She tells me about the theory of evolution, on our front porch, three fingers tightening around her wine glass. She tells me how we evolved from apes and how we will continue evolving, so I ask, what are we evolving to? and she doesn’t answer, only traces her fingers along the neck of that glass as she has so many others
I wait, I look at her intently and drink in every detail on her flowered dress, study the folds and creases and imperfections in the fabric. She takes a long sip, the dark red staining her lips, and shakes her head at me: you’ve no need for such valiant doubts, she says to me as she has so many other times.
She tells me I think too much, and I tell her she feels too much.
Our stalemated silence continues, plods along, save for the momentary scraping of fingers against glass.
It’s a nice day. And as we’re sitting here, and as rare an occurrence as this is, I’m fatally aware not of life, not of evolution nor apes, neither the glass or the wrinkles in printed fabric roses. Somehow I’m aware of the separation of living things.
Our knees touch, pushed together by the narrowness of the cement steps, but we’re so far apart– her dashing, darting grey eyes and my still, frozen green ones– we see each other; we’ve lost each other.
She looks away and concentrates on the shallow pool of red at the bottom of her glass and the telling translucent paths on the sides.
I’m vaguely aware of the separation of my own body and mind on this lovely, calm June day. And I wonder how she doesn’t notice my mind sauntering away from the porch and my body doing abstract cartwheels to the brink of deterioration, straight into the woods behind our house; I consider the futility of it all: the porch meeting, the flower print dress, the cartwheels, evolution, the somber combination of eyes. But not the vanishing pool of red.
I lick my lips and know what it tastes like, how it feels, how it courses down the throat in a trail of false tranquility. I know this, I know this a hundred times, and I yearn for my detached body to cartwheel to the cellar and drown itself in what I know, and what I still want to understand. I want my mind in those back woods, away.
We sit on the front porch and she tells me of science, of mathematics, and of the brilliance of minds unmarred.
I add the fine, green Italian bottles, divide by the fights, multiply by the detached apprehension, and subtract the brilliance.
We sat on the front porch for an hour. She asked me what I was thinking of again and I didn’t reply and she just shook her head.
“Pretty soon the world’s gonna throw you off its back,” she told me, letting go of her glass and placing it with three fingers on the step below.