I knew then, through whispers and side-glances, as I know now, that I am different. That the compulsion to jump from fences stirred me even then, and I would run from the sofa, through a house full of cool tile, to the lush garden that awaited with green arms and promises I could never describe. And I would leap, throwing my body into trust I hadn’t the name for, into chambers I had yet to recognize. And I would land, spinning, on my head, smiling with the impact, alive with the hurt and dizzying reality of matter, and something else, something I have yet to place in a box and seal with a kiss.
I have used thousands of words, I have run around it in circles and created colorful stories that hint at its splendor, but I refuse to stare at it directly. I refuse to look it right in the eye and mark it forever with letters and obvious description. It is respect, colored by the sheer knowledge that I know nothing, that any word would fall a thousand miles short and cause bruising that could never heal. I have seen it spinning in blackness. I have poked the edges with a sharp stick and my prying mind and curious eyes that seek the details of all forms.
There is flesh, round and soft with pointed ends. There is darkness lit only by stars and the dreams of the dreaming. And I have walked through the tunnels of my mind and I have taken ships that led me to forgotten caves painted with orange and red.
I have looked, with my head bowed, and my body calm as a steady sea. I have looked. Into mirrors, into eyes that seem to look back with the same curious stare, my eyes, brown and almond shaped, alive with flecks of green I might soon forget.
It is all there, and as I know now, as I knew then, that this is different. Leaping from fences and rooftops, scouring the inner caves of ink and stinking rot, this is different. And I pull on thick boots and walk with my head bent, my arms open for others that might come running naked from the mouths of other caves.
And if they do, we will walk, through tunnels of brown and sooty black, and we will walk, through tunnels I have yet to touch and refuse to name.