It was difficult to explain how we could sometimes see our own blindness. Mirr did both of these things, cover and uncover us. Where he left off he started by letting us know the temperature at his mom’s house. 105 degrees. Her pool was deep, and they swam until they jumped on the grass, trying to get the water to drip out of their ears. They played guitar, and sang a song for his grandparents. It went, ‘you get what you get, and you don’t throw a fit, you get what you get and that’s it’. And then the guitar takes a little walk through c-major, open 2, to 1-minor, f, and down to g, with the usual three-step arpeggio. All this is what mirr said. He talked about crows flying across the sky, the barbecue smoke curling up into the trees, you could hear the families a mile down the river, shouting as they swung from ropes and splashed in the river below. You could hear the train leaving his town, full of tomatoes and big heads of lettuce, old cars and homeless men headed north. They drove through the night, mirr told us, for work was tomorrow. His son asleep in the car, up over the last set of mountains before the ocean, and the air changed. Fog meeting the hills, it was cool there, and the car was covered with moisture. That was summer for him.
We remembered writing that he went to Oslo twice. And because of that glitch, we were paperfolded in two. No need to repeat what was already said. He already went twice, no need for us to mention that for the second time. He led us to here and showed us that we had a choice so see freedom as a curse or as a blessing. But he never taught us anything beyond that. And we waited. It’s been four years now. Four years since he ran to catch the train. He ran back to his life. The people didn’t see whether he was running to keep the train with him, or chase it away. The people didn’t know who was inside that train. It should have been him. He never left, and when we picked him up from the snow, said looked strange. He said that we should compare him with him in our stories and that he looks strange here. This isn’t him when he is happy. This is him when he has cheated death, this is him bobbing on the water.
What is it you want?
I want to make a difference.
Then go, gimel.
We had to step out of the water. Mirr never liked it anyway. We wouldn’t mind it. Mirr wanted to be a simple sheep, but that really wasn’t true. I was mercurial and unpredictable. His moods soared above the mountains, and they crashed into the sea when he was physically exhausted, or if his back hurts, and he couldn’t bow down to the clover in the morning because of the pain. He still was simple, even though his mind wasn’t. He has three lives. Three different routines, and he has to demonstrate incredible discipline in order to keep each part of himself alive and healthy. He is wondering if his life is less magical when he is not drunk, or more magical now. Late at night, when he is slightly drunk, he wanders through alleys in the middle of the night, even if those alleys are all in his mind now. He doesn’t have the desire or the energy to stumble through the darkness in search of a sheep whose name he does not know, to stay at a meadow all night in the hope that she will walk through the fence to begin to speak with him. He is content being where he is, with us, with the opera playing, and the windows open, and his mind travels places. He whispers to us what dreams he has had, what happiness he had imagined for himself.
We remember that two years ago he showed us the digger pine, a special tree, with its bark being so soft that the tree rarely manages to grow straight to the sky. Instead, it reaches for something wonderful, and the earth pulls it back. They are like rainbows, mirr said, or people with afflictions. And yet they keep reaching, and bending down. They can even cling to the strangest cliffs, mirr said, they aren’t so rigid that a bad rainstorm would send them tumbling into the green river below. They bend and fall and remain. We knew how to recognize these trees, we would get excited whenever we saw one.
But with every memory of mirr that we tried digging up, we covered ourselves with mud even more, until it was us who was buried, and we couldn’t see or hear him. That was the decision he left us to make, do you choose bless or curse. Not choosing would be like that green river near his house, the color was just perfect, by the way. The fact that it was water too. But you can’t make books out of water, you can’t tell stories in wet, you just can’t.
Mirr backed into the third corner. ‘Your move,’ he said. ‘Decide what your definition of happenstance is. Decorate your body if you must, take control, feed it, fuck it, walk it, love it.’
‘I know you want to tell me about your hundred lives,’ mirr said, ‘and how this is only one of them, me being not even a fraction of it, and yes how I taste sadness in the words, but I also know what you smell like, and even though it were my words not,’ mirr said, ‘I want you to claim me.’