hair and what a drag that would be.
“Salsa.” you say, and I say, “Oh, shit.”
I put my almost empty yogurt cup on the floor and the fat one sticks its head all the way in, pushes the cup into a wall, and just stays like that. I smell your neck. “I don’t believe in fate, but I like to think that 3.8 billion years of evolutionary history have been leading to this particular moment,” you say, and the fat one comes to us with pink yogurt all over her hairy black face. The other brings a dirty sock baby in her mouth and curls between us to groom it.
One day soon, or in a while, or maybe in thirty-five years, I will write you a better story than this non-story, one with metaphors and character development and very complicated math problems, one that has suspense and asks big questions and maybe even touches the very face of God, or the very face of Physics, depending on your belief system. But for now, I don’t know. Does there really have to be something going on, you know, like a plot? Because I like it when we just sit here on the couch and pet cats.