I thought I had smelled you and so, my heart reached out. But you weren’t there, just a trick of my scent. And so, my heart was left hanging out, stretching towards my surroundings, surveying. Intending. It found humanity and suddenly I was intensely aware of them. Humans. Like all of a sudden feeling the company of an animal in a forest clearing. Humans, gorgeous, supple, warm, alien humans all around me. Was it fear I felt? No, for once, no. It was just an awareness, a milky film of a feeling around the edges of my skin, the cool breeze slightly comforting my balmy palms. Nothing much, just that, a thin picking up of my heart beat, a murmuring of smiles, a coaxing of voices. A smattering of empathy.
She kisses me. What, I ask? She just smiles in return, thin fingers tapping against my chest. The light from the window, so lazy that I think it might coalesce on the sill, begrudgingly gilds the white-washed walls of the city. These are the days I live for; orange light of the sinking sun over Cor Ad Cor Loquitur, my first love, my city. Like an out of tune mirror, my bed speaks with the scene outside. By my side lies my last love, my own miracle. Lazily, I brush my hand through her hair and feel the life pulsating under my nails. Back outside, a faint hum can be heard from the city, the collective gathered breath of its denizens. I’ve always been a city dweller and it’s always been this city; is there any other? I’m not sure anymore. It seems as if the white blocks interspersed with green, now all alight with the triumphing blazon of day’s end, are all I’ve ever known. And I’m fine with that.
So, my heart hanging outside of my body, I ride the bus. Buoyed softly up by the warm auras of my fellow passengers, it sits nestled in its own grove. I search for quickened breath, for sweaty palms, for the signs that usually come with these episodes. There is nothing. Instead, all I find is a curiosity, a quite different shade of emptiness. I look around me, with my eyes now, and see the boulevard that we’re riding up on. A Mari Usque Ad Mare is a beautiful city, I remember now. It seems as if I’ve forgotten that, for years. Now, the light is so bright, so clean, so agonizingly cleansing, that I flinch from the window. And back to the warmth of the people around. Yes, the people around me. That’s why I moved to this city. But, what happened? How did I forget? How came it that my heart was ensconced so deeply within itself?
She sings to me. Why, I ask? She just smiles in return, supple leg brushing up against mine. Flaming orange now is the sun and the sky turns so pale I can see the rings. The flood of ships returning to the city fills me with pride. Look how far we’ve come! The white-wash walls of the buildings are silent. I don’t know if they remember five years ago (or even five seconds ago, if I’m honest) but I remember well. However, the sun is just a dying half-circle now, flaming orange turning into ember red. This is it. Soon it will be night and my city will become something different, the dark sister to my love. I love her too. I love her too but it’s complicated since she brings me so much pain. Often, when I’m drunk on her scent, I walk her streets and sing. I sing so loudly that my lungs hurt. I sing so loudly that my ears ring. I sing so loudly so that her sister can hear me, on the other side of the sky, and know that I still love her, even when I’m in her sister’s embrace.
The day is dawning, I realize now. Have I been so out of touch that I didn’t even notice that it had been night? Apparently. But now, now I have been awakened by a choir of my peers! My heart undulates in the warmth of its nook, whispered alive by my fellow denizens. I laugh inwardly. For years now, yes it had been years hadn’t it, I had scorned them all. Bitter, dirty, loud, idiotic fellow prisoners. Scorn of my dream, bane of my hopes. I had come to the city to live and instead, I found death. The death of the crowd. But now, by some miracle of an emotional physicality, I am open! I hear the noise of the ships going to the rings and I am filled with a strange pride. We have accomplished so much. I wander if this bus remembers five seconds ago (or even five years ago) but I remember well. However, the sun has arisen now and blinding light suffuses my heart! This is it. Soon it will be day and, for the first time since I had come here, my city will become something different, the bright sister to my fear. I will love her, this time. I have loved her but it was complicated since I brought her so much pain. Often, when I had been drunk on my own rage, I walked her streets and wailed. I wailed so loudly that my lungs froze. I wailed so loudly that my heart died. I wailed so loudly so that my bright sister would know I was looking for her, on the other side of the mind, and know that I still longed for her, even when I was trapped in my own embrace.
The sun is setting now. My miracle is asleep. I roll her over, gently, without waking her, and dress. My eyes are fixed at the door. Time to meet the sister. The knob is cold under my fingers. I turn it.
But now the bus has stopped. It’s time to begin my new life. It’s time to finally enter the city. I pick up my things and head for the stairs. The handle near the door is cold under my fingers.
I turn the handle and I’m in A Mari Usque Ad Mare. Her sister.
I turn the handle and I’m in Cor Ad Cor Loquitur. My bright sister.
And my heart is still surveying.