Personal essay: To infinite jest and friendship

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Anna Rosen/Staff

He wrote to me, “I’ve figured out your eyes. The colour is like cold snow melting from the weight of the blue sky and piercing through clustered grey clouds.”

My gaze moved from the letter to the window, and my mind fell into a memory-induced trance. I wiped the fog my breath had etched into the glass, as the train brushed through the rolling greens that blended into a muffled painting even Claude Monet could not transcribe with his brush.

His and my friendship is seemingly endless and unpredictable, but beauty can be found in every crevice and corner. One turn and we’re looking down the bramble and nettled alley through to the muffled rolling greens that catch our breath and seize it in time.

I read once that personality and personal identity are in some ways like coordinates on a street map that are drawn by our intersecting relationships. We know who we are, and we define what we are in reference to both the people we love and reasons for loving them.

My coordinates, though, are plotted in far-reaching streets paved across the globe, like stars that help me navigate along the trails of life: a distance away but utterly luminescent in the midst of a bleak blackness.

As time hurtles forward, I find myself grasping at pockets of air in the hopes to catch onto anything to stop this train that refuses to steady. All I can do is hold my hand up to the glass-paned window and let my eyes stretch to see the coordinates diverge from me toward another corner of the globe. Each time, I never know when our trails will intersect again.

The pit that hung deep in my stomach was a familiar feeling. It was the same pit that I felt after our eyes held each other’s gaze in our youth as we assembled on a wooden bench, where we fumbled empty ritual and judgment the morning after whiskey devolved our mutual diaphanous love and understanding.

Or so I thought, until we sat crumpled at the foot of the Colosseum near daybreak. I stumbled over my speeding words until you created sudden silence. Solidarity stood as growth stabilized our minds and whiskey-induced actions still ran, but this time, age had ripened our spirits and strengthened our fervor.

Although time runs past me, our moments in unison are frozen like Polaroids in our minds, and they’re wistfully unclouded. Their melancholic flavor sweeps down into the river of our fluid bond and moves with the tides of our lives in the same way the willow tree in my garden brushed against our bodies when we were carried across the water in that tiny timber canoe boat all those years ago.

Our stretches together have been sewn into the fabric of my being, as our memories now comfort me like a cloak of the past cut from patches of feeling and stitched with rebus threads. Most of the time, the best I can do is wrap it around myself for comfort or drag it behind me as I move on.

As I mark out new coordinates on my map, I still look to you for guidance. Your apparition passes through me in the willows, yet the tranquility of your voice on the other side of the phone 5,000 miles away still soothes me. We continue to grow in tandem, apart.

I don’t know where we will go, but the silhouette of your soul is a flare that serves as a beacon of dazzling light. All roads lead to an end, and ours need not cross to hold strong.

Cassie Ippaso is a writer for the Weekender. Contact her at [email protected]