There is a photograph of you and me, our heads are contorted from sleeping upright in the back of a car, your face clearly lost to sleep, my long neck extended bent as far back as humanly possible without losing the head–only my head is actually cut off. My face stops at the chin; only the widely exposed distorted neck, almost serpentinely composed, and your sleeping face suggests that I have surrendered to what I could no longer fight.
Your haircut reflects the 80s, mullets being the fashion, which you sported briefly. I had one too, though straight hair does more justice to outline the do than my curly hair. We were young, maybe our mid-twenties and traveling, exhausted with too much caffeine and too little sleep. Our clothing suggests spring time or fall, light half sleeved unjacketed shirts and jeans.
I cannot place the specific occasion of our sleeping in the back of a car or who took the picture. Our sister in law gave it to us this past holiday season and laughed, saying she had meant to give this picture to us for years, each time she came across it in her belongings. And this year was the year, though I don’t know why. The randomness of things stuns me slightly.
You and I share so much history, large and small, remembered and forgotten, largely the latter, and not for lack of significance so much as sheer length of time, the innumerable moments we have lived together. We grew ourselves from teenagers til these current waning years of our youth, of our lives.
And we have suffered and joyed in measure to most, all of life’s gifts and trials. We have fared well you and I, though you would look askance on that affirmation. And then I would remind you about the synaptic net you form in your brain with such negativity.
Thus it is with us, we who co-exist inhaling the dust of our pasts every day, lugging it inside us like weightless trunks of paperless snapshots and report cards and love letters we never kept or even wrote except in the air, in the doing and being of us, so that when life folds up neatly to square off a life lived, we’ll have nothing left to us but shared time, the illusion of being.
Lord knows, I cannot imagine having shared illusions with anyone else.