You’ve had it with the silent type, the capable man who could fell a tree and hew it into firewood to stoke the stove. Gasoline and wood smoke the scents he wore, the smell of assurance and solidity. The torn jacket stained red from chain oil, blood-colour that startled you the first time you saw it on the snow where he worked, snow churned and grimy with bark and mud and sawdust. The rough hands that could get the saw sputtering to life on the first pull—those hands, their own mute language, could make you speak in tongues.
For a while.
It was the dearth of words that finally became a problem. At mealtime, the sound of cutlery scraping the plates was a reprieve from the mausoleum silence. He was a man so quiet and stubstantial you thought you’d never be able to plumb his depths. And you were right.
So you find instead someone who says things that sound luminous, like divinity, journey, and soul. When this fellow utters the word energy, he is not comparing thermal units of maple and birch. He cooks linguini, not spaghetti, and serves it aglio e olio, not smothered in Chef Boyardee tomato sauce. You think you are in heaven. He’s light and airy, not weighted down with flannel and steel toes. Your life is a sun-dappled pond and he’s the waterstrider, skimming along the glittering surface, picking up ideas to enrich his life and yours: the tao of yoga, the Bhagavad-Dharma, the Clandestine Prophesies—a book he’s heard a lot about.
He tells you he’s a Pisces with Venus as his rising planet, which explains his well-developed female consciousness. You—a Gemini—haven’t had your complete horoscope done, but he says he can divine your rising planet through sex, that divine union. The breathless thrusting culminates in his strangled cry—Mercury!—as Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody reaches its climax on the stereo.
Eventually, his long strings of words—aura, astral, chi, chai, chakra—begin to assemble themselves into invisible webs spun across doorways, snaring you in their stickiness. You take long, solitary drives north of town, window down, alert for a whiff of wood smoke and the sound of something substantial like a tree crashing to the ground.
You wonder about an in-between man somewhere, an in-between world. You ask your GPS guide to help you find it. All she says is, Recalculating. At least for now her answer is not Impossible.
Cover photo courtesy of Wes Hicks.