He sleeps; I think of him. It has been pouring nonstop, and the streets become cluttered with cars and people soaked in misfortune. So they say. I cannot picture the wet chaos from my side of the world, for a raging wave of dry wind bangs on my window, an escaped convict desperate for refuge. The skin on my legs is dry and wrinkled, and suddenly I’ve grown old below the knees. Such a scene is unfathomable for someone resigned to sleep to the white noise of water. The heavy sensation of each other’s presence is unavoidable—memories linger on streets we have never walked together, words we’ve never spoken echo with a distinctive ring. But a quick move of the eye is enough to shatter the all-too-comforting mirage.

We may be like electrons, spinning on the same orbit of thinning hope, yet never meeting. We may be casting yearning looks at each other, stretching our arms out to pretend we can overcome a seemingly infinite diameter. It is the very force of our attraction that keeps us apart. Or—who knows, life keeps smirking at the jokes it plays on us—we may the fateful mismatch of an electron and a positron, and we are doomed to annihilation as we stride and stumble toward each other.

Perhaps I’m too naïve to grasp the risks we are running in our desperate quest. After all, who am I to understand particles? Swirling in eternal uncertainty, subject to forces we are barely able to identify—aren’t we all made that way? Maybe a sage will point out that this desire will lead us into utter destruction. But how can we call it destruction, if all we will become once we meet is light?

Dickey Chapelle

I’ve just noticed that my glasses somewhat resemble Dickey Chapelle’s. I don’t have much more to say on this subject, except that I’m pretty sure the Vietnam I saw was so, so different from the one she captured with her brave camera. She was one truly admirable woman.