by: Jonathan Marcantoni
An experimental short story, where the love one feels for a partner and the love one feels for a child intersect…
Voice 1: For when we met, I felt like a god before the universe, naked and kneeling. I felt like a supernova at the center of a galaxy, my being illuminating with green and yellow lights, as the galaxy collapsed and renewed with me. Alone and clenching my muscles against the darkness, I felt cold, and unloved, seeking the heat of the light that touches me, and I was enraptured with the possibility of you, the women whose hand could grace my shoulder to assure me that this loneliness was but a fluke. I imagined that you could be mine and the dull lights would explode in a fury of reds and purples as I extend my body outwards to meet yours. For the love I feel when our eyes meet pulls me out of this place, beyond time and feeling, where I know the purpose of my life was to grasp your hand and hold your body and sense the heat of your lips against mine. Forgetting that in reality you were never mine, you were distant yet beloved, the domain of another, who you loved as you could never love me. But in this dream those boundaries do not exist, and our kiss is like the explosion of a star wh–
Voice 2: I touched your hair when you told me about your class, the project, one of those silly things that mean the world when you are five, while an adult like me sees it as just another assignment. Yet you are filled with pride, that you created something, with your own two hands, and with no help from a teacher. You drew the lines and filled in the colors and brought your creation to me, detailing the meanings of every broad stroke and every narrow line. How proud I was to be your father then. How small my significance appeared in the light of your accomplishment and how meager my worries felt then as you announced your grand feats of knowledge and skill. For you did not sense that the world existed before you, or that I too was once five, and had a parent I yearned to please and how I never felt such a sense of accomplishment the way you do now, and to know your papi lo–
Voice 1: Love was what I always wished to express, but you were onto the next thing, the next event, the next class, a shark who would die if they held on for a moment, long enough for me to pull you aside and reassure you that I saw you, in those seconds when you allowed emotion to take hold and rest. What would you find in those moments? Would I be in your thoughts? Or would time, in its march forever forward, take you further from my grasp, not to imprison you, not to control you, but to meet your lips with mine and know what it was to be a part of you? To be an extension of your passion and let you know what my love means in those dark spaces, those minutes under the moonlight when I am human again, vulnerable and–
Voice 2: You showed me all you had accomplished in school and I meditated on how much longer this would all last, your youth, your intense desire for my approval. I pondered how much longer until you forgot me completely, or until my words no longer mattered. Until my touch, stroking your hair, would no longer bring you comfort, and when my presence would not give you peace, and assurance, and when the dreams that wake you in the night no longer would require the comfort of your papi holding you, letting you know all is alright and that the morning will come a–
Voice 1: Again I see you, under the blue spotlight of your blue words, describing sex and speaking of connections that I will never comprehend. I will never know your moans and pleasure zones, or where the caress of my tongue would cause your body to shiver and your mouth to open and your soul to call out to me. I will never know what it means to make you climax, pleasure overflowing as if a river into a basin. I will never know what it is to be your home w–
Voice 2: While I tell you stories of faraway lands and the gods of space, the massive orbs that float in nothingness and pull all matter into a sense of self, I whisper in your ear that we are all stardust and empty nothingness filled only by the love of another w–
Voice 1: Who whispers her name in my ear, and I know her. I know her pain, her beauty, her power. But i will never know her warmth on a Friday night, curled up on a couch holding hands and not yearning to be anywhere else I–
Voice 2: If you only knew the joys of this life, and its accompanying sorrows, you would appreciate the flavors of discontent, or the flavors of yearning, which I pray you never know, for you are my happiness and I only think of protecting you. If only my love was enough, for one day you will understand that we do not choose those we love, and the minutes we are apart from them slide into years that we will never win back, w–
Voice 1: We will always be friends, and as friends I will love you and protect you and tell you the secrets of my world and guard yours when you whisper in my ear. As if you will reveal at any moment that I can fight away this loneliness, that you are here, and mine as I am yours and although I may be a god, I will not reign in solitude. I will preside over this universe with you by my side and never k–
Voice 2: Know that I love you, and that you deserve the love of one who sees you, who feels the same, so you will never experience the loneliness that plagues your papi, because I made a better world for you, a better life, that’s all I a–
Voice 1: I must ask you this: Do you feel the minutes when we are apart? Do you see my eyes as I absorb you? Or sense the softness with which I hold you in my heart?
Voice 2: Can my being your father make up for the heartbreak you will know? Will my love for you make up for the rejection you suffer? How will I know that my love was enough to take you through the universe as a being of passion fulfille or passion seen? Is it enough to be a parent and to give their child happiness? Or will you too find yourself, alone against the universe, longing for another who can never love you in return? Will you remember my caresses, my words of encouragement, and my devotion to you? Will that memory keep despair at a distance? Will the memory of me give you reason to push forward, so that the seconds, minutes, and hours of this life do not crush you?
Voices 1 and 2: Or would my love be enough, to fill the void of time and space and cover the distance between our bodies, as we embrace?
Jon Marcantoni is the publisher of La Casita Grande Press, as well as the author Traveler’s Rest, The Feast of San Sebastian, and Independent Book Award winner Kings of 7th Avenue. His first Spanish language novel, Tristiana, will premiere in August 2017. For more on Jon’s work, visit lcgeditores.com.