She comes to me in haunting half dreams of another life, a mirror image of a fallacy in the dreading hours of the night. She comes as both winged angel and slithering snake, something terrible and beguiling. She is neither biblical nor demonic, but I have built her so in the dark recesses in my own ignorance. Forgive this of me and think not ill of my mistakes, because I have not known any other way. These are the meters of my measure, the only graphs and rulers I have to lay her across to understand her, the tools I have been given, or, the only lessons I had bothered to learn.
And it is my own doing, is it not, after all? I sought out only the concrete, the distinct and the material. The ephemeral stayed just that, a delight for after hours, a distraction from the numbers and the code and the science. Wherein could I find her amongst the concrete bunkers of higher learning and failing grades, I ask of you? How I would have known her shapes when I sit awake at night, a singular light in front of me, one of another world that I could control, but one without mysticism or rhyme? How would I even know that she lay there, waiting in those haunting half dreams?
With every trial and failure, with every day dream and lost focus, I chastised my self, or was chastised myself and thought less of her through the years. Such is the way of things, the means in which we limit ourselves so as never to take chance which, once risked, can never be undone.
So I was told. So I learned.
She lays there, she stands there, behind the dappered glass of a smoky mirror, without expression or anguish. She is patient in her shaded boughs, her silent mornings when the fog rolls off the river like smoke over oil such is the sun darked in the early forest. She stands like fantasy, inhuman and unmoving, because she has not yet been given life. She comes in small steps, imperceptible half inches and hidden truths that scream louder than anguish after the truths are all told.
So it becomes with me as I learn these truths over time. I chastise myself, for every missed sign, for every unmistakable trace for which I glossed over with my graphs and code and numbers and games. There is no statistic for this knowledge, no formula, no algorithm to which I can point at and employ. No opening so bold as simply playing the game’s first tentative moves that reveals her character and forms, and yet she is not a game, she is not theory nor play. She is the hidden half truth that comes as I lay in the dark of unfamiliar cities of my past and look at kitchen clocks that never agree on the time.
And this would remain as such, from those concrete bunkers of higher learning and passing grades the second time around, to the failing drive in a northern direction, then south again, then north again, then back around and east and west as if cardinality was a game as well. From furtive looks over student steps as blue lights cast against the early night come to signal home. From playing games wherein we focus on other lives, on fantasy and inhuman beings whose only movements roll in plastic fate. To destinies of decay and years in and out, the passage of time through strange lenses and seasonal athletics and weekly visits to a city in which you already live. These are the passages of time that have marked her hidden half truths, that have shown me glimpses but like a child, left me unable to grasp the meanings.
She comes to me, half awake and half a state away, a smile on her face and her name in the wind like a password or a spell or that variable that was missed in those late nights of a single light and another world. She steps through the shaded mirror, eyes of green and grey and power in her fists. I am no lie, she says clear as cloudless day and yet from distances too far to be fully understood. She forgives the games and charts and science and late nights and self-inflicted pain, she has been there all before, she says. Such are the ways of these things, that knowledge can only come in hidden half truths and hazy waking dreams in foreign lands or forgotten cities.
Go boldly, she says, though your feet misstep and your hands tremble and your mind misses every sign that you pass. Southward bound and west until you hit the river, you are not far, not far at all. Though the ocean spray will not kiss your cheek nor snowy streets crunch and glisten beneath your feet, nor humid days glisten your skin like armor, you are on the path. She comes to me in glorious half dreams of other lives that are very human, very real. Those truths, she says, need only remain hidden a while longer.
You are on the path.
She comes to me, her name a key, spoken and turning some lock to which she controls and is controlled by. She opens the door in invitation, turns and shakes the world with her steps.