A hundred years or less to run the wheels off this flesh suit. Wear it down to where there is nothing left. A hundred years of filling our lungs with oxygen and smog and smoke and laughter and regret. Filling our mouths with mother’s milk and maple syrup, dream sleep and lover’s hot breath.
That night I snuck out through the backdoor of the house where my parents used to live. Before the ghost of a family that no longer exists moved in. And we drove out beneath the stars for hours and we knew nothing of time or how it worked. We could waste it without knowing. We didn’t care. We drove fast until your dad’s convertible ran out of fuel just so we could feel the wind on our fingertips. Just to feel our whole lives laid out before us. I was fifteen and you were seventeen and we knew everything and nothing. We could taste the electricity of the present on our tongues. Cool california air whipped our faces and we were alive. It was before everything meant something and before something meant nothing. The world was still big and vast and powerful and pure and it belonged to us. It was before we thought past our next moment. Before suiting up and showing up.
I was in the back seat of your father’s car choking on a stale joint and feeling the weight of what it is to be human and knowing that it was too soon to see behind the curtain. You drove me past the house where I was robbed of youth and it was gone. Only a dirt lot. And I knew in that moment that life is a mirage. That you can’t trust a single thing.
We ate donuts in the parking lot under a full moon and then dug our bare feet into the sand. We stomped and the ground lit up electric blue beneath us. Fat with tiny effervescent creatures. With the magic of biology. We took all our clothes off and slid beneath the waves, kicking up streams of bright blue magic as our parents sat at home with TV dinners and reruns. And we knew we were the adventurers, the pioneers, the magic makers. And we swore we would hold tight to it for as long as we lived. Do you remember?
Our mothers and fathers send us out into an unknowable night with our pockets stuffed with images of who we are and crumpled notes telling us to go out there and make something, be something, say something. And we hold our breath and try. Grasping at hands to hold as we slip through crowds of unfamiliar faces as we tinker around inside our pockets, fingering forgotten notes as room after room fills up with smoke.