Immersed

by MB


It amazed her, how quickly she found herself slipping into other people's lives, her composition fine grains of sand sifted through the fingers of their realities. One day in May you are talking to a friend about fucking him - an abstract fantasy driven by an intense physical attraction and desire to feel him, all of him, inside of you - this man who you know but who does not occupy your life. By August you have been drunk in each other's presence more times than you can count on both hands, shared nights of inebriation populated by intense discussions of Buddhism and Yoga, of life, of seeking your purpose.

By September he is part of the story you do not yet know you are writing, an irremovable force from whom your identity will be born.

October. You are comfortable sharing extended periods of time and space; dwelling in the hollow pockets of each other's silence.  Your body relaxes around him. You are spending more hours a day with him than you are with yourself, your own thoughts. Riding in the passenger seat of his station wagon, seat warmers and NPR blasting, jazz music and TV on the Radio and more aspirational conversations about your futures, which now share space on the same road, occupying a pocket in the world which does not exist but which is the sum of your respective realities.

How quickly you have become immersed in the rote cycles of each others' lives, packing memories into boxes at the promise of new beginnings. You are struck by how much of yourself you've given to him unknowingly; stunned by his power and knowledge for observation. You are rattled each time he tells you something about yourself which you do not yet know to be true, as though he has access to a piece of your body from which you yourself have been restricted.

It is only later, after the shock of the infiltration no longer burns like acid on an open sore, do you identify these exposed pieces being intrinsic to your composition, traits embedded in your DNA. 

As last year becomes the present you find yourself sharing weekends and nights with his family, late night drives home, talking religion and politics and sex and music - about nothing and everything - the undefinable things that comprise your life.

You begin to realize how separate you feel from yourself, amazed by the capacity for empathy and love and change of the person you are becoming. You realize that you have built the house, together, outlining its structure and laying its foundation. You are stunned not that the task has been done, but by the effort you did not exert to accomplish it. 

This challenges your unstable hypothesis that you have agency over your own life, something you've long-expected to be untrue. The structure which you thought to be so secure shakes, teetering from side to side, but it does not fall. This gives you a fleeting and unsteady sense of relief, as though your touch-and-go life is one minor blip away from catastrophe.