like paper airplanes

Neruda wrote of little boats that sail towards isles.  I write to you of airplanes.

I write to you of airplanes.  I do not trust the trade winds that would fill the sails of those little boats, which on the current should carry to you lights, aromas, metals: the detritus of my life that could cause you never to forget.  I know of doldrums, of fog that blocks out the stars, of seas full of deadly calm.  I do not trust that little boats will be enough to carry me to you.

Instead, I trust the power of flight.  I throw my wishes into the open air.  On paper wings, they come, fluttering on the wind toward you like butterflies.  They are so high up in the stratosphere that there is always a wind, always an impetus, always something that will propel me towards you.  Nothing save for a change in the movement of the world can stop it.

You do not know me now, but even now I travel toward you.  I come to you in ghosts of mis-matched smiles; in the copper glint of long, straight hair; in a rapid-fire speech from the mouth of a girl which you do not hear but, for some reason, still find funny; in the squint of a pair of laughing, slanted eyes; in a who-what-when-where-why of love.  I become fragments in this high wind, parts of me reflected in other faces, other stories, other people whom you fall in love with but whose ships never quite reach you in time for you to not forget them.

I come to you, one airplane at a time.

And in the same way, you come to me: in bits of witty repartée, in well-placed emoticons of a boy’s text message, in an awkward laugh, in the brush of lips on a wet cheek.  You arrive as a series of clues, as pieces of a puzzle I have yet to put together because there is no picture on the front of the box.  Your airplanes come to me, each one an aroma, light, metal: a piece of you that makes sure I will never forget you, even if there is no one yet to remember.

We trade airplanes, passing notes to a person we do not know, but somehow know.

I know that one day the current of those many wings will push me to you.  That one day, I will come to you not in fragments but in flesh.  I will find you, or you will find me, or we will find each other across a crowded street, an empty room, a stage light by floodlights, a small patch of whirling earth.  I know not to fall in love with your airplanes, not when eventually you will fly to me.  And if I get cut by paper or pushed backward by wind, the pain is worth the moment when everything will carry me to you.  Everything that exists–aromas, lights, metals–will sail across an open sky towards that stalwart station where you wait for me.

Where I wait for you.

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