In the end the solution is equal parts motorbike and picnic plus a double dose of true-blue friend and I feel like thinking in scientific terms because that is how he talks, progeny of the Crabtree building, and because that is what I need. Logic, straight-up and undiluted, he is waiting for me after class and when I take backseat on the bike he says you ride like an Asian and I say except that I’m actually wearing a helmet.
Still a compliment, he says.The highest.
The thing about old friends in new places is that you get to forget for a minute, you are straddling time, there is past and future and the present bleeds into them both, you are ubiquitous, ubiquitary. On the hill with our French bread and our German cheese and the Swiss chocolate he insisted on arguing about I can watch the whole winking world and somehow, with the sunset, it doesn’t weigh a thing. We talk about mountains and responsibility and Thailand and architecture, family friends marrying Tongan princesses. He worries that it’s too cold but I am raising my hands to the stars just to feel my especially amazing hair come especially undone all around me in the canyon wind and as he lays back laughing he says that’s right, you’re autumnal and it’s true, the fall is my fever and for the space of a shooting star I wish for real magic, a miracle. It is quiet, and cold.
Apples in October? he asks. And we are there and then, it is the first time we were ever friends, we were lying on grass just as green as this present park, we were watching stars from the same season, there are the apples and the cider press and seven years since. Seven years full of everything and nothing at all; if, for a second, I close my eyes, I am sixteen again, and today has never happened.